Unlike the strict and elegant buns of ballerinas or the bland, lifeless buns of stereotypical librarians or school marms from the pioneer days, today’s messy buns marry a bohemian chic vibe with high functionality. Messy buns are best suited for women and girls with medium to long hair. Those who have cropped their hair into a trendy inverted or asymmetrical bob need not try. There are two main ways of going about creating the bun and it can be positioned as high or as low on the head as you like.

Things You'll Need

Making the Bun

Gather your hair into a ponytail where you want the finished messy bun to be on your head.

Start twisting the ponytail in one direction with both hands. It doesn’t matter which direction.

When the hair is tightly twisted, it will start to want to coil around itself at the base of the ponytail. Follow that and coil the hair around the base.

When you get to the tip of the ponytail, either fold the tip over top of the coil or tuck it loosely under the base.

You can secure the messy bun with either elastics or sticks. If you are using elastics, simply take a whole elastic and wrap it around the base and some of the bun, if necessary. To secure the bun with a pair of sticks, take one and thread it midway from the edge and base of the bun, diagonally down through the opposite side. As you thread it, position the stick to go under some hair from the scalp at the base of the bun and back out again through the middle of the bun.

Push the other stick through the bun opposite the first stick.


  • Pens or pencils can be used in place of sticks, but don’t use any with a rubberized grip.
    Chopsticks make great sticks.

References and Resources

Creating a Messy Bun