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The Perfect Messy Bun in 3 Steps

Consider it one of life’s great ironies: When it comes to beauty, the most undone looks usually require the most effort. Take Meghan Markle, Duchess of the Messy Bun, for example. She waltzed into her wedding with a subtle face of makeup that said “I’m too cool to care” and a slightly less messy bun than usual. Well, we all know those looks took hours and countless products to create — the jig is up. Unfortunately, our struggle to master the perfect I-woke-up-like-this messy bun has also required a massive amount of effort (and many lost minutes). Usually, it’s either too messy and deflated, too ballerina-tight, or just wrong all together … until now. We found a fool-proof way to nail the perfect messy bun hairstyle in just three steps.

The secret to getting the perfect look? Second-day hair (or third, or even fourth). Think of it this way: A tousled, messy bun is to dirty hair what champagne is to a girls’ night out: absolutely essential if you want to do it right. If there’s a hairstyle that’s more of a saving grace on mornings you just can’t get it together enough to wash your hair (or afternoons when you’ve managed to sneak in a lunchtime workout), we haven’t found it yet.

“The messy bun is playful and timelessly chic — and it’s easy,” explains Jill Engelsen, senior stylist and educator at Butterfly Studio Salon in NYC. ”Most importantly, you feel like you’re you when you wear a messy bun — you don’t feel like you’re trying to be something you’re not.”

How to Get a Messy Bun Right

STEP 1: First, flip your head upside down and pull your hair into a loose ponytail, as high or as low as you’d like it. Don’t use a comb or worry about your strands being perfectly slicked back — some bumps are ok. 




STEP 2: Twist the hair, and spin it around the base of the ponytail, continuing to wrap below the bun. Be sure to leave the tail out at the end.




STEP 3: Secure it with a hair elastic and bobby pins.




Quick Tip: One of our favorite things about messy buns is they work well on dirty hair (love you, snooze button), but if your hair is clean and you want to pull off the look, spray your hair with dry shampoo or texturizing spray to add some texture and grip. To make your messy bun look even more, well, messy, pull on the sections and the pieces of hair that frame your face. “As you wear it throughout the day, it starts to take on its own personality,” says Engelsen. “Only redo it if it’s really drooping; otherwise, go with it.” And there you have it — effortless style that’s actually easy to achieve.