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. Love these tutorials! This is my fav by far!!!!! :)

  2. Love it… I’m a sucker for messy braid contraptions

  3. Hi Jo – We are loving this post. What a great look and I love that you added the how-to!

    ~Lori Ann
    eMarketing Manager, Goody

  4. So pretty!!

  5. Love it! My hair just got chopped off though! Where on earth did you get this stunning black globe? I collect them thanks!!

  6. I love seeing her tutorials…you should feature her more often. Love all the styles that she has done so far.

  7. I’ve been itching to chop my hair off, but this looks like a reason to keep it long. Real long.

  8. Anonymous says...


    I love your ideas, but… i dont have straight hair :O( so you have some chic ideas for wavy hair?
    Hope you have!! :O)



  9. Super cute! And I am also in love with the vintage globe in the first picture!!!
    Have a lovely day!

  10. I really wish my hair was that long and looked that good ontop of my head!!! I would look rediculous but you look so damn cute!
    love these tutorials either way

  11. I am really loving these hair tutorials! Thank you so much; they look so easy broken down like that.

  12. I love love love LOVE your hair tutorials! Must try them all out!

  13. your friend caroline is SO pretty!

  14. Joanna I am finally growing my hair out and can pull it up and have it looking fun and fresh!!

    I adore the braiding and will try it soon!

    Come and enter my luscious Giveaway for Bath & Body!!

    Art by Karena

  15. Oh my! I love it. Looks so pretty.


  16. Wow. Definantly have to try this. Thanks for posting this!

  17. Love top buns! It’s chic…

  18. That is one gorgeous up-do! Sigh…If only I could pull that look off.

  19. I absolutely love these hair tutorials!! Not only do they look insanely beautiful but they take less that 2 seconds to do!!! Thanks so much

  20. This is so cute! I need to do some more tutorials because I just can’t get enough of seeing how other people do their own hair:)

  21. so pretty! thank you for inspiring to actually do my hair. it makes me feel like a grown-up lady!

  22. maggie says...

    love love loveity love.

  23. ooooooooooooh I am waiting for my hair to get even longer so I can do all of these styles. perhaps by summertime I will be there! can’t wait. so lovely.

  24. I LOVE when you put up these hair tutorials! So great! :)

  25. So pretty, and a wee bit Scandinavian feeling….love it. I have long hair, but it’s not quite long enough to make a full wrapped braid like this….YET!

  26. A must try! Thanks for sharing.

  27. I agree. I love bun do’s. Yet my hair is so thick and heavy I can’t last for long without a headache :/ I will have to try the braid idea. Thanks!

    So cute~!

    x X

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. does it spoils the hair easily? isit easy to undo?

  30. love it! i tried the 3 bun hair style and it looked great so I’ll have to try this too!

  31. despar2, caroline said this would work for curly hair; you should try it!! :)

  32. dianne, mia farrow in rosemary’s baby is one of my all-time style icons. the pixie cut is SO adorable!!! (i could never pull it off, but i wish i could:)

  33. Renata says...

    Love it!!! Sooo pretty!! I’m a brazilian girl and here in brazil isn’t so common, but i’ll try! Jo, your blog is amazing!

  34. i am wearing the braided bun as i type. your hair tutorials are fabulous, please keep them coming!

  35. fabulous, makes me want to have long hair again! ;)
    thank you for sharing.

  36. I LOVE your hair posts from the side chignon to the triple bun to this top bun…but i recently chopped off ALL of my hair. would LOVE to see a post on your favorite pixies. :)


  37. I loveee it!

  38. Love it. I always wondered how to make such a cute bun:) thanks for a nice tutorial! I’ll definitely use it one of these days.

    Marta @ An Interesting Distraction

  39. Gorgeous! Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Wow, this actually is the easiest hair tutorial of all time! I am seriously hair-challenged, and I was able to do this in less than a minute! Thank you so much, it’s perfect for spring and summer! I am so excited :)

  41. i love this look! a nice twist on a classic look.
    oh and pls keep the tutorials coming!

