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Prom Hair: Soft Curled Ribbon Bun


Capture sleek elegance with a definite edge at your Prom, wedding or any special event wearing this chic curled bun with free floating ribbon hair strands. The updo, like The Ballerina Bun starts with a high ponytail that is positioned at the top of the crown area.

The bun shown in this article is only decorated with the hair ribbon strands that cascade from the back of the bun. If you like you can create the bun without the ribbon strands and decorate the final updo with loose flowers or other hair accessories. (Photo from Winter 2003 shoot - all rights reserved)

This edgy do was created on our beautiful Model - Dana - by expert hairstylist Barbara Lhotan for and photographed by the award winning fashion photographer Eric Von Lockhart.

This style may or may not be too complicated for someone to create at home. You might take the style on a trial run in the privacy of your home and see if you can duplicate the style. If not, don't hesitate to call on your professional stylist or a friend that has hairstyling talents.

This style generally works best on hair that is shoulder length or longer with medium thickness. It can work on hair that is fine or thin with the addition of hair pieces or extensions. If you decide to add to your own hair with add-on pieces, consider selecting strands that have a darker or lighter hue to create instant accents.

Hair that is extra long can adopt to the style by adjusting the size of the twisted curls that form the bun or opting to leave a section or sections of hair length as a type of "tail" and modify the look so that it is a half up/half down style with long lengths flowing down the back.

Let your stylist guide you about the appropriateness of the style for your hair type and texture.

Although this design can work on any hair texture, straight hair or hair that has been temporarily pre-straightened is ideal.

Wavy hair may or may need to be straightened depending on whether you want to keep the ends wavy or straight.

Please note that super fine or thin hair may not hold the curls and loops as easily as coarse hair textures.

If you wish to try this look on fine hair, be prepared for hair slippage with gel, strong holding spray and extra bobby pins.

Step By Step Instructions

This style works best on hair that is not freshly washed. When possible allow your hair to "age" at least 24 hours from your last shampoo. The natural hair oils will help the knots and parts hold tighter and last longer.

Barbara Lhotan did comment that this look can be created on freshly washed and dried hair. However, it is important to dress newly washed hair with the appropriate styling aides to counterbalance extra soft or slippery strands. Let your stylist determine what type of hair they prefer to work with.

1. Begin by using a soft boar's head brush or similar natural bristle brush on your hair. Make sure that all knots and tangles are completely removed. (All photos are the express copyright of

Although this elegant style was designed without bangs or a part, if you prefer, experiment with a different type of part for a slightly different look. Wear bangs if you prefer and experiment with how you brush them on your forehead.

2. Working with individual sections that are about 1-2" in thickness, smooth all of the hair with a hot flat iron. Allow hair to cool completely before proceeding.

3. Using a soft boar's head brush or similar natural bristle brush brush all the hair from the hairline into a high ponytail that rests at the center of your crown. Secure the ponytail with Blax, or other "hair friendly" elastics that are preferably in the same color as your own hair.

4. Lift the ponytail straight up in the air and smooth the hair making sure the ponytail is tightly gathered at the base.

Note: Apply a light gel or setting lotion to hair that is fine, slippery or does not hold styles well. This will help to anchor the hair better. Remember to apply any gel or setting sprays before adding hair accessories.

5. Smooth the ponytail back down and fan the hair out. Separate the ponytail into 10-18 individual strands that are approximately 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.

6. Select a strand in the middle of the ponytail. Pin the remaining strands to one side. Starting at the very tip of the strand, hold it firmly between your fingers and twist it clockwise. Continue to twist the strand until the strand starts to collapse down towards your crown. Tie off the new twisted strand with a small Blax or other elastic.

7. Repeat the twisting process with all of the individual strands working from the middle of the ponytail sections out to the ends.

Leave 4-6 strands completely untwisted. These strands should be positioned like in the photo at the four sides of the eventual bun formation. If you prefer, you can also pin hair extensions into the bun and twist all the strands to achieve a thicker bun look.

8. Once all the strands have been twisted and tied off arrange the twisted strands clockwise into a small bun. made with a cascade of knotted curls. Position the untwisted "ribbon" strands so they cascade freely out of the bun on four sides. Or pin your extension pieces in the four corners of the bun. As you position the twisted hair curls around the ponytail elastic, pin them in position. Use tiny hairpins that are 1/4 to 1/2 inches in the same color of your hair if you need a lot of pins to anchor.

If you like you can be creative and pull random strands out along your hairline and the nape of your neck to form a soft fringe of tendrils. Curl the loose hair with a large barrelled curling iron (approximately 1") to get a soft but loose fringe of curls.

9. When you have the bun sculpted to your liking and have pinned it securely to your scalp, spray well with a firm holding spray. Apply a medium to heavy holding spray to the finished style. Add a light sprinkling of glitter gel for added dazzle or jazz up the sides or back or the style. Feel free to use tiny bobby pins to help anchor any loose hair. Or use a gel to smooth back any loose hairs from the crown or near the hairline in front.

Experiment with positioning the bun higher or lower or your head or twisting the hair tighter or looser. (Photos courtesy of & Barbara Lhotan. Photography by Eric Von Lockhart).

The possibilities are endless if you take the time to play with different variations of this edgy contemporary bun. This finished style if perfect for any special party, Prom, Wedding or other dressy hair event.


Hairstyles by Barbara Lhotan Hair accessory jewelry provided by Photography by Eric von Lockhart Copyright 2003 All rights reserved & MultiMedia International.

Barbara Lhotan is known as the "Personal Trainer" for stylists wishing to be experts with long hair. She is the Director of Education for Renaissance Salon in Smithtown, New York and a Senior National Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems.

Barbara works on all types of hair from short to long and creates spectacular updos and styles for any event. She is also talented with hair extensions and color. Contact Barbara for a consultation at: (631-724-2386)

Eric von Lockhart was born in New York City but spent his early years traveling to exotic locales as a military brat. Sensing from an early age that “some form of art was his destiny”, Eric embraced his early gypsy life. He viewed his constant travels as priceless opportunities to observe life through many angles, ultimately training him to do the same with his beloved cameras. Eric has been perfecting his craft “all his life” which explains why he is one of the most sought after fashion photographers in America.

Over the years Eric’s unique eye, lightening wizardy and brilliant photographic images have been in hot demand appearing in an extensive list of fashion and beauty magazines including Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Elle, Essence, Salon News, Modern Salon, Hype Hair, Inspire, Passion, Blacktress, Hair World, 101 Celebrity Hairstyles, Short Cuts, and

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