How to Do the Perfect Messy Bun in 3 Easy Steps (with Gifs)

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How to Do the Perfect Messy Bun in 3 Easy Steps (with Gifs)
4 Start slideshow
Photo: Tory Rust

Ah, messy buns, one of the great paradoxes of the beauty world. Because just like no-makeup makeup, which actually requires 13 steps using a dozen products, or like beachy waves, which calls for zero beaches but four different texturizing, volumizing, mattifying sprays plus a curling iron, messy buns are not the byproduct of haphazard, woke-up-like-this magic. Which sucks, because why can’t anything be easy?

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Sure, yes, there are the girls who can casually twist their hair into a messy topknot fit for Pinterest boards (looking at you, Corinne Bulat from 9th grade algebra), but for the rest of us with non-unicorn hair, trying to create one of those impossibly pretty, somewhat mesmerizing buns takes skill—or at least a few hidden bobby pins. So we asked hairstylist and full-time wizard Jasmine Santiago to show us exactly how to create a messy bun on ourselves, in only a few steps. And guess what: It’s seriously easier than it looks. So click through to see the gif-filled tutorial (yes! Gifs! What a day!), and get ready to tell everyone that your hair naturally spiraled itself into a perfectly messy bun, all on its own.

Photographer: Tory Rust
Model:  Olga with MSA Models
Makeup: Ashleigh Ciucci
Hair: Jasmine Santiago

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STEP 1: Bring it up
STEP 1: Bring it up

In one swoop, scoop all of your hair straight up with both hands—no combs, no smoothing out any bumps, no perfectionism—and twist the hair into a bun. Here's where the trick comes in, though: Rather than just coiling your hair around itself to form a bun, wrap the hair around a few of your fingers (watch Santiago's left hand in the gif), leaving the ends free, then slip your fingers out and press the bun against your head.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Secure it
STEP 2: Secure it

Hold the bun with one hand, then stretch a hair tie over the entire bun with your other hand hand, twisting and wrapping the tie until it feels secure. If your bun feels a bit too floppy, slip a few bobby pins into the edges of the bun to lock it in place.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Mess it up
STEP 3: Mess it up

Just a little bit—we promise. Hold your bun in place to stabilize it, then gently tug at the crown of your hair for volume and pull at the short layers around your face and at the nape of your neck. If your bun looks too small and wimpy, lightly pull at the edges until it fattens up, then pin the bun in place so it doesn't fall.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 4: Pretend you woke up like this
STEP 4: Pretend you woke up like this

Oh, what—this ol' bun? Psh, I literally just rolled out of bed...didn't even look in the mirror...natural beauty...held up by sheer willpower alone...

Photo: Tory Rust

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  • STEP 1: Bring it up
  • STEP 2: Secure it
  • STEP 3: Mess it up
  • STEP 4: Pretend you woke up like this

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