How To Create A Classic Ballerina Bun |
When it comes to styling hair, ballerina buns require minimal effort but offer maximum payoff – ideal when we’re all at home. Classic and sophisticated, they’re as easy to create as they are to wear. Here, hairstylist and Headmasters creative ambassador Jonathan Soons explains how to achieve the look…
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Make Sure Your Hair Isn’t Squeaky Clean

First things first, a bit of natural grit and texture is key for creating a good bun – or any updo for that matter. Day old hair is best, as freshly washed will just cause extra static and be completely unmanageable. It will also be too slippery for anything to hold in place. Finally, it’s worth adding some product after you have washed you hair, as mousse or gel will help prep it, even if it’s a few days later. 

Create A Smooth Base   

Before you do anything, hair needs to be smoothed out with either a hairdryer or straightening irons – the latter is usually quicker if you’re short for time. If you are using a dryer, blow-dry your hair away from your face using a brush. You need to get your hairline nice and straight, so do this at a medium heat and on a slow speed for extra control. Having this sleekness will allow you to use less hairspray, as you’re sealing the hair into place with heat. 

Think About Placement 

Different hair lengths and textures means everyone’s buns will look different. On short hair, a low knot gives length, while on thick hair, a half-up bun can remove bulk. As for fine hair, a topknot can be teased apart to give an illusion of fullness. A ballerina bun now comes in multiple varieties and it’s key you tailor it to your hair type, but all of these instructions will help you to keep it sleek and elegant – wherever you place it. If your hair is quite long, try placing the bun on top or around the crown, and if your length is just below the shoulder, try placing it just below the crown so you don’t have lots of strands falling out.  

Keep A Good Brush Handy

For a good bun, you need a good brush. Look for ones with natural bristles – my favourites are Denman brushes as they’re affordable and easy to use – not to mention gentle, too. Most of us have strong elastics (if you don’t, Muji and Amazon do), so keep these nearby as they work better than any scrunchie to keep hair tight and in place all day long. 

Get Sculpting With Wax 

Once you’ve nailed the placement, gather your hair into a ponytail and secure with an elastic. Then, use a little light paste or wax on the surface of your hair and top of the ponytail to prevent static. This will help hold the base of the bun in place, so you can create the shape seamlessly. 

Start Splitting Your Ponytail Up

Split the tail into two sections and give them a tug so that the sides tighten and the top stays soft. Then, twist your ponytail until it coils in on itself and secure it with pins. Keep going until it’s neat and compact and you’re happy with it – use Kirby grips to lock any loose strands in place. Once up and secure, use a comb to push any strays into place. 

Use Hairspray Sparingly

Given we’re all at home right now, nothing needs to be picture perfect, and hairspray can make hair feel a bit crispy. So, just use a little bit from a distance to take down baby hairs or any areas of static. Alternatively, if you’re going for a messier approach, you can use certain hairsprays lightly to create texture. Spray it onto loose strands and then pinch and twist the hair for a crumpled, cool-girl finish. It’s an easy way to get the look without spending hours using curling irons.  

Take A Different Approach For Messy Buns

If you want to keep things a bit more low-key, the process is similar, but with a different prep. You still need to blow-dry the hair, but use your hands as you go to encourage texture and movement. Take the same process with your ponytail, but shake it a little at the base, teasing out strands around the face for a softer look. Twist the hair up in sections, pinning it to grip the hair into a bun. Then pinch here and there to loosen areas for a beachier vibe. The key is to make it neat and tidy first, then tease the strands so you don’t over work it and end up in a mess.

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