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

30 Messy Low Buns to Recreate for Any Occasion

The messy low bun is low-maintenance and easy to perfect. Here are 30 variations that take less than five minutes to recreate before your next event.
30 Messy Low Buns to Recreate for Any Occasion

A messy low bun is the versatile style that can address all of your hair needs. The same loose chignon that keeps strands out of your face by day also gives you a sexily disheveled vibe by night. Plus, if you’re in your healthy hair era, messy buns require little to no heat to achieve. Discover how to perfect a classic tousled updo in four easy steps, then browse our curated list of 30 ways to elevate your low, messy bun for any occasion.

How do you do a low, messy bun?

While messy low buns may look effortless, a little elbow grease can help it appear purposefully undone. Here’s our breakdown of how to do a low, messy bun.

Step 1: Make a low ponytail.

First, part your hair how you prefer. Then, use a boar bristle brush to brush your hair to the back of your head. Create a low ponytail at the nape of your neck and tie it with an elastic.

Step 2: Twist and pin your bun.

Twist your ponytail around the elastic to form your bun. You can either use bobby pins to pin it in place or wrap another elastic around your hair.

Step 3: Fan out your bun.

Gently tug on a few sections of hair in your bun to loosen it up, and pull out a couple of face-framing tendrils for a messy finish. You can also pinch and pull the hair surrounding your bun to give it more volume.

Step 4: Lock it in place.

Now that your messy low bun is complete, use a few spritzes of hairspray to keep it from going anywhere. Our pick: Redken’s Brushable Hairspray 12, previously known as Fashion Works 12. The formula utilizes holding polymers to provide a brushable hold, perfect if you like to switch up your hairstyle without washing it.

After successfully conquering a classic messy bun, you can put your skills to the test and try out different variations. Ahead, find our favorite pretty (and easy) low, messy buns.

30 Messy Low Buns to Try for Any Occasion

Good hair day by @hairbybradleyleake

Messy Low Bun with Satin Ribbon

Natural scalp oils and leftover hair products add grip to unwashed hair, allowing it to better retain shape, so your low, messy buns don’t fall out. Pair second- or third-day hair with a satin ribbon, and you’ll have a chic and sophisticated look that’s as good as new.

Use a pinch of Pureology’s Style + Protect Mess It Up Texture Paste to tame and define the strands around your face.

Good hair day by @kamberrykreates

One Elastic Messy Low Bun

You may think one hair tie isn’t enough to wrangle thick, curly hair into a messy bun, but this hack from content creator Kamarra Sanker proves otherwise. Leaving a super-stretchy elastic on your wrist is the key to gathering your hair into a messy bun. Seeing is believing, so watch the tutorial above for all the details.

To get the look without breakage, you’ll want to opt for a pliable microfiber elastic that won’t tug on your hair. We like Gimme Beauty’s Thick Hair Bands, which provide firm yet comfortable control for textured locks sans the damage.

Messy Low Bun Swirl

It looks like an unassuming, messy low bun from the front, but the doughnut shape of this swirly bun makes for a sweet surprise in the back. The whirled finish may be difficult to replicate at home, so we suggest bringing this photo to your stylist when you’re ready to dress to impress.

Good hair day by @cindyduplantis

Celestial Messy Low Bun

Some things are written in the stars—including the compliments you’ll rack up by placing this star-encrusted hairpiece above your bun. Check out our zodiac-themed holiday gift guide to see what else the universe has in store for your mane.

Good hair day by @shar_stylist

Dutch Braided Messy Low Bun

Put a playful spin on your low, messy bun by combining it with Dutch braided pigtails. The style may appear intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easier than it seems:

  1. Create a center part from your hairline to the nape of your neck, splitting 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.
  2. To create 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.
  3. Grab the loose ends of the pigtails, wrap them together to form the shape of a bun, and tie it with an elastic
  4. Complete the look with hairspray, like L’Oréal Professionnel’s Tecni.Art Extreme Lacquer High Hold Hairspray.

