While space buns have become one of the festival beauty trends that dominate the summer, we think the style goes well beyond the music circuit to become one of the It 'dos of almost any season. Even though the look has been trending in recent years, it's actually a glorious '90s throwback.
Space buns were the fast-track way to channel No Doubt–era Gwen Stefani (or Baby Spice or baby Britney Spears) while you lounged on your inflatable furniture from Limited Too. And as the many (many, many) influencers who don them year after year at Coachella prove, it's pretty easy to put a modern spin on this nostalgia-heavy hairstyle.
Easy enough for anyone to throw together and endlessly versatile, space buns are exactly what you want them to be.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 15 of our favorite celebrity-tested space buns, along with tips on how to get the look.
How to Do Space Buns
The standard space bun look is at once trendy and youthful, allowing for a little flair and the ease that comes with wearing your hair up. And according to Streicher, "This is a great (easy) style to accomplish at home."
- "The most important tip is to make clean sections using a comb and be sure to have an even, balanced amount of hair for each space bun," Streicher says.
- "Take clean hair and part from the center of your eyebrows back to the center of the back of your neck, and then just check the balance before putting up each space bun," to ensure both sides are even.
- "Next, once you get your first space bun into place and you're happy with it, you want to be sure to get your second space bun to be its twin on the other side of your head, use a big bathroom mirror and even a little hand mirror to keep checking your position and balance," says Streicher.
Rather than the standard variation, you might go the wildly popular half-up route.
- Our only other tip is to arm yourself with some choice products to dance-proof your 'do. For starters, Invisibobbles ($5) will lock in the buns without leaving ponytail dents—a plus on a weekend when washing your hair is only a luxury.
- It also couldn't hurt to spritz on a little bit of flexible hair spray, like Living Proof's Flex Hairspray ($27).
Here, Janelle Monae opts for messy space buns, but with the addition of fun accessories.
- Pull hair into two ponytails. "Make sure to get the placement of your ponytails right; they need to be even," says Federico.
- Wrap the hair into buns, and muss the whole look up a bit, spraying texture spray throughout.
- Add in accessories like Monae's or, "for a little bit of added flair, finish with a spray glitter," says Federico.
Millie Bobby Brown
"Space buns aren’t tough, but they can be technical," says Federico. That said, the following tips are pretty much guaranteed to help.
- Create a center part.
- Pull hair into two ponytails, keeping hair tight and slicked to the head and securing with elastics.
- Wrap the ends of each ponytail tightly around the elastics and secure with bobby pins.
- Add ribbons to either side for a look like Brown's.
Here, the space bun gets a little extra something via braided buns.
- Create a center part and pull hair into two ponytails, securing with elastics.
- Take the loose ends of the ponytail and braid them, then wrap the braids tightly around the elastics and secure with bobby pins.
Another braided space bun look, this one is a little more smooth and less casual.
- Follow the steps as above, but keep things as slick as possible, ensuring hair stays flat against the head.
- Finish with a shine spray.
Musician NAO adds half-up space buns to braided hair, proving that the look works on a range of textures.
- Beginning on braided hair, section off two small portions of hair on either side of the head, leaving the bulk of the hair down.
- Take the two sections and secure them into two pigtails and secure with a hair tie or elastic.
- Wrap the ends of the pigtails around the elastic and secure with pins.
For this look, braids are added around the base of the buns, to serve as an accessory of sorts.
- "I highly recommend a root spray for space buns, like R+Co ZIG ZAG Root Teasing + Texture Spray ($33)," says Streicher. "It’s the perfect dry product and easy to use. Just spray into roots pretty generally and then focus a few sprays up close to exactly where you want your space buns to live. This also helps you plan ahead for your space bun balance."
- Don't worry about adding hairspray, says Streicher: "The grit and texture of ZIG ZAG not only will give your space buns volume and texture but will help hold your buns into place."
An ideal style for those with a lob, this is a half-up, half-down take on the trend that's casual and easy.
- Create two mini pigtails on center-parted, wavy hair.
- Loosely wrap the end of each pigtail in a loop, securing with bobby pins bun keeping the look very loose.
- Finish with texture spray.
Easy and fluffy, this is a more casual take on the look.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to part hair down the center.
- Liberally spray hair with R+Co DEATH VALLEY Dry Shampoo ($33). This will add additional grip and texture.
- "Using a boar bristle brush, work one side of the hair into a high ponytail. Secure with elastic," says Federico. "Keep in mind that the ponytail should sit on the top, on the outer curve of your skull. Repeat that process on the opposite side."
- Using your boar bristle brush, lightly backcomb the lengths of the hair.
- "Wrap the hair around the elastic. Make sure not to pull too tightly—you’re going for a fluffy bun, not a tightly wound bun," Federico says. "Secure with a pin and repeat on the opposite side."
Bangs and a few loose tendrils of hair add an edge to Jackie Cruz's space buns.
- Repeat all the steps for the space buns as above, pulling a few loose tendrils out near the face.
- "Spray the finished style with R+Co VICIOUS Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray ($33)," says Federico. "If you have any flyaways, spray your boar bristle brush with VICIOUS and lightly go over hair."
Lupita Nyong’o's take on the style is altogether different and involves naturally textured hair being shaped into two "buns."
- Beginning on naturally textured hair, use a pick to shape hair into two bun shapes on the top of the head.
- Finish with hairspray and ensure hair stays well-moisturized.
This is one of the funkier ways to rock space buns—by utilizing a braided center part to create two looks in one.
- Begin by creating three sections in the hair: two on the sides and a very small line of hair in the middle, with a part on either side.
- Taking just the middle section of hair, French braid from the scalp to the ends.
- Follow all the steps above for the space buns, then paint a portion of the roots with a temporary hair dye for added flair.
Eris Baker's braided space buns are funky, cute, and easy to replicate.
- Brush hair, then part down the middle.
- Pull hair into two pigtails and secure with hair ties.
- Braid the ends of the pigtails and secure the ends with another pair of elastics.
- Take the braided ends and wrap around the base of the pigtails, adding pins to keep the look secure.
Even those with short, thin hair can rock a set of space buns, as Miley Cyrus proves here.
- Separate hair into two sections with a center part.
- Create two ponytails close to the center of the hair, brushing out any tangles before securing the ponytails with elastics.
- Take the loose hair and wrap it around the base of the ponytails, securing with bobby pins.
Can I wear space buns if I have short hair?
Space buns can be worn by those with short hair, though the buns might be smaller. If you don't have long enough hair to create true buns, you can try the half-up space bun style (or opt for extensions and go for the full look).
How do you create low space buns?
To style low space buns, follow the same steps for traditional space buns, but create the buns at the base of your head (similar to how you would create low pigtails).
How do you create space buns for thin hair?
If you have thin hair, start on day-old hair or add some texture spray for added volume. You can also tease the roots of hair to mimic the look of a fuller head of hair (or, of course, turn to extensions).