As the cold weather approaches, our ability to put effort into our hair routines (and social lives) flies out the window. For some, the thought of perfecting a multi-step hairstyle on windy days seems like a pure waste of time (especially when cozy beanies exist).
This season, we refuse to let our love for all things hair fall to the sidelines. We’re setting out to do just the opposite by mastering a chic (and effortless) hairstyle: the topknot. Sure, topknots aren’t new, but after combing through the most inspo-worthy celebrity looks, we’re convinced it’s the hairstyle we’ll be experimenting with most this winter.
Below, see 15 of the best topknot looks and how to create them, according to celebrity hairstylists.
- “Part from one eyebrow arch to the crown of your head, then from ear to crown, then in-between the two,” he explains.
- This creates two sections: François recommends twisting (from the hairline upward to the ends) and then dabbing with Schwarzkopf Got2B Ultra Glued Styling Gel ($6).
- “Section hair at the front to frame the face,” he says. “Slick the rest up high, braid, twist into a bun, and then wind the two smaller braids around its base and pin in place.”
- To complete the look, twist the front section and smooth the hair's back and side with Vernon François Styling Cream ($15).
“The placement of the knot is important, but how the knot looks isn’t,” says Matt Fugate, a Seattle-based hairstylist.
- “Make sure the knot is high up and creates lift in the profile," he says. That means securing a high ponytail on your head, then twisting the end around to create a knot.
- "Then, bind with a tight bungee and [move] the hair around it to create the sort of imperfect, effortless French girl hair look.”
This look is put-together but still modern, thanks to the unique center part.
- To get Michele’s knot, Giovanni Vaccaro, the creative director of Glamsquad, suggests sectioning out a horseshoe section at the hair's front. “Take the rest of the hair and pull into a tight and smooth high pony,” he says.
- “Twist the ponytail in the same direction from base to ends, wrapping into a circular motion around the base of the elastic.”
- Next, Vaccaro says to return to the horseshoe section, creating a clean middle part.
- Finally, wrap the ends around the bun to hide any pins.
This loose, perfectly messy topknot is chic enough for day or night.
- François begins by treating hair with a heat protectant, then blasts Kevin Murphy Bodybuilder Mousse ($44) into dry hair with a hairdryer.
- “Rake hair upward with your hands and fingers into a high ponytail, then twist and pin hair section by section loosely into a bun with U pins,” he says. “Tease out strands around the hairline and from the bun using the end of a carbon tail comb or your fingertips.”
- Finally, finish off the look with hair spray. François recommends Paul Mitchell Extra Body Finishing Spray ($21).
For an alternative topknot à la Mara, hairstylist Kristin Heitkotter offers the following tips.
- Pull hair into a high ponytail at the crown of the head. “Loop hair forward as if you’re going to create a half bun and leave the ends hanging out,” she explains.
- Secure with bobby pins and embellish with a hair accessory.
- Don’t forget to set the look with a strong hair spray like L’Oréal Elnett Strong Hold ($15).
This look is made easy using a bun form (i.e., hair donut or sock bun).
- Brush your hair into a high ponytail.
- Insert your ponytail through the center of the bun form and roll it down. Brush the hair over the bun form and secure with elastic. Leave one section out.
- Wrap the loose section around the form, covering it entirely with hair and securing it with pins.
Fugate says an undone topknot like Thandiwe Newton's relies on two components: product preparation and knot placement.
- “For product prep, you have to load hair with a texturizing product like Kérastase Volume in Power ($29) to create this desirable, dry texture without a ton of shine,” he explains. “Anytime I’m going to do a topknot look, I load the hair up with this before pulling into the bun.”
- Then, proceed with the standard topknot steps, securing hair into a ponytail before wrapping the ends around and securing them to the head.
This look works great on hair with natural length—or even faux ends. “Hair extensions are great for adding volume and creating a smooth finish for this kind of topknot,” explains François.
- “Refresh hair and prepare it for styling with Vernon François Mist Nourishing Water ($16). Sweep hair up high and secure in place with a hairband, twist, and pin into a topknot.”
