Glam Slam: Achieve The Perfect ‘Black Swan’-Inspired Ballerina Bun

I saw “Black Swan” the other day, and yes, Natalie Portman is amazing in it. So is her bun, which looks perfect in every scene.

I have major ballerina bun envy. Always have.

I see people wearing those cute messy buns all the time and always wish I could achieve the same look, but because my hair is so thin and fine, it doesn’t really happen for me. One of the hair stylists here recently did my hair in a topknot and I was so excited to rock this look. It did come with some hazards though — I bumped my bun while getting into my car — I’m definitely not used to the extra height.

How can you achieve the perfect bun worthy of a “Black Swan” ballerina? Celebrity stylist, Jessica Tingley, who has worked with Ellen Pompeo, Kerry Washington and Mandy Moore, shares her step-by-step tips.

“The ballerina bun is a truly classic hairstyle. It is super easy to do if you follow a few simple steps,” Jessica says.

First you have to create a perfect, tight ponytail. This can be easier if your hair is one day dirty, or if you apply a little bit of wax around the hairline to keep flyaways at bay.

Placement is also important. You want the bun to bring up your profile, not drag it down. The classic ballerina bun is high on the back of the head, above the occipital bone (the part above the nook in the nape of your neck). Using a classic hairbrush like a Mason Pearson, start by brushing your hair into a ponytail, gathering it tightly into your hand and smoothing out any lumps and bumps. Then secure it with an elastic. Wrap that band until it is very tight and you feel like your eyebrows are in the ponytail! Then twist the ponytail and wrap the hair around the base, tuck the ends under the bun and secure with a few bobby pins. I usually place a pin in at least four places on the bun to make sure it stays put. For girls with shorter layers, you might need a thin headband to hold them in place. Voila! Perfect, classic and beautiful!

Another popular variation that we are seeing a lot of is a topknot. Jennifer Lopez has been rocking this look. This look is also about placement. This bun looks best placed towards the back of the top of the head (where the top of head starts to round into the back). Again, create a tight ponytail where you want the bun to be. And again, twist and wrap the ends into a bun and secure with bobby pins. I love this look when the bun is a bit roughed up and fuller. To get the look, tease the ponytail before you twist and pin it. A topknot should be a little bigger to balance the shape of the head.

I loved the headpieces that Natalie Portman wore in Black Swan. Add a feather headband to this look and you will look every bit the prima ballerina.

You can learn more about Jessica at

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