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People love to call your wedding the most important day of your life. Whether or not you subscribe to that point of view, it’s certain to be a day filled with photos, laughter, and plenty of dancing. That means the hairstyle you choose will live on in pictures for decades—so no pressure choosing one, right?
When it comes to wedding styles, none is more classic and simple than the bridal side bun. With this style, you’ll avoid several issues at once: the dreaded tight updo that makes it look as if you’re a nice middle-aged man, the sweaty ringlets rapidly uncurling on the dancefloor, and the ballerina high bun that seemed like a nice idea when you were ten.
Gabriela Revellese, Matrix brand ambassador and stylist, totally agrees. She goes so far as to call the style her favorite.
If you’re in the early stages of planning your wedding look, Revellese absolutely recommends making an appointment with a professional for your day-of services. While you might be plenty competent with a curling iron for the average night out, your wedding will probably require the bun being in place early in the day and lasting until well past midnight. Surviving is not the goal here, either—that style has to look photogenic for many, many hours.
Dropping cash on a professional styling appointment will not only cross another item off your to-do list, but also ensure your bun isn’t falling out before the “I do” even happens.
“It is very hard to control the hair on the back of your head when you’re styling yourself,” Revellese adds. “I feel like a wedding is a very special occasion and a professional should do the hairstyle and makeup.”
For brides with set themes or concerns about cohesiveness, a professional consultation can mean the difference between a bun that meshes beautifully with your backless gown and one that competes for attention.
Revellese likes to know the details of the bride’s ensemble and hair texture far in advance so she can plan accordingly. If the style of your dreams just isn’t flattering your face, she’ll be the first one to tell you.
“I like to try a few different styles to give the bride some options,” the stylist says. “When we agree on the style, I recommend a trial and try a few different options. Let the bride decide what style she likes the best.”
Whether or not you sit with a professional on the day of your ceremony, there are a few golden rules of styling a side bun that everyone should know. To begin, you’ll want to prep hair with a formula designed for intense conditioning. From Matrix, Revellese recommends Biolage Hydrasource Shampoo and Conditioner.
Once your hair is clean and fully dry, start by curling the hair in small sections. It’s a trick professionals use to give your hair volume while also providing something for the pins in the updo to grip onto. From there, the rest of the bun is a breeze.
“I use a hair cushion to create the basic foundation for the bun that also ensures stability for the look,” Revellese says. “ I like to use a ‘roping’ technique where I twist the hair into the shape of the rope and then I gently pull out the hair. This technique is very simple but has a big effect.”
If you’ve ever been in (or within 100 miles of) a wedding, you’ll know the next step: pins. A professional stylist will work to secure your bun in place, ensuring no strands slip free during your first dance as husband and wife. Finally, freeze the bridal bun in place with Biolage Freeze Fix Hairspray. The firm hold formula is humidity-resistant and fast-drying, locking styles into place with all-day hold and aerial support.
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