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8 Easy Messy Bun Tutorials & Hairstyles: What’s Knot to Love?

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Summer is the ideal time to learn how to do the perfect messy bun. It’s a quick and cool hairstyle solution when the temperatures are sizzling. The casual, undone, messy updo hairstyle is also extremely versatile. It works for anything from a quick run to the grocery store to your cousin’s wedding. The messy bun masters at Matrix share their tips for how to do a messy bun, along with a few tried-and-true messy bun step-by-steps.

5 Messy Bun Updo Tips

  • If you want to end up with a messy bun, you have to start with somewhat messy hair. Second-day hair works well. If you have curly or textured hair, work with your natural texture.
  • When creating your messy bun, hold your hair loosely. The object is to avoid a tight ballerina-type bun.  If your hair is scraped back firmly enough to double as a mini facelift, it’s not really a messy bun.
  • Keep top and bottom loose. The looser the nape area, the softer the overall look will be.
  • Messy buns need a lot of support. Add a texture spray or dry shampoo to increase volume and density. If your hair is very straight, spritz damp hair with salt spray and a dollop of hair gel to add texture before it dries. If your curly or wavy hair is silky or slippery, add texture spray.
  • Don’t overthink a messy bun. The object is to create a look that is loose, soft, romantic and casual.

8 Messy Bun Step-by-Steps

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1. The Perfect Messy High Bun

  • Apply volumizing foam at the roots before drying your hair.
  • Curl hair with a 1 ¼-inch curling iron.
  • Work dry shampoo into the roots of curled hair.
  • Using the fine-tooth end of the comb, vigorously tease the top section at the point where the high bun will sit.
  • Smooth over the top of the teased areas.
  • Roughly tease the rest of the hair with a wide-tooth comb.
  • Mist the midlengths and ends of the teased hair with hairspray to help support the structure. Let the hairspray dry completely so it’s not sticky.
  • Holding your hair loosely, pull it all up to the center top of your head.
  • Fold the hair over once and wrap the elastic twice around the base of the hair to secure the bun.
  • Gently stretch the bun apart at the top and bottom to loosen the shape.
  • Slide your fingers under the hair above your ears and gently lift to soften the head shape.
  • Release a few slender, face-framing sections.
  • Slide your fingers under the hair in back and gently lift to loosen.
  • Mist with hairspray.
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2. Messy Bun for Long Hair

  • Spray hair with dry shampoo and tease all over to create as much volume as possible. Tease equally on the top and on the sides.
  • Mist the hair with hairspray after you tease each section.
  • Use an oval styling brush to smooth over the surface of the hair to hide the teasing.
  • Flip your head over and gently gather your hair at the point where you want the bun to sit.
  • Flip your head back up and wrap an elastic around the ponytail at the base.
  • Pull your ponytail halfway through, wrap the elastic around the hair, then pull the rest of the tail through, wrapping the hair around and into a bun.
  • Expand the bun, then bundle the bun into another elastic. Place the elastic at the base and expand the bun once more.
  • Loosen the hair in front and in back of the bun.
  • Use bobby pins around the base to secure the bun and hide the elastics.
  • Use the small teeth of a comb to loosen a few sections around the front hairline. 
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3. Messy Half Bun Topknot for Short or Medium Hair

  • Use your fingers to gather half of your hair from the ear up. Position hair high or midway on your head. (If you  have layers, the more layers, the higher the bun should be in order to prevent the shorter layers from slipping out.)
  • Secure the hair in a high ponytail with an elastic.
  • Lightly spray the ponytail with a volumizing spray.
  • Lightly twist the teased ponytail around the base to form a fluffy bun.
  • Secure the bun by inserting bobby pins horizontally, all around the base of the bun, hiding them in the textured hair.
  • Smooth the back section upward with your hand, and pin as close as possible to the base of the bun to prevent shorter hair from dropping out.
  • Feel free to release a few strands around your face for a more relaxed look!
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4. Messy Low Bun

  • Apply dry shampoo to your roots, section by section.
  • Pull all of your hair back in a low ponytail and secure with an elastic that matches your hair color.
  • Loop your ponytail through the elastic once or twice more, and on the third loop, stop halfway through.
  • The tail will now be above the elastic. Take a subsection of the tail, wrap it around the elastic and pin it underneath to hide the elastic.
  • Pin the rest of the tail against your head and fan out the ends.
  • Mist with hairspray
  • Loosen a few strands around your face.
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5. Messy Side Bun

  • Curl hair with a 1-inch curling iron.
  • Prep hair with dry shampoo and tease all over.
  • Sweep all of your hair to one side, maintaining volume on the top and sides.
  • Secure all of the hair in a side ponytail with an elastic.
  • Create a hole above the elastic, flip the ponytail up and through the hole and pull it halfway through.
  • Secure the bottom with bobby pins.
  • Keep pulling out hair above the ponytail to encourage volume.
  • Draw the remaining ends up in sections of curls and pin them into the low bun.
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6. Messy Bun with Bangs

  • Pull all hair up into a high ponytail.
  • If you don’t have bangs of your own, isolate a section of the ponytail, draw it forward, place the ends over your forehead to create a faux fringe and secure the section with pins at the top of your head.
  • Fan out the “bangs.”
  • Divide the remainder of the ponytail in half and wrap each half around itself to form a high bun.
  • Secure the bun with bobby pins all around the base.
  • Use a flat iron to smooth the fringe, bending the ends under slightly. Comb to blend.
  • Mist with hairspray.
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7. Messy Bun for Thin Hair

  • Tip your head upside down and gather it all into a high ponytail.
  • Wrap an elastic around the ponytail as many times as necessary to secure tightly.
  • Use a comb or brush to gently tease the ponytail. Tease enough to create volume, but avoid creating an overly puffy shape.
  • Begin twisting the teased bun and when you reach the end, wrap the twist around itself, forming a bun, until you run out of hair.
  • Use another elastic to secure the bun at the base.
  • Gently pull the bun apart with your fingers. Expand it equally all around the shape.
  • Secure the bun with bobby pins to the base of the head.
  • Release a few sections around your face.
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8. Messy Chic Ponytail

  • Apply volumizing hair spray to dry hair, concentrating on the roots.
  • Divide your hair in half, top and bottom, and clip away the bottom.
  • Lift subsections in front and lightly tease at the roots with a backcombing brush.
  • Release the back section, flip your head upside down and backcomb the roots
  • Bring your head back up and smooth the surface of the backcombing with your brush.
  • Gather your hair in a high, semi-tight ponytail and secure. Be sure to maintain the volume at the crown and leave the nape loose.
  • Gently backcomb the ponytail to expand the shape.

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