The Editors
Updated on December 21, 2022

You have heard of it, your friends wear it, it is all over your Instagram feed, and you, well, you are probably dying for a way to upgrade yours. You guessed right: we are talking about the messy bun. Join us in our quest for cutting-edge ways to style your hair with a bun that is everything but ordinary.

Messy Bun Ideas

A bun updo is nothing new, but each of the following hairstyles includes some sparkle that makes you take a second glance.

1. Fringed Donut Style

This one rates high on our cute messy buns ranking. After all, it is a power combo: donut meets messy meets fringes, and it is as easy to make as it looks. All you need to do is to slightly curl and twist small locks of hair with your fingers as you go. Works with short bangs as well.

2. Not-So-Messy Bun

Uptight and messy are not as incompatible as your boss wants you to believe. This bun will give you the best of both worlds, especially if you have curly hair. You will need to learn how to do a messy bun and turn it less messy as you go. The final result is credible enough for a board meeting.

Twisted Bun Formal Updo

Instagram/ @hairbyjaxx

3. Peony Blossom Updo

Turn the back of your head into a flourishing vase with this messy bun. It all starts with a low ponytail, small locks of hair looped, and several bobby pins. Then hair fixators join the party, so your hair can blossom from day to night.

4. Curly Pastel Purple Bun

Chanel your inner child with this fairytale hairstyle that will make heads turn as you go. The white flower hairpin is perfect to enhance the color, and a little bit of green is the perfect combo to the purple. The thin braid will make you ready for springtime all year round.

5. Low Bun with Medieval Braid

Braids and buns have been around for quite a long time now; this hairstyle draws inspiration from back in the day where a tutorial was nowhere to be found. It’s actually way simpler than it looks, if you keep in mind that the strand for the braid is merely decorative and should be the last thing you do. Before finishing just tuck the tip of the braid inside the low bun you have done previously.

6. Messy Bun with Embellishment

A messy bun comes in many forms, but none is as sweet as this swept style embellished with a flower. You can use a variety of items to add a bit of fancy to your finished look including barrettes, jewels, flowers, butterflies and bows.

Loose Twisted Messy Bun For Long Hair

Instagram / @nicoledrege

7. Side Braid Into Bun

If you deal with unruly locks that you love to wear long despite the drama, try this hairstyle on for size. Starting with a side braid, head it around to the back of the head and twist remaining hair into a low bun. Secure with a hair elastic and bobby pins. The best part of this style? You can allow select tendrils and natural strands to flow freely.

Messy Bun With A Braid

Instagram / @christinagunnell

8. Crowned with a Colored Bun

Hair color serves many purposes, but none is as fun as making a bold fashion statement. When you’re ready to express yourself in a whole new way, color the lower section of your hair a bright hue while leaving the roots natural. When you pull your locks into a high bun, twist accordingly to show off the color.

High Messy Bun With A Crown Accessory

Instagram / @detrashalee

9. Double Braid Messy Bun

Long-haired ladies understand the importance of keeping an arsenal of messy bun hairstyles for those days when your mane refuses to cooperate. This pretty and seemingly intricate style is ideal for all seasons and works well on a variety of hair textures.

Two Side Braids With A Low Knot

Instagram / @alexsismae

10. Tucked Chignon

Sweet and simple, this chignon hairstyle is easy to try. Start by brushing all hair straight back, than backcomb roughly. Pull hair into a low ponytail and then criss cross and twists sections, shaping a messy knot. Secure each section with bobby pins until the hair elastic is completely covered. This style is a bit easier to pull off on damp hair. Plus, air dried locks get that fun and messy vibe naturally.

Messy Chignon Updo

Instagram / @theprettyparlour

11. Business Bun

If you spend your days at the office, you’ll need a go-to style that isn’t too complicated and yet still exudes class and professionalism. Enter this high bun style that’s achieved through a high ponytail that is then wrapped around itself. Leave some loose strands in the back and on the sides to avoid looking too severe.

12. Messy Bun with Bangs

Bangs are always in style, and if you’re fortunate enough to have long medium to thick hair, you can easily pull off this style. To get the perfect messy bun, finger comb hair into place instead of using a brush or a comb. Add a ribbon, headband or bandana to finish the look.

