Wandering around the Hill yesterday on a slightly warm, humid day, I saw a lot of faux updos. What do I mean by the term faux updo? Allow me to show you.
This is a faux updo. Sometimes called the Meredith Grey, this “hair style” happens when a woman pulls her ponytail halfway through the elastic. This creates a flaccid mound of hair that just hangs there, lifeless and unloved. It’s a look that says, “I could have done my hair today, but that would have required effort.”
Harsh words aside, the faux updo is no one’s best look. The truth is that you are better off with a basic ponytail (low, medium or high) than you are with this hairstyle identity crisis (Am I a bun? Am I a ponytail? Someone fetch my lithium.). Or you can take the route that a lot of women (esp. fashion bloggers) are taking and go for a sock bun.
The original sock bun tutorial that took Pinterest by storm, comes from Three Pink Dots. And while I think it is still the best tutorial, there are some tips that Virginia and I think you should be aware of before you start cutting up the contents of your sock drawer and turning them into hair accessories.
Choose a sock the same color as your hair. If you’re blonde, try to find a tan sock, brunettes dark brown, black sock for black hair and for you gingers out there, I would recommend either a medium brown or a maroon sock, if you can find one. This seems like a pretty simple thing to do, but just yesterday, I saw a woman wearing a navy blue sock in her blond hair. This is no bueno.
Choose a light to medium weight sock. The author at Three Pink Dots actually used a tube sock, and since she has a lot of think hair, it worked for her. But for the VAST majority of us, a light to medium weight sock is preferable. In fact, men’s silk socks are perfect for this. Why?
Because the thicker the sock, the more hair it takes to cover the sock. The more likely it is that you’ll have some sock showing (see the first tip), and the more obvious it will be that that bun is not au naturale. Quelle horreur.
Smooth and tuck the flyaways away. By far the biggest mistake women make with the sock bun is that they don’t tuck away the flyaways. As a result, the bun looks messy and unkempt, a bit like you napped on it. So grab a can of hairspray and some bobby pins and make sure that the hair is as smooth and flyaway-free as you can make it.
Smoothing flyaways is especially critical for those of you with layered hairstyles. If you don’t pin like your life depends on it, you’ll wind up with gym hair. And you do not go to work with gym hair. (This also applies to wet hair and dirty hair.)
The placement of the bun defines the look. A high bun is fashion-y and trendy. A bun in the middle of the head is a bit more subdued. And a low bun is all business. Where you place your bun determines the message that the hairstyle is sending.
Virginia thinks that to be successfully executed, the bun needs to be higher. But, she believes that the higher bun is only appropriate for recess. I’m a bit more forgiving on the question of work appropriateness, believing that as long as every other piece of clothing and accessory on your body is work appropriate, you can get away with the sock bun anytime.
To sum up, if you intend to wear a sock bun, don’t be lazy about it. Just because this is supposed to be an easy solution doesn’t mean that it won’t take time and attention to get it right. Because if you can master the technique, I may never have to see another Meredith Grey faux updo again. From my lips, to God’s ears.