The Editors
Updated on December 21, 2022

The side bun is one of those hairstyles that flatter almost all women. It’s a fun, flirty and versatile updo allowing you to feel pulled together without looking fussy. There are so many ways to rock the side ‘do, and whatever you choose depends on your personal style, preference and occasion. If you need a little inspiration to see just how classy a side style can be, feel free to check out the stunning and innovative looks below.

Side Bun Hairstyles for Medium Length and Long Hair

Sleek buns are classics. They will always be in demand for formal events, but today the hairstyling dress codes are less strict, and you can wear messy styles even to the biggest galas, because lightness and spontaneity is in fashion. Here’s a gallery of different types of bun hairstyles where you can find an updo to suit your taste, outfit and occasion.

1. Twisted Up Side Bun

You can twist side buns under, but you can twist them up as well. A cute, single braid accentuates the bun that is brought to the side and then twisted up towards the ear. The crown has a bit of height which makes the front view of this updo even more attractive.

2. Loose and Curly Side Bun

A twisted side bun is a way to incorporate a bit of intricate yet unforced design into an otherwise understated look. The hair is formed into twists that begin at the sides and feed into the bun. Several large pieces of hair are pulled out to linger at the nape of the neck.

3. Blonde Wavy Side Updo

Blonde hair color and wavy texture coming together will definitely give your chic side updo a style boost. Once the bun is in place, pull out a few strands with your fingers or the end of a rat tail comb for a messy look.

4. Braided Crown and Curly Bun

Curly side buns are good for shorter locks. You can combine your bun with a braided element of your choice, such as a crown braid or braided bangs, for instance. A bouffant is also a plus for most loose curly updos.

5. Light Brown Messy Side Bun

Loose buns are arguably among the most popular side bun updo hairstyles for women these days. Maybe it’s because of the easy styling or the relaxed, undone look they provide. These tousled light brown locks look weightless and spontaneous thanks to the messy texture and several stray pieces escaping the bun. A lovely, embellished hair piece is placed right at the base of the bun for a touch of sparkle.

6. Elegant French Braid/Side Bun Combo

When it comes to prom, weddings or black tie events, buns are staples (and look great in images). Ensure yours sticks out by incorporating a thick, twisting French braid that runs across your head and around the bun from one side to the other, as seen here in this look by @braidsbyjordan.

Side Bun With A Braid For Long Hair

Instagram / @braidsbyjordan

7. Low Messy Bun with Loose Curls

Don’t be alarmed if complete strangers start doing double takes when they see you with this ultra chic, eye-catching side bun. A super-dark ombre with caramel ends provides a stark color contrast, while loose curls are juxtaposed against the sleek upper strands.

Loose Curly Side Bun

Instagram / @braidstudio

8. Twisted Bridal Updo

Ideal for ladies with coarser, naturally curly hair, this twisted low messy updo can certainly let you get away with having unstyled (or even second day) hair at an elegant event. Just be sure to secure your hair with plenty of bobby pins and hairspray.

9. Delicate Side Bun with Garnish

This delicate loose bun with sweet hanging tendrils is the epitome of a chic messy updo. We suggest garnishing fully styled hair with a piece of costume jewelry you already have to bring in some extra sparkle, in addition to running a curling iron through sections before securing everything with pins.

Side Messy Bun Updo For Long Hair

Instagram / @tonyastylist

10. Grecian Goddess Fishtail Braid

Side updos like this one were meant for Instagram. Although you don’t necessarily have to be a Grecian goddess to rock this incredibly elegant multi-fishtail braid, you will probably end up looking like one once the style is complete. Be sure to keep a few loose hanging tendrils in the front to achieve a messy touch.

Fishtailed Side Bun Updo

Instagram / @nadigerber

11. Rustic Romantic Low Bun

Most appropriate for a rustic wedding or a similar ceremony in the countryside, this low messy bun with French braids is the definition of country chic. To set off a messier updo, try pairing the style with an elegant red lip for a touch of class.

12. Edgy, Elegant High Updo

More often than not, buns pulled to the side are most attractive (and doable) when worn near the nape of the neck. Not always so, as this style for long hair from @n.starck shows. Ensure your hair is properly teased at the top and through the length to provide that envious sky-high elevation.