  42. i love all your hair tutorials! she is gorgeous :)

  43. loving this series Missy Jo!

  44. I love these hair tutorials you are posting! The photos are so lovely, simple, and chic! I love the stripe shirt she is wearing here as well!

  45. jane says...

    thats so cute im trying it right now..also that shirt is adorable. and how is her hair so soft?!?!

  46. So pretty! I want long hair so I can try it!

  47. I love these hair tutorials soooo much! I’m wearing the messy bun today! Please keep posting!

  48. Anonymous says...

    it worked really well for me to just flip my head upside down and braid, it automatically sprouted a braid perfectly centered on the top of my head!

  49. Love the look. I have curly spanish hair..wonder if it will just look too much on the top of my head. Going to try it.

  50. Love love love!
    I’m a sucker for braids.
    & I’ve recently been obsessed w/ buns because it’s just so simple & effortless, but still chic.
    Lovely <3

  51. this reminds me of when i was a toy soldier for the nutcracker back when i was 10. my hair was too long and thick to hide in a regular bun under my soldier hat, so they had to braid it hahaha

    p.s. i live for caroline’s hair tutorials

  52. I looove the shirt !!!

  53. I love all these hair tutorials. I’ve been trying to practice since normally I am so bad at doing my own hair.

  54. I love these hair posts — thanks so much for sharing them!
    <3 leigh

  55. Soo pretty x

  56. i love how it’s both classy and casual! want to try it out!

  57. cuuuuuuuuute! i love this. but too bad i just cut all my hair off (chin length) um, short hair posts soon? pretty please?

  58. Aubrey says...

    So much simpler than it looks! and dare I say perfect for this rainy weather we’re having here in California? Yes. No frizzy mess here.

    thanks! :]

  59. Cute look, but perfect for bike rides? No, no, no! Sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud, but you can’t wear a helmet with a top bun, and it’s just not safe to ride helmet-less, especially when you’ve got a kid counting on you being safe and well! :-( I’ve had several friends hit by cars while cycling, and a helmet is just a necessity!

  60. carly says...

    my word, you are so beautiful! also, i am going to shower and do this right now for my tea date this afternoon. thanks!


    Thank you!

  62. if i had the hair skills i would wear my hair like this with every outfit of every day!

  63. So cute! I can imagine you girls have quite a good time making these tutorials!

  64. Elisabeth says...

    Thanks for the tutorials! I have tried all of them with great success! They’re so simple and easy to follow. How fun :-)

  65. ohh so cute! I’ll copy you! ;) I have a nice week!!

  66. Anonymous says...


  67. rL says...

    Pretty, pretty girl.

  68. Teresa says...

    Thank you for this. I am now sporting a braided bun on my head and I feel fabulous! So easy to follow and super chic.

  69. beautiful! and Joanna, you’re house looks great in the photo!

  70. I’m really loving all of these hair tutorials you’re putting up on your blog! It gives me some inspiration to do something different with my hair in the morning. Thanks!

  71. Love it!

    My hair may be too thick, but I will give it a whirl!

  72. Joanna, I love those pins! Do you have another source for them? The $8 shipping cost just makes it a bit too $$$ for me to pay for bobby pins.

  73. for people with curly hair- this style will work, as well as the 3 little buns. as long as you can separate your hair to braid it, you can do these styles. just because my hair is straight doesn’t mean it won’t work or look good on those who’s hair isn’t, just try it!

  74. Aahhh! I adore your hair tutorials … please keep them coming! Thank you!

  75. oh please feature some hair tutorials for those of us with curly hair!

  76. Very pretty, I think I will be trying it tomorrow.

    (No good for bike ride days though – my helmet wouldn’t fit on top!)

  77. Anonymous says...

    so pretty and perfect for spring/summer :)

    i almost lopped off my hair a month ago; i’m thankful i didn’t, so now i can try these fabulous, fun ‘do’s!

  78. these are so great. your friend c is gorgeous which makes us all want to do the pretty hairstyles.

  79. Thank you! I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with the “three twisted buns” lately and I’m excited to try out this one. Both are so simple but oh-so feminine!

