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How to Create the Perfect Half-Up Top Knot Bun

The half-up top knot bun is the epitome of sophistication, but if you don't know how to do it right, it can look messy in a hurry. Here's how to master the classic look.

Matthew Cohen/Rd.com

The timelessness of the top knot

There’s a reason this is the favorite style of Instagram style stars: It’s easy to do, doesn’t distract from the rest of your look, and is flattering for all face shapes. Read on for step-by-step instructions.

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Step 1: Start with dry hair

You’ll want to start with dry strands or second-day hair, suggests Jean Oh of the Nunzio Saviano Salon in White Plains, New York. Need a blow-dry tutorial? Try these tricks for a long-lasting blowout.

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Step 2: Dry shampoo (optional)

Greasy roots? Fine or thin strands? Hair just needs a pick-me-up? Give your roots a spritz of dry shampoo to refresh, add volume, and revive limp locks. Dry shampoo also adds grit to strands, which will help hold your top knot in place.

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Step 3: Section strands

Use your fingers (a brush or comb works too) to section out approximately 1/3 of the front of your hair—starting from the front and extending to the crown of the head. Here’s how to find the best hairbrush for your hair type.

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Step 4: Secure ponytail

Once your mini ponytail is in the ideal placement at the top of your head for your top knot bun, secure it with a snag-free hair tie. Don’t miss these ponytail hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Step 5: Backcomb ponytail

Backcomb the ponytail to amp up the volume. Then hit it with texture spray, like Living Proof Instant Texture Mist, for instant, effortless texture.

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Step 6: Wrap it up

After your ponytail is in place, wrap all the hair from the pony in a clockwise direction around the elastic to sculpt the knot.

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Step 7: Secure

Use bobby pins to lock your bun into place. Pro tip: Be sure to place pins at the top and the bottom of the bun, making a point to get strands from the bun and securing them to the head.

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Step 8: Set with hairspray

Finish with lightweight, humidity-resistant hairspray to ensure your style stays put—not to mention smooth, shiny, and frizz-free—all day.

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Step 9: Rock your cute ‘do!

What’s great about this ‘do is that it’s super versatile and can go from day to night or from casual to formal. Craving a more laid-back look? Try this messy ballerina bun.

Lindsay Cohn
Lindsay Cohn is an avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents and writes about travel for Reader’s Digest as well as USA Today, Fodor’s, Travel + Leisure, Brides and PureWow. Beyond travel, she covers a variety of lifestyle topics including beauty, wellness and design. Her work has also been published on Well+Good, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart, Domino and Mindbodygreen. Follow her on Instagram @lindsay_cohn