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

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Comments (107)

  1. Rebecca says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    I love this ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. Posted March 4, 2013

    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!! ๐Ÿ™‚ So thanks!!

    My Polished Side Blog

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      great news-where are you going?

    • Posted March 4, 2013

      Aveda. The salon I currently work for as a receptionist is Aveda and they offered me a chair when I’m done. Very excited and blessed! My bosses/owners go to the Summit so great work environment!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      I sent you an email

    • Posted March 4, 2013

      Thanks for the info! One more question — do you wash your hair before doing the messy bun or is this day old hair?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      I always wash my hair daily, but you can do whatever you want!

  3. Posted March 4, 2013

    I believe that the picture might come from The Beauty Department. It looks pretty similar to their typography. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      okay thanks, I’ll look into it!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      It’s actually from Brunch at Saks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Posted March 4, 2013

    I love this messy bun! The concept is very simple. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been looking for a good tutorial for a messy bun. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Posted March 4, 2013

    I love this and also love your lipstick!!!

  6. Posted March 4, 2013

    That lipcolor looks fierce on you; I love it!

  7. Posted March 4, 2013

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Posted March 4, 2013

    I love, Love, LOVE that sweater….however, when I clicked on the link, it took me to the nail polish….ugh!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 4, 2013

      I updated the link

    • Posted March 4, 2013

      also- the lipstick link takes you to the Lanza texture powder link. oops!

  9. Alissa says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    I love a messy bun! Also, I can’t figure out what lipstick color that is, can you help?

  10. Lili says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    favorit-ing this tutorial!

  11. Posted March 4, 2013

    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?

  12. Posted March 4, 2013

    Gorgeous as always! And I love the lipstick!! Stunning!!!

  13. Posted March 4, 2013

    My hair is baby thin… I wish I could make this style work for me but I always end up looking bald! Any tips other than extensions?

  14. Posted March 4, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Posted March 4, 2013

    That red lipstick looks amazing on you! Love the bun too!!

  16. Posted March 4, 2013

    Love the messy bun! You look gorgeous!

    My daily outfits in

  17. Posted March 4, 2013

    I love that messy bun! SO cute! Thanks for sharing! : )


  18. Shasta says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    Adorable! Yet again another look I wish I could pull off but can’t since my hair isn’t that long yet. One day….

  19. Posted March 4, 2013

    Did your original messy bun tutorial messy bun (whew) for Ashley’s wedding Saturday. So many complements. I send them straight to your blog.

  20. Mandy says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    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??

  21. Posted March 4, 2013

    Great tutorial! I love doing messy buns, but I’ve never thought to curl my hair a little first.


    Kristina does the Internets

  22. Posted March 4, 2013

    love this one! your hair always looks so amazing…not fair!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    xo Andrea

  23. Posted March 4, 2013

    You look great, that red lipstick is awesome too!


  24. ajl2870 says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    Great tutorial! You always are able to explain what could be complicated looks in a way that anyone can understand. Also, are those ice cream cone earrings? Super cute!


  25. Posted March 4, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Posted March 4, 2013

    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!

  27. Posted March 4, 2013

    I loooooove messy buns! Definitely one of my go-to hairstyles for sure! Especially in the summer months when it’s so stinking hit and I have to get my hair odd my neck! Love your tutorials!

  28. Posted March 4, 2013

    YAY! I love hair bun tutorials!! I am def gonna try this one ๐Ÿ™‚ And I totally heart your sweater!! Hope you are having a fabulous Monday & thanks for the great tutorial!!


  29. Posted March 4, 2013

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Posted March 4, 2013

    I love this messy bun! Can’t wait to get home and try it out. And I must say that color lip shade is great on you! So vibrant, I love it!!

  31. wtiger9 says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    I love the hair and your outfit!

  32. SH says
    Posted March 4, 2013

    Love this look!!

    Happy Monday!

    The Hartungs Blog

  33. Megan says
    Posted March 5, 2013

    Love this look, including the great lipstick!

  34. Posted March 5, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!!


  35. cmf221 says
    Posted March 5, 2013

    love it! question – do you blow dry or curl your hair before starting? thanks

    • Bridget says
      Posted January 3, 2015

      I would like to know this too. There are many questions here and very few are answered. ๐Ÿ™

  36. Posted March 5, 2013

    Aw wow I love the lipstick and nails (and of course the messy buns are gorgeous!)

  37. Posted March 5, 2013

    I absolutley LOVE that you put links to your outfits and where people can find them!!

  38. Posted March 6, 2013

    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!

