View Full Version : Secret bun tricks?

January 13th, 2010, 12:55 PM
My hair is finally long enough again to put in a bun! YAY!!! But I am running into some challenges that I had forgotten about that I had when my hair was long previously.

I prefer not to use any elastics in my hair (even ones without metal) because they tend to cause breakage for me. So I'm bunning without them. However, I have difficulty getting a bun to stay snug, and I am having trouble with breakage anyway, and no matter where I put the bun on my head, it eventually (usually within an hour) starts to hurt.

I *think* the breakage is happening when I insert the hair fork/pin through the twisted hairs. Is there a way to prevent or avoid this? If so, I can't figure it out.

Is there a way to get a snug bun without pulling the hair too tight and without using an elastic?

How can those of us with sensitive hair/scalp wear buns?

Thank you in advance for any advice or tips!!!

January 13th, 2010, 01:07 PM
Ok, I do not use elastics at all with a bun. You do not need to with most buns using sticks. Elastics are bad for my hair. The non-metal elastics just do not hold my hair up at all and the metal ones always cause breakage. I use sure-grip elastics when I absolutely need to use elastics. They are non-metal (well, I think the metal is covered) and they have a rubberband type material woven through it to make it grip and STAY. You do have to be careful when removing as not to pull hair out. As long as you are careful, it is no big deal. I do not lose hairs from these elastics. I can only find black ones but that is ok for me because they are a neutral color and I do not really color accessorize (sp) much.

As far as the sticks breaking the hair, you need to make sure you have a good stick, no plastic, nothing with seams. I use ketylo sticks only. They are finished wood and not as expensive as some similar ones I have seen on other websites. They are pointed for easy use but super smooth and strong and cork-screwed for twisting in. I have never had breakage from my ketylos. http://www.ketylo.com/servlet/StoreFront

I have a very sensitive scalp and did not bun for ages and kept my hair shorter because I could find no way to put it up without getting a headache or scalp pain or without breakage, etc. Once I learned to bun with sticks, I do not get any scalp pain at all from bunning. There are certain buns that really distribute the hair out and I wear those the days I have migraines. You hair is probably not long enough for them, though.

My stick buns stay, even when I am jumping on the trampoline or riding my bouncy lawnmower. I could not believe they did not give me "hair headaches". I used to braid all the time to get it out of the way but once I found stick buns I never looked back!

Here is one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFeNYl-OK6Q&feature=related
And the lazy wrap bun is another. But again, I think you may need more length.

I did not start bunning until my hair was waist length so I do not know any for short buns, except the angel bun, which I think uses an elastic.

Sorry I could not help more. Maybe someone with more shorter-hair bunning experience? Your hair looks great!

Sara Smile
January 13th, 2010, 01:15 PM
Since your hair is just past shoulder length now, maybe a claw clip would be a better way to get your hair up? I know that they are hard sometimes, with weak springs or too small or slip out. But I eventually found one that is a triangle shape that holds my hair pretty well.

Once my hair grew longer, it no longer looks pretty, so it is reserved for the shower, but it holds it up. I do like the longer holding area that distributes weight better (the row of teeth covers about 3" on my head rather than a smaller area).

January 13th, 2010, 01:16 PM
Thanks, WaitingSoLong, I appreciate your reply and suggestions. I think I know which elastics you are referring to -- if I'm right, they come in both black and clear. I prefer to not use any, though. You are correct that my hair isn't long enough to do many different buns -- I'm really limited right now. I've never had very good success with sticks -- only with forks. All of the sticks I have (I prefer the single ones rather than using a set) and forks are hand made, high quality, and smooth as glass, so I know they aren't catching my hair against a rough surface. (I invested a small fortune in hair toys when my hair was longer.)

How do you insert the sticks, and do you use two or just one? Where do you situate the bun on your head so it doesn't hurt? I'd love to have a snug-enough bun so I could jump on a trampoline without it coming loose!!

January 13th, 2010, 01:20 PM
Short, fine hair checking in here also. Elastics if they are metal-free fall out of my hair, metal breaks my hair.

Jaw clips if I find them that fit seem to be ok because they'll grab a loop and some scalp hair. Problem for me now is I'm between sizes. The small size is now too small and I pop the spring. The next size up isn't small enough, so it falls out.

