Rope Bun

Today I’m excited to share a hair tutorial that’s perfect for traveling! When your hair is messy and sea-salty, twist it back into this nautical-inspired rope bun. Perfect for the beach, exploring around town or heading to dinner. My hair-genius friend Caroline shares the steps below, and the fabulous Jamie Beck took photos…

“I love this style when I want to keep my hair off my neck, but don’t want to do the regular ol’ topknot that I usually wear. It’s great for summer weddings, too!” — Caroline

1-2. Gather hair into a low ponytail on one side of your head.

3. Divide the ponytail into two equal sections.

4. Twist both sections of hair AWAY from your face (in a counter-clockwise direction).

5-6. Take the back section and bring it IN FRONT of the other section and repeat. Keep bringing the section that is in the back over and in front of the other section. This is how you make a rope braid. (You basically want to twist the sections in one direction, then wrap them around each other in the opposite direction.)

7. Tie the end of the rope braid with a rubber band. (You can stop here if you want, and just have a cute side rope ponytail!)

8. Wrap the braid in a circle around the top elastic until it becomes a bun, and pin the bun with bobby pins to secure. Don’t forget to tuck the tail of the rope braid behind the bun to hide it.

Gorgeous! Thanks again, Caroline and Jamie. xoxo

Thoughts? Would you wear this? Will you be wearing it on summer adventures?

P.S. Ten more hair tutorials, and the secret to pretty hair when traveling.

(Photos by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. In the how-to photos, Caroline is wearing vintage jeans (similar ones here) and a polka-dot sweater from Cardigan–Cardigan is having a huge sample sale right now, and Cup of Jo readers get an extra 10% off with the code CUPOFJO. (Thanks, Cardigan!) In the outdoor shots, Caroline is wearing a striped top that’s also from Cardigan, a men’s jacket (similar one here) and shiny black loafers. Her jewelry is from her own line, Brvtvs, and will be available soon.)

  1. I love this and gonna try!

  2. Anonymous says...

    Love the ” SOCKS”!
    Love LESLIE CARON even more!
    And then, there’s Vermont- Maine?
    With HARPER?
    OGEDU did the SOGODU , so, the ” homeless”?
    We think MELODY MAE is going with THOMAS- TCOOST.
    That’s a ” 15″?
    And there’s your BUNN- ROSS- TILLMANN- COLES- BALL?
    Never ever trust Austria.
    Or the Irish.
    Especially with ESHANDA.

  3. Anonymous says...

    Fuck off- asshole.
    You got more than 33,000 PEDOPHILES on this fucking blog for NICE?
    This the one with NYSSE ” perspectives” and
    ” inspirations”?
    That with or without DEPLAND- ONOLAND on DEWORPH & BUNN?
    You getting ” punked” for ” KANSAS KINGS”.
    Don’t feel bad.
    So is ” DISCO PUNK”.
    See you in Cannes.

  4. i adore these hair tutorials… i can’t wait until mine is long enough to give this style a try! caroline looks so sheek and lovely!

  5. Love this! Random questions for Caroline: I have layered hair so any twisting that I do leaves tons of stray hairs sticking out. Is there any way to minimize this? Or should I just embrace the messiness. Also, this is silly, but apparently somewhere in my femal upbringing I never learned how to properly use a bobby pin. I use them all the time, but I know I don’t use them in the most effective way. Often an hour or so after I do my hair I get a few falling out and usually have to redo the style. Am I the only one? If not, maybe we could get a quick refresher on this? :)

  6. Foteini P. says...

    Already done this twice!!! Super easy and chic! Loved it!! Great feedback from my friends!!!! :D :D

    Thanks!!!! :D

  7. I love those pictures and the bun looks cute and fun. I’m going to try this for work tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!

  8. i really enjoy these hair tutorial posts. it has inspired me to be more creative with my hair. keep them coming!

  9. I always love these hair tutorials, but my hair is layered because it is pretty thick, so these styles don’t work as well. Does Caroline have suggestions for gals with thick, layered or wavy hair? Also, to keep down on frizz!! Lovely pics too!

