How to Master the Cool-Girl Version of a Low Bun

Woman rolling hair into a bun.

Justin Coit / Byrdie 

Low buns aren't as meh as they sound. Buns can help you get one more day out of oily hair and can also be a simple way to switch your look up without too much fuss. When done right, low buns are the perfect mix of elegant and cool, a combination that's difficult to achieve without the right guidance.

We went straight to celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin to figure out exactly how to pull off the look. After you're done following this tutorial, don't be afraid to accessorize with a pearl headband or crystal bobby pins to put your unique spin on a cool-girl classic.

Grab your boar-bristle brush, a few bobby pins, snag-free rubber bands, hairspray, and styling cream to give this tutorial a try. 

Scroll through for a step-by-step tutorial on a sleek and chic low bun!

Meet the Expert

Jen Atkin is a celebrated celebrity hairstylist and founder of and the haircare line OUAI. 


Woman with long brown hair looking into camera.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

If your hair is naturally straight or has just a slight wave, you can start with your natural texture. Otherwise, blow it out smooth.

Step 1: Spray

Woman with brush and hairspray in her hand.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

For optimum sleekness, Atkin likes to spray the hairbrush with hairspray before brushing it through. This tames flyaways and adds shine.

Step 2: Brush

Woman brushing hair.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Brush your hair back into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. To get it really smooth, Atkin recommends using a boar-bristle hairbrush.

Step 3: Smooth

Woman holding hair in a ponytail.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Smooth a small amount of styling cream down the length of your ponytail to make your strands extra silky.

Step 4: Split

Woman splitting her hair into two sections while in a ponytail.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Divide your ponytail into two equal parts.

Step 5: Tie

Woman hold ends of hair in ponytail.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Tie off each part with a small rubber band. (Don't worry, it will be hidden in the bun later.)

Step 6: Pin

Woman placing a hair tie at the end of her hair.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

At the bottom of each section, insert a bobby pin vertically, so one prong is inside the hair tie, and the other is out.

Step 7: Roll

Woman rolling hair into a bun.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Grab both ends of the bobby pin and start rolling your hair away from your face and up towards the back of your head.

Step 8: Secure

Woman securing hair in bun.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Roll that piece all the way up the base of your ponytail, and pin it in place with a few bobby pins.

Step 9: Repeat

Woman holding rolled hair in her right hand.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Do the same thing on the other side. Grab the bobby pin and roll it up and away.

Step 10: Place

Woman securing bun with right and left hand.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Once you’ve reached the top, secure it with bobby pins. This section should fit nicely in with the first one—you’ll be able to feel a spot for it to slip into.


Woman with bun facing a wall.
Justin Coit / Byrdie

Tackle any rough bits with a dab of styling cream, and you’re done! There you have it: a chic, sleek chignon that’s way cooler than your average low bun.

  • Photographer: Justin Coit
  • Hairstylist: Jen Atkin
  • Makeup Artist: Roxy
  • Producer: Jenna Peffley
  • Model: Ashley Rogers
  • Fashion credits: Topshop sweater

Don’t miss Atkin’s undone waves tutorial and find even more hair inspiration on her website, Mane Addicts.

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