The messy bun is the unsung hero of all hairstyles. Sure, we’ve been double-tapping sexy waves and blunt bobs on Instagram, but when we want to leave the house looking like a decent human without putting much work in, the messy bun always saves the day. If you’re short on time (or just lazy), you don’t grab the curling wand to meticulously put in some “effortless” waves. No, you toss your hair into a topknot and go about your business.
One caveat: Although the name “messy bun” implies that the style should look undone, there’s an art to creating a topknot that’s got cool-girl carelessness. Ahead, we’ve rounded up some bun-spiration that strikes that delicate balance between trying too hard and not trying at all. And each one of these styles should take you 10 minutes, tops.
By day three of a blowout we’re stuck. We want to preserve the body in our hair, but we don’t want to add more heat by curling it on our own. This is where a bun (similar to this one by Emma Chen) comes in clutch. You can toss the majority of your hair into a high ponytail and loosely tuck the ends. Leave a few waves out to frame your face, and soemone might mistake you for an off-duty model.
Next time you’re tempted to throw your strands up into a topknot, take a cue from celebrity stylist Lacy Redway, who gave Alexandra Shipp’s tight bun an effortless vibe by loosening up pieces of the updo to add texture. Need more hair to get this look? You can buy some extra inches at any beauty supply store to get added height.
Leaving side-swept curls out towards the front of your hair will give your everyday hairstyle some ’90s flair.
When you’re bored with your routine bun, leave some of your curls out towards the front of your head to create the illusion of bangs (à la Yara Shahidi). Not only is it an easy style to throw together when you’ve overslept, it’s a quick way to try fringe without the commitment.
Hailey Baldwin’s topknot looks fairly similar to the ones we rock on the reg, but her pink hair color instantly makes it look more stylish.
Chopping your hair short is fun — until you want to put your strands in a high bun. The shorter pieces of hair towards the back of your head are often slipping out and standing on end. You can fix that by first braiding or twisting the back half of your hair before tying everything into a topknot.
What do you get when you marry your messy bun with the resurrected scrunchie trend? A super-cute topknot that’ll take you to the gym, grocery store, or a cocktail party in style.
Weaving a statement hair clip through a messy low bun will immediately look like you put some thought into your style (when really the accessory did all the work).
Those bandanas sitting in the bottom of your sock drawer can be the key to upgrading your hair when it feels lackluster. Just tie one around your wavy bun (like Hannah Bronfman’s) to make your hair feel preppy and put together.
Topknots don’t have to be reserved for the gym or grocery store. Add some volume to your roots to create a bouffant look in the front, and twirl the ends of your hair into a bun in the back. From the side, you’ll look red-carpet ready.