Sticks of any/all sort are mostly agreeable for me. Can't use them much because my hair is too short, but with practice, it's gotten better. With a half up, a cinnamon bun is ok, but I have to twist it pretty tight to get it to stay.

Do you use hair pins or Amish pins? I use one to hold my ends tucked in place, but you could use more.

Now, the BEST thing I found. Raven's Lair has these metal twist things. I got the small type, and those suckers not only didn't break a single hair on my head in 12 hours, my hair did not move at all and they were comfy to wear. No offical bun type other than messy :)

January 13th, 2010, 01:21 PM
Thank you for the suggestion, Sara. I've never been a big fan of claw clips, though I do own a couple. I have so many hair toys that I'd really like to use (if I could). My bun isn't all that small -- it doesn't seem substantially smaller than it did when my hair was a lot longer. The forks work -- but I don't know how to not break my hair when I use them (I would have the same problem if my hair were longer) or how to situate the bun so I can wear it longer without it hurting. Although I will have more bun styling options when my hair is longer, I'd like to be able to do a messy cinnabun now without causing damage or pain.

January 13th, 2010, 01:24 PM
Thank you, MandyBeth. I do have Amish pins (I think I have almost every hair toy except Ficcares) and I actually tried them out earlier today. I never could get them to work well on their own to hold a bun, though (unless I used a whole package of about 20!). I never heard of the Raven's Lair toys -- I will definitely have to investigate them. Thanks again!

January 13th, 2010, 01:30 PM
There are two reasons my buns hurt. Sometimes they need an extra anchor point, so I use a pin or two in addition to my stick or fork, and sometimes I just need to shift the existing bun slightly. Usually my high buns pull on my swirlie that I have right at the top back of my head, so if I move the bun slightly below that, I don't get pulling. I also like double buns because they cause less pulling than normal ones for me.

January 13th, 2010, 01:34 PM
I only use one stick in any given bun. I have tried buns with 2, but do nto like the feel of 2 sticks in my buns. LOL.

Clear? I am not sure how they could be clear as they are still mostly like regular metal elastics. But I will look for these, clear would be cool.

Never tried forks, do not own one. Been keeping my eye out of the swap board but they are either too expensive or snatched up before I see the post!

Not sure about how I get secure buns, maybe it is the length that helps make it secure? Do you trampoline jump much? LOL. I do a lot of work that requires my hair to be totally out of my face (sweat a lot) and secure enough I do not have to stop and mess with it. I like care-free hair. Once it is up for the day, I do not look inthe mirror again until the next morning! Who has time!

January 13th, 2010, 01:40 PM
Hi Pixna. My secret bun tricks are pretty simple.

First is that sticks that are close to horizontal are less likely to pull (for me) than vertical sticks. Also, I find that I get more pulling with a pair of crossed sticks than I do with a single, so my hair is normally up with just one, though parallel sticks also work.

Second, it's ideal to have some of the hair help hold the other hair, using your stick basically as a lynchpin to hold the whole mess in place. This is easier with length, but you might be able to do it now. Check out Eadwine's instructions for the 10 second quick bun -- it's more or less the base for a nautilus, and it'll illustrate what I mean. Might be do-able at your length, too. Link. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0YIyUGn2pI)

Finally, consider the thickness of whatever it is that you're skewering your bun with. Fat sticks take up more space than thin ones, forks with multiple or thick prongs take up more space than forks with fewer. Thus, the more stuff you're sticking through your bun, the looser it needs to be in order to accommodate all the extra. If your bun is too tight for the stick or fork, it'll pull more and will be more likely to break hairs.

January 13th, 2010, 01:43 PM
Ravenreed, I appreciate your suggestions. That's an interesting concept -- two buns. I have enough trouble getting my husband to tolerate a single one! :laugh: Do you put them side by side vertically or horizontally?

WaitingSoLong, I'm glad to know that you can make a stable, comfortable bun with just one stick with your wonderful length! That's encouraging! Are the ketylos the only kind you use, or are there others you would recommend as well? (I like carefree hair, too!!)

I just started using a rebounder for exercise, so it's not a "real" trampoline, just a mini one. :smirk: I keep my hair down because my bun would fall out when I jump on it for a while. Do you use a REAL trampoline? Are you a gymnast?

