5 Celeb-Approved Ballerina Buns Worn by Rihanna, Shay Mitchell, and More
With so many gorgeous gals taking their tresses to the next level with colors, cuts, and styles, it’s only natural to have a major case of hair envy. The Mane Attraction will help you sort through which looks are worth trying with a biweekly dive into the latest hair trends taking over the red carpet and Instagram.
Let’s get one thing straight: We love a good messy bun. But, as much as we hate to admit it, the effortless style doesn’t always fit in with the occasion — whether that’s a board meeting, first date, or parent-teacher conference. You know what is, though? A universally flattering modern-day ballerina bun. Before you go cringing over memories of foam donuts and your mom pulling your hair too tight, hear us out. When styled with added volume, clip-in fringe, or braids, these throwback hairstyles can make quite the first impression. Best of all, they won’t take much longer than your go-to messy bun to create.
To help you get in on the celeb-approved hair trend — worn by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rihanna, and Shay Mitchell, just to name a few — ahead you’ll find step-by-step instructions straight from their stylists.
If you’re of the thought process that the bigger the bun, the better, look no further than Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. While wearable for all face shapes, this particular bun is especially flattering on oval face shapes, as, according to celebrity stylist Jonathan Colombini, the wide knot brings attention to the jawline and away from the length of the face. (Photo via Stephen Lovekin/ Getty)
To imitate her elegant updo, prep your strands with a leave-in conditioner (like Leonor Greyl Condition Naturelle ($38)). If you have particularly frizz-prone tresses, you may also want to apply a smoothing serum (like IGK’s CRYBABY Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum ($25)). Allow it to air-dry, or blast it with medium heat to speed up the process. Once your mane is dry, use a boar bristle brush to smooth strands back into a high ponytail at the crown. “Keep the pony straight and wrap hair counter-clockwise,” says Colombini, who created the above style on Huntington-Whiteley. Secure the bun in place with a bobby pin at the top and bottom of the bun, making sure that all pins and ends are tucked out of view.
Instead of rocking a smoothed-back voluminous pony, follow Rihanna’s example and give your strands the wrap-around for an elevated bun. (Photo via Jason Merritt/ Getty)
Start with a high ponytail at the crown of your head. To nail the rough appeal of the “Wild Thoughts” singer’s updo, spray your ponytail with a light-hold texture spray (like OUAI’s Texturizing Hair Spray ($26)) and gently tease the strands, pushing from the ends up toward the roots. Remember: The goal is to add a little volume, not go all-out ’80s. After giving your pony a little grip and grit, twist it clockwise down to the ends while wrapping in a clockwise direction. Pin the bun in place and clip in a faux fringe under the bun, fanning it out over your forehead. “The clip-in fringe is the [golden] touch to closing in a hairline that may sit further back,” Colombini, the pro behind RiRi’s bun, says. “It draws the eye straight to her hazel eyes and bold, powerful lip.”
If you have a round face and aren’t convinced you can pull off the ballerina bun style, get excited for this top-knot hybrid. According to celebrity stylist Andrew Fitzsimons, “Top knots elongate the shape of the head, giving the appearance of a more oval-shaped face.” (Photo via Andrew Fitzsimons)
Recreating this look couldn’t be easier. “Smooth the hair into a ponytail at the crown and secure with an elastic,” Fitzsimons, who created the above hairstyle on Mitchell, says. Once secured, braid the ponytail and wind it around itself to form a bun. Secure with pins and finish with a spritz of light-to-medium hold hairspray (like Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Working Hairspray ($30)).
“This one is all about the center part,” celebrity stylist Cash Lawless says. A strong symmetrical middle divide instantly elevates any bun hairstyle thanks to the “modern, fashion-y twist on the classic ballerina bun,” he says. (Photo via Marc Piasecki/ Getty)
To get the look, create a clean center part using a rat-tail comb. “Wet the hair with water and blow-dry flat against the root in the direction of the bun without messing up the center part,” says Lawless, who works with Hadid (although he did not create this style). Once dry, spray a boar bristle brush with generous amounts of hairspray and comb both sides back, again maintaining the center part. Pull your hair into a ponytail, twist it into a traditional bun, and pin it in place.
If you aren’t quite ready to give up your messy knots, make a compromise with this put-together yet intentionally undone ‘do. “The key to this style is to ensure the hair is glossy and clean and that the piece (or pieces) you leave out look intentional, not accidental,” says Lawless, who styled Coehlo’s asymmetric style. (Photo via Cash Lawless)
Score the style by applying a smoothing pomade (like SEVEN Haircare’s Gazar Polish Balm ($28) from roots to ends and gathering your hair into a high ponytail. Pull out a few strands and leave them aside — this chunk will serve as your undone accent come the final look. Split your ponytail into two sections and rope-braid as you twist them into a bun. “This will keep any accidental stray hairs from coming out,” Lawless explains. Once coiled, secure with bobby pins. “Grab the loose piece and curl the end with a flat iron,” Lawless says. “Wrap it around the braided bun but leave out the last few inches.” Pin the perfectly imperfect undone piece in place so that it doesn’t unravel.
Excited to upgrade your go-to bun hairstyle? Follow us on Pinterest for more beauty inspo and info.
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Illustrations by San Trieu