  80. Also wanted to mention how nice the photography is! :)

  81. your hair tutorials make me so happy! i get so many compliments when i try them too! thank you!

  82. Love this!!!!

  83. Love, love, loving these hair tutorials and pics. Thanks for a fun post.

  84. Jena says...

    Wow! First of all, what a beautiful girl! Second if all, what an awesome, simple do! Third of all, really well-articulated instructions with great descriptions (‘like a pillbox hat’)

    Thanks so much for this! My long boring hair has a new friend :)

  85. I’m loving the tousled ballerina look. Last week I pulled my hair into a loose twisted bun a little off-center, and got so many comments about how it looked like a jaunty pillbox hat!

    I’m always looking for ways to keep my hair off my face but still appear like I give a thought to my appearance before heading into public. Thank you for these styles! :)

    Joie de Veralynn

  86. Dope. I like the way the photos came out with the direct natural light.

  87. Oh oh oh. I have to take my mother out to dinner tonight for her birthday and I’m going to do this! My hair is totally dirty and I don’t have time/energy to wash it.

    Thank you Joanna for enabling my laziness;)

  88. Just wanted to thank you so much for all of these hair tutorials you’ve been doing lately. I absolutely love them!!

  89. love this hairdo! Don’t think my hair is long enough though as it’s very layered.

  90. I love the braided top bun! It’s so relaxed but still looks fancy! :)

  91. LOVE IT! Thanks for posting all these hair to-do’s! Now all I need are some ones for makeup and I’m set. :)

  92. I love these hair tutorials. The side ponytail has saved me! After my first pregnancy something happened with my hair. It just would not work the way I wanted it too. The side ponytail is first style I have been able to master since having my boys. I feel cute, I feel current and I love it!

    Thank you!


  93. you are on a roll with these hair posts! I want to grow mine out asap

  94. the shirt is from Cardigan New York xoxo

  95. I’m loving all of these hair tutorials! Please keep them coming.

    By the way, any idea where she bought her shirt? I love the stripes.

  96. Gorgeous!! I’ve always had long hair & am desperate for new ways to wear it! Love this!

  97. yay! so glad you guys like this!!

    jake, we got the idea for tutorials because i’m terrible at styling my hair and wanted some easy, simple ideas from caroline, who is a hair genius :)

  98. I love anything to do with braids so I really loved reading this.One of my favorite hairdos I do is doing normal braids on each side, but then tuck rolling them under. My friend always says I look like a little milk maid when I do it. LOL

    Thanks for sharing.

    – Sarah

  99. Love, love, love. Not only am I wearing my hair in the “three twisted buns” style right now but I have this to look forward to when my hair grows out! Caroline is so beautiful and thank y’all for sharing these. It was a huge pleasure to shoot!

  100. That looks like such a cute hair-do. Im going to try it tonight. Also adore Caroline’s shirt. So cute for spring:) Happy Monday, Joanna

  101. Ah, if only my hair was longer…

  102. my hair needs to hurry up & grow grow grow! I LOVE these looks. Superb tutorials, Joanna! Thanks a million!

  103. They’re cute but not Sexy!!! :-)

    Do you agree? ;-) Cute to go out w/ your friends, but not for a 1st date! :-)


    Luciane at

  104. Love this! Too bad I just cut off all my hair…sighhhh.

  105. how funny! I just did a post about buns too! this one is adorable.
    thanks for the tutorial!


  106. Wherever did you get the idea to start doing these tutorials?

  107. It’s so beautiful!! I would wear that bun! Thanks for all the tutorials. I really appreciate them! :)

  108. This is such a wonderful idea…I’ve yet to try new styles on my hair- and with the arrival of Spring on our doorstep, it’s a good new change!
    Thanks so much for this post Jo! Have a wonderful week!

  109. Oooh, this looks lovely! I often wear buns on the top of my head, and braids are a nice way to switch it up! Thank you!

  110. What a sweet, romantic twist on a classic hairstyle.

    All of these tutorials are making me dream of having long hair!