How to Make a Ballet Bun

The hardest part of the ballet uniform is the hair! Creating the traditional ballet hairstyle, called a "bun," may seem like a daunting task at first. However, I promise that with a little practice you and your dancer can achieve a great ballet bun! 

Getting Ready

You will need:

  1. a sturdy ponytail holder

  2. hair pins (30 or more) 

  3. a hair net

  4. hairspray or hair gel

  5. a brush that works well for smoothing out your type of hair

There are a few different options for hair pins. If your child has long or very thick hair, you will want to use bigger hair pins like these made by Bunheads.  If your child has thinner hair, you will want to use smaller hair pins so that they do not stick out of the bun. Bobby pins, or the ones with flat sides, can be supplemented to hold the bun in place once the shape is formed.

Creating and Securing the Bun

First, brush your child’s hair into a nice tight ponytail. It should be placed right on the crown of the head, like if you were to trace a straight line from the chin through the middle of the ear and up to the top of the head.

The ponytail is probably the most important part of making sure the bun stays nice and secure.

Before continuing on with the process, make sure you hairspray or gel your child’s hair to make sure the ponytail remains tight, smooth and slicked back.

Next, you will want to twist your child’s hair tightly to the left. Twist the hair until the entire ponytail is tight. While maintaining the twist, begin to wrap the hair counterclockwise around the base of the ponytail.

You should place a pin in the bun about every inch as you are wrapping the hair. Press the hair flat as you pinning; it is best if you insert the pins in a scooping action to be sure the bun is secured into the ponytail - one end of the pin is getting tucked into the bun, while the other is getting some of the hair from the ponytail. 

The desired shape of a ballet bun is like that of a cheese danish. Yum! The bun should be as flat as possible. 

Once all the hair is wrapped in the bun, place a hairnet around the entire bun. Make sure the hairnet is very snug. You will likely wrap it around the bun 2-3 times. 

Add a few small pins to the bun once the hairnet is on to secure it to the bun. Hairspray your dancer’s hair once you are finished and bobby pin any loose fly aways.

You did it!

Many thanks to Ms. Torie Arrington for this great article.

ballet bun with hairnet
Bobby Pins (used for finishing, need 10-20)

Bobby Pins (used for finishing, need 10-20)

Small hair pins (used for thinner hair, need 10-20)

Small hair pins (used for thinner hair, need 10-20)

large hair pins (used for longer or thicker hair, need 10-15)

large hair pins (used for longer or thicker hair, need 10-15)

brush commonly used for smoothing the ponytail

brush commonly used for smoothing the ponytail

thin hair elastics

thin hair elastics

sturdy hair elastics

sturdy hair elastics

hair nets

hair nets

hairnets come in a variety of colors, so get one in the shade closest to your hair color

hairnets come in a variety of colors, so get one in the shade closest to your hair color