  10. Oh. Wow.

    1) That polka dot shirt you have on while you’re styling your bun is amazing, I would like one in every color! (Where did you get that from?)

    2) This hair style is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  11. of course its cute and chic at the same time. i love these hair tutorials!

  12. So chic and simple! Any ideas on where the scarf she is wearing is from? Thanks! xoxo

  13. I’m such a fan of these tutorials, but could you include some guide for women with hair that is a little on the thicker end? A lot of these styles seem better suited for women with finer hair. Beautiful photos!

  14. I like her! She is so chic

  15. I looooooooooove these hair tutorials! I always try them at home… not very successfully, though :-P

  16. Simple and nice! I love this bun!

  17. Super chic, I love it. I want to dye my hair, because these styles would look a lot better on streaked hair, where you can see the twists, rather than my solid black hair…

  18. So so pretty, I wish my hair was long enough to do this to!

  19. Marie says...

    Stunning pictures and you’re absolutely gorgeous! :-)

  20. Rockin this look for a travel day today. The only thing I had trouble with was the layrs in my hair didn’t want to stay twisted up. But, I slicked them down with some water and it worked. Love this!

  21. Caroline has inspired me sooo much how to use long hair in an urban and girly style, I’d like to thank her!
    Actually, the rope pony tail was just something I had just started doing at the office and I was soo pleased with it (thanks again for the inspirations) and now I’m shocked to see it in a tutorial :)

    And, we need more summer hair! It’s crazy hot here (Istanbul)

  22. I love the entire styling. Urban bohemian perfection.

  23. Anonymous says...

    I have long hair, I and tried it, but it doesn’t look as good as the model’s does. Maybe I need someone to do it for me. :)

  24. Anonymous says...

    Love the hair and love that coat!

  25. Anonymous says...

    While I do love the hair tutorials I can never do any of the do’s as I have crazy and wild curly hair – can you please try and do some fun curly hair tutorials as us curlies who also need some fun and new ways of doing our hair! Thanks! Rebecca

  26. Very fun! and I definitely just got a nice sweater from Cardigan… thanks for the link to the sample sale!

  27. Such a great tutorial! It looks super easy and gorgeous.
    Any chance of a make-up tutorial/make-up product list from Caroline? She always looks so chic and beautiful.

  28. Unfortunately none of the tutorials have worked on my super-thick hair…which really bums me out because they all look gorgeous! Oh well…

  29. since it’s what feels like 37 degrees in Shanghai at the moment, I will try this right away….

  30. Gorgeous! Would love to see tutorials for curly hair, too!

  31. Anonymous says...

    Damn your gorgeous friend and her amazing hair and photogenic face! I’m furiously growing out my hair to try this. Grass growing is a heck of a lot faster.

  32. Jo, I would love to see some hair tutorials for short-hair girls! Mine is just above shoulder-height and I can’t wear a lot of the hair styles you post (unless I want 65 pins holding it together!).

    Also – Wooooo sample sale!!

  33. Could she be any cuter?! Great post!

  34. Could she be any cuter?! Great post!

  35. Love this hairstyle! So cute and looks pretty easy. I will definitely be trying this this summer!!

  36. love this outfit, very understated but fashionable–parisian chic! i would wear this but probably in the fall…it’s too muggy in D.C. to wear this in the summer


  37. Cool. This seems lie a perfect fit for my super long, super straight hair…

  38. where is her jacket from? as much as i loved the hair, i couldn’t take my eyes off that jacket. brand, please?? <3

  39. This is adorable! sadly my hair is wayyyyyyy too thick for most of your tutorials, but I still love to look :D

  40. I wish you would do hair tutorials with shorter hair. I have total hair envy for all these cute long-haired looks!

    Thanks Jo, Jamie and Caroline! :D Love you guys!!

    My favorite tutorial so far is the gibson roll/tuck tutorial and the pretzel braid one! :D I also like the French bun, this one and the mermaid braid but to be honest I love them aaaallll!! :D

    My hair is about shoulder length and very very curly but when I dampen it and braid it the curls become more symetrical and less afro haha :’)

    Dare I ask for another tutorial? :D Love this blog, Jo!! :D xoxoxox Bisous!!

