15 Half-Up, Half-Down Bun Hairstyles That Are Easy and Chic

15 Half-Up, Half-Down Bun Hairstyles That Are Easy and Chic

Maria Menounos with a sleek half bun, half down hairstyle

@justinemarjan / Instagram

There is nothing we love more than a chic hair moment, and it’s all too easy to achieve one with a half-up, half-down bun hairstyle. The look is elegant, elevated, and easy to do from the comfort of your own home. Not only does this style look like you put lots of effort into your ‘do, but it’s also a great option for when you’re dealing with dirty hair. Since hair tends to first get oily in the scalp area, pulling it back is a great way to style hair before wash day.

Ahead, we gathered some of our favorite examples of half-up, half-down bun hairstyles, along with expert insights into getting the looks from pros Justine Marjan and Lindsey Summers. Keep scrolling for more.

Meet the Expert

  • Justine Marjan is a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Khloe Kardashian, Ashley Graham, and Ella Balinska.
  • Lindsey Summers is a professional hairstylist and owner of The Blonde Bar in Scottsdale, Arizona.

01 of 15

Top Knot

Paris Hilton looking at camera with twisted top knot in half-up half-down fashion, with ends out and bangs out

Getty Images

Paris Hilton’s half-up top knot is giving us major cool-girl vibes. “The key to this half-up top knot is creating texture in the part of the hair you’re going to transform into a bun, so it keeps shape throughout the day,” Marjan tells Byrdie. “To recreate this style, separate the hair into two sections, then spray the upper section with finishing spray, like TRESemmé’s Dry Texture Finishing Spray ($7), to give it the grip it needs to stay in the knot.”

02 of 15

Braids and Embellishments

Letitia Wright looking at camera, zoomed in on hair in braids and pulled up into a large bun on top of head with crystal embellishments

Getty Images

An embellished top knot already has our full attention, but when you add the element of braids, as Letitia Wright has done here, we become even more obsessed. “I love this look because it showcases the beauty of the texture within the braids, especially with the creative twist added to the bun,” says Summers, adding that the diamonds “make this extra fun and attention-grabbing.”

03 of 15

Curly Top Bun

Sophie Seddon looking at camera, zoomed in on face, short bob, bouncy curls, curly bangs, half-up half-down bun secured with red scrunchie

Getty Images

Curly hair and top knots were made for each other. Whether you have naturally curly hair or are adept with an iron, Sophie Seddon’s adorable hairdo provides excellent inspo. “Curly hair in a top knot is amazing. It gives the curls such volume with a simple style,” shares Marjan. “The key to making this look stand out is having really defined curls that won’t frizz with styling. The TRESemmé Flawless Curls Mousse ($7) is my favorite for defining curls while giving them frizz protection so they can look amazing in a half-up.”

04 of 15

Voluminous Bun

zoomed in picture of Sydelle Noel, with natural afro curls and top section of hair pulled into large bun on top of head

Getty Images

If you have naturally curly or coily hair like Sydelle Noel, you must try this style. The half-up, half-down bun on top of the head looks put-together and fun at the same time. “To get this look at home, use a sectioning comb with a long tail to pull out the top section of curls, and secure with a small rubber band or elastic that will blend into the color of the hair to make it look seamless,” instructs Marjan.

05 of 15


Bella Hadid on boat looking at camera, with long straight hair and top half slicked back into a high bun

Getty Images

We often turn to Bella Hadid for beauty and fashion inspo, and this Monaco moment is no different. Her hair looks perfectly slicked back and is a great style to copy if you’re dealing with dirty hair. “To create this at home, use a medium hold gel—my favorite… is This is a Medium Hold Modeling Gel ($30) by Davines—to sleek back your half pony,” shares Summers. “Then, to create the bun, you would just twist the hair in the pony and wrap it around the base to create a simple twist. An easy five-minute hairstyle perfect for any occasion!”

06 of 15

Piled High

Logan Browning looking at camera with long braided hair, a few pieces left out as face-framers with the top half pulled back into a bun pile on top of head

Getty Images

Logan Browning’s piled-high hairstyle is absolutely beautiful. Combined with her long locs and the pieces pulled out to frame her face, we love the energy this is giving. “The key to securing this style is extra large hair pins (which are more open than the traditional bobby pin),” shares Marjan. “These types of pins will be able to wrap around the locs to keep them in place, rather than going through the hair.” Just pull back the section you want to pile on your head and secure it in place.

07 of 15

Braided Top Knot

Hailey Bieber looking over shoulder at camera, zoomed in on face with short blonde straight bob and top section pulled back tightly with braid going back into a twisted bun on top of head

Getty Images

Hailey Bieber may be the queen of slicked-back buns, but we love how she switched things up with this braided top knot. Still sticking with her signature slick-back style, she added a braid for a showstopping effect. “Adding a simple braid to your half-up style can make it look like you got your hair done professionally,” Summers tells Byrdie. “Adding a Dutch or French braid along the center part and finishing with a simple twist bun makes this look perfect for a night out.”