January 13th, 2010, 01:49 PM
Anje, those are very good secret tricks! Thank you! I appreciate the link to the Eadwine's video -- excellent. She sure makes it look easy!! That's pretty much the method I currently use to do my bun (though Eadwine's hair is a tad longer than mine is right now), but I situate it at different spots on my head.

I'm going try a single stick and see if that helps. I've got a variety of them in a wide range of widths. Perhaps a thinner or thicker one will work better for my hair than a fork at its current stage.

January 13th, 2010, 02:28 PM
My hair might be a tad thinner than yours (3.5" pony circumference), which makes buns easier at shorter lengths. But otherwise it's the same type, more or less. Here are things that have worked for me.

Ketylos--even a single one holds a bun well without pulling. It's the perfect thickness (or rather, thinness) for my hair.

Flexi 8--I pin a folded braid to my scalp with it, and it holds forever without pulling.

I have a little Ficcare-like plastic clip that I picked up a long time ago, and it works really well in holding buns.

Two sticks were always more secure than one at shorter lengths for me, but now a single stick works just fine and I like the feel better. And yes, horizontal beats vertical.

A bunch of little jaw clips (less than 1/2" long) clamped around a cinnamon bun. This holds really well and distributes the weight of the bun around the scalp without pulling.

January 13th, 2010, 02:30 PM
My buns are side by side, although there is a good deal of space between. I have shorter sticks, 5", that I use just for those. I also have a matched set of small Flexi-8's. The hardest part is getting the silly things even. I will try to get a picture the next time I wear them. My sons HATE taking pictures of my hair!

One of the absolute most stable buns for me uses a french braid as an anchor. I never have pulling on that one, I guess because the weight is distributed through a very wide area. I think your hair has to be fairly long for this one though.

January 13th, 2010, 02:48 PM
I second the using the French braid in a bun suggestions. Also, try misting your hair first, getting it very slightly damp, then try bunning. That works for me when my hair is slippery-ish. Also, I make my cinnabuns very high on my head (so I can see them when looking straight into the mirror). I've found that, the higher the bun, the less it pulls at the underneath hairs.

Good luck, it will probably get easier that longer your hair gets.

January 13th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Not to be an enabler, but now is the time to buy your first Ficcare! If you buy a medium you will still have a lot of time before you outgrow it, and if you do outgrow it the resale value is great here on the swap boards, especially if there are no chips. I very rarely end up with tugging updos with my ficcare, and never get those updos that just flop out because I didn't pierce the bun in exactly the right spots.

January 13th, 2010, 03:16 PM
Bumblebums, thanks for your ideas! You are right that thickness makes a huge difference, especially at shorter lengths. I just tried your folded braid with a flexi idea, and so far, it feels GREAT! Thanks so much! I have oodles of hair sticks, but I don't have any ketylos. I remember when they first started making them, but I never got any. Seems like they are the best ones to try, eh?

That's really interesting, Ravenreed. Yes, I'd love to see a pic (if you can persuade your sons to take one!).

Heidihug, yes, I know you are right about damp bunning. I used to do that when my hair was longer, but I totally forgot about it. Good idea! I've always liked high buns -- they are comfortable but not always stable for me. They look kind of weird on me because I can't get them to lay flat -- so I tend to have a "tower" on my head. Any tips for avoiding that (or do you like that look)? (Slightly off topic, I used to have a tiny Troll doll with pure white hair that I would bun on top of her head. I always wanted that look for myself, and now that my hair is getting extensively silvery, I might end up with it!)

January 13th, 2010, 03:19 PM
rogue_psyche, you are an enabler indeed!!! I've been holding off on getting a Ficcare because of the price and because I'm not sure how often I'd use them. You are tempting me, though!! :tmi:

January 13th, 2010, 04:25 PM
Get a nice, neutral Ficcare - or one in your favorite color.....

One thing I've found with a single stick - if it starts to loosen up, I can usually pull the stick almost out, give the bun a gentle half twist, then put the stick back thru. Messy as all get out, and that takes up a LOT of stick in my hair then, but it holds my hair back!

January 13th, 2010, 04:25 PM
They look kind of weird on me because I can't get them to lay flat -- so I tend to have a "tower" on my head.
Oh, yes, I sometimes have that problem, because of my length, though, not because I have thick hair - mine's pretty thin, actually. I make flatter cinnabuns, for example by twisting them a bit tighter and more closely to my head, then I wrap the ends around the outside. Sometimes I secure with Good Hair Days pins on the inner twists to hold them closer to my head, as well as just under the outermost twisted ring of hair. If that makes sense.