Messy Bun With A Head Scarf

Instagram / @headstudio

13. Twisted Style for Long Hair

Hair twists are a great way to go because you can easily adapt them to your own hair length and texture. Comb hair out and twist either large or small sections into a ponytail. Wrap the remaining hair into a bun and secure with hair pins. Spray with a high quality setting spray to keep your hair in place all day.

Low Messy Bun With Twists

Instagram / @elstilespb

14. Voluminous Bun with Teased Roots

This hairdo takes the cake when it comes to both high style and minimal effort. Perfectly coiffed without slicking hair down severely, this style works best with long hair that is thin or medium textured. Wear the bun during the day or fancy it up with jewelry and darker makeup when it’s time to enjoy the nightlife.

Voluminous Messy Bun With Teased Roots

Instagram / @tonyastylist

15. Ageless Messy Bun

Messy buns aren’t just for young women – any age can rock this hairstyle. If your hair is more mature, try a low bun styled without a brush, only with your fingers. Don’t stress out about making it perfect – the entire goal is to show off your free spirit.

Messy Bun For Wavy Hair

Instagram / @kykhair

16. Side Bun with Braided Headband

Messy buns look lovely in a variety of ways, but if you want something different, pair a side bun with braided headband. Depending upon the length and thickness of your hair, this style may come out as a chunky, bold look or a more subtle, wispy beauty.

Loose Side Bun With A Braid

Instagram / @alliedoeshair

17. Braided Low Bun Updo

Starting with a French braid running down the back of the head, this hairstyle ends with the lower half of the braid twisted and secured into a low bun. What makes it exciting? The messy feel and the bold and dramatic color contrast, like vibrant purple against jet black. Many color combinations look awesome – the only way to discover your favorite is to try.

Messy Braided Low Bun Updo

Instagram / @stephhstyles

18. Crimped Messy Bun

Wondering how to do a messy bun that looks totally unique? Resurrect the80’s crimped hair trend: crinkle your hair prior to styling it. If you don’t have access to such an iron, sleep with damp strands sectioned into miniature braids all over the head.

19. Mini Messy Style

If you’re growing out your hair, you understand the frustration of not having enough reasonable style options. Low buns can save the day if your hair is at least chin length. If layers or select strands fall out, no worries – it just adds to the overall stylish, messy look you’re going for.

Casual Messy Bun For Shorter Hair

Instagram / @circlesofhair

20. Braids into Top Knot

Again, if your hair is thin or not too long, try this variation of the top knot. Brush hair straight back into a pony, leaving a few front sections out to braid. Pull the braids back and gather them with the rest of the hair into a loose knot.

21. Upside Down Braid and Bun

Flip that mane upside down and French braid from the base of your neck up to the crown of the head. Twist hair around an elastic and spray with a light setting spray. Cute messy buns can be simple or intricate – all are beautiful in their own way.

22. Side Swept Low Bun

Divide hair into three sections, using just your fingers. Twist and pin each section in a variety of spots, ending with a sloppy bun shifted to one side. What a perfect mess!

Low Messy Bun Updo

Instagram / @ramsaymarstonhair

23. Messy Bun with Volume

This fancy look adds a boost of volume to the hair without overdoing it. A bouffant instantly lifts the messy bun look from casual to formal. Highlights are always a beautiful bonus when you work with styles where you twist and wrap your hair.

Messy Bun With A Bouffant

Instagram / @ellasbridalhair

24. High Bun with Flat Twists

Wondering how to make a messy bun look more creative? The answer is found in plaited details. This hairstyle with rope twist braids up the back of the head and a fishtail top bun is the winning combination to stand out from the crowd!

High Braided Bun With Flat Twists

Instagram / @stephhstyles

25. Messy Twisted Bun

Gather completely dried strands into a low bun and twist a section over the hair elastic to add a subtle yet pretty detail to the simple look. Pair this knot with bangs or side tendrils to soften it up.

Casual Messy Bun For Long Hair

Instagram / @duyenhuynh

26. Parisian Chic Hairstyle

This look is au naturel or so it seems. Be inspired by the high life in Paris and take your messiest bun to a formal event. Don’t forget to use your favorite hair fixator to be sure that your hair will stand through the day. Pair it with pearls and sunglasses to look effortlessly and Parisian chic.

