Bun-Making Tips from a Parent

Now that we all have settled into our school year routines and the chaos from all recent hurricanes has settled down, I thought it would be a good time for some tips on bun-building.

When my daughter Rachel started dancing at age three, I learned that being a dance mom included learning how to make a bun. Panic washed over me! I remember thinking “how the heck am I going to get a bun into my active three year olds’ hair?” Rachel barely stood still long enough to get her hair brushed. So, my neighbor took pity on me and gave me a bun making lesson. That day started my journey in perfecting a dancers’ bun.

This is what you need:
1. Hair brush with nylon or natural bristles that are close together
2. Large, thick covered hair elastic – (matching hair color)
3. Nylon hair net – (matching hair color)
4. “U” shape hairpins and bobby pins
5. Hair spray
6. Hair gel
7. Bun Maker (donut)

At three, Rachel’s hair was still fine. So, I found that I was able to make a bun using the following steps:

1. You can start with dry hair, but I prefer to start with damp or wet hair.

2. Brush all snarls out until smooth. Put hair gel into your hand and smooth through hair. Using gel will help avoid bumps and stray hairs. Brush the smooth hair into a ponytail.

3. Twist the ponytail as you gradually wrap it around the hair elastic, creating a tight, coiled circle, inserting the U-shaped hair pins as you wrap. Make sure the hairpin or bobby pins grab hair from both the head and the ponytail. This will hold your bun close to your head. Be sure to use plenty of hair pins (12-16 on average). The idea is to have your bun tightly coiled around your elastic and secured to your head.

4. Next, wrap a hair net around the bun as many times as it will allow for a snug fit, then if need be, secure it with bobby pins or hairpins.

5. The finishing touch is using hair spray to smooth out any whisps or bumps on the head.

6. Many dancers, especially the younger ones, like to have a bun cover over their bun for some color or glitz. The bun covers in the boutique have rhinestones and come in several colors.

If your dancer has very thick or long hair (or both like my dancer Rachel), the bun builder, a.k.a. the donut, can be your best friend.

1. You can start with dry hair, but I prefer to start with damp or wet hair.

2. Brush all snarls and tangles out until smooth. Put hair gel into your hand and smooth through hair. Using gel will help avoid bumps and stray hairs.

3. Pull hair back to into a ponytail. Make sure the hair is smooth and sleek.

4. Now slide the ponytail through the donut so it’s resting against your dancers’ head.

5. Next, fan your dancers’ hair over the bun maker so it is completely covered with hair, and put a ponytail holder around the base of the hair covered bun maker.

6. Now you can begin wrapping the loose hair around the donut, securing it in place with bobby pins or hairpins.

7. Then wrap a hair net around the unsecured bun as many times as it will allow for a snug fit, securing with bobby pins or hairpins. This gives the bun a finished look.

8. Spray loose hair or fly aways with hairspray.

9. Cover the bun with a bun cover if your dancer desires.

Hopefully these instructions will help moms (and dads who fill in for moms) become master bun makers. And relax, it’s okay if it’s not the perfect bun. As long as there are no fly aways and hair is not in your dancers’ face, you’ve done a good job. Dancers need to wear their hair up for safety reasons — they need to be able to spot (which means look at one specific spot when turning so they don’t get dizzy and fall down), and see other dancers around them so they do not run into each other.

Let me know if you have any questions, I can usually be found at the studio Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Good Luck and Happy Bun-Making,
Laura Atter