How To Style A Messy Bun



After many reader requests, I've put together a fun and simple photo how-to for styling a messy bun! It's easier than you think to get a nice high messy bun. Here's how I do it…




How To Style A Messy Bun 1. Depending on how long your hair is you can style the bun on the top of your head, towards the bottom (near your neck) or to the side. My hair is pretty long, so I can style it all three ways. If your hair is shorter, try a lower bun. See below for more variations of the messy bun. 2-3. Tie a ponytail. I love them super high at the top of my head. Be sure to tie your rubber band tight. 4. Use bobby pins to twist and pin pieces of your hair all around the base of the ponytail. This creates a super cute bun! 5. Be sure to use plenty of bobby pins so pieces don't fall out. 6. Arrange and spray! ♥ 




My messy buns looks a little bit different each time I style one. When my hair is curly or wavy the bun looks more messy and varied. When my hair is flat ironed the bun looks more smooth and circular. 




Here are a few examples of fun variations for the messy bun. I love wearing it on the side of my head or down low for a different look. Have fun experimenting! XO, elsie 


  • i did this on a girls hair for prom! it turned out to well! thanks for sharing how to do this!

  • I love this! This blog always makes my life better somehow, some way. Btw, the messy bun picture where you have the red hair reminds me so much of Elizabeth Montgomery – if you have any acting skill whatsoever, I hear they’re remaking that series… 🙂

  • i LOVE it! <333

    i normally do a simple ponytail but im gonna try this tomorrow… <3

    -Rachii-Lou 🙂

  • 同署によると、遊漁船は同日午前5時ごろ、登別港を出航。同日午前10時過ぎ、海がしけてきたため、帰港しようとしていたという。5人ともライフジャケットは着用していた。

  • This is really cool. I’m so bad with hair styling, but I think I might give this a shot. Thank you. 🙂

  • first second i’m not sure i can do this, but hey, IT’S WORKING! thankyouthankyouthankyou 🙂

  • I want to open a restaurant in Dehradun? also let me know the legal requirements?

  • I Love this look! i wear my hair like this all the time! I actually have it in a messy bun right now! its just so cool and comfy!AND IT LOOKS STINKIN ADORABLE!B.T.W. U R SO CUTE I REALLLLLLY LIKE UR RED HAIR!

  • I’d like some help with step 4. Which direction are you going? Do you flip the hair over itself, or wind it around the base? Mine looked weird…

  • Thanks so much for posting this! I love the messy bun look but couldn’t figure out how to do it on my shortish hair. I think this just might work!

  • A messy bun is my go to style when I can’t be bothered, having a bad hair day or painting/working at the sewing machine (:
    Cute tutorial!

  • Thank you so much for this instruction! Did it on my graduation party and LOVED it!

  • Lovely, Elsie! Messy buns are what my non-showered days live for… Thanks for posting!


  • Love this look. Can’t wait for my hair to grow out a little more.

  • That’s retarded.It’s scientifically proven. See:

  • So cute! I know a lot of people who would love this! (my head is shaved so I can’t do it but I love the pictures!)

  • Thanks for sharing! I’m horrible at coming up with styles for my hair. For the first time in 7 years I have actually let my hair get long again & these summer months are killing me. Thanks to you, I now have something else besides a ponytail to go with!

  • A messy bun is my go-to hairstyle every single day for realz! Fun post!

  • I love this look! I’ve been working my hair in a high bun all summer long. You style yours a little differently though, so I can’t wait to try it out!

  • I wore my hair like this today – normally have it down, either straight or flicky so big difference for me!

    Loads of compliments on it too (think people were mostly surprised to see me doing something different! haha!)

    Thanks for inspiring me to mix it up a little xx

  • How do you always get your hair to look so good! Great step by step photos.

  • Hey, Elsie!

    I just wanted to comment that I love your cute little life, I enjoy hearing about your work & craft adventures, and really admire your positive attitude…but my favorite thing about visiting {A Beautiful Mess} is seeing how you blog.

    I love how you put together this post. *Yay*!

  • Today the heat was overwhelming.. so I tried a high messy bun. I loved it! Such a fun way to keep hair from becoming sweaty and sticky on a hot summer’s day!!

  • My hair is finally getting long enough to wear a bun up really high on my head – yay!

  • I love this post! I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun the last two months. (I’ve been super busy) I love the variations! Great ideas!

  • i love my pixie cut everyday except when i see a nice, lower side messy bun!

  • wow I didn’t know your blog I’m in love now!

  • LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE IT!!!!!! thanks I really like the way you wear your hear so it’s great this tutorial!!