Good hair day by @clairehartleystylist

Messy Low Bun with French Lace Braid

Whether you’re growing out your bangs or want to add an unexpected element to your bun, consider a French lace braid. If you’re unfamiliar with a lace braid, it’s when only one small area of the hair is woven into a French plait.

To get the look on an updo, braid one side of your hair from the hairline to the back of your head. When you near the bottom of your braid, sweep its loose ends into your remaining hair and tie it into a low, messy bun. We love how the delicate asymmetry adds visual interest to an everyday style.

Good hair day by @guidopalau

Messy Low Bun with Stone Headband

Crown your messy low bun with a bejeweled headband and prepare to make the whole place shimmer. This sparkly, luxe hair accessory helps instantly elevate your look to regal status.

Scrunchie Wrapped Messy Low Bun

Many people have ponytails in their hairstyle repertoire but might need inspiration to take their updo to the next level. This hack, which features everyone’s favorite ‘90s add-on, can do the trick: Use a scrunchie to wrap your hair in a ponytail, pulling your tail only halfway through during the last loop. Grab the remaining hair and twist it around the scrunchie to create the look of a wrapped, messy bun.

Check out our article ’90s Accessories We’re Still Obsessed With for more nostalgic hair accessory inspo.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist

Braided Messy Low Bun

Since messy low buns are casual, quick, and functional, they suit many occasions. However, a completely braided bun kicks the ‘do up a notch. Take a cue from hairstylist Annette Waligora and create a jumbo braid out of all of your hair before maneuvering it into a low bun. Prep your style with Biolage Professional’s Smoothing Shine Milk, then top it off with a velvet hair bow for a lavish touch.

No Elastic Messy Low Bun

Reaching down to find a bare, hair-tie-less wrist can be panic-inducing. Maybe that’s dramatic, but you can’t deny the frustration felt when your emotional support elastic disappears into thin air. In case that happens, memorize this tutorial on creating a messy low bun without a hair tie:

  1. Gather all of your hair at the nape of your neck.
  2. Position one hand underneath your hair and use it to fold your hair in half.
  3. Twirl your hair upwards, taking care to leave the ends free.
  4. Once you have a shape you like, tuck the ends in and secure the twist around it.

In a bind, this technique is especially handy for anyone with princess-length hair.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist

Scarf Bow Messy Low Bun

With enough imagination, your favorite scarf can do so much more than just warm your neck. Above, tying a patterned scarf vertically between two space buns creates the illusion of an adorably messy hair bow.


Good hair day by @h.nishimotohair

Sleek and Shiny Messy Low Chignon

When you want something more structured, opt for slicked-back hair and a low, wrapped chignon. You can keep your bun on the sleek side or give it a messier, undone edge by lightly pulling it apart.

Sleek Messy Low Bun

This celebrity-inspired low, messy bun veers into model-off-duty territory thanks to spiky ends sticking out of the bun’s base. 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.

Flipped-Through Messy Low Bun

Many of the most intricate-looking styles are deceptively easy to recreate. A case in point is this effortless, messy low bun. Create a “hole” above your ponytail and flip your hair halfway through. Wrap it with a velvet scrunchie, and go about your busy day.

Good hair day by @kurlsandkontourbyken

Messy Low Bubble Braid Buns

The bubble braids hashtag has over 437 million views on TikTok (and climbing), and it’s easy to see why. The fluffed-out bubbles are playful and compatible with every hair type. Tucking the ends of your bubble braids into your elastic is what will create the appearance of low, messy buns.

Good hair day by @jamiewileyeditorial

Four Messy Low Buns

An awkward grow-out stage can make it difficult to style your hair, especially if you’re transitioning out of a bob. Four mini space buns that span from ear to ear make it possible to jazz up collarbone-length hair since they don’t require much length. Just split your hair into four even sections on the lower half of your head before sculpting your small buns. Experimenting with different placements for each bun can help ensure every layer of hair gets added.

