How to Tie a Loose Messy Bun in 7 Easy Steps

back of woman's hair in loose bun

How to Tie a Loose Messy Bun in 7 Easy Steps


From the girl-next-door to red-carpet celebrities, the allure of the messy bun is universal. It's a versatile hairstyle that stylishly transitions from casual summer outings to upscale weddings, from hasty mornings to romantic dates, making it a perfect solution for nearly any occasion. However, don't let its seemingly effortless charm fool you. The simplest-looking hairstyles can often be the trickiest to master, and the messy bun is no exception. If you've ever attempted to create one, you're likely familiar with the struggle of ending up with a tangled heap of hair that barely holds together. 

But fear not, because this article is here to transform your messy bun woes into wins. We're here to navigate you through each step of achieving the ultimate messy bun - one that exudes an air of carefree elegance while staying securely in place, no matter what your day entails. We'll also reveal some expert styling secrets and highlight common mistakes to avoid so that you can truly master this iconic hairstyle. Let's get started.


Tools You'll Need to Recreate a Loose Messy Bun


 woman putting up hair

Credit: Envato Elements/ puhimec


To create the perfect loose messy bun, you'll need a few key hair styling tools:


  • A Hairbrush: A hairbrush will help smooth out any knots and tangles before you begin styling your hair. When selecting a hairbrush, consider your hair type. Wide-tooth combs or brushes with wider bristles are better for thick, coarse, or curly hair, while those with finer hair might prefer a brush with denser bristles. 
  • A Hair Tie or Elastic Band: Hair ties and elastic bands are essential for securing your bun. Depending on your hair's thickness and length, you might need more than one hair tie. Make sure that your chosen hair ties are sturdy and snag-free to avoid any unwanted damage to your hair. 
  • Bobby Pins: Bobby pins will help tuck away any stray hair and provide additional support to your bun. When picking out bobby pins, consider their size and color. Larger pins might be needed for thicker hair, and you'll want the color to match your hair as closely as possible for a seamless blend. 
  • Hair Texture Spray or Dry Shampoo: Hair texturizing sprays and dry shampoos can provide your hair with added volume and the grip it needs to hold the bun. When using these products, be sure to distribute them evenly throughout your hair for consistent texture. 
  • Hair Spray: Hair sprays will help set your bun, ensuring it stays in place throughout the day. When selecting a hair spray, look for one that offers hold without stiffness. You want your bun to keep its shape, but you also want to maintain the soft look.


How to Create the Perfect Loose Messy Bun


 woman with a loose messy bun

Credit: Envato Elements/ wirestock


Creating the perfect loose messy bun is an art, and like all arts, it requires patience and practice. Here is a detailed, easy-to-follow step-by-step guide:


Step 1: Prep Your Hair


The secret to a perfect messy bun lies in the prep. If your hair is freshly washed and silky smooth, it may be too slippery to hold a messy bun effectively. So, the first step to your perfect messy bun is to create the right texture for styling. This can be achieved by applying a hair texturizing spray or dry shampoo to your hair. These products will absorb excess oil and provide your hair with a bit of grip, making it easier to style. Remember to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair to ensure that the texture is consistent from root to tip. 


Step 2: Gather Your Hair Into a Ponytail


Once your hair is properly prepped, it's time to gather and tie it into a loose ponytail. The position of your ponytail will directly influence the placement of your bun. If you're aiming for a high, youthful-looking bun, gather your hair and tie it at the crown of your head. For a more casual, relaxed vibe, aim for a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. As you gather your hair and tie it, remember not to make the ponytail too tight; you want to maintain a carefree look. 


Step 3: Twist and Loop


With your ponytail tied up in place, it's time to add some twists to your hair. Grab your ponytail and loosely twist it into a rope-like structure. Then, loop this twisted section around the base of the ponytail, creating the initial shape of your bun. Keep in mind not to wrap your hair too tightly; after all, your goal is a loose, slightly disheveled bun, not a ballerina's topknot. 


Step 4: Secure the Bun With a Hair Tie


Now, it's time to secure your bun using a hair tie or elastic band. Loop the band around the bun to keep it in place, but make sure it's not too tight - you don't want to create any tension on your scalp or disturb the loose structure of your bun. If you have thick or long hair, feel free to use additional hair ties to make sure your bun is secure.




Step 5: Make the Bun Messy


Now comes the fun part: making your bun messy! Reach up and gently tug at different sections of your bun, creating a sense of volume. Remember, this is where your bun gets its character, so don't be afraid to go the extra mile. You can also pull out a few strands around your face to frame it and enhance your hairstyle. 


Step 6: Secure Your Bun With Bobby Pins 


While the beauty of the messy bun lies in its slightly disheveled look, you still want it to stay in place. Use bobby pins to secure any particularly loose strands or to secure sections of the bun to your head for added stability. You can also use the pins to manipulate the bun's shape to your liking.


