The messy bun is one of those hairstyles that looks pretty simple on the surface. But the best kinds of messy buns (aka those that don't go baggy at the back, fall out after an hour, or look super prim and proper) are a little trickier to achieve. That's not to say it's impossible, however. With a bit of expert guidance, we're certain we can all achieve the messy buns of our dreams with little to zero effort. We've called upon two of the beauty industry's most revered hair experts, Luke Hersheson, Creative Director and CoFounder of Hershesons and Aaron Carlo, a celebrity hairstylist, to share their advice on how to perfect messy buns.
Hint: Don't overthink it.
1. Resist the Urge to Straighten
"The messy bun is the imperfect, understated style—there's nothing precise or 'done' about it. No brushes, tongs or styling tools are needed. It's the flyaways and rebelling baby hairs that make this look, so don't smooth these," recommends Hersheson.
2. Separate the Fringe
"Whether you have a fringe or not, separate off the front triangle of hair, and clip this out of the way while you complete the rest of the look," recommends Carlo. "This will help the whole thing look less 'done' later down the line—I promise," he says.
3. Create a Ponytail
Use your hands to gather the hair into a tight pony at the crown of the head. Ditch the brushes, as this can make things really tricky when styling your hair yourself. "You want to get the hair really tight so it doesn't start to go baggy at the back," explains Carlo. Tie in place with a hairband or bungee tie.
4. Add Some Texture
"You want to create a lived-in look, so start by adding in texture using a beach spray," explains Hersheson. Carlo recommends backcombing the hair in the ponytail at this point to build volume.
5. Knot the Hair
"Wrapping the hair around the base makes for a really prim, doughnut-shaped, ballerina-style bun," says Carlo. "So for something more disheveled, split the hair into two and knot the two sections together." Finally, pin the hair in place. "Use enough grips to keep the hair secure without losing the style's natural looseness," adds Hersheson.
6. Reintroduce the Fringe
Now it's time to add the fringe back in. "Unclip the front section and pull it back, pinning the ends into the base of the bun," advises Carlo. "You can pin this loosely to give the front of the hair height and more texture," he says.
7. Embrace Your Flyaways
"Finish by creating soft edges—pull a few loose hair strands from the nape of the neck and around the face. These flyaways are key to perfecting the look and owning it," explains Hersheson. Carlo suggests you "use the fingertips to tousle the surface of the hair on the scalp to make the whole thing look a little more lived-in."
8. Finish With Hair Spray
Set the look with a misting of medium-hold hair spray, such as Tresemmé TRES Two Extra Hold Hair Spray ($6). If you need more help, take a look at our video tutorial. You'll see Carlo show off his technique on me.
Simply follow this expert advice and may you never experience a droopy bun again.