Mastering the Art of the Messy Bun

#LearningProject update:

After attempting a variety of quick and easy hairstyles last week (which were anything but), this week I decided to master the messy bun.  A messy bun is exactly what it sounds like; as opposed to a tight, polished bun, a messy bun creates more of a “lived-in” look — it’s loose and casual but very pretty.  It’s also tricky to learn.

I washed my hair in anticipation for practicing different messy bun looks, but I soon realized that was a mistake.  Almost all the tutorial videos I watched and Pinterest articles I read suggested starting with second or even third-day hair because the natural oils from your hair plus any left-over product add additional texture, making your hair more voluminous and easy to work with.  Clean hair is often static-y and too soft, making it difficult to control and pin back.  So, before beginning my messy bun journey, I added some product to my hair to freshly washed hair.  First I worked some TRESemmé Thermal Creations volumizing mousse into my damp hair to give it some volume. Then I blow-dried.  After my hair was dry, I added göt2b’s texturizing cream pomade to give my hair texture to work with.  Luckily, I already had these products at home, so I didn’t need to make a trip out.

I attempted three different messy bun styles — all from different resources.  This is how they turned out:

Messy Bun #1: 

The first messy bun that I attempted is called The Classic Messy Bun, and I learned how to do it from the following tutorial video.  The woman in the video demonstrates how to do a variety of messy bun looks, but I focused on mastering Look #1 (0:33 to 2:23).

How it turned out:

This messy bun is different from the other two that I tried because only some of my hair went into the actual bun; the rest of my hair I twisted and pinned up the back, which added some detail to the look.  My mom said that this was her favourite hairstyle that I have tried so far.

Messy Bun #2: 

The second messy bun that I tired is called The Lived-In Bun. I found this look on — a resource that has been very helpful to me during my #LearningProject and one that I keep coming back to.

How it turned out:

This messy bun look is my favourite; it’s casual yet sophisticated.  It was also super easy to do once I got the hang of it. My hair didn’t turn out exactly like the tutorial video, but I think that’s because I have shorter and thinner hair — I couldn’t stretch the bun very far without all of my hair falling out.

Messy Bun #3:

This last look I found on Pinterest while searching for messy bun looks for people with short hair. The article gave ten different bun ideas to try, but I focused on learning Look #2 — The Messy Top Bun.

How it turned out:

This messy bun look was the trickiest to achieve because the article only provided written instructions — there was no video to show me what to do, so I was left to interpret the instructions on my own.  That being said, I think it turned out well!

The key to achieving a messy bun, as I’ve learned, is don’t over-think it.  When you over-think, you tend to over-perfect, and that’s not the point of a messy bun.  Basically, you want to put work into your messy bun, but you don’t want it to look like you put work into it.  I struggled with this at first.  I’m a perfectionist, so it was difficult not to wrap my bun too tightly or pin back every little loose hair.  But, the more I worked at it, the more relaxed I got with my hair, and the more relaxed I was, the nicer my hair turned out.

Which messy bun look is your favourite? Comment and let me know!


8 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of the Messy Bun

  1. Miss. Perry says:

    They all look super great, Amy! I really like the first one. The twist at the bottom makes it look super cute, it almost dresses up the messy bun! I love watching your progress, great job! Did you find that the texturing cream helped hold a style a little better because it had something to stick to?


  2. turton2r says:

    I loved the messy bun #1 it looks super cute! and you did a great job of re-creating it. Messy bun #2 is totally the one that I go with all the time but it doesn’t ever turn out like the one in the video, but I am totally going to check it out. Do you find the videos easier to follow then step by step pictures?


    • amypmartin says:

      Thanks, Rhandi! I think the key to messy bun #2 is having a lot of product in your hair to give it volume + texture to work with. Essentially, when you doing a messy bun, you want to start with messy hair. Clean, polished hair won’t give the same effect. Kate, the woman in the video, also suggests starting with curled hair, which I didn’t, so that could have changed my results.

      I prefer using videos over written instructions or pictures because I find it easier to replicate a hairstyle if it’s done right in front of me. With videos, I can follow along step-by-step. With pictures, sometimes I’m left to interpret the institutions on my own — I have no idea how they got from point A to point B. Pictures also only show one view of the head, so I might be shown the front but have no idea what’s going on in the back.


  3. robintuck says:

    I love that you continue to show the comparison between your hair and the pictures. You are getting really good, and I think your hair looks better than the pictures in a few of them. I also think it was creative that you found these three hair styles from three different sources. Do you have a favourite source to go and look for new hair styles yet?


    • amypmartin says:

      Thanks, friend! One of my go-to resources is Kate, the owner of the site, has tons of tutorial videos on her blog that are simple and super easy to follow — even for beginners! She also writes posts about what products and tools to use — I referenced her blog when shopping for my curling iron!


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