Messy Bun: 5 minutes=2 good hair days

Can I tell you a secret?  I’ve never been a girl that fussed with her hair much.  I will not be providing photographic evidence of said bad hair, so unless you’re friends with my Mom on facebook, you’re out of luck.  Just trust me.  Hats, scarves, and ponytail holders and I have always gotten along great.

Even as a teenager, a sarcastic-jerky friend of my brother’s used to say

“Hey, Gwen.  What are you doing with your hair. Hahahahaha!”

OK.  That would be washing and brushing.  On a good day.

I was known for going to early morning classes with a wet ponytail.  Yeah.  Ick.  Sorry Mom.  I know that made you cringe.  I have major time management issues, OK?  You can imagine that this only become worse after I had kids.

Enter the Messy Bun…I saw a blog post on it a few months ago (which I can’t find, or I’d link you to it.)  The Messy Bun has revolutionized my bad hair day woes.  In literally 5 minutes or less, I can have great hair for 2 days!  It works best on shoulder length or longer hair.  Lemme show you how easy it is!

(I’m about to show you photos of my bathroom, me with wet hair, *and* me right after I wake up…so, consider yourself ‘family’)

First, grab a brush, a ponytail holder, and some bobby pins.   I like to do this when my hair is still damp…right after I towel dry it.  Brush through, starting at the lower ends, and then working your way up to get rid of tangles…

…and then I lean over and gather the hair into a ponytail at the crown of my head.  So far, so easy, right?  I’m essentially making a pony tail high up on my head.

Now, as you put in the ponytail holder, just tighten it up like normal, but instead of pulling you hair all the way through on the last twist, leave it in a ‘loop’.

You should have a nice big loop, that looks like this, and the ‘tail’ or ends of your hair sticking out from under the ponytail holder.

And here is what makes this method really work for 2nd day curls.  I make what my grandmother called a ‘pincurl’ with the leftover “tail” of hair. I just twist it around my finger until it spirals into a swirl, and pin.
Here is how it should look from on top:

Cross 2 bobby pins over/through this little mini-bun-swirl.  What this pincurl does is add wave to the tips of your hair tomorrow…nobody will see it today.  The rest of the bun will cover it.

Bobby Pinning tip: if bobby pins slide out of your hair easily, try
crossing them over one another.  They ‘lock’ together and stay in place
really well like this!

Now, you should just have loops of hair left .

This pic was before I started doing the pincurl thing, so ignore the wrapped around tail of hair.
Start pulling those loops together into a round tube or bun shape like this, bobby pinning as you go:

You want to form all those loops so that they look like a solid ring, or bun.  And don’t get too wrapped up in making it perfect…its *supposed* to be a “Messy Bun.”

I like to tuck in bobby pins in about 5-6 places, all the way around, so my bun isn’t flopping around at the back.  I just stick the bobby pin at the bottom of a loop to hold it in place.

This just takes a few minutes, and you can add in a pin or two to tame stray strands, or even add a little ribbon or decorative bobby or barette to hold back your bangs.  I will sometimes give it a spritz of hairspray if I have fly-aways, or use mousse if I want a smoother look.


The first time I wore a messy bun out, someone asked me if I was going to be in a wedding.  Seriously?  Well, OK!  I’ll take ‘formal’ over ‘frumpy’.

It’s a super comfortable hairstyle, and keeps all my hair out of my
face.  Since it’s so high up on my head, it doesn’t bother me at all to
sleep in it.  Which I do.

That’s part of the magic of the Messy Bun…the day 2 hair.

I took this photo right after I hopped out of bed, and took out the bobby pins and ponytail holder…

For the first time in my life, my hair has body…and curls!  I love this ‘beach curl’ look, and it stays nice and wavy and pretty all day long!  Since my hair dried while pulled ‘up’, it gives it great body and lift.

Look at that big hair!

Sometimes, I scrunch in a little hairspray if it’s a damp day.

So, there you have it…my life changing Messy Bun hair secret.


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  1. Julie says

    Just found this and I will definitely try it! I am in a total hair rut and my second-day hair is always a pony tail (BOR-ing!). I have straight, volume-less hair and always wanted waves so I’m excited to try this!