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how to style a messy bun

30 Messy Low Buns to Recreate for Any Occasion

The messy low bun is super low-maintenance and easy to master. Here are 30 variations that take less than five minutes to recreate before your next event.

As far as hairstyles are concerned, there isn’t much that a low messy bun can’t do. From running errands to a night out , messy buns are always the low-effort answer to our hair quandaries—and we especially love how they require little to no heat to achieve. If you’ve been searching high and low for new ways to take your messy bun to the next level, we’ve curated a list of 30 of our favorite looks you can wear no matter the occasion.

How do you do a low messy bun?

We think the best messy buns are the ones you can haphazardly wrap a scrunchie around and fan out the edges before heading out the door. However, if you’re looking for something more purposeful, you can’t go wrong with this quick tutorial on how to do a low messy bun.

First, brush through your strands with a boar bristle hair brush, then use your fingers to pull all of your hair to the back of your head and create a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. Twist the loose hair from the ponytail around the base of the ponytail to create a bun, and gently tug on a few pieces of hair from the bun to create a messier look. To keep it all in place, complete your low bun with a few spritzes of hairspray, like Redken’s Brushable Hairspray 12 (previously called Fashion Works 12).

Pro tip: Adding more volume to a messy bun instantly elevates the look for fancier occasions. We suggest picking up Redken’s Root Lifter Volumizing Spray Foam (formerly known as Guts 10) to add body and thickness at the roots while maintaining overall control.

30 Messy Buns Perfect for Any Occasion

Satin Ribbon Messy Bun Idea

Satin Ribbon

Unwashed hair, don’t care! A low messy bun and a satin ribbon are a match made in heaven for giving a chic new spin on second-or-third-day hair. Use a bit of Pureology’s Style + Protect Mess It Up Texture Paste to shape your tendrils, and find more hair ribbon inspiration in our guide on how to make hair bows.

Good hair day by @anhcotran

Velvet Ribbon

Looking for added seasonal luxe? Wrap a velvet ribbon in the shape of a bow around the base of your low messy bun.

Teased Swirl Bun

It may look like an unassuming messy low bun from the front, but you’ll give everyone a show when you turn your head. This swirled look may be difficult to achieve at home, so we suggest bringing this photo to your stylist for inspiration the next time you must dress to impress at a big event.

Good hair day by @larackay

Embellished Low Bun

Chances are good you’re missing a killer hair accessory if you ever feel like your hairstyle is incomplete. Amp up your low bun by placing a few floral embellishments—real or fake— throughout your bun, letting your tendrils hang free to frame your face.

Good hair day by @shar_stylist_

Dutch Braided Buns

Why choose between a Dutch braid and a low messy bun when you can do both?

Begin with clean, dry hair and create a center part from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Separate your hair into two even sections on each side of your head. Working with one side at a time, gather the entire section of hair and separate it into three precise segments—left, middle, and right.

To craft a Dutch braid, cross the right strand under the middle and the left section under the middle. Repeat these steps, adding additional hair as you cross each section until you reach the nape of your neck. Secure the Dutch braid with a hair elastic. Repeat these steps on the opposite side.

Combine the loose hair from both sections to form a low bun at the nape of your neck. Complete the look with a splash of hairspray, such as L’Oréal Professionnel’s Tecni.Art Extreme Lacquer High Hold Hairspray.

Diagonal Braid

While we have braids on the brain, consider this single diagonal braid that seamlessly transitions into a low messy bun for your next big outing.

Good hair day by @guidopalau

Stone Headband

A bejeweled headband is the ultimate way to take a messy low bun from everyday to ethereal. Consider it the crème de la crème of the hair accessory world.

Scrunchie Wrapped Bun

Want to wear your hair up but not a fan of the low ponytail? You’ll want to watch this simple hack featuring everyone’s favorite ‘90s add-on: the scrunchie.

Good hair day by @cindyduplantis

Celestial Bun

Expertly adorn your messy bun with a sparkly bauble that rivals the shimmering night sky.

No Elastic Messy Bun

If you constantly lose your elastics and hair ties (same), this messy low bun is for you! It works like a charm for those who want to sweep their princess-length hair away from their face quickly.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist

Braided Low Bun

Since messy low buns are casual, quick, and functional, they’re often ideal for many occasions—but a braided bun takes the style to the next level. We recommend taking a cue from @annette_updo_artist and using Biolage Professional’s Smoothing Shine Milk to achieve a glossy finish while controlling frizz and flyaways.