    • Laura says
      Posted April 23, 2013

      I have the same issue! So frustrating! Kate, HELP!!

  39. Posted March 6, 2013

    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!

  40. Judy says
    Posted March 8, 2013

    You could not look more chic with that sweater and little collar and gorgeously bright lipstick. Love it!

  41. Posted March 11, 2013

    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

  42. Posted March 12, 2013

    What is the length of your hair when it is straight? I love the length you have and want to grow mine out but it’s hard to tell how long it is when it’s curled. Thank you!

  43. Posted March 13, 2013

    Hi kate is there anyway you can show how you get your hair ready before you start putting it in the messy bun???

  44. Posted March 13, 2013

    Hi kate is there anyway you can show how you get your hair ready before you start putting it in the messy bun???

  45. JoAnna says
    Posted March 13, 2013

    Such an awesome tutorial!! My favorite yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Posted March 17, 2013

    I just did this and i LOVE it!!! For years i have always wanted to know how to do this hairstyle! Thanks for such great and detailed videos!!!

  47. Alyssa says
    Posted March 28, 2013

    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!


  48. Anna says
    Posted April 2, 2013

    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! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Megan says
    Posted April 8, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. Ashley says
    Posted April 10, 2013

    You are the best!

  51. Posted April 30, 2013

    Learn how to grow hair faster in

  52. Posted June 5, 2013

    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.

  53. Unknown says
    Posted July 5, 2013

    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

  54. Rhonda says
    Posted July 24, 2013

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!!! Keep sending us new sykes please.

  55. Posted August 4, 2013

    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.

  56. Posted August 12, 2013

    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!

  57. leighms says
    Posted August 14, 2013

    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

  58. Posted September 6, 2013

    I LOVE this one too…Wow, I just found your blog site today, and I’m posting it on FaceBook for my girlfriends who struggle like I do to get a great messy bun…LOVE it!!

  59. Posted September 7, 2013

    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!!!

  60. Posted September 11, 2013

    Messy buns are my go to! Mine just naturally look messy… I actually can’t do a neat bun if my life depended on it.

    Making It Sparkle

  61. Posted October 17, 2013

    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?

  62. Posted November 6, 2013

    This roughly and messy hair bun is unique hair bun i saw, It is more attractive and gorgeous then cleanly made hair buns style because men always like these kinds of messy hair styles.

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  64. Aida says
    Posted June 12, 2014

    Love this messy bun, thanks for the video! ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. Manya says
    Posted June 29, 2014

    Thank you! That’s a great hairstyle!

  66. Annie says
    Posted July 17, 2014

    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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  68. Posted September 15, 2014

    Marvelous, what a web site it is! This web site presents valuable facts to us, keep it up.

  69. Michelle says
    Posted November 12, 2014

    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!

  70. Michelle Smith says
    Posted December 12, 2014

    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.

  71. Heidi says
    Posted December 24, 2014

    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!

  72. Chelsea says
    Posted December 29, 2014

    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!

  73. Posted January 3, 2015

    Nice hair?……

  74. Amanda says
    Posted March 18, 2015

    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!

  75. Posted March 26, 2015

    I love this hairstyle so much. I am completely in love with all the messy buns right now. They are so simple and quick, but look so cute and elegant

  76. Femke Drijkoningen says
    Posted May 8, 2015

    When I tried to make a messy bun like this, it wasnโ€™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.

    Iโ€™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 doesnโ€™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 Iโ€™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 Iโ€™ve found the right way to make the perfect messy bun!

  77. Courtney Tucker says
    Posted November 11, 2015

    I absolutely love this tutorial. I wear this style at least three times a week. I am a college student, so I try to find the happy medium between comfortable and cute, and this hair style is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I watch this video – and the “lived in bun tutorial” – all the time, trying to get it right!

  78. Theptida says
    Posted January 28, 2016

    Thatยดs the most beautiful messy hair iยดve ever seen so far. XD
    Awesome tutorial video also.

  79. Amy says
    Posted February 16, 2017

    You’re awesome!! It’s hilarious how hard it is to get the perfect messy bun. You look amazing too ๐Ÿ˜Š thanks for the tutorial

  80. der says
    Posted January 8, 2018


  81. Judy says
    Posted July 26, 2019

    Love, love, love.
    Wondering if you curl your hair before you start??
    I have STRAIGHT hair so I donโ€™t have the โ€œlightnessโ€ (B/c of curl?) in my hair that you show

  82. Rita says
    Posted January 2, 2021

    Love it