Step 7: Set Your Style With Hair Spray


To set your style and make sure it lasts, finish off with a light spritz of hair spray. A good hair spray will provide hold without making your bun look stiff or overly styled. It will also preserve the natural movement and softness of your hair, keeping your messy bun as charming at the end of the day as it was at the start. 


Styling Tips and Tricks to Create a Loose Messy Bun


 woman's loose messy bun

Credit: Envato Elements/ drachukandrii


Achieving the perfect loose messy bun isn't just about the process - it's also about the personalized touches you add that make the look truly your own. Here are some additional tips and tricks to create a unique messy bun that not only complements your style but also enhances it:


1) Add Volume


Achieving the perfect messy bun often begins with adding a little drama to your locks. If your hair is on the finer side or lacks natural volume, consider gently teasing or backcombing your hair at the crown. This technique creates an illusion of thickness and fullness, contributing to a more impressive bun.

Alternatively, hair volumizing products can also come to your rescue. Hair volumizing mousse, spray, or powder can help lift your roots and amplify your hair's body. For those with particularly thin hair, a hair donut can work wonders, providing a structure that adds volume to your bun.


2) Incorporate Braids


Adding braids to your messy bun can transform it from a casual hairstyle to a boho-chic masterpiece. You could braid a small section of hair and wrap it around the base of the bun, or you could create two side braids that meet at the back of the bun. 

This styling trick not only adds an interesting visual element to your bun but also helps secure it further. The possibilities are truly endless when you start to incorporate braids into your messy bun. 


3) Play with Texture


Adding different textures to your hair can be an excellent way to add an edge to your messy bun. Various hair products can help you achieve different effects. For instance, a sea salt spray can give your hair a beachy, lived-in texture, while a hair powder or hair pomade can provide more structure and grip, making your hair easier to style.


4) Accessorize


Hair accessories can instantly level up your messy bun. Whether you prefer a vintage silk scarf, a couple of delicate pearl pins, or a vibrant scrunchie, these products can add a pop of color and a dash of personality to your hairstyle. 

Moreover, the accessories you select can help tie your hairstyle to your overall look. You can pick and choose depending on whether you're going for a punk vibe or any other vibe. 


5) Experiment with Different Bun Placements


Don't limit yourself to one style of messy bun. The beauty of this hairstyle is its flexibility. High, low, or to the side - each placement imparts a different energy to your overall look. 

A high bun can bring a playful spirit, while a low bun might appear more sophisticated. A side bun, on the other hand, adds an element of charm and whimsy. Don't be afraid to try different positions until you find what suits your personal style and face shape the best. 


Common Mistakes to Avoid 


 woman front shot with messy bun

Credit: Envato Elements/ acelbueckert


Despite the "messy" in its name, the messy bun requires a certain balance to achieve the right kind of disheveled chic. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:


1) Pulling the Hair Too Tightly


Contrary to ballerina buns or sleek top knots, the messy bun thrives on a certain degree of looseness. If you pull your hair back too tightly when gathering it into a ponytail, you might end up with a bun that looks more strained than relaxed. Instead, gently gather your hair, allowing some natural movement and softness.


2) Overdoing the 'Messy' in Messy Bun


While the messy bun is supposed to have a carefree and relaxed aesthetic, there's a fine line between tastefully tousled and just plain messy. Resist the temptation to pull out too many strands or over-tug at your bun. The goal is to aim for a look that's casual, not chaotic.


3) Not Tailoring the Bun to Your Hair Type


All hair types can rock a messy bun, but the best approach might differ depending on whether your hair is thin or thick, straight or curly. 

If your hair is thin, you might want to add volume with a hair texturizing spray or a hair donut. If your hair is thick, you might need extra bobby pins or a stronger hold hairspray. Curly hair can embrace its natural texture in the messy bun, while straight hair might require a bit more teasing or texturizing.


4) Overusing Products


While it's essential to use some products for texture and hold, too much product can make your hair heavy and potentially greasy, causing your messy bun to lose its light, effortless appeal. Remember, less is often more. Use a light hand when applying hair styling products, and you can always add more if needed.


5) Neglecting the Hair's Ends


Often, people forget about the ends of the hair when creating a messy bun, but they can make a big difference to the overall look. Neatly tucking them in will give a more polished look, while leaving them loose will increase the casual, 'messy' effect. Consider the occasion and desired look when deciding what to do with your ends.




The loose, messy bun is a classic, versatile hairstyle that's as stylish as it is easy to create. With a bit of practice, this effortless updo will become a go-to look in your hair styling routine.

Are you ready to embrace the perfect messy bun experience? Say hello to Burlybands hair ties - the ultimate partner for your updos! Designed to secure any hair type, from ultra-thin to super thick, Burlybands is everybody's favorite hair accessory for recreating a flawless messy bun. Shop with us today.

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