Braid Into Side Bun Updo

Instagram / @n.starck

13. Sleek Folded Design

Able to move seamlessly from a day at the office to a night out on the town with girlfriends, this updo from @salonxvi is one of the more elegant low side bun hairstyles you can rock. The trick is to make strands as sleek as possible, using pomade or serum to smooth out frizz.

Low Side Knot For Medium Hair

Instagram / @salonxvi

14. Messy and Curly Loose Updo

Could this low messy updo with balayage coloring and a massive fishtail braid be any sexier? Delicate tendrils that frame the model’s face balance out the slight unruliness in the back, while providing amplification and volume throughout. Keep makeup and jewelry simple.

Messy Loose Curly Bun

Instagram / @tonyastylist

15. Wrapping French Braid

Although this braided side bun looks like one of those styles you see when scrolling through Instagram (being absolutely convinced you can’t pull it off), this look is easily achievable. Start with a side part and weave a French braid along the hairline, wrapping it around a tight braided bun.

16. Red Dutch Braid-to-Bun

Picture-perfect for the bride, bridesmaids or even mother of the bride, this red side bun with a thick, face-framing braid will make you the belle of the ball. Although the style looks best when hair is sleek and in place, you can leave a few light strands hanging in the front.

Headband Braid With Side Bun

Instagram / @hair_by_pelerossi

17. Gorgeous Loose Braid to Flat Bun

Fit for a natural-looking bride, this ultra cute Dutch braid into bun style is ideal for a bohemian wedding or even just a night out with friends. The best part? The look is incredibly low maintenance, requiring only a curling iron, some mid-level braiding skills and tons of pins.

18. Multi-Braid Bun Style

If your hair color is drastically different on the ends, this super standout style is perfect for you. Even more striking are the varying types of braids, as this model sports a Dutch, French and traditional braid–all in one harmonious twist.

19. Cherry Knot Bun with Twist Braid

Side hairstyles are ever-elegant, with their popularity dating back decades––even centuries. So, why not update that traditional hairstyle with a messy finish and an edgy deep rouge color? @sadiejcre8s shows us how, combining the classic bun with braids and a dark burgundy and cherry color mix.

Asymmetrical Braided Bun Updo

Instagram / @sadiejcre8s

20. Classic Side Bun with Flowers

Buns that are styled asymmetrically are absolutely perfect for sporting garnishes on special occasions, like this delicate pink flower arrangement. When placing flowers or jewelry into your updo, just be sure to keep the rest of your hair sleek and plainly styled to draw the most attention to the bouquet or clip.

Sleek Side Chignon With Flowers

Instagram / @duyenhuynh

21. Ethereal Curly Updo

This stunning, wedding-ready loose bun has two big factors going for it. The first is undoubtedly the multi-component braids that weave large chunks of hair seamlessly and elegantly. The second is the gorgeous balayage coloring that helps to accentuate each and every unique strand.

Messy Curly Braided Updo

Instagram / @hairicome_

22. Modern Ballerina Bun

Not all bun hairstyles suggest intricate, creative weaving techniques and crazy dye applications. Rather, as this picture exemplifies, some of the most beautiful buns are some of the simplest hairstyles for long hair, requiring only a quick pullback of the hair, slight braiding and plenty of hairspray to bring everything together.

Braided Side Bun For Shorter Hair

Instagram / @kellgrace

23. Messy Bun with French Braid and Highlights

The chunky highlights help to dramatize the drastic color difference in this trendy low side bun by @goldplaited_. Although the model pictured here has noticeably thicker locks, women with thinner hair can certainly achieve the look with a volumizing mousse and hairspray.

Messy Side Bun With A Braid

Instagram / @goldplaited_

24. Curled Side Updo with Soft Tendrils

If you’re headed to a wedding (or are the bride!), you should definitely consider a curly updo pulled to the side, like this one, as a worthy hairstyle option. Not only do the soft curls provide tremendous volume, but also the low bun is visible from the side–making it especially beautiful in photographs.

Curly Messy Side Bun

Instagram / @swellbeauty

25. Romantic Royal Updo with Headband

With side bun hairstyles, there are so many mesmerizing looks to choose from. But when paired with a sleek, halo-esque headband, you’re bound to stand out from the crowd. We suggest one with sparkles or jewels to truly make an entrance when you arrive to your special event.

