Braided Top Bun

Braided Top Bun

Braided Top Bun

Whenever I’m walking around downtown New York, I see tons of cute girls wearing buns on the tops of their heads.

Well, what could be even better than a top bun? A braided top bun! My friend Caroline, a hair genius, came over to explain exactly how to get this easy spring look, and the fabulous Jamie Beck took photos.

Here are Caroline’s easy steps…

1. This simple hairstyle is perfect for a warm spring day, when you want to keep your hair cool and off your neck. First, part your hair in a deep side part (instead of combing it back smoothly). This makes it look a little less fancy, perfect for bike rides or Sunday picnics. Then gather your hair into a ponytail on top of your head. The higher, the better.

2. Make a loose braid all the way down the tail. Don’t braid it too tightly; a little messy is perfect and it will help it look less “ballerina.” Secure the end with a rubber band; I recommend these clear elastic bands, since they’ll blend into your hair color and won’t be as visible.

3. Creating a circle on top of your head with the braid. You don’t want to wrap it tightly like a bun; instead you want it loose and open in the center, kind of like a braided pillbox hat! (If your hair is really long, you may have to double up the braid, one in front of the other.) When you reach the end, tuck the bottom of the braid under the circle you’ve created to hide it.

4. Pin the braid in place with mini bobby pins, since they’re easier to hide and won’t be as noticeable.

5. A few suggestions: I like to make the look a little messier by pulling little strands of hair out at the back and sides, but if you prefer it cleaner, you don’t have to do that. And if you’d like, you can pin your bangs out of the way with bobby pins.

Voila! Here’s the look, beautiful and timeless.

What do you think, my darlings? Thank you so much, Caroline and Jamie! xoxo

P.S. Past hair tutorials, including three twisted buns, the perfect side ponytail, a messy French bun.

(Photos by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. Caroline’s shirt is from Cardigan, and her jewelry is from her own line Brvtvs.)

  1. TT says...

    I will tell it to my girlfriend :)

  2. I have really thick hair but it is long so I split my pony into two braids and then wrapped them in opposite directions. Otherwise my bun would have been HUGE and sticking way up in the air. This way it came out beautifully. thank you for the idea and instructions!

  3. i have short hair. Do you think it would work?

  4. I am so trying this tomorrow.

    Thanks for the easy step by step guide

  5. Suzanne says...

    Please do more tutorials for hair! I love all of them! I get compliments everytime I do any of them (the french ballerina top bun, the three little grecian style low buns, etc.)

    Love them!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial:-) Now I’m off to give it a try!

  7. I enjoy your hair tutorials very much! although I have shorter hair than Caroline (and layered too) I managed both the messy side ponytail and the 3 twited buns!!
    Now I think of cutting my hair and I won’t be able to do your tutorials… :(


  8. When I wear my hair up, I ordinarily wear it in a ballerina bun, so I was thrilled when you posted this – it’s such a cute take on the style, and better for people like me who have, ahem, less than thick hair.

    I tried it the next day and BINGO! Funny story: I was walking out of the restroom at work that day and a girl from my building came in and complimented me on the bun, for which I enthusiastically thanked her.

    She followed up with, “You don’t happen to read ‘A Cup of Jo’ do you?”

    Yes. Yes I do.

    Totally outed! :o)

  9. Thank you for this tip! I finally attempted it on this rainy day and it was so easy, quick, and cute. Please keep the helpful creative hair tutorials coming!

  10. So pleased to have new ideas for my long long hair, although trying to perfect it has left me with severe arm ache. Can only mean that it tones your arms too – bonus!

  11. LOVE THIS! Thank you. I have been wearing this all week. Oh and I scheduled a blog for in the morning linking back to this post! I had to give credit where it’s due:)


  12. I haven’t been able to figure out any of these hairstyles! I think I may have thicker hair than caroline, because my hair will not stay put. It’s a shame because they’re so cute!

  13. totally love. will be wearing my hair like this pronto.

  14. I wore my hair like this yesterday. Everyone loved it and they asked who did it for me!

  15. Love love love this!

  16. Anonymous says...

    This is fantastic! Great instructions, too. So simple!

  17. I really love all these hair tutorials! I must admit, I definitely try them, but they never look as good as Caroline!

  18. I always adore your hair tutorials! :)

    I guess I’m one of these ‘bun-girls’ and I sometimes did this kind of hairstyle just by chance if I was cheesed of by my braided tail during the day.

    Your beautiful post puts it to perfection! Thank you!

  19. Ah Caroline, you ARE a hair genius. I love this and the perfect side ponytail, keep them coming, we love :)

  20. this combines my two favorite hairstyles, a braid and a bun (well, my only two hairstyles!) love it. Keep the hair tutorials coming!

  21. I’ve followed your blog for a few months now and I’m just amazed by the things you do with your hair! I would love so much to do all these cute things with my hair but I just can’t ever seem to get it right!

    Love your blog!

  22. Anonymous says...

    I love this!

  23. I love all the hair tutorials, I’ve tried them all at least once. Keep ’em coming!

  24. LOVING these hair tutorials!!!!

  25. Anonymous says...

    Oh! I love this look,i am going to try it! Thanks!

  26. katrina, she’s wearing Tarte cheek stain (you can find the link at the bottom of the post) and Tarte mascara. thanks for all the lovely comments!!

  27. these hair tutorials are great!
    could you tell us about the makeup she uses here? so pretty and natural.

  28. Yay I am loving these hair tutorials thanks Jo x

  29. i do believe i am the only pathetic person in the world that cannot figure out how to do braids on my own head. sad because i haven’t had a real haircut in about two years, and my hair is approximately 3.2 miles long now.

  30. first time commenter…tried the braided bun today and the three twisted buns last week- love both styles!

  31. SO gorgeous. I tried to do it last night and realized that my hair needs to be a lot longer (mine is 2-3 inches past my shoulders). To do this look you probably need it to be mid-back length. All the more reason for me to keep my eye on the prize and not do an impulse cut, which I did 2 years ago and still regret.

  32. found your blog from camp comfort… love it all… and love this hairstyle. will definitely be trying soon:)

  33. Thanks so much for this! I love when you do hair tutorials. So helpful, and can’t wait to try this one out.

  34. Yes. I will literally being wearing my hair like that tomorrow. So chic and easy! (and perfect for those days you didn’t have time to wash your hair!) Thank you!

  35. LOVE THIS! You two need to make a book of these.

  36. I love all your hair tutorials! I tried the three twisted buns the other day…not too hard! xo

  37. you’re soooo beautiful <3

  38. wow, i love each tutorial more than the last! you guys do such a beautiful job putting them together.

  39. I wish I had long hair like this!!! sooooo pretty!

  40. love these hair tutorials! I’ve been doing the last bun one about once a week since you posted it. Might have to try this one out today…

  41. These pictures are so beautifully done, makes me wish I had long flowing hair to play with!