A Hairstylist Just Told Me How to Do the Perfect Slicked-Back Bun

If there's one hairstyle that's dominating red carpets, runways and our feeds right now, it's the slicked-back bun. This cool-girl hairstyle has been gaining momentum for a while. With the rise and rise of the "clean girl" aesthetic, it seems like the super-sleek bun is everywhere right now. Supermodels such as Bella Hadid and Jourdan Dunn have been seen wearing the snatched bun both on and off the runway, while cool girls Hailey Bieber and Simone Ashely have also worn the hairstyle on many a red carpet from the Met Gala to the Oscars. And you only have to open your Instagram feed to see the trend everywhere right now. In fact, it's one of the easiest hairstyles you can create, but it looks like you've put a lot of effort into it.


(Image credit: @peterluxhair)

Simone Ashley wore this super-sleek bun to a Tiffany & Co. exhibition this year.


(Image credit: @bellahadid)

Bella Hadid has become synonymous with the slicked-back-bun look both on the runway and off duty.

It's no wonder that the slicked-back bun has become so popular—it's a versatile look. It works for running errands in the daytime but looks equally elegant for a dinner or evening event. And the best part is, despite its associations with the clean-girl beauty trend, it often works better on second-day hair, making it a great option when your hair wash schedule hasn't lined up with your social events or you don't have time for hours of heated styling. It can also be easily created on freshly washed hair with a couple of key products and tricks.


(Image credit: @jourdandunn)

Jourdan Dunn's sleek-bun hairstyle taps into the '90s trend with tendrils of hair spiking out of her bun.


(Image credit: @haileybieber)

Hailey Bieber is often spotted wearing a sleek bun tied low on the nape of her neck.

However, while the sleek bun looks totally effortless, there are some tips and tricks to know about. So I reached out to expert hairstylists Jemma Mewies at Mewies & Co and Jake Wanstall at Larry King to get their top tips on how to get the slicked-back-bun look.

Slicked-Back-Bun Tutorial: Get the Look


(Image credit: @jlo)

Jennifer Lopez gives us a lesson in slicked-back hair for daytime dressing in a crisp white shirt and gold jewellery.

1. Prep Your Hair


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"For the perfect slicked-back look, start with clean hair and dry in a light product with flexible hold. This will help give the hair more grip and texture without making the hair too heavy," says Mewies.

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2. Straighten Your Hair


(Image credit: @patrickwilson)

"Once dry, part the hair in the centre for this look and straighten (after applying heat protection!) in small sections to help eliminate frizz and create a cleaner, smoother finish," says Mewies. "Make sure to get the irons close to the head, especially around the hairline."

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3. Apply Hair Oil


(Image credit: @jlo)

"Once straight and cooled, apply your go-to hair oil to smooth the hair and create a high shine," says Mewies, who recommends looking for something super lightweight. "Be sure to brush the product through as this helps to get an even distribution."

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4. Secure Your Bun


(Image credit: @kendalljenner)

"Next, it's time to secure your ponytail," says Mewies. "Position is so important, so don't go too high or too low in the nape. The middle of the back of your head is where you want to be," she says. "Once secured, twist and bend the ponytail into shape winding around the hair tie and pinning as it starts to bend. Allow the hair to move in its own direction. Don't force it too much into a shape it doesn't want to go!"

A bungee hair tie will make creating this style much easier, says Wanstall. "A Bungee tie will get the ponytail super tight. Then use grips to pin in the bun to make sure it's super clean," he says.

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5. Fix In Place


(Image credit: @lauraharrier)

"Once in place, make sure all pins are hidden and then smooth over any flyaways around the hairline using a hairspray or cream," says Mewies. "Use a pomade to give super shine and strong hold without overburdening the hair."

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This article was previously published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Up Next: 9 Hair Trends You'll See Everywhere This Summer

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.