the messiest of buns hair tutorial

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a request for a hair tutorial on these messy buns:

And I’m not surprised these are a favorite! They are stunning. The perfect amount of mess.

Here’s the thing with messy buns though–it’s nearly impossible to dupilcate one exactly. So, when you are trying to recreate, don’t be frustrated if your messy bun doesn’t look exactly like a photo. Embrace it as your own personal mess. 

The main reason I put this tutorial off was because I thought my Double Bun tutorial or Messy Ponytail/Bun tutorial would suffice. However, there are other steps to go through for these messy buns, so I created a new tutorial.

For this style you’ll need two clear elastics, bobby pins, texture powder (or texture spray), hairspray, and a comb. 
The texture powder I’m using in this tutorial is by Lanza. The Redken Quick Tease Spray (which I don’t use by I refer to) can be found here.

lipstick: J. Crew (similar)
nail polish: Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI (a new favorite!)
sweater: Old Navy
collared shirt: H&M


  1. says

    I love this :) I used to wear my hair in a messy bun all the time in high school, because it was easy when I was running late (90% of the time, hehe).

  2. says

    1. You have the prettiest, messiest bun ever.
    2. Just got that sweater from Old Navy and LOVE it. Also wanted to grab all the polka dotted ones while I was there…
    3. I am inspired by your bold lip color…but I’m not brave enough.
    4. Off topic but wanted you to know that you have been a huge part in inspiring me to go to cosmetology school. I’m starting at the end of the month!! :) So thanks!!

    My Polished Side Blog

  3. says

    I believe that the picture might come from The Beauty Department. It looks pretty similar to their typography. :)

    Also, great job on the tutorial! I’ll be sure to try it out!

  4. says

    Hi Kate, I am proud to say that I have done this similarly after being inspired by the double bun, so you are definitely helping me unleash the small amount of creativity I have been blessed with! Secondly, I do see in the supplies needed “2 clear elastics”, but I only see you using one, so just making sure I didn’t miss something?

  5. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It’s been years since I worse a messy bun but I am re-inspired!!

    Your hair tutorials are AWESOME, because of you I purchased my first ever curling iron AND actually curl my hair on a regular basis!

    Thanks for giving me good hair days :)

  6. says

    This is SO cute…I’m going to try it, and for the record I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Been looking at if for about 8 months regularly and attempting to do my hair a little more creatively!! I do have a question and I don’t have twitter!!

    I have super slick hair and my hair tends to not stay with hair spray alone even following your tutorials…I do have virgin hair, fine but a lot of it….so medium thickness I’d say…I use the Kendra hair spray you recommended and my hair won’t even hold a tease…it is just SO shiny and slippery…any recommendations….. let me know….I would be forever grateful as it is SUPER there a product to add texture you recommend??

  7. says

    I love love love this tutorial! Since I began following your blog last year, I’ve been inspired to grow out the short choppy bob style that I had been “rockin” since 2008…YIKES!! Now my hair is just past shoulder length & I’m using a curling iron for the first time in years. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  8. says

    Hi! This is fantastic! I like to refer to myself as a “fledgling fashionista” — I was always a jeans-and-t-shirt girl in college but now that I live in Kansas City and work in an office, I want to do a better job of keeping up with fashion and style. Your blog has been MASSIVELY helpful, and I’m glad my friend Sharlene recommended it to me.

    I have a question about this particular style — if you have straight, front bangs, is this messy bun still an option? I know I’ve probably seen it done, but I’m having trouble figuring out how my bangs would play into this. They look fine when I do some loose curls (I have very straight hair) but obviously the dynamic changes when hair is pulled back vs. hanging loose.

    Any advice on how to make this work with my bands is appreciated, even if that advice is, “Don’t do this hair style.” Thanks, and keep up the GREAT work!

  9. says

    YAY! I love hair bun tutorials!! I am def gonna try this one :) And I totally heart your sweater!! Hope you are having a fabulous Monday & thanks for the great tutorial!!


  10. says

    Hi Kate, I love this look! Your tutorials are great! I have watched all of them and every Tuesday try the newest one from Monday :) I love the messy bun look, I have long, thick curly hair so this is perfect for me. Thank you for all the great tutorials!!


  11. says

    First off, I’m in LOVE with your lipstick!
    I have a question that has nothing to do with this look, but it is about hair! Lol
    My question is how can i make those skinny elastic head bands work? I love the look with a little bit of tease, or pulled back into a bun, but they always seem to roll up and slip out of my hair! I usually get so frustrated with fixing it over and over that i give up and yank the darn thing out of my hair. I have tried bobby pins but i feel like i need to many for it to stay put (and look decent) please help!
    Thank you!

  12. says

    I love your blog so much! Your tutorials are fantastic, especially for hairstyle challenged individuals such as myself! You’ve inspired me to stop wearing my hair in a plain old ponytail. Thank you!

  13. says

    Hi Kate! I love the lipstick you are wearing and having been looking everwhere for it. The link you listed for a similar lipcolor goes to a hair product. Could you suggest a similar color? Thank you

  14. says

    That is a gorgeous bun. I’m going to have to try this, but I can almost promise that I will not get it right. I’m jealous of your hair styling abilities!


