15 Easy Bun Hairstyles You Can Create Yourself

Meghan Markle

Samir Hussein / Getty

Back in the day, we hated when our ballet teacher would single us out in class if we forgot to hairnet our bun. A bun was a rigorous style in those days, worn at the barre and the barre only. Today, we have quite a different relationship with the prim look thanks to the bun’s evolution into an inspiring, modern style. To prove our point, we’ve found a bun for every occasion, and best of all: hairnets aren’t required!

Keep scrolling to see 15 stunning styles that won’t make you look like a bunhead.

Meet the Expert

01 of 15

Slicked-Back Topknot

Eiza González

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

A decidedly sophisticated take on the topknot, this high bun is pure class.

  • "Try doing the base ponytail for your topknot in two sections," Rubenstein says. "Create a high ponytail with the top section of your hair (from the ears up), then add the bottom section. This will make your topknot more secure."
  • Use pomade to smooth the flyaways around the face and to ensure little hairs don’t fall out around the nape.
  • "Brush through the ponytail, twist into a bun or knot and secure with French hairpins," she says. "If you can’t find textured French hairpins, use a bit of texture spray on regular ones."
02 of 15

Big Bun

Bresha Webb

Gary Gershoff / Contributor / Getty Images

This look is perfect for a girls' night out. But keep in mind: when you’re going for this much fullness, you’ll want second-day dirty hair and a little help from your trusty dry shampoo.

  • Start by pulling your hair into a ponytail with a healthy dose of holding or hydrating mousse.
  • Then, build the look by looping small or medium-sized sections of your hair into a bun and pinning them into place.
03 of 15

Super-Smooth Sock Bun

Ly Nha Ky

Getty Images / John Phillips / Stringer

Need an inspired (and easy) 'do for a black-tie affair? Look no further.

  • First things first: you need an extra-large sock bun or bun form to achieve this look.
  • Brush your hair into a sky-high, super-smooth ponytail. Insert your ponytail through the center of your bun form and roll it down.
  • Smooth the hair over the donut and secure with elastic around the entire bun.
  • Leave one section out. Twist that section around the bun's base to cover the elastic, and pin it into place.
04 of 15

Upside-Down Topknot

Dania Ramirez

Jon Kopaloff / Contributor / Getty Images

This is an easy yet still pulled-together look that translates from the office to a weekend farmers' market run.

  • Pull your hair into a low ponytail.
  • Tease the top section of your ponytail until you’ve made a little ball of volume.
  • Flip the ponytail’s smoother bottom section over the teased area, haphazardly wrapping the ends around the ponytail base, and pin in place.
  • Muss it all up with your fingers and enjoy the finished look.
05 of 15

Messy Bun

Flat Messy Bun

Paul Archuleta / Getty Images

A casual messy bun is cute and easy to replicate.

  • First, add texture to your hair with a texturizing hair spray for body and grit.
  • Then flip your head over, gather your hair into a high ponytail, and tie your strands in a bun, pulling out as many pieces as you please—the messier, the better.
06 of 15

Topknot With Bangs

Paz Vega topknot with bangs

Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images 

Those with bangs can still get in on the fun—the bangs add a little something extra to the standard look.

  • Start with dry hair. 
  • "You can spray IGK First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo ($29) for more grip and texture," says Izquierdo.
  • "Brush your strands into a ponytail that lands at the highest part of the back of your head. After you have all of your hair up, simply twist it around and fasten with a clear elastic."
07 of 15

Tucked-In Chignon

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan Markle with Low Slung Bun
Samir Hussein/Getty

As ideal for a Monday meeting as it is for a Friday-night wedding.

  • Brush your hair, and then gather it into a ponytail at the nape of your neck.
  • Wrap the ponytail into a bun, and tuck the tail underneath the chignon (kind of like you’re making a knot).
  • Pull a few small pieces of hair out of the bun to achieve that model-off-duty vibe.
  • Tackle any obvious flyaways with a spritz of hairspray, and you’re out the door.
08 of 15

Braided Bun

Alicia Keys cornrows and low braided bun

Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

The best part about this look (other than how chic it is), is that it works even better on hair that hasn't been washed in a couple of days.

