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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/

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.