27. Long Side Braid Updo

Take you side braid to the next level with this messy bun for long hair. We know it is hard to believe that a braid and a bun can get along so well, but this hairstyle is proof. Anyone with highlights or different color shades must try it at least once.

28. Cotton Candy Hairstyle

Could this color degrade be more mesmerizing? With all the twists and color depth this low bun makes one dream of unicorns and cotton candy. Once you tackle the color, keep an eye open for the right length: the loose hair that will frame your face mustn`t touch your shoulders.

29. Chunky Bun with Flowers

Here’s a hairstyle that demands more improvisation than technical skills. Among all messy bun hairstyles this is the one that lets imagination blossom. You can use real flowers attached to bobby pins (you will need lots of them) or look around for hairpins with different flowers; think of it as a garden.

30. Shades of Blue on the Side

Perfect for days when you feel you need to make a statement, a bold one. Just use this easy side bun hairstyle to put yourself out there. You will look fierce enough to pass as a celebrity. Dare to go for the shades of silver, blue and purple, and invitations to star in music videos and movies will rain.

31. Bohemian Chic Low Bun

There is always something elvish in messy buns like this. The combination of neon colors and boho hair jewelry in leather and metal takes us to another dimension. Not an everyday hairstyle, you should save this for special occasions. And yes, an urgent need to show off how your rings go with your hair is special enough for us.

Boho Messy Bun With Purple Highlights

Instagram/ @liz.colors

32. Inverted Braid and Bun

You have two options for this hairstyle: 1) you hair is really long; 2) you are okay with using hair extensions. It is all about length here. You need enough hair for a thick inverted braid staring from the bottom of your head, and then even more hair for an epic messy bun on the top.

33. Double Braided Side Bun

This style is ideal for girls with long hair who desperately need to refresh the neck area during sunny days but are tired of ponytails and plain donut buns. For beginners, our advice is starting with the braids, leaving the rest of the hair loose so that the ends of the braids can easily mesh to create the falling effect of this messy bun.

34. Braided Casual ‘Do

This one is 50% braid and 50% bun; not all messy buns can boast that. Just start a waterfall braid as you always do, keep it lower and looser, and once you are half way through it, roll it all in a messy knot. Remember the hairband will be showing so you might want to match or contrast it with your outfit.

35. Twisted Messy Bun

Come on, let’s do the twist. Conquer any dance floor with this bun updo full of twists, rolls and depth. If you have contrasting highlights like in the picture, your hair will look not only rhythmic but also tasty – and we are talking ice-cream swirl tasty here.

Twisted Messy Updo

Instagram/ @chitabeseau

36. Bun with Tangled Braids

Feel tangled up in buns with this messy bun for long hair. French maids inspired, this take on the famous braid is fresher and more relaxed than ever. In rainy days, this bun is great if you are constantly using a hood. No need to worry about small hair out of place: it is all part of the look.

37. Neatly Rolled High Bun

We present you with a look suitable even for short hair. Depending on the length, you will be able to accomplish a more or less detailed hair roll. Don’t be afraid to follow the pretzel look, it is trending in formal hairstyle catalogues all over the industry, and it will not compromise your look.

38. Big Looped Bun

This is the ultimate and the coolest of all the messy bun hairstyles depicted in this article. Why do we love it so much? Because it is true to its roots and all it does is magnifying the effects of the original, more tamed style. Though, we do admit that the amazing chalk color game seen here scored some extra points.

39. Formal Bun for Medium Hair

Family reunions and meeting the in-laws will be much easier with this twist bun with braid. It requires some maintenance, so you might want to invite a friend over for hairstyling reinforcement. Closer to the end line you will not regret it, as you will feel ready for meeting and greeting through the next 24 hours.

40. Elegant Updo with a Bouffant

Forget your sock bun. This hairstyle needs neither much support nor filling because your hair will be doing all the work. If your hair is thick, you have an advantage when the time to tangle locks and branches comes. For those with thinner hair, there are some products in the market that can be helpful.

We have been through 40 bun hairstyles and we survived to tell the tale. Now that you know what is out there, be ready to spare more than one hour to accomplish some of the hairstyles, but worry not: you will find every minute worth it while enjoying your upgraded messy bun.

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