  15. says

    I have such a hard time getting that kind of volume/height at the crown like you. And I LOVE the way that looks, so any suggestions on how to regularly pull it off?? Love love love your blog! :)

  16. says

    Kate, your hair tutorials are just the best. You always give such great detailed instruction and these are all so easy to follow. Thank you for taking the time to make these for us more hair inept peoples :)

  17. says

    As Kate hasn’t answered some of the questions, but I’m sure she will eventually:

    1. Her hair was quite obviously curled before reacting the messy bun.
    2. Her advice to try this a few times before the day you actually need it, is good. I have followed this advice, and it works!

    Bon chance.

  18. says

    I did the alternative bun yesterday and the messiest bun today. Mine is 2 day old curled hair. Keeping cool and it’s looking good! Thank you thank you. Miriam

  19. says

    Thank you soooooo much for your blog.
    (I feel like I’m cool again.) I could never quite get how girls were getting their hair to look so cute. Now I’m in the loop. :) Thank you!!! Keep sending us new sykes please.

  20. says

    I am nearly 40 years old and I have been loving messy buns but this is the first tutorial that I actually thought I could make it work and DID… thanks for posting your tutorials. I love your hair. Your blog has inspired me to try new things with mine.

  21. says

    Both my sons and my husband were in his sister’s wedding yesterday. It was on an island where we needed to take a ferry early in the morning. I practiced a few of the updo’s you taught me prior to the wedding but I settled on the messy bun for my hair. Because I needed to get my 6 & 2 year olds into their tuxes I didn’t have a lot of time before pictures. I forgot to bring a mirror so I couldn’t check the back but the maid of honour couldn’t believe I did it myself (and so quick!) and she wished I had done hers too! Thank you Kate!

  22. says

    So it will take some practice and my hair isn’t quite long enough yet…but I am giving a good try. When it is 97 outside, thick curly hair MUST BE UP! LOL

  23. says

    You are my hero! I have VERY thin hair and I have NEVER been able to keep it in a bun no matter how many bobby pins or twist pins I use. It always falls out. This messy bun is fantastic and easy and best of all, IT WORKS in my hair! And today I tried the pony tail messy bun and it worked wonderfully too! I only wish I’d found your tutorials at the beginning of summer, when all I could muster was a boring pony tail to keep my hair off my neck. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  24. says

    Advice needed, please. I have long hair, just past bra-line, only very slightly layered. . When I double it over to wrap the elastic around, I just have a big pouf of folded over hair. Very hard to muss up after elasticizing, cuz nothing really happens. Any tips on how to refashion this for long hair?

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  26. Annie says

    I love this tutorial and I love your bun. Its just so simple and yet so pretty, and I love it! I’ve been trying for days to make a messy bun but I just couldn’t get it right. But this one’s helped me loads and I finally have my beautiful ‘own personal mess’. Thanks a lot! :)

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  28. Michelle says

    Well I’m late to the party, but I love this look & wanted to ask – did I miss where you use the second clear elastic? Under supplies it says two, but I only saw you use one, unless you use two at a time?? Are those things ok for hair? I’ve used them a few times & it seems like I have to yank half my hair out to get them out. Ouch!

  29. Michelle Smith says

    You make it look so easy! You by FAR have the best tutorials I have ever watched. I am a hair idiot and just learned I have been curling it wrong all these years. Going to try your messy bun for our Christmas party tonight. Fingers crossed!!!!! Thanks Kate.

  30. Heidi says

    Thanks so much for the tutorial–this is perfect timing for me! I had my hair colored yesterday so I can’t wash it today and was wondering what I was going to do to make my day old hair look nice since it’s Christmas Eve. I love your blog! Merry Christmas!

  31. Chelsea says

    Kate – I love your blog! And thank you for this messy bun tutorial. I LOVE big hair but could never get mine to look right, with your blog… I feel as if I am getting there.
    My biggest struggle is finding what haircut looks best on my face frame/proportions, do you have any posts that give some guidance on your thoughts on this? If so, I would love to see it!

    Thank you and congratulations on the upcoming second baby, you are lovely!

  32. Amanda says

    I’m thinking this style might work for my upcoming trip to Disney World. It’s gonna be warm in Florida so I want my hair up but we’ll be taking lots of photos so I want my hair to look a little nicer than just a regular ponytail. Thanks for your terrific tutorials. I’ve have learned a lot!

  33. Femke Drijkoningen says

    When I tried to make a messy bun like this, it wasn’t beautiful. In a few minutes the bun was already gone. So I was looking on the internet for tips to make a messy bun, and then I found this blog.

    I’ve tried to make the bun like you say in the video, but the first time I tried it without hairspray. It was a beautiful bun, but it doesn’t stay for a long time. So I tried it again and this time I used hairspray. Result: the bun stays for a long time!

    It is the most beautiful bun I’ve ever made and it is very easy to make. I wear this messy bun when I go to school. But I also wear it for a party or something like that! It is so nice that I can wear it on different moments, it is always beautiful.

    I really want to thank you for this blog, now I’ve found the right way to make the perfect messy bun!

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