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Perfect Ballet Bun


Want to learn to make the perfect classical ballet bun for class and exams? It’s a lot easier than it looks, we promise. Follow our foolproof ballet bun tips and tutorial and you’ll be a bunhead in no time.

What you’ll need for a perfect ballet bun:

  • Hair elastics
  • Strong waved hairpins
  • Slides (approx. 10)
  • Hairspray
  • Hair gel
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairnet (available in different hair colours here)
  • A mirror
  • A second handheld mirror to see the back of your head
  • Dance World recommends: Bloch Hair Kits containing all the bits and bobs you’ll need.

What to do:

  • Firstly, brush the hair until tangle-free and smooth.
  • Apply gel to top and sides of the head, brush this through and form a ponytail. Secure with a hair elastic.
  • Try to position the ponytail squarely at the crown of the head so that it makes a straight line from your chin.
  • Comb any stray hairs and spray with hairspray.

  • Twist the hair into a rope and then begin wrapping the hair rope around the secured ponytail.

  • If you have thick hair, split the hair into two pieces to do this. Begin securing with waved pins as you wrap. Wrap one half first and secure with pins, then wrap and secure the second half.

  • To pin correctly: push your pin through the bun, grabbing some of the hair from the bun moving away from the bun to begin, then turn the pin back on itself and push the pin under the bun.

Everyone has their own way of doing their hair and often a ballet teacher will offer to demonstrate or give a classical ballet bun tutorial for parents before exams or shows. My advice is to take the teacher up on that offer and watch how they do it.

  • Once the hair is completely wrapped and looks like a ballet bun, wrap the bun net around the hair and secure with more pins.
  • Pin the bun in a cross pattern: one on top, one below and one at each side like a compass N, S, E, W. Next, you should pin in an X. You should use eight pins for this. If it’s easier, think of a clock and pin at 12, 6, 3 and 9. Next 10, 2, 4 and 8.

A top tip for ballet buns is: Remember not to over-pin. While I understand the anxiety that your hair will come down while on stage, you do not want to be the person shedding pins on stage and then slipping on one.

If you want a more flexible hold bun: maybe you’re headed out after class and don’t want to be bunhead-out-on-the-town, you can fill a spray bottle with water and use this instead of hairspray and gel. Zero hold once the water dries.

  • Using slides, smooth out any stray hairs and flyaways.

  • Spray hairspray over the whole head eyes and mouth closed for this part. Would it really be a classical ballet bun tutorial without a shedload of hairspray?!

  • Recheck for any stray hairs and shake head vigorously. Dance World recommendsThe Smooth Company Smooth Stick for flawless buns and ponytails..
  • If anything wobbles or you can see or feel any weaknesses, secure with more pins. Give a final spritz of hairspray and your perfect ballet bun is good to go.


  • Do not use hair doughnuts in ballet buns.
  • Do not over brush hair as static-y hair is really hard to get into a neat bun.
  • With children, try not to wash their hair the same day as the event, second-day hair is easier to style and they will have to wash their hair after, to remove the gel.
  • For performances and exams: do not add random clips and accessories to the hair unless part of the approved costume, it will be removed and may be lost, or the hair may need to be redone.
  • Something to remember is that everyone has their own ways of working so if you come up with any tricks, give them a bash. I had a ballet friend who had a hairspray toothbrush that she used on flyaways. She put a light spray of hairspray on the bristles and smoothed the hair into place.
  • Something you might not consider is if you are doing your own or your child’s hair for an event… practice beforehand.
  • If a teacher has said they will do your or your child’s hair make sure you arrive with enough time for the teacher to do the ballet bun, taking into account that they may have to do an entire class.
  • If you’re doing someone else’s hair make sure to tell them to let you know if their hair hurts or if any pins are digging into their head. I know it seems obvious, but when you’re doing someone else’s hair you can’t feel where the pins go and it’s quite distracting to have something digging into your skull when you’re trying to perform!

Did our tips for ballet buns help you to make the perfect ballet bun? Tag us in your bun photos and happy pinning!

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