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The messy bun is a go-to option for those days when showering and styling is just not an option. When all you've got is five minutes and a hair elastic, perfecting the subtle art of the messy bun is a style lifesaver. Keeping it fast doesn't mean sacrificing your fresh look -- stick to tried-and-true tricks to stay in the Good Hair Day zone.
Prep Your Look
You won't be doing yourself any favors if your "fast" messy bun requires three or four re-dos because your hair wasn't properly prepped. It's best to start dry, so skipping the shower if you are in a time crunch is a-OK for this look. Frizz will leave you feeling frustrated -- use a spritz of anti-frizz spray or serum to tame your flyaways, but don't go crazy and leave your hair limp and weighed down with product. Start your bun off with a ponytail to keep all those front strands in place, keeping in mind that wherever you place the ponytail is where the bun will sit. A few quick backstrokes with a brush or comb gives your hair some volume so your bun will look nice and full.
Twist, Wrap, Tuck
Once you've got your ponytail situated, the messy bun style is a snap. If your hair is thick and full, grab the whole pony and wrap it around the base of the elastic a few times. Once you get to the end, secure it with an elastic. Don't get caught up in keeping the look in a perfect spiral -- you're not going for a ballerina look here. If your hair is a little thinner or curlier, you don't have to do the twist; just gather the hair with your fingers, pile it at the base of the pony and keep it in place with your elastic. If you've got big strands hanging out, tuck them up into your elastic, or just leave them free -- you are going for the messy look, after all.
Once you've got the basics of your messy bun down, start experimenting with simple adjustments for a totally customized look. Instead of slicking your hair back, leave it a looser up front with a some backcombing and then smooth down the bump with hairspray. For a more romantic look, part your hair on the side and run a French braid up the wider half before you throw in your starter pony. If French braids are a little too traditional for you, spice up your look with a double bun -- just part your hair into top and bottom halves and give each section its own messy bun for a playful, stacked look.
The right accessories can mask the fact that your messy bun is a last-minute styling choice. Skinny headbands lined along the crown of your head hold down flyaways and add style to your look. Keep them simple and solid-colored for the office or opt for some bedazzled embellishment when you are just hanging out with your girlfriends. Wider cloth or leather headbands get the job done, too. Opt for a style that complements your outfit -- think matching colors to your shoes or belt. Chopsticks or hair sticks can hold hairstyles up on their own, but you can cheat a little and just slide them through the base of your bun and no one will know there's really an elastic back there doing all the work.