An Easy Half-Up Top Knot Hair Tutorial

I rock the half up “top knot” often and have recently received some requests to share a tutorial on how I tackle this low-maintenance hair style. I call the top knot low-maintenance because it’s easy to do yourself and once it’s up, you really don’t have to worry about it again for the entire day!

Having a go-to look that keeps my hair out of my face and doesn’t need to be refreshed throughout the day is key, especially during these hot and humid summer months. Hopefully this tutorial will prove that you too can add this easy style to your arsenal and have another creative option that will transition from work to weekend with absolutely NO effort.

Top Knot TutorialTop knot hair tutorial


Let me first start out this tutorial by declaring that I’m not someone who is “good at hair”. We all know people in our lives who have the gift to somehow make a plain pony tail magically transform into a gorgeous up-do. I am not one of those people.

That being said, I’m confident that if I can tackle this half-up top knot I know that you can too! Let me show you how.


1. Prepare Your Hair


I typically put my hair in a top knot when it’s at least a day old. I’m sure I could try to put it up right after I wash it, but my hair is so fine that it works better when it’s a bit “lived in” (read: dirtier). But because it’s typically second day hair, I always have this dry shampoo on hand just in case the roots look a bit greasy. The dry shampoo also adds a bit of texture to my hair and helps it stay up. Sometimes I’ll spray it even when my hair doesn’t look greasy at the root.

Side-note: I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos, but the one I mentioned above is by far my favorite!

2. Curly or Straight Hair

I wear the top knot with both straight hair or curly hair. If I straighten my hair, I will straighten my entire head before starting the topknot. If I’m curling my hair, I typically wait until after the topknot is up before curling the hair that was left out of the top knot. I don’t think there’s a right/wrong way for this, but I have found that when the hair in my bun is curly, it has less volume.

3.  Section off Your Hair

Now it’s time to start building the top knot. You’ll need to use the comb (or just grab) a section of your hair. Do your best to create a straight line and separate the hair you will put in the top knot from the hair that will stay down. If you want more volume, go ahead and tease the hair that will go into the top knot near the root.

4. Twist the Ponytail How_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-twist

If you have mastered the “messy bun” already, go ahead and skip the next few steps and do your own thing now. I have not mastered that skill so I create the bun by first twisting the pony tail.

5. Wrap the Twisted PonytailHow_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-wrap

Then I wrap the twisted ponytail into a ball/bun and then wrap a ponytail holder around that bun to make it as tight and secure as possible.

6. A Tight Bun Is Okay to Start

How_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-tightSharing a picture of myself wearing this tight bun on the internet for the world to see is quite  frightening. I may have lost my mind, but I think it’s important to share in order to prove that you did NOT do anything wrong if you arrive at this look after you secure the bun. You’re actually right on track!

7. Loosen Your Hair and the Bun… Slowly!

I usually start with my scalp and slowly loosen my hair so it doesn’t look completely slicked back (like my scary photo). I pull a few pieces out a tad and stop when I like the height/look. Sometimes I end up pulling too much out, which is not a huge problem because it can easily be fixed by keeping it down with a bobby pin.

Then I do the same thing with the actual bun to loosen it up and create a bigger, messier, and more volumized look. If I accidentally loosen it too much and a few strands fall out, I simply put them right back into the bun and bobby pin them in place. Remember this is a messy top knot so it never has to look perfectly styled. I personally think the messier the better.

8. Style the Hair That’s Not in the Top Knot

How_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-teezingIf I’m wearing my hair straight under the top knot, I’ll take this time to tease that hair at the roots so it’s not so flat. If I’m wear that hair curly, I’ll go ahead and curl it now using this method.

9. Add a Girl’s Best Friend — HAIRSPRAY!

How_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-sprayingI’m obsessed with hairspray, which probably explains why I never go a day without it. I add hairspray on the top knot and additional hair so that it stays in place and doesn’t lose its volume throughout the day.

How_to_put_your_hair_in_a_topknot-bridgetAnd just like that, my half-up top knot is DONE and ready for a whole day of fun. Like I mentioned before, I love this look because it’s easy, keeps my hair in place, and doesn’t take any maintenance throughout the day.

I know a regular ponytail does that exact same thing, but this is another option to add to your arsenal, one that can transition from work to weekend without doing a thing! Well you can always add a little more hairspray… but that’s just me.


  • You are totes adorbs and wear the heck outta that half-bun! ?

  • Pam

    I have fine hair as well. I never thought this would work for me, but now I am going to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, you should definitely give it a try! With enough teeming + hairspray, anything is possible… even with fine hair! 😉

  • Trang

    Since I cut my hair short a few months ago, I’ve been wearing my hair like this on occasion. I love it too; easy and cute.

    • Gotta love an easy hairstyle that stays put all day! And I agree, my short hair is what forced me to give this half-up top knot a try and I’m so glad I did.

  • Bec Ellen

    B! I thought you were the most stylish and well put together years ago at Eastern and you’re even cuter now! Love love love your hair/style and your girls’ blog! I share with everyone I know . So happy for you two !

    • Awww Becca, you are waaaaay too sweet! Thank YOU, that honestly made my day! I hope all is well with you!!! =) And thank you so much for sharing the blog, that really means the world to us.

  • Austin Brewer

    Love this post! My hair is super fine, too, so I always struggle to get a cute full top knot, but I feel encouraged to go pick up a few things from Target (duh) and try again!

    • “Target (duh)” <– I'm literally LOL. You are hilarious and so right, a few things from Target and you can totally pull this off!! Keep me updated =)

  • Marisa Graves

    Love this! Thanks for the tutorial! Also, where’s that shirt from? Super cute

    • Aww, thanks Marisa! The shirt is from LOFT and it’s SO comfy and versatile. Unfortunately it’s not available anymore but I did find one that’s almost identical here —>

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girl- love the hair! so cool!

  • ellen ross

    Okay i’m going to try this but I know that it won’t look as chic on me as it does you. Great tutorial!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

    • I’m sure it will look gorgeous on you! Good luck =)

  • Lauren Nugent

    Great tutorial!! It worked so well with my hair! I am in love with your haircut is it angled in the back?

    • Aww, I’m so glad it helped!! And thank you so much! My cut is a tad angled (not super dramatic but noticeable) from the back to the front. Hope that helps =)