Sure, we envy the girl who can master updos — yes, the messy bun IS technically an updo — without scouring Pinterest for answers. But hey, we can’t all have everything. Like beach waves and “I just woke up this way” bed head, perfectly tousled tresses that look like anything but a mess can sometimes be tough to master. If you’ve attempted the messy bun before, you may know exactly what we mean — 20 minutes and two questionably tired arms later (maybe cut your gym “stretching” sesh short next time and try out the weights, perhaps?), you end up with unsuccessful ’dos aplenty, none of them fit for public. After much trial and error, we’ve come up with easy fixes to classic cases of the mismanaged messy bun.
the perfect messy bun

The Bun With an Identity Crisis

Well, one thing’s for sure: It’s a mess — so much so that there’s hair pointing every which way, and you’re not really sure if it can be called a bun at all. On thick or curly hair, the problem magnifies and either resembles a fan or tangled pile resting on your head. Not a pretty picture. The good news: The volume will work to your advantage, you just have to get your proportions right.
The Fix: Tame stray strands while maintaining your natural volume with gel. Use sparingly; some frizz is OK here. Instead of teasing, create the bun as you normally would. Then, run a comb over the top of your head and loosely pin any out-of-place pieces.
Product Pick: L’Oréal Studio Line Silky Curls Gel
 

The Lollipop, or “The Ballerina Bun Gone Wrong”

And you weren’t even attempting a ballerina bun. It’s too round, too tall, too twisted. This strange thing at the top of your head signifies a bun that’s too high and pulled too tightly, pushing the hair upward, out of the pony. Very straight or naturally flat hair falls victim to this ’do disaster because, while there’s more than enough hair, it lacks the body to create a tousled look.
The Fix: A lower bun with added texture. Apply a finishing spray and give it an extra tease in the pony before pulling it into a bun. If your bun feels too loose (hence why you attempted the high bun in the first place), just add some bobby pins to the base of it for security.
Product Pick: Redken Quick Tease 15 Backcombing Finishing Spray
 

The Barely-There Bun

Those of us with fine hair have to consider updos carefully — choose the wrong one and you kind of wonder where exactly your hair went. If you do all the prep work, such as air-drying and teasing, and still end up with a tiny, golf-ball-sized hairdo, make sure you’re using the right product beforehand.
The Fix: A volumizing foam or mousse to amp up your pony. Then tease and twist into a bun. Afterward, gently tug around your bun and add hairspray to hold.
Product Pick: Kérastase Mousse Volumactive
 
Are you a messy bun pro or disaster prone? Share your hair stories in the comments.
 
Photos: Thinkstock