January 13th, 2010, 04:40 PM
Thank you, MandyBeth and Heidihug! :flower:

January 13th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Well, here's a second or third vote for Ketylos if you want to try sticks. Also, I found that two prong forks work much much better for me than my three prongs and don't pull nearly as much. I also use two ketylos parallel and that helps a LOT. (I mean instead of crossing them - crossing hurts)

It's not a bun, but a Gibson tuck looks fantastic when your hair is still shorter like ours!

January 14th, 2010, 08:49 AM
Thanks, Rags! Good suggestions! :flower:

January 14th, 2010, 08:58 AM
Let us know when you try some of these and how it goes!

January 14th, 2010, 09:26 AM
I will, Anje -- thank you! I tried the on-top-of-the-head bun yesterday evening, held with a 3-prong fork, and it was much more comfortable than a back-of-the-head bun.

I tried a back-of-the-head bun with a flexi-8 and just couldn't get it to work. I have a lot of different sizes of flexis, but none of them seemed to be the right size.

Today I have my hair in a half-up with the "half" in a folded braid held with a flexi. It feels good (no pain), and my husband liked it so much he even commented on it.

I'm hesitant to invest in any new (i.e., types I haven't tried before) hair toys since I have a TON (literally -- I'm not kidding!!) of expensive ones from when my hair was long previously. I've got a variety of single sticks and 2-prong forks, but they just aren't working for my buns right now with my hair at its current length. The best ones seem to be the 3-prong forks (4-prongs would probably be great, too, but I don't have any and I don't have enough hair for them yet anyway) that are on the thinner side (thicker toys seem to cause more pulling and breakage).

I haven't tried damp bunning yet, though I'm sure it will be a big help. I did recently order a couple of new 3-prong dymondwood forks. Despite my huge collection of hair toys, I have just one item (a single stick) made of dymondwood, and I don't want to risk using my natural-wood toys in wet/damp hair. So when those arrive, I'll give damp bunning a whirl.

I do like the top-of-the-head bun, so if anyone has suggestions for that, especially suggestions for simple hair toys to use for it or methods to keep it from looking like a skyscraper, please let me know!

January 14th, 2010, 11:50 AM
I will, Anje -- thank you! I tried the on-top-of-the-head bun yesterday evening, held with a 3-prong fork, and it was much more comfortable than a back-of-the-head bun.

I tried a back-of-the-head bun with a flexi-8 and just couldn't get it to work. I have a lot of different sizes of flexis, but none of them seemed to be the right size.

Today I have my hair in a half-up with the "half" in a folded braid held with a flexi. It feels good (no pain), and my husband liked it so much he even commented on it.

Pics please!

January 14th, 2010, 12:13 PM
Pics please!

I'd love to -- there's nothing like pics. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera (or a cell phone). :(

January 14th, 2010, 01:07 PM
Another suggestion for a Ficcare here - they hold my hair firmly without pulling or breaking hairs, and it's easy to use them in twisty styles like peacock buns if your hair isn't long enough for a 'real' bun. Spritzing hair with a leave-in or using a light oil helps too.

If you have problems with tightly-twisted buns hurt your head, it's worth a shot to see if a wrapped style might be easier to wear - it's based on a bun I saw here (of course, I cannot remember the name, or who posted it) but it looks snug when it's all done, even though it's pretty loose.


How I did it was by gathering my hair in a low ponytail, then kind of wrapping the hair over my hand and twisting up towards my crown while holding the tail end with my other hand. When the hair forms a 'loop' around the twisting hand, take the end of the tail and tuck it under (my hair is almost BSL and I can tuck the tail under the loop, if your hair is shorter you may not need to tuck it under, since the tail might be 'under' the twisted part) and secure with a claw or ficcare or flexi.

January 14th, 2010, 02:22 PM
Wow, RocketDog, that is one gorgeous bun!!! (Love your hair color, too!) That Ficcare is perfect with your hair. At this time, I'd rather not spend that much on a new hair toy when I'm not certain if I'll like it. I know a lot of people love Ficcares, but they are an investment, and I already have so many hair toys that I'd like to use (rather than buying new ones).

Thank you for the description of how you did your bun. I don't know if I could possibly do one even remotely as beautiful as yours, though! :thud: