Hair-Care Tips

The Lazy Girl Guide to a Perfectly Messy Bun

Tehrene Firman

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Photo: Getty Images/Aleksandar Nakic
No other hairstyle is more versatile than the messy bun. Whether you're cleaning your apartment, picking up some groceries, heading off to work, sweating in a workout class, or sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, it just does the job right. A messy bun is the style that keeps on giving, too. Ponytails require constant maintenance throughout the day, but rogue strands just make a bun look cuter. The only problem? Figuring out how to do a messy bun without all the effort.

Even though it doesn't look like it to those who have yet to attempt a messy bun, it takes a whole lot of time and practice to get right. I, for one, have spent many far too much time in front of the mirror with sore arms trying to get that perfectly messy—but not too messy—look. But it shouldn't take up your whole morning when you're trying to get out the door, and it doesn't have to take 38 tries to get it right.

Here's how to do a messy bun perfectly every time.

1. Short hair

Creating a messy bun with short hair that doesn't want to stay in place can be tricky, but there's a secret that can help: using second or third-day hair and dry shampoo. The added texture will make it extra fluffy and easy to work with.

2. Short-medium hair

For this messy bun, the key is first stretching out your curls with a wide tooth comb so your finished style has more volume. Then after brushing in some gel and securing your hair into a high ponytail, use bobby pins to form the bun.

3. Medium-length hair

This messy bun technique might just be the easiest yet. Section your hair into a half ponytail, looping it over. Then wrap one side of your hair around the bun, securing it with a bobby pin. After repeating on the other side, you're finished.

4. Super-long hair

When your hair is long, all that extra weight can cause your messy bun to turn into a floppy pancake. Luckily, this quickie technique only requires a high ponytail, a loop, and a twist to get the job done.

5. Straight hair

You can't beat a one-minute messy bun. This tutorial—which works great for straight, medium-length hair—makes the process look super easy.

6. Natural hair

The secret to getting a flawless messy bun with natural hair is ditching the hair ties and instead using a thin headband, which helps keep everything in place as you're securing the perfect look.

7. Thick hair

Creating an effortless messy bun when you have thick hair can be especially tough. There's a lot of it. But this technique makes it work to your advantage, giving you all sorts of extra volume.

8. Curly hair

Hopefully you still have some scrunchies on hand, because that's all you need to create a messy bun with super-curly hair. And, you know, a few bobby pins to keep your strands in line.

9. Super-straight hair

For super-straight hair, start by teasing your roots and securing a small poof with bobby pins for volume. Then after securing a high ponytail and teasing your hair with your fingers, you'll be able to twist it into a bun you'll love.

What about second-day hair? Here are the best way to refresh hair between washes. And speaking of, the key to washing your hair less could be scalp serums.

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