For those of you who enjoyed our how-to about creating a messy bun for long hair, don’t worry short-haired girls—we didn’t forget you! The art of the perfectly imperfect messy bun is probably more easily attainable for short hair, since the baby strands will stick out all on their own. This however is tricky since those unruly baby hairs are likely to require lots of coaxing. Your hair will have to be at least long enough to pull back and gather, so probably around lob-length. This also determines how high your bun placement can go. The good thing is that at least with short hair, you can do this faster—possibly not without less product though. Let’s prepare.
MORE: How to Wear A Messy Bun With Long Hair
Get yourself a texturizing styling potion—nothing heavy, just something to give your hair some grip. Those with fine hair can go with a mousse. R+Co makes a mousse pomade hybrid that gives the texture of a pomade with the lightness of a mousse—perfect for effortlessly wrangling short hair. You can apply that to damp hair before you start bunning. If starting with dry hair, a volumizing/texturizing, strong-hold or thickening hairspray should give you some grip. Just flip your head over and spray the mid-ends generously. You can even gather your hair into bun formation while you’re down there.
If you’ve got very short hair, you’ll need a lot of bobby pins. A messy bun can be totally pinned into place with no need for a hair tie—unless you have fairly thick hair and could use the support. The trick with bobby pins is to pin them with the squiggly side down– it gives the pin extra grip on your hair and helps it from slipping out.
Now the trickiest part that is not unlike a game of Jenga– pulling out your desired pieces for a nice face-framing effect, arguably the whole crux of an expertly executed messy updo. You may be better off using the thin tail of a hairdresser’s comb handle, or if you don’t mind a bit of haphazard styling, your fingers (or the U end of a bobby pin) will do just fine to select these choice hairs. If you have bangs, this becomes just a bit easier since the face-framing template is pretty much halfway set up.
As for the hairs around the nape of your neck that can’t quite reach your bun? You can either pin those crawling upwards too, let them hang loose (which can be very pretty!), or if your hair is long enough, separate your bun into two sections–upper and lower deck– twist the lower hair and pin right below where your bun will be and then form your bun with the upper section over the ends of those hairs so it conceals them a bit.
You can douse your head in a flexible hold hairspray to sort of set the pieces in place. The nature of mess styles like this is to sort of go with the flow of how it lives throughout the day, so don’t spend too much time fussing over it once it’s done.