Part of a bun being messy is that it shouldn’t take much time or effort to do it. Whether you’re going for a high bun, a braided bun, or a low bun, you can find thousands of tutorials on YouTube with variations of the messy bun to try.
But when you’ve got fine hair, the proportions aren’t always what you expect – especially the size of the knot that sits on top. So we’re going to help you achieve your perfect, imperfect bun by suggesting some techniques to help your hair feel and look thicker. It can also help to use some hair styling products for texture.
It might help to know how to make straight hair wavy to establish some volume to start with as you perfect a messy bun. Volume is a matter of building it, and anything you can do – and anything you can avoid – after you’ve finished your hair wash and before you start styling will help you achieve a fuller result.
HOW DO YOU DO A MESSY BUN WITH FINE HAIR?
If you have a fine hair type that is prone to flyaways and easily weighed down, a messy bun just may be the one time that you welcome some frizz. When washing – starting with clean hair is best – you might want to skip the conditioner that may make your hair too soft to handle. And while those moisturizers and oils may be good for its health, they’re bad for volume as they can add unwanted weight and cause flat hair.
Dry & Fluff
When you’re out of the shower, use a drying technique to encourage your hair to do anything but lay flat. Resist the urge to reach for the comb or brush, and focus your efforts on removing excess water while adding body at the same time. Once you’ve pressed out as much water with a towel as you can, bend over and flip your hair over so it dangles in front of you, and guide whatever hair that is sticking to your scalp up and away with your fingers. Then, use one of two methods if drying by friction: the “karate chop” with your hand, or the “hammock” with a towel. Here’s how:
Karate chop: With the heel of your hand (the edge of your palm on the pinky side) chop through the dangling hair from the back of your head to the front in several swift motions. Start on one side, then chop the other. The idea to whip the water out – similar to shaking out a rug – and to separate the strands.
Towel hammock: Suspend the folded edge of a towel between both hands a few feet apart below your dangling hair. Then swing the towel back and forth, away from and toward your body, so it catches your hair with each swing and both swats out and absorbs the water.
Then, stand up. Your hair will be a bit of a mop, but notice how much lighter it feels and how it stands up and away from your scalp. But don’t comb it just yet. Guide it away from your face as you finish your routine, and let it dry as long as you can so some of that volume stays.
Keep in mind that if you have hair extensions, flipping your head upside down can stress the attachments. To learn more, read up on how hair extensions work.
An alternative – or the next step at this point as your hair is nearly dry – is to use your blow-dryer to add some more volume. In fact, your heat-styling product comes in handy here to lend some hold as you direct the airflow to your roots to help them stand up. If you have straight hair, use a round brush toward the ends to give some shape to the area that will comprise your hair bun later.
If you have curly hair and want it sleeker without exposing it to hot tools, look into how to straighten hair without heat.
Be sure to know how to clean your hair brush to avoid transferring dirt or oil from the brush to your hair. Don’t go too heavy with your product – use just enough to protect your hair from the heat. Finish with a blast of cool air and don’t touch your hair for a few minutes to help whatever lift you’ve achieved stay lifted.
A great way to help any updo stay up is with hair powder or dry shampoo. You can use dry shampoo even if your hair is clean, but the idea here is to add some thickness to individual strands, keep the messiness messy, and help any pins or clips you may use to keep their grip. Too-clean, glassy hair isn’t the best material to work with for an updo because it slides around and won’t cooperate – powder is the anti-slip, pro-grip product.
Spray in Texture
Another product that may help fine hair stay aloft is a sea salt or texture spray that acts in a similar way to powder by coating each strand with a layer of fine grit to add thickness and make hair less slippery and unmanageable. You can add texturizing spray before a blow-dry and twist and twirl your hair while you dry it to create some wave and yes, texture, that will help to beef up your messy bun hairstyle.
Most buns require putting your hair in a ponytail first, so use two hair ties instead of one to extend the stem you’ll wrap hair around and add some height from your scalp to where the hair ‘fountain” starts. Make sure they’re tight enough to hold hair securely, but not so tight that they shrink the diameter of the ponytail. The extra hair tie also provides more points to tuck ends into or to anchor bobby pins.
Fluff and Tease
Once you have that ponytail, twist or braid it loosely, and then rough it up by picking and pulling it apart slightly to create more volume before you put it in a bun and pin it down.
So, no matter how you twist and pin up your bun, the secret to making your hairdo more full and fabulous lies in how you handle your hair beforehand. So raise those roots, plump up that ponytail, put some bend in those ends, and things might be looking up.
Interested in a bit of hair history? The topknot has a fascinating backstory. Learn more here.