  42. Bethany says...

    Joanna, I am thrilled that finally someone is teaching me what in the world to do with my long hair! I’m in that very unfortunate postpartum stage when hair falls out at an alarming rate, but I don’t want to cut it off. Thanks to many of these tutorials, I’m in control again (and not bored with my options), hair is cute, out of my face, and best of all, not dropping in everything I cook (gah!!!) In any case, thanks to you, Caroline and Jamie for helping me out!!! So grateful!!!

  43. that polka-dot sweater instantly captured my heart, and even though i’m on a strict budget, I couldn’t resist… thanks for finagling 10% off for your readers-sans-discipline, Joanna…!

  44. what a great summer alternative to the top knot! love it.

  45. This is my kind of hairstyle! I will be trying this as opposed to my usual ballerina bun!

  46. These photos are all gorgeous, as is her outfit. So perfect.

  47. Just did it!! This will be a new go-to style for me! Thank you – I love the hair tutorials!

  48. This is perfect. It may become my go-to hairstyle for the summer.

  49. love this hair style. will definitely try it out!


  50. So cute. Perfect for summer!

  51. Cute! Love the photos!

  52. When I see all the hair tutorials with Caroline, I want my hair grow. At the moment it’s only chin-lenght so I have to wait a while.
    I really like your blog and motherhood Mondays!


  53. Gorgeous! Can’t wait to try this :)

  54. Do you have any short haired friends that are as trendy and creative ans Caroline? The buns and twists just arent’ working for my slightly grown out bob!

  55. so perfect! loving this simple and effortless look!!
    xo TJ

  56. I love the hair tutorials! But: I would be thrilled to see tutorials for shorter hair. Sure some of the other ladies out there too…

  57. I actually have too much hair for many of the hair tutorials. It’s long, thick, and heavy, so I need millions of bobby pins to even hope that a bun will stay in. Haha, I guess we each need our own model/hair stylist!

  58. What kind of camera does Jamie Beck use? Love the closeups and the subway shot!

  59. Anonymous says...

    This may be my favorite hair tutorial yet! (And I just looked at the great sale at Cardigan!)

  60. I wish my hair were long enough to do this. It’s classy and casual.

  61. oh i miss my long hair!
    i love caroline’s style. simple and chic.

  62. OoOo I will definitely incorporate this to my usual hair do’s…agree, very nice alternative to the top knot, which I have on my head all the time :)

    Caroline is so pretty! Her natural makeup and blush are always so perfect!


  63. Love it! I’m definitely trying it out this summer!

  64. My medium length hair is just not good at short hairstyles or pretty styles like this. I’m working on growing it out but I look bad with really long hair, so it’s tough! :( I love this though! I’m going to try it anyway!

  65. Becca says...

    a) These are seriously some of the most beautiful pictures of Caroline yet! b) My wallet hates you right now for the sample sale announcement right now (sequins were totally a summer necessity :) ).


  66. oooh! I’ll definitely try it! I need an update to my typical summer ‘do.
    How cute is Caroline? Love the little loafers.

  67. stephanie, i know, she is gorgeous. (and so nice, too!)

  68. natalie, i agree:) caroline is a master of the bedheady look :)

  69. short hair tutorials coming up!! we just need a model:)

  70. It’s very stylish! :) It’s also cool to wear it during the beach day, so that at night time u can have nice beachy waves -which, combined with some sun-kissed glow, can create a very attractive look! xoxo

  71. can’t wait to try this! and these photos of caroline are stunning!

    great post!

    alissa b

  72. Love it! Caroline is so beautiful.

  73. love it! ANd love the cute hair wisps on the side :)

  74. I love your hair tutorials, always super cute, fresh, and most importantly, EASY!

  75. Beautiful and so easy! This will be the perfect look for my long trip to Florida!

  76. yet another reason i’m growing my hair out – love this rope bun!

  77. This is really cute! I will def. be trying it out during the hot summer days.

  78. So cute and chic! Tinacious Me beat me to it – I really need longer hair to pull off this look, especially considering that my hair is very fine, so I need a lot of length in order to get a substantial bun.