  • Loosely tie your hair in a low ponytail, lifting a few sections here and there around the crown of your head to soften the look.
  • Create ½-inch braids from the ponytail. Secure each one with a clear elastic, leaving about an inch-long tail on each.
  • Wind the braids into a bun and pin them in place.
09 of 15

Loosely-Tied Loop

Sara Foster

Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Boho chic at its finest, the loosely-tied bun is a great daytime style.

  • Start with clean, straight hair. Smooth hair gloss over the ends of your hair, or spritz it with shine spray, and pull it into a loose ponytail at the nape of your neck.
  • Flip the ponytail up once, letting an inch or so hang out at the top.
  • Pull a piece or two out of the loop and tie it off.
  • Take a small section of hair from the back and wrap it around the elastic.
10 of 15

Sleek Chignon

Low chignon

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

This look is about as sophisticated as it gets.

  • Run some shine serum through your hair from root to tip, and then slick your shiny locks back into a low ponytail. Separate the ponytail into two sections.
  • Wrap the first one into a bun, and then do the same with the second section, wrapping it around the first bun.
  • Secure with bobby pins underneath the chignon. For a look like Nicole Kidman's, remove a few strands and curl with a wide-barrel curling iron to create face-framing tendrils.
11 of 15

Undone Side Bun

Mary J. Blige

Jeff Vespa / Contributor / Getty Images

Another easy but still chic look that manages to remain sophisticated, even if a few errant hairs come out of place.

  • Pick a side for your part, and then sweep your strands over just behind the opposite ear.
  • Gather your hair into a relaxed ponytail in your hands. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, twist the ponytail into a bun.
  • Pin the sides all the way around, and lock it in place with a generous coat of hairspray.
12 of 15

Messy Topknot

Maisie Williams with a messy topknot


Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

The sophisticated chignon gets a dose of cool in this classic look.

  • Create a ponytail by positioning it high atop your head.
  • Take the end of the ponytail and wrap it loosely around the base, pinning into place and teasing as you go.
  • Muss the entire thing up for a messier, lived-in look.
13 of 15


Nicole Richie with a half-up bun

JB Lacroix / Getty Images

The half-bun is a youthful style that's perfect for everything from a trip to the gym to a night out with the girls.

  • Separate the top section of your hair. Smooth it back, creating a ponytail at the top of your head.
  • Twist the hair into a bun and pin it in place with bobby pins.
  • Rough up the sides that are down and you're good to go.
14 of 15

Wavy and Loose Bun


Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff / Getty Images

For a loose, perfectly messy topknot, don't be afraid to turn to stellar products.

  • Starting on naturally wavy hair (or hair that's been curled with a wide-barrel curling iron), pull hair into a high ponytail, twisting and pinning into a bun with pins.
  • Once the hair is up, muss with your fingertips and finish the look with hair spray.
15 of 15

Tail-Out Bun

Lea Michele

John Shearer / Contributor / Getty Images

This sleek updo has the added funky factor of a tiny tail, created by leaving the end out and unpinned.

  • Follow all the steps of a traditional topknot, putting the hair into a ponytail before wrapping the end around the base, leaving a little bit of the tail out, suggests Izquierdo.
  • You can keep the tail out by first wrapping most of the ponytail around the bun before securing with bobby pins.
  • "Spray some IGK 1-800 Hold Me No Crunch Flexible Hold Hairspray ($29) to seal the deal," he adds.
  • Is it easier to create a bun if you have wet hair?

    Damp or wet hair does make it easier to maneuver strands into a bun. Just use a comb to create the look (and don't be surprised if hair is still damp when you remove it from the style later).

  • How long does your hair need to be to wear a bun?

    Six inches in length is really the minimum to create a bun — though extensions are always a saving grace for those with shorter hair.

  • Do buns cause hair loss or breakage?

    Traction alopecia is hair loss condition that's caused by repeatedly pulling on hair — which could be caused by constantly putting hair up. If you notice hair loss and wear a bun frequently, try taking a break from the updo (and see an expert if the condition worsens).

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