How to Do a Ballet Bun (Tutorial)

    The Perfect Ballet Bun: Hair Tutorial | English National Ballet

    Today we’re going to present you a short demo of how to do a soft classical bun on our lovely First Soloist Alison McWhinney.

    Even though Alison is very capable of doing this hairstyle herself it will just give you a little clearer understanding of some of our tips that we’d like to share.

    I’m going to show you how to do this but the variations are with a twist at the side to make it a little bit softer, or the bun might be lower and there’s enough space to be able to put any type of tiara headdress here.

    My mentor Sarah Baxter showed me this very clear way of doing the soft classical style.

    Products to Use

    So the products that we need for the soft classical high bun – I start off with the tail comb. This is good for sectioning the hair.

    Strong brush, so we can pull a lot of tension.

    The elastics I use have rubber in the middle. This grips the hair really well.

    The matte grips I find they don’t shine on stage and cause any distractions. They come in different colors. They’re not accurate to exact hair color but useful enough.

    Hair pins. We call these mediums because they’re a medium size as opposed to these bigger ones, which we would use for headdresses.

    And fine pins. These are more for tidying up maybe the nape of the head, the top of the head. So more decorative rather than secure.

    The nets we use do not shine so it can look very sleek on stage rather than seeing diamond shapes from a big thick slumber net.

    The product I favor is gel spray. It’s flexible and it gives a very sleek strong finish.

    How to Make a Ballet Bun

    How to Do a Ballet Bun (Tutorial)

    So we start off with the center parting, then we section the hair just to the top of the ear. Make sure it’s accurate on both sides.

    For the ponytail, where the knobbly occipital bone is here, put the band just slightly above.

    Check with the cheek bones that we’re going up. The reason for this is we want the line of the bun to flow into the nape, not to stick out separately.

    It’s really important to make the hair as secure and as tidy as possible right at the beginning, particularly if you’re changing your headdresses.

    I usually ask my dancers to do the pull test themselves because I can’t feel how tight it is. We just make sure they feel it’s really secure.

    I then spray the whole area. With the comb, I use both the teeth end and the tail of the comb. You don’t want to spray too tight with product because the dancer can’t move their head but tight enough that the movement doesn’t create a little back fringe.

    Then we go to one of our front sections. I like to sweep the hair so it’s not just straight back and it’s not too much on the face.

    You’re following the natural hairline with a slight curve and a sweep. It may be that you find it difficult to do this in one hit so you can use a sectioning clip to take the hair in place and then just check.

    It’s a really valuable tool to use a tail comb just to place the little hairs without dragging the hair all together.

    Take one of the matte grips and I like to put the grip as close to the ponytail elastic as possible, because we don’t want to see any grips on the hair at all even though they’re matte and they do look invisible from the front, it’s a much nicer profile.

    You don’t want too many of them either because when you’re attaching the bulk of your bun you can’t always get the other pins in if there’s lots of grips on this section. I use my palm of my hands and my fingers to just mold the hair into place.

    You can see I’m using the fine pins now not so much to secure in a strong way but there’s any little bumps just keeps it flatter anything a little bit bumpy up here just keeps everything in a sweeping line.

    Then I spray as I go rather than just spraying at the end so keep everything in place. And then the second side is exactly the same but obviously we’re wanting to make sure it’s really accurate with the sweep on the first side. If you’re doing this style on someone, always use the mirror as your guide.

    If you’re doing it yourself then small mirror to hand is good because you can check the back and check the profile.

    When we put our hair net on, rather than put the net around the bun once twist it and take it over, it’s easier to double the hair net up before you place it on the hair. Just tease so the elastics have an even amount of net.

    I usually hook it over a couple of those pins there while I put all the other hair in, so I don’t do any twisting, I don’t do any placing of the hair into a bun and pin it and then put the net on. I create the shape with the net in place.

    So when it comes to placing the bun, I like to see a little bit from the front and I check this in the mirror or Alison would check herself. We don’t want it too low because that makes the head look really flat.

    We don’t want it too high because that looks strange and then we don’t get a nice line of the neck. So just so you can see it a little bit from the front.

    Then take our medium pins – not too many – I usually put here, here and there to begin with. I don’t let go of the bun. I always feel I have to hold it just in case a bulk of hair goes to one side. Until i feel really confident it’s all secure.

    So going all the way around the head, I’m aiming to not see any of these pins at all. So we don’t have the top showing or the legs it looks as if it has maybe one pin in only and you don’t see that either.

    So once I feel it’s secure enough to move my hands away I take the tail comb again and check in the mirror the proportions are all even. Anything I need to correct, I use a fine pin. Any little bulky bits.

    I’m starting to check that the bun is going into the nape of the neck, we don’t want buns to stand out away from the head, which is why this method of doubling up the net is a really good tip. Same with the sides, we need to just make sure it all looks really beautifully connected.

    Then I usually go back to the top of the head because there might be wispy bits. We use a lot of spray or product on the top because our dancers will be pinning headdresses and tiaras to this section.

    Final thing, I usually ask my dancers to press against my hand make sure we still have that lovely shape. If they’ve got a lot of volume to their hair and texture they might bang their bun from the back.

    And there we go, good to go!

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