Hair how-to: 5 minute alternative bun

I recently put up a post with some of my standard hairstyles that I often use to get my hair out of my face for work. One of them I do all the time because it’s so quick and easy.
It’s essentially a bun – but with a twist in the front and a smooth finish it looks a bit more polished and along the lines of a more elaborate up-do from the mid-century. Well, at least, I think so.
Here is a somewhat messy version on me…
But now to show you the quick, easy steps to do it yourself, using my usual glamorous model.
You can do this on most lengths hair and as I go along I’ll explain why. To prove my point, my hair is pretty long, but my model’s hair is shoulder-length. I think this is probably the shortest you can get away with, especially if you have layers.
You will need:
  • Hair brush
  • Hair bobble strong enough to hold a ponytail in place
  • About 10 ‘hair-coloured’ kirby grips, depending on how thick your hair is
  • Hairspray, if you’re so inclined

1. Hair down and brushed out

This style will be slightly easier to manage if your hair has a slight wave or curl… it will definitely be trickier if you’ve straightened it. L’s hair was blow dried without styling. It’s quite straight, so made some of the rolling action a bit trickier, but we managed.

2. Section off hair for the front twist

Grab a section of hair from the front of your head, that goes back about an inch, pull it over to one side. Now back comb near the roots of where you want the twist to land to give it a bit of height and purchase.

2. Make the twist – or faux roll

Twist your hair around a couple of fingers to make what is essentially a curved mini quiff. Pin just behind this – you can see in the above photo it’s not especially neat, but it’s holding firm, which is what I need it to do.

3. Make a ponytail

Brush your hair into a secure ponytail and fix with a bobble. You can put this anywhere on the back of your head that you like, just with any bun – but you need about the length of ponytail above or longer for the next stage to work. We’ve gone for mid-way down, but I often do this near the top of my head too (see pictures below).

Once your ponytail is in, if you want some volume, tease out tiny 5-10mm wide sections from the back of your head, piece by piece all around (see the picture on the right). We didn’t add in two much volume for L, as we wanted a more sleek look. But in the pictures above you can see I’ve created a bit of volume for mine – helped by lightly backcombing the hair before it went into the ponytail. This method of adding in volume retrospectively tends to give a slightly messier look than if you were to build up height another way, but it is probably the fastest.

4. Loop the ponytail and pin down

Grab hold of the ponytail in one hand (probably your left) and loop it round the fingers of your other hand from about midway down the tail to make a nice big circle with the ends tucked in. If you want to cover the hair band, keep a strand of hair about 1cm thick out of the loop and pin this round and into the loop either before or after you’ve secured it (before is easier, but I forgot to do this here!)

Pin down the loop by inserting kirby grips in horizontally at either side of the loop, pinning to the back of your head – see the picture on the right where you can glimpse a kirby grip. Thicker hair will need 2-3 strong clips.

To make this into a rounded bun, once the loop is secure, fan out the sides gently with your hands and pin the outer strands of hair once or twice on either side. Now it will look like a smooth, round bun. You might find the odd strand in the loop doesn’t want to stay in neatly, in which case insert kirby grips vertically underneath the bun from the bottom to secure.


It’s also possible to wear this bun higher up on the head as I mentioned, just by starting the ponytail up at the top of the head…
And if you ever make a mess of pinning it, accessorise!


  1. August 27, 2014 / 9:42 am

    I love this tutorial and keep coming back to it – attempted this look today for work, but without the front twist. I find my hair tricky to fan out and pin in place, it's quite springy!! So it's a mess. I need to practice. How about doing an updated tutorial with a video of your lovely self doing this hairstyle?? xx

    • September 2, 2014 / 8:28 pm

      Mine's very springy too – the key is to pin it little by little if your hair is stubborn – pin the edges and then underneath, bit by bit. I guess that's kind of hard to describe! I'll ponder doing a video… but the idea terrifies me a little!! I guess I like the photos because I can pick the best ones! xx

    • January 28, 2015 / 6:17 am

      love this, so pretty! still a little o_o i won't get it right, but so want to try this! and yes, video tutorials would be amazing!! p.s. i do music if you want to check it out 😉

    • January 28, 2015 / 6:17 am

      love this, so pretty! still a little o_o i won't get it right, but so want to try this! and yes, video tutorials would be amazing!! p.s. i do music if you want to check it out 😉

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