Thick, lengthy locks have an edge when it comes to styling a messy bun. Ladies with long strands — at least past the shoulders — and plenty of volume won’t need hair doughnuts, excess teasing or hair extensions. Despite the name, messy buns require some shaping and pinning time in front of the mirror as you create this carefree yet polished look.

Step 1: Make a High Ponytail

Brush your locks with a paddle brush to remove any tangles or knots so the styling process runs a little smoother. Spritz a light volumizing mist through your locks. This product helps your natural volume work to your advantage, and gives your strands a bit of texture as you shape the messy bun.

Flip your hair forward and over your head. Gather your locks into a ponytail at the crown of your head. Use your fingers to smooth any huge bumps or unwilling pieces. Don’t worry about creating a perfectly ballerina-smooth ponytail. Wrap a hair tie around the ponytail a few times so it is firmly secured at the top of your head. Flip your hair back up.

Tips

Messy buns are easier to create with one- or two-day-old hair, rather than freshly washed locks. The natural oils that build up help create shape and texture.

Step 2: Twist and Pin

Separate the ponytail into two even sections. Gently twist the right section into a loose rope and place the rope up and around the top of your ponytail base. Keep wrapping the right section around the base of the ponytail in a loose spiral shape, pinning in place a few times with bobby pins. Depending on your hair’s length, this piece might make a full circle around the base of the ponytail. Twist the left section into a loose rope and wrap this section around the bottom of the ponytail base and pin it into place as you go. You should now have a large bun spiraling around the base of the ponytail. As you finish pinning each twisted section, tuck the ends of your hair under the body of the bun and pin into place.

Step 3: Loosen Up

Now that you have the basic bun structure in place, mess it up and create that effortless, carefree look. Start by pulling out any little, wispy pieces of hair around the face to frame your features. Then gently pull on the hair around your face that feeds directly back into your ponytail. The goal is to build a little bit of volume around your face and to loosen the ponytail slightly.

Finally, pull on the edges of your pinned bun to create more volume and loosen up the basic shape. A few stray pieces might come out at this stage. Leave them as they come out if you like the way they look. Alternatively, pin them back into place and redefine the shape of your bun as it changes and pieces redistribute. Take your time on this step to create your best look.

Step 4: Spritz and Set

Once you have the ideal messy bun shape, set the look in place for the day. Invest in a light-hold hairspray that keeps your strands in place without creating a hard helmet. Since you want that slightly undone look, you only need a light mist over the entire hairstyle. No need to push back any loose pieces of hair with your fingers.