  • I love the messy bun look, and have tried it many many times but they never come out BIG like yours… It’s the Step 4 part that I cannot get right. It’s not easy to pin it and make it look BIG… I’ll keep trying…!

  • I like, but everytime I wear one, my boyfriend screams “Pineapple head, Pineapple head”….

  • Will try!!! My hair is long too so this looks perfect – and flattering!

  • Love, love, love wearing my hair in messy buns. It is so easy to just pull my hair into a messy bun when I don’t have time to wash it before work!

  • I love it!! Your super gorgeous! Your shop is amazing. I absolutely love your blog:)

  • Hmm, you mention how your hair needs to be long, but it can’t be *too* long, I think. Mine is down to my waist and when I try to pin it, it just flops about. Cute hairs for medium-length girls though.


  • Nice! I’ve always wondered how people get nice large messy buns… I can only get tiny ones. I’ll be trying this out soon though!

  • love it, pretty much how i wear my hair everyday if its not down. such an easy go to!

  • very cool! thank you! you’re adorable 🙂

  • Super cute! I had a pixie cut for years (loved it), and now that my hair is long again I find that it’s in a ponytail 90% of the time (or I’m thinking about cutting it all off again!). This would be a really cute way to spice it up a little bit!

  • gorgeous!! each one looks so cute!

  • Love this, Elsie! I’ve been working myself out of a hair rut lately, so I’ll add this messy bun to the mix. 😀

  • I love this look! I have hair down to my hips, which can be pretty unbearable in the heat. The messy bum has become a summer staple!

    ♥ Gina Michele

  • I used to rock the messy bun ALL the time when my hair was longer! 😀 Now I do itty bitty side buns! ^_^

  • Thank so much for the tutorial, buns are somewhat easy, especially when you have long hair, and I can look spiffy without doing to the salon.

  • finally a hair tutorial i may actually be able to use! messy is the keyword here that makes it doable for me. haha.

  • Messy buns were my go-to when I had long hair. I just made the leap to cut it off pretty short so I’m happy for the lower versions listed below! Awesome! <3

  • Cute! Yours always look so polished 🙂 I wish I had longer hair!! (Soon, eep!)

  • There’s not enough of these kind of posts, but when there is it’s always good! You look great!

  • This look is so cute and easy to do! Thanks for sharing how you do it.

  • Such a great hair DIY, love it!


  • So cute… and the reason why I’m growing my hair long again! Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Very cute! You’re hair is so full and gorgeous! Lovely.



    thanks for sharing!

    xoxo, Maryam

  • i love this tutorial, i have been trying to make a bun like this but didnt realize to use the hair tie! 🙂

    Steffys Pros and Cons

  • Oh… Just after I cut my hair super short with no chance of bun-fun. It’s okay! I will pass on to my lovely, long-haired pals to try out.

  • aw thanks for this elsie! i do my messy bun waay differently, but your way looks much better. i’m going to give it a whirl 🙂 x

  • There’s nothing I love more than messy but put together looking hair, love this!

  • i loooove messy buns, i’m so excited my hair is long enough to do this again!

    ps – loved seeing that pic of your red hair. i loooved your red hair!

  • Love it…Love it!!!!
    I do this often in the summer…Super easy and a great way to stay cool.

  • oh yay! i’m so glad you shared this. wearing my hair up is the only way to go right now cause it is sooooo hot outside!

  • THANK YOU! My hair is so long [and hot!] this summer. I’m so excited to try this messy bun style! Thanks love! xx

  • OH, Elsie. What would my poor hair do without this tutorial!
    Thanks 🙂

  • It always called my attention the way you do your hair. If only it were so simple to follow the instructions :/ …

    Have a colorful week! 😉


  • I love how everyone has a different way to do this! So cute.


  • I love this, I think I need to grow my hair out a little bit but I think with your instructions I could pull this off. Thanks!

  • Oh thanks so much for posting this! This helps my buns always turn out weird looking!

  • i love wearing messy side buns. i should try it your way. now that my hair is getting longer, i need to try different ways of styling it so i don’t get bored & spontaneously decide to chop it off!

  • I always love a good messy bun. I wear my hair in one almost every day. =)

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  • I have always wondered how you did your bun in the pic of you wearing the record store jumper. Thanks so much for sharing! I would definitely love to see more hair and makeup tutorials!

  • Super cute! I usually just do the pony tail thang. . . but I am about to run upstairs and try the ‘bun’ out! Okay, I have to ask. . . your lashes are amazing ~ what do I have to do to get that look!

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