Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Updos For Any Event Ballerina Buns


Somebody once said that "necessity is the mother of invention". Recently the necessity for me to fill in for a series of Missing In Action professional hairstylists resulted in a series of many different "consumer friendly" styles.

Note: Image of Brigid O'Connor to the side wearing an L. Erickson silk hand-made couture bandeau style headband.

After all, I receive thousands of emails from people asking me to help them create hair styles that they can do at home. Since they are real people and not celebrities, they want to see styles created on real people like themselves.

As a little bit of background, even though had attempted to fly in our favorite professional stylist, Barbara Lhotan, to help us do a shoot in Dallas, with some of our models, we just could not get the schedules worked out no matter how hard we tried.

Barbara is extremely busy flying around the country to do shows and photo shoots. Although she really tried to work it out, we finally had to give up on her flying to Dallas.

Then I arranged for a local Plano based stylist to come by instead. At the last minute she cancelled due to a sudden and rather involved illness. We seemed to be under a black cloud with stylists.

Note: Image of Brigid O'Connor below wearing a supplied Austrian Crystal Condor Clip in white/white AB - photo by Jeffrey Hines, style by Karen Shelton - all rights reserved - 2003)

Oh what the heck. I decided to just go ahead and try some of the hairstyles on the model.

After all, we already had the photographer available and all the lighting equipment in place.

While the images may not look like they are right off the pages of Vogue, I can promise that the hairstyles were personally done by me "on the fly". If I can do these hairstyles, then a good friend can do them for you.

Model Hair Bio

Our model, Brigid, has shoulder length light brunette hair (naturally) that is currently enhanced with alternating ribbons of gorgeous blonde and red highlights.

The highlights were skillfully created by Casey at Seventeen Studio Spa & Salon. Although Brigid has lots and lots of hair, it is extremely fine. Not only is it super soft and slippery, it is straight as a board. It does not easily hold any curls or wave. Trust me, I tried just about every hot roller and curling iron I could buy to test on her strands. The curls drop right out.

Although I was able to create a nice soft wavy/curl at the start of the photo shoot (see image of Brigid above) within a matter of minutes her hair had lost all the curl.

I mean 100% of the curl had completely dropped out.

Note: Image of Brigid O'Connor to the side wearing a Austrian Crystal Condor Clip in white/white AB.

Using a Mason Pearson Junior Mix brush (one of my favs) I brushed her hair completely back and decided to try for a traditional Ballet or Ballerina Bun. Sounds easy? No such luck.

Not only is Brigid's hair soft, it is very slippery. Trying to put her hair into a bun was like trying to wrap a handful of slippery wet noodles into a ball. I decided to cheat as much as necessary to get her hair to behave.

Note: Image of Brigid O'Connor to the side wearing an EVITA PERONI ponytail elastic.

I grabbed some of the PhytoPro Ultra Brilliance Creme and applied it to the palms of my hands. I brushed my palms over the entire area of Brigid's hair from front to back and then started brushing her hair into a tight ponytail.

No way was I going to just try and wrap her hair into a bun with some other help. I pondered what my hair hero Kenny Paves would do? Hmmmm. Well he would probably use some little trick to help hold the hair. I reached for a brown Blax 2mm band and slid it over the ponytail that I was holding in my hand.

I doubled it over and had a nice tight pony that was positioned near the top and center of Brigid's head. Whew. All that work to create a perfect pony. But it was perfection if I do say so myself.

I applied a little more of the PhytoPro Ultra Brilliance to the sides and around the crown to make sure that all the hair was secure and would hold nicely. I then applied a layer of the Ultra Brilliance to the length of the ponytail to prevent any shorter strands from popping out of the bun I was about to attempt.

I carefully lifted the ponytail straight up in the air and then I slowly twisted the tail in a clockwise direction. I decided to cheat again and added a second brown Blax to the end of the twisted tail to hold the bottom hair securely in place. I

love Blax. I would be so lost without these little gems. I wear them everyday in my own hair and a trail of Blax can be found anywhere that I have been for a few minutes.

I then carefully wrapped the newly twisted hair around the Blax until all of the hair was wrapped around in a circular form. Tucking the remaining tail under the new coil, I pinned it into place with a Smoothies small brown hair pin.

Using my hands I carefully moved around the entire coil checking for loose strands. Then I tacked the entire bun down to Brigid's scalp to hold it in place. Thicker or more coarse hair could potentially be held in place by just one pin but because Brigid's hair is so fine and slippery I didn't want to take any changes.

Once I had the bun perfectly arranged and pinned the way that I wanted, I carefully finished the new Ballerina Bun style with a liberal blast of Rene Furterer's fabulous new Spray Gloss to give Brigid's hair a fabulous shine. This is an awesome product by Rene Furterer and really does a great job.

Although I love the Phyto line, like many stylists, I like to mix and match for the "best of breed". I adore the new Rene Furteres Spray Gloss and use it on my own strands every chance I get.

I used the Rene Furterer Spray Gloss BEFORE I decided to add the various hair accessories to avoid getting any product on the decorative pieces.

I let Brigid's hair dry from the Spray Gloss application. Then I carefully added an assortment of different hair accessories to achieve a range of different looks in an instant.

The beauty of this great little bun is that you can glam it us with an assortment of ponytail elastics

Note: Image of Brigid O'Connor above wearing an EVITA PERONI ponytail elastic. To add a ponytail elastic as shown above, simply stretch the elastic as far as you can and gently slip around the outside of the bun.

Once you have the desired accessory in place, check to make sure that random strands did not pop out. If necessary carefully smooth any loose strands and sneak a small hair pin into place.

Updo Cheat Sheet - Step By Step

Creating this Ballerina Bun was definitely a major learning experience for me. Check out the following helpful tips that will save some time when you create your own bun:

1. Allow yourself or your designated friend plenty of time to practice. It may take a few tries before you figure out exactly where against the scalp you wish to position the bun for the best balance and symmetry.

2. This bun works best on hair that is not newly washed. If you must shampoo your hair before you create the style, create the bun while your hair is still damp. Pin it well so that when it starts to dry wild strands will not pop out.

3. Some hair accessories will work better than others depending on the size and thickness of the bun. Pony elastics that fan out and snuggle up against the bun provide a sleek look. Beaded elastics or accessories with large stones may create a more casual look. Experiment.

4. Twist the ponytail tighter or looser to get a different sculpted look.

5. Use your fingers as you are twisting to guide the bun into the shape that you design.

6. Don't be afraid to cheat with Blax bands or other elastic bands that will be ultimately hidden by the bun. When available, use bands that are the same color as your hair.

7. Pin, pin and then pin some more. Pin around the perimeter of the bun to honor the natural shape of the bun. There are never too many pins, especially if the bun holds indefinitely.

8. Have fun and experiment. Being creative is the best part of this entire process.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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