Teased at the Crown

A double loop technique is the secret to nailing this purposefully undone bun, as demonstrated by celebrity hairstylist and ambassador Bradley Leake. We suggest teasing the crown of your hair to give your messy low bun some extra volume before diving into this look.

Good hair day by @antoniopruno

Extra Shiny

If you’re searching for a laid-back style that you can achieve fast, this messy low updo is calling your name. For a similar high-shine finish, you can’t go wrong with running a bit of Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil through your strands.

Good hair day by @hairby.brittany

Scarf Bun

Who said scarves are limited to just our necks? Breathe new life into this same-old accessory by following this straightforward how-to from @hairby.brittany.

Flipped-Through Bun

Some of the most intricate-looking styles are often so easy to achieve you’ll have to see it to believe it. Case in point: This effortless messy low bun involves a quick flip through its ponytail base before getting topped off with a scrunchie.

Good hair day by @anhcotran and @mysacha

Mini Buns

Interested in switching up your go-to messy bun, or even the low space buns hairstyle? We say opt for more! Split your hair into four even sections and use each section to craft mini buns at the nape of your neck. This hairdo is particularly great for shorter haircuts.

Good hair day by @jamiewileyeditorial/?hl=en

Three Buns

Speaking of multiples, this trio of low messy buns is ideal for longer hair or for those who prefer their messy buns to be a little chunkier and bold.

Embellished Deconstructed Bun

We can’t get enough of this messy holiday style from celebrity hairstylist Danielle Keasling. It’s so intentionally undone that nobody will be the wiser if it starts falling out after a long night of dancing.

Good hair day by @hairsvetik

Hidden Rolled Chignon

Can’t get yourself motivated to budge from the couch? Don’t even worry about it! Here’s a style you can replicate in less than ten minutes while finishing a TV episode and wearing sweatpants.

Add as much volume as you’d like to this style by teasing your crown. Then, use a hair elastic to create a low ponytail (for this look, you’ll want an inch or so of tail to work with). Divide your ponytail in two, then create one knot. Tuck your ends in and pin them, then spritz the style with hairspray.

Good hair day by @theupdogirl

Loose Wavy Tendrils

A few wavy tendrils pulled out of your messy low bun lends extra softness to your hairstyle without looking sloppy. Use a curl-defining product like Mizani’s True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion and a heatless finger wave to shape the small sections of loose strands.

Sleek Low Bun

Prefer a more structured bun? This celebrity-inspired low messy bun is sleek at the sides yet loose in the back for a look that veers into model-off-duty territory. Apply a pomade such as Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Umou Hold Cream to the sides of the hair for a smooth and subtle matte finish.

Claw Clip Bun

There are so many reasons why claw clips are holding firm in their popularity, one of them being that they are the perfect low-maintenance complement to messy buns.

We suggest choosing a gold claw clip for dark hair and a black or brown claw clip for lighter hair to create contrast against your mane.

Good hair day by @michelleleep

Gold Barrettes

Understated yet chic, a few high-shine gold barrettes are always a suitable accessory to top off messy buns. Give your clip staying power by spritzing it with a dry shampoo like Matrix’s Total Results High Amplify Dry Shampoo before slipping it into your hair.

Hidden Bun

Half-bun, half-hidden bouffant, we love how this low messy bun in disguise keeps everyone guessing.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist

Hidden Faux Chignon

Here’s another take on the ‘secret’ bun look, except this one is rolled like a chignon and finished off with a dainty flower.

Good hair day by @pati.rodrigz


We stand by the sentiment that pearl accents never go out of style. Take this messy chignon bun, for example. The marine gems are a beautiful way to add a touch of allure and sophistication to the pinned-up hairdo.

Good hair day by @joaquinagurruchaga

Messy Bun with Long Tail

Pull your ponytail only part way out of your elastic, then fan the sides out to create the appearance of a bun and let your long tail cascade freely down your back.

Good hair day by @bundagabriela


We like big messy buns, and we cannot lie! Loose face-framing strands and a teased crown ensure this professional updo stays squarely in the messy bun territory.

Good hair day by @thegoldenponytail

Ornate Messy Bun

We don’t trust anyone who says messy buns aren’t suitable for fancy events. Run—don’t walk—to your salon to ask for this style before someone else beats you to it.

Ready to put your own spin on a messy low bun? Stock up on the best professional styling products on

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