08 of 15

Sleek Half-Up Bun

zoomed in picture of Janet Jackson looking at camera with straight hair pulled back behind shoulders and top section of hair pulled back into a slick tight bun on top of head

Getty Images

“I really love a top knot half up; I think it creates an interesting style while still [showing] off the length or style of the hair left down,” Marjan says—and we agree. We like how Janet Jackson pulled her hair behind her shoulders, really allowing the bun to be the star of the show. Marjan adds, “For a slick-back look like Janet’s, secure the frizz in the front with TRESemmé Extra Hold Gel ($7), which will protect from humidity to keep the style sleek.”

09 of 15

Donut Bun

Hilary Duff looking at camera, zoomed in picture of blonde rooty hair in soft waves, with top crown section piled into donut bun on top of head

Getty Images

Donut buns might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we think Hilary Duff’s take on the style is picture-perfect. It looks effortless yet glam at the same time. “This look is perfect for that third-day hair,” shares Summers. “Remember the days of the old sock bun trick? This look takes that to a whole new level. By using a hair donut, you can put the hair through the center and simply roll it down and secure it with bobby pins to complete the look. Try this on vacation or when you… haven’t washed your hair in a while.” And if you’re unsure which hair donut to invest in, we suggest Teenitor’s Hair Bun Makers ($7).

10 of 15

Braided Bun

zoomed in picture of Storm Reid looking at camera with long braided hair, and top section piled into twisted braided bun on top of head

Getty Images

Euphoria‘s Storm Reid stole our hearts long ago on the big screen, and when we saw her braided bun, we knew we needed to copy it immediately. This style can be achieved on previously braided or loose natural hair, but the braids are what really give it that wow factor. “I love this look, especially because anyone can take inspo from it and create their own version,” says Summers. “To create this at home, you would simply want to section your half-up pony into three smaller sections and braid them, securing the braids at the end. Next, I would braid those three sections together… twist [them] to the base of the pony, and secure with bobby pins.”

11 of 15

Tousled Top Knot

zoomed in picture of Miranda Cosgrove smiling at camera with shiny black waves, bangs left out, and top section of hair lightly pulled back into messy bun at the back top of the head

Getty Images

Miranda Cosgrove is major hair goals with this touseled top knot style—and to emulate the look, all you need to do is curl your hair using a large barrel and pull back the desired amount of pieces. “Miranda’s shiny curls are really the star of this style, and the key to shiny hair is hydrated hair,” says Marjan. For healthy, shiny strands, try a moisturizing treatment, like Drunk Elephant’s Silkamino Mega-Moisturizing Masker ($30).

12 of 15

Party Bun

Aisha Dee smiling at camera, zoomed in picture showing off her shoulder length curls with top crown section pulled into large bun on top of head

Getty Images

Looking to add some volume to your ‘do? Take notes from Aisha Dee because she’s clearly perfected the look. If you have naturally curly hair like she does, simply grab a section on the crown of your head and secure it into a large bun.

13 of 15

Structural Bun

zoomed in picture of Charli Howard looking at camera with bangs in deep side part slicked behind ear, straight hair and top section pulled back tightly into structural bun with ends left out and curled

Getty Images

Structural buns are having their moment, and we think they look great for formal occasions, brunch, and everything in between. “This structural style is such a standout look,” says Marjan. “Once the hair has been wrapped around itself for the bun, the most important step is to lock it into place with hairspray, which will keep the flyaways down and protect from humidity.”

14 of 15

Undone Up-Do

Danai Gurira smiling at camera with braided hair, a few pieces left out in the front in face-framing fashion, top section of hair pulled back into messy bun on top of head

Getty Images

An undone up-do can be done with any hair type, but we especially love how it looks with Danai Gurira's braids. To copy this look, leave out a few face-framing pieces and pile your desired amount of hair on top of your head, securing it with pins. "Danai's braided updo is the perfectly done, undone look," Marjan tells Byrdie. "To lock this into place, use a strong hairspray to give you all-day hold and control over the style without looking stiff."

15 of 15

Messy Half-Up Bun

Danielle Bradberry on stage singing holding microphone, with short hair down and top section pulled into messy bun at the back of the head

Getty Images

Why are the best messy buns always created while home cleaning the house? That’s the energy Danielle Bradberry’s hair is giving here, and we’re in love. “This style could be a quick ‘throw up and run errands’ or a style to grab cocktails with some girlfriends,” shares Summers. “Create your half pony to start, then spray a dry texture spray on the ends—my go-to is Unite’s Texturiza Hair Texturizing Spray ($40). Next, twist the hair as you [pull it] through your hair tie [to] create the perfect effortless bun.”

21 Space Bun Ideas That Are Grown-Up Approved


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply