7 Tips to Get the Perfect Ballerina Bun

Photo Credit: Philippa Langley | Getty Images

Photo Credit: Philippa Langley | Getty Images


hile we Rockettes love to rock a French twist, the ballet bun is another practical way for dancers to keep their hair up, out of their eyes and close to their head so that it doesn’t interfere with turning and spotting. The most popular bun-making techniques involve twisting and wrapping your ponytail into a bun shape (some dancers with shorter hair use a small donut-shaped sock!). But no matter how you create it, a classic ballet bun must be well-secured, smooth and neat—here are seven tips to give your bun the prima ballerina treatment:

  1. A secure bun starts with a secure ponytail. Brush your hair back into a tight ponytail—position it on your head wherever you want the finished bun—and secure with a hair elastic.
  2. If your hair is very thin and fine, use hairspray and a bit of teasing to give your ponytail some volume and texture. You can also spray your hairpins with hairspray so they will grip your hair more effectively.
  3. If using the ponytail “twist” technique, continuously twist your ponytail tightly as you wrap it around your ponytail bun to keep stray ends from breaking free.
  4. Press your hand flat on top of the bun as you wrap the hair to prevent it from getting too high. If your bun sticks out like a doorknob, you are probably wrapping the end of your ponytail too close to the elastic.
  5. If your hair is short or heavily-layered, it helps if your hair is slightly damp. Use a hair net that matches your hair color over your ballet bun to contain any stray ends.
  6. U-shaped hairpins are best for holding a bun in place. Unlike a bobby pin, which is designed to grab hair with the ridged side down, the hairpin goes in flat. When anchoring the bun with hairpins, direct each pin down toward the scalp at the edge of the bun, grabbing some bun hair. Then, “scoop” a bit of the scalp hair with the tips as you direct the pin into the base of the bun, parallel to the head.
  7. Use a smoothing brush and a small amount of hair gel or spray to get rid of any wispy hairs around the hairline. If any of your hair doesn’t reach the bun, twist small sections of loose hair and secure them with bobby pins (ridged side down) or triangular snap clips that match your hair color.

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