- He suggests gently pulling out face-framing strands and lightly coating them with a lightweight styling serum.
For a Hailee Steinfeld–inspired knot, Heitkotter recommends beginning with a very high ponytail at the top of your head.
- “While pulling the hair up, apply both serum and Shu Uemura Essence Absolue ($69). This combination will give you the hold from a gel but the pliability of an oil,” she explains.
- Next, divide the ponytail into four sections, twisting each section into a small bun.
- "As you’re twisting the sections, apply the same gel/oil combo throughout the entire length of the hair and secure with bobby pins. To get this shape, twist and secure the three bottom buns first, and secure the top bun last,” says Heitkotter.
- "Finish the look with a flexible-hold hair spray like Sebastian Shine Define ($19)."
Inject a bit of glam into a standard topknot with fun accessories.
- Follow the standard steps to create a topknot, pulling hair into a high ponytail and wrapping the ends around the base before securing to the head.
- Adhere hair crystals all over the style—we like Bitzy Stick on Clear Crystal Hair Gems ($4) for a bit of sparkle.
The key to this look is the use of a stellar arsenal of products.
- “Start by prepping with a heat protector. My favorite is Oribe Soft Laquer Heat Styling Spray ($36),” says Heitkotter.
- “Then flatiron the hair using the T3 Singlepass X ($235). Part hair down the middle and sweep into a high ponytail at the crown of the head.”
- Before securing, Heitkotter suggests scraping through the sides of the hair to create an undone texture.
- "Twist the pony from the base to mid-shaft, form a loop, and secure with pins, leaving the ends out. Finish by applying Ouai Finishing Crème ($24) to ends for added texture.”
To achieve J.Lo’s knot, Vaccaro recommends wetting hair at the roots and using a soft-bristle brush to blow-dry from roots to mid-shaft.
- “Use a quarter size of Oribe Gel Sérum ($63) to smooth your roots back while gathering hair into a pony,” he says. “When securing with an elastic, don’t pull the hair through the last loop. Taking the tail of the loop, divide it into two even sections.”
- Next, Vaccaro says to tightly tie the tail around the loop, placing bobby pins to secure and arrange hair at the base.
- As a final step, take your fingers and brush out your hairline for “airy, organic baby hairs.”
This double-bun—which is dramatic and chic—serves as a ballerina-inspired take on the look.
- Pull hair into a medium-height ponytail, securing the base with an elastic.
- Take the ends and loop them around once, securing with pins and leaving some length out and loose.
- Take the remainder of the hair and wrap it once more on top, creating a second bun on top of the first. Secure with pins.
Halle Berry's topknot is artful and elegant—and a little bit casual, thanks to the asymmetric bangs that frame her face.
- Pull hair back into a ponytail, dividing the ponytail into two equal-sized sections. Add a drop of serum to each section to ensure hair stays smooth and shiny.
- Taking each section of hair in each hand, twist the sections together, turning them into one piece.
- Take the twisted hair and wrap it around your elastic at the base of the ponytail, securing with pins as you go.
Paz Vega's topknot gets the addition of sleek, face-framing bangs.
- For this look, pull hair into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic.
- Wrap the ends of the ponytail around the elastic, covering it with your hair and securing in place with bobby pins.
- Use a straightener to smooth out bangs and release a few pieces of hair around the face.
Can you create a topknot with short hair?
You can try doing a half-up topknot if you don't have much hair to work with. Alternately, adding extensions also works wonders. Just be sure you have at least a few inches that can be wrapped into a bun.
How do you create a Samurai-style topknot?
A Samurai-style topknot — or a Chonmage — is when the bun is formed at the top of the head, rather than at the crown. This is especially popular among those with undercuts. To replicate the look, brush a top section of hair into a ponytail and secure it at the top of the head, pulling the ends into a bun and securing.
What's the best way to tie a topknot bun?
The easiest way to secure a topknot is to use the elastic itself (i.e. tuck the ends of the hair into the elastic.) But you can also use pins to create a bun or topknot.