Recital How To: A Perfect Bun

Recital How To: A Perfect Bun

Hello dancers and dance parents!

Recital is rapidly approaching, and costumes and costume memos have been distributed in class.  Your costume memo indicates the required hairstyle, accessories and tights for each class.  It’s a light green piece of paper, please be sure to read it!

Each class has a set hairstyle, and often that hairstyle is some sort of ballet bun.  Buns can be high up on the crown of the head, or low at the nape of the neck.  A perfect bun should be neatly coiled and lay nice and flat on the head, as opposed to loose and messy or resembling a doorknob!  There are many ways to make a stage-worthy ballet bun, and we’ll review many of them below.

Let’s talk about how to make a perfect bun for short or long hair!

You’ll need:

  • Comb or brush
  • Ponytail holder that matches hair color
  • Bobby Pins, screws, or hair pins made specifically for buns (should match hair color)
  • Hair Net that matches hair color
  • Hair gel and hair spray



  1. Begin with a tight, sleek ponytail with or without side part (as indicated on costume memo) and at the indicated level (low or high)
    • Use hairspray and/or hair gel to tame fly-aways
    • Bobby pin down any shorter pieces that don’t fit in the ponytail holder
  2. Create the bun.
    1. For Long Hair–
      • twist and coil the hair around itself, pinning down sections as you go for a tight, secure coil.
      • Secure the ends with a bobby pin
      • Double up a hair net and place it over the bun (not the whole head).  The hairnet will hold in any loose ends or shorter pieces.
      • Finish with hair spray
    2. For Short Hair– Use either a foam donut or the teasing method below.
      • Teasing Method:  tip the head forward and fan out ponytail in a full circle around the head.  Lightly tease the hair and begin tucking ad pinning the ends around the edges to create the illusion of a bun.  Don’t secure too tightly or the bun will be too small.  Secure a doubled up hairnet around the bun (not the whole head) and pin carefully in place around the edges.
      • Foam Donut Method:  pull hair through the foam donut, and fan hair out from ponytail so it covers the foam donut.  Begin wrapping the ends around the edge of the donut, pinning as you go.  Secure a doubled up hair net around the donut to tame any flyaways and loose ends.  Pin edges of hairnet securely in place!
  3. Add a final spray of hair spray for any remaining fly-aways, and you’re ready to go!


All materials can be found at most drugstores and grocery stores, in addition to Walmart and Target.  Be sure to match all materials to the dancer’s hair color, please no brightly colored hair ties, even if they match the costume.

If you’re still needing assistance, please check out the videos below for a step by step visual guide on creating the perfect bun!


Bun for Short Hair

Bun for Long Hair

Sock Bun Tutorial 

Donut Bun Tutorial