10 Cool (and Easy) Buns That Work for Short Hair

Updated 06/06/19

As a girl with bob-length hair, I deeply relate to the struggle of waking up late and wanting nothing more than to throw your hair up in a messy bun, only not being able to do so simply because you don't have enough of it. Don't get me wrong. I love having short hair. But the messy-bun life is a life I sometimes miss.

The bad news is that creating buns with short hair isn't quite as effortless as it is for those with 12 inches to work with. The good news is that it is possible. In fact, it's more than possible. As long as you have an arsenal of dry shampoo, elastics, and bobby pins (the short-hair updo's best friend), your options for buns are wide open.

My fellow short-haired sisters, this one's for you. We put together a roundup of super-easy tutorials that will give you an adorable bun in five minutes or less, no matter your hair skill set. On the days when you don't feel like whipping out your curling iron or straightener, just turn to this list. Keep scrolling for your guide to pulling off buns for short hair once and for all!

Buns for Short Hair
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Braided Topknot

1. Evenly apply a dry texture spray, like this one from Oribe ($22), throughout hair to add extra grip.

2. Gather your hair into a super-high ponytail, and secure with an elastic. Don't worry about making it neat!

3. Braid the ponytail all the way down, and tie it off with a clear elastic.

4. Starting at the base, coil the braid around itself, stopping every so often to secure with a bobby pin.

5. Once the braid is coiled all the way into a bun, secure with a few last bobby pins.

6. Pull out a couple of stray hairs to enhance the relaxed vibe.

7. Mist with a flexible-hold hair spray.

8. Throw on a cute knotted head wrap and prepare for all-day compliments.

Bun Styles for Short Hair
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Sporty Space Buns

1. All the cool girls are rocking space buns this summer, and now it's your turn. Part your hair down the middle and spritz Rusk's Texture Dry Finishing Spray ($18) all over.

2. Gather the hair from each side into a high, tight ponytail.

3. Coil each ponytail around itself and secure with a few bobby pins.

4. The messier the better! Yank each bun outward for volume, and pull out a few loose strands to frame your face.

5. Mist all over with a flexible-hold hair spray, like this one from DevaCurl ($25).

Bun Looks for Short Hair
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Boho Double Knot

1. Dry shampoo or texture spray is the key to this effortless summer look. Evenly spray from midshaft to ends.

2. Part your hair into four equal sections, two on either side of the front and two on either side of the back.

3. Take a section from the back and coil it around the base to create a bun. Secure with bobby pins.

4. Repeat with the other back section. You should be left with two untouched sections up front.

5. Pull one front section toward the back bun so it drapes over your ear. Coil the tail of that front section over the back bun, and pin in place.

6. Repeat on the other side.

7. Pull out a few face-framing pieces, et voilà!

Bun Hairstyles
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Bedhead Bun

1. Haven't you heard? The low bun is the infinitely cooler, chiller sister to the topknot of yesteryear. To achieve the look, lightly back-comb the hair at your crown for lift.

2. Gather your hair into a loose, messy ponytail on the nape of your neck. Just hold it for now; don’t secure with an elastic.

3. Using your other hand, twist the ponytail around itself to create a bun shape, and secure with pins.

4. Tousle the hair on top, and leave out a few short pieces in front for a no-frills bedhead look.

Pretty Bun Styles
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Messy Half-Knot

1. This is the ultimate bun for short-haired girls. Start with unwashed strands. Doesn't matter how dirty.

2. Create two parts in your hair on either side of the crown. Try to keep the parts straight, since they'll be visible in the final look.

3. Pull the hair between the two parts into a high ponytail right on top of your head. Don't pull the ponytail through the elastic on the final loop; this way, you're left with a loose bun.

4. Tug the bun to make it fuller and messier. If you don't like the ends poking out of the bottom of the bun, simply coil them around the base, and pin!

Braided Bun Styles
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Modern Milkmaid Bun

1. This might be more of an updo and less of a traditional bun, but it gets the hair off your face in a chic way all the same. Start by parting your hair down the middle, and split it into two equal sections.

2. Back-comb the hair at the crown of your head to add a bit of extra volume.

3. Create a French braid on one side of your head, starting close to your face and finishing it out so you have a braided pigtail. Secure with a clear elastic.

4. Repeat the third step on the other side of your head.

5. Pull the end of the first French braid behind your head, and secure with a bobby pin.

6. Do the same with end of the second braid so it overlaps with the first, and secure with a final bobby pin.

7. Mist the braid with a medium-hold hair spray, like L'Oréal Tecni.Art Infinium 3 Medium Hold Working Spray ($28).

Bun Styles
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Classic Ballet Bun

1. Polish meets effortlessness with this relaxed take on the traditional ballerina bun. First, gather your hair into a ponytail at the very top of your head. If shorter pieces fall out, pin them up to the back of your head with a bobby pin.

2. To make the topknot appear fuller, open the elastic and pull the hair up halfway through to create a loop.

3. Take the excess length left over from the loop and coil it around the base to hide the elastic.

4. Secure with pins, and add a spritz of your favorite hair spray!

Gorgeous Bun Styles
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Sleek Low Bun

1. Look as effortlessly chic as Rihanna with a slicked-back bun that shouts cool girl. This is one of the rare moments Rihanna rocked her natural, blown-out hair, sans extensions. First, use a boar bristle brush like Denman Boar Bristle Ceramic Brush ($24) to smooth your hair back into a bun. 

2. Let a few of your flyaways and sideburns hang freely. Don't worry about everything being in its perfect place. Using the brush, take a hardworking pomade like Hick's Edge Control ($12) and swoop and smooth down your baby hairs. 

3. Using an elastic band, pull your hair back into a ponytail. 

4. Take the ends of your ponytail and wrap them around in a coiled, twisted direction. Take a second elastic band to secure your topknot. 

Byrdie Tip

For an extra-slicked finish, tie your hair down with a silk scarf for 10 minutes, and then remove it.

Hair Bun Gallery
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Embellished Braided Bun

1. Hair accessories will never ever get old. Plus, they will instantly elevate the look of any bun from basic to badass. Take Issa Rae's Black Panther movie premiere look for inspo. Start by using a rattail comb like this from Pintail ($5) and creating three parts in the center of your head. 

2. Next, braid three tiny cornrows, stopping at the crown of your head or wherever you want your bun to land. 

3. Using an elastic band, pull your hair and the ends of your three braids back into a ponytail. 

4. Take your ponytail and braid it. 

5. Next, wrap your braid around in circular motions to create a braided topknot. Use a second elastic band to secure your braid in place. 

6. Take a bobby pin and use a hair accessory like these beads ($10) to pin right at the front of your bun. 

7. Place gold cuffs throughout your braid for added pizzazz. 

Cool Bun Hairstyles
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Backwards Braided Bun

1. If you have piecey bangs paired with a lob or bob, this one's for you. Let your bangs hang loose and frame your face in the front. Begin by parting your hair in the back into three medium-size sections.

2. Braid three medium-size cornrows in the back, stopping at the crown of your head, in the direction of your ponytail.

3. Next, create a ponytail. Once you're finished braiding, use a rubber band or a hair tie to pull your braids into a ponytail.

4. Using the ends of your braids and loose hair at the front, wrap your ponytail into a tight topknot. Don't worry about extra flyaways. A messy bun is the goal here. 

5. Finish off your look with a spritz of Sexy Hair Smooth Sexy Hair Smooth & Seal Anti-Frizz & Shine ($19) for a subtle shine. 

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