Good hair day by @larackay

Embellished Messy Low Bun

If your style feels incomplete, chances are good that all you’re missing is a killer hair accessory. Amp up a bland ‘do by placing a few floral embellishments (real or fake) throughout your bun, then let your tendrils hang free to frame your face.

For extra volume at the crown of your messy bun, apply Redken’s Root Lifter Volumizing Spray (previously called Guts 10) to your roots before you begin styling. The targeted spray foam lifts hair at the roots, adding all-over volume and fullness.

Good hair day by @danielle.keasling

Messy Low Side Bun

Play around with the location of your messy bun to make a lasting impression at special events. Follow the lead of Danielle Keasling, Biolage Professional global artist, and fasten a jumbo bun at the side of your neck. It’s so intentionally undone that nobody will be the wiser if it falls out after a night of dancing.

Embellished and Deconstructed Messy Low Bun

This messy look allows some of your hair’s length to fall out of your bun and float down your back—elegant yet forgiving for newbies trying to master a new style. Complete the look with a sparkly barrette for party-ready vibes.

Good hair day by @hairsvetik

Rolled Messy Low Bun

Here’s a refined style you can replicate in less than ten minutes: a flirty half-rolled chignon. Add as much volume as you’d like by teasing the crown of your hair. 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 before spritzing the style with hairspray.

Messy Low Bun with Teased Crown

Celebrity hairstylist and ambassador Bradley Leake always shows us the best styling hacks. Here, he uses his “double bun” technique to create a messy low bun. Like tying bunny ears with your shoelaces as a kid, you just pull loops of hair into each other to make a bow. This will act as the foundation of your messy bun and can help add volume to straight hair types.

Good hair day by @thegoldenponytail

Ornate Messy Low Bun

Run, don’t walk, to your salon to ask for this low bun before someone else beats you to it. With interwoven sections of hair throughout the crown and an XXL bun, the final result is ultra-dimensional. You’ll love how this updo shows off every color variation if you have highlighted or balayaged hair.

Good hair day by @theupdogirl

Messy Low Bun with Wavy Tendrils

Pulling a few wavy tendrils out of your bun lends extra softness to your hairstyle without giving it a sloppy look. Use a curl-defining product like Mizani’s True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion and a heatless finger wave to shape your loose strands.

Claw Clip Messy Low Bun

There are so many reasons why claw clips are holding firm in their popularity. One of which is that they perfectly complement low-maintenance, 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.

Good hair day by @michelleleep

Messy Low Bun with Gold Barrettes

Understated yet chic, adding a few high-shine gold barrettes to your messy bun can give it some dazzling allure. Give your clip extra staying power by spritzing it with a dry shampoo like Matrix’s High Amplify Dry Shampoo before slipping it into your hair.

Hidden Messy Low Bun

Half-bun, half-hidden bouffant, this low, messy bun in disguise keeps everyone guessing. The look mimics the shape of an actual bun without having a defined outline or noticeable elastic.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist

Faux Messy Low Bun

Similar to the style before this one, this abstract-looking bun is rolled more like a chignon and finished with a dainty flower for a bohemian effect.

Good hair day by @pati.rodrigz

Messy Low Bun with Pearls

Pearl accents are a staple of winter glam—and with good reason. The refined gems add a touch of sophistication to any look. That includes this messy chignon with pearls dotted throughout, which is a gorgeous hairstyle idea for a winter bride or bridesmaid.

Good hair day by @joaquinagurruchaga

Messy Bun with Long Tail

A half-up messy bun lets you show off your hard-won length. Pull your ponytail only part way out of your elastic, then fan the sides out to create the appearance of a bun. Let the rest of your ponytail cascade down your back for a carefree look and feel.

Good hair day by @bundagabriela

Oversized Messy Low Bun

The bigger the bun, the better. Loose face-framing strands and a teased crown ensure this professional updo stays squarely in the messy bun territory.

Next: Learn How to Get Thicker-Looking Hair with our editor-approved tips and tricks.

Use our salon locator to get a messy low bun styled by a pro near you.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device