Side Bun With A Bouffant For Shorter Hair

Instagram / @kellgrace

26. Side Bun with Hair Accessory

Simplistic and sleek in its design, but still beautiful from every angle, this side bun is ideal for formal occasions such as a wedding, prom or a black-tie gala. The blonde locks are formed into a sleek bun with not a hair out of place. The finishing touch is the large floral hair accessory that instantly brings elegance to the look.

27. Low and Sleek Hairstyle

The low bun with not a hair to escape at the sides or the nape creates a streamlined silhouette based on soft and sluggish lines. A single visible bobby pin seems to hold the updo from falling apart. It gives you a very supple and, therefore, feminine feel.

28. Black Formal Side Bun

A classy updo like this can last through a hectic day at the office and also a hot night out on the town. Jet black hair is fashioned into a sleek, polished bun shifted to one side. There is also a side part and a twisted section that works like bangs and flows into the bun.

29. Black Side Bun with Flower

Sheer elegance is what’s presented with this side bun that proves less is more when it comes to an updo. Jet black hair is parted in the middle, combed to the sides for a sleek appearance, gathered into a compact bun and finished with a beautiful light pink flower placed right at the base of the bun.

Black Sleek Side Bun Hairstyle

Instagram/ @dionnesmithhair

30. Chunky Braid and Side Bun

Styles with braids are very versatile, you can wear them as a half up or a full updo. This messy Dutch braid across the nape of the neck is finished with a bun, but you could also leave a freely hanging pony along the side of your neck.

31. Multi-Twist Side Bun

If your locks are fine, you need to find creative ways to make your hair look thicker and more voluminous. It’s not as easy to achieve with a bun, but it’s possible. A pompadour will offer a nice lift at the front. Tease the roots and make loose twists all over the head. Bring the ends of your locks to the side, backcomb and shape a messy bun with air inside.

32. Braid and Twisted Loose Bun

Side bun hairstyles for long hair offer you a lot of intricate and creative styles. In this example the locks are loosely braided and draped to be gathered into a relaxed twisted side bun. The height at the crown provides a welcomed balance to the overall look.

33. Side Bun with Side Bang

There aren’t many things that you can do to make side buns look bad. This cute creation features a teased crown, a side bang with a deep side part and a bun that is swirled and pinned aptly into a lovely roll. This could be both a wedding hairstyle and your casual classy updo.

34. Chunky Bun with Rope Braid

This twisted bun is easy even if it looks intricate at first sight. Style it like a messy hairstyle, with no previous combing or with a light teasing. Start making a side rope braid closely to the scalp and once you reach the nape, make a simple twist out of the freely hanging locks. Roll it into a loose bun and pin in place.

35. Side Bun with Teased Crown

Side bun hairstyles can look just as charming when they are intentionally messy as they do when they are sculpted and sleek. This is a perfect example of a casual updo that is elevated to the rank of a classy hairstyle thanks to the bouffant and a thin braided headband.

36. Side Bun with Braid and Bangs

This updo has the same idea of combining a crown braid, bouffant, side bun and fringe but it looks a bit different on brown locks with highlights. Don’t be afraid to copy a hairstyle you like – you will never look exactly like someone else. Every detail in your updo, the color of your hair, its length and texture matters, and the final result always comes out a bit or a lot different.

37. Braided ‘Do with Dimensional Coloring

Normally when you decide to wear a side bun hairstyle, your hair color takes a backseat, giving the way to the texture. However, in this example the coloring lends the hair a nice amount of depth and dimension.

38. Sleek Braid and Side Updo

The blonde side bun looks perfectly neat and girly in this version. A simple side braid and a twisted bun can be styled even by a beginner, while it’s a lovely and comfortable casual hairstyle for school or work.

39. Side Bun with Up-Swept Bangs

Wearing bangs is always a nice touch to a bun updo. These bangs are swept up and off to the side carelessly, and the same careless mood is supported by the messily rolled bun.

40. Textured Curly Hairstyle

Adding texture to side bun hairstyles is welcomed because texture always means some extra volume and depth. For this updo loosely braided and twisted curly locks create an intricate and inspiring design.

Whether you prefer a messy side bun or one that is more polished and sleek, there are so many pretty side styles to choose from. Ideal for everyday casual occasions or more formal outings, side buns are here to stay.

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