Title: How To Do the Perfect Top Knot When You Don’t Have That Much Top to Knot
Type: Service Article
Date: May 2013


We’ve all seen the tutorials on Pinterest and flipped through the slide shows in our favorite beauty sites that explain how to achieve the perfect topknot. Unfortunately, not all of us are as cranially blessed hair models: ENTER THE SOCK BUN!

 Reading through Lauren Conrad’s Beauty, and coming to the brief chapter on creating the topknot has the potential to make any normal haired person feel both intimidated and terrified. The model is a gorgeous, blonde goddess with thick golden mermaid hair. Her execution of the topknot looks so effortless: simply pull all of your hair on top of your head, twist it around and BAM! You have the most perfect, bulky, juicy topknot in the history of up-dos.

 Unfortunately, this simple explanation does not work for anyone with hair above belly-button length or without the thickness of Lady Godiva.  In fact, if I, with hair to just below my shoulders and average thickness, attempted to craft a top knot simply by wrapping my hair around and around my head—which would be a total of two and a half times and thoroughly unimpressive—my little nugget bun would be a sad site to behold indeed.

Hello, sock bun! –It is hard to believe that all of your topknot woes can be solved with something you put on your feet, but hey, if it’s going to give you that voluminous, custard stuffed donut on the top of your head then let’s do this!

Your Tools:

  • A Sock
  • Bobby Pins (or a Hair Tie if you’re not feeling fancy but still want the chunk)
  • A Second Hair Tie
  • A Comb
  • Scissors
  • Hair Spray (and gel if you want to get sleeker)

Happy Bunning! Let’s get started with 6 simple steps that will take you to top knot heaven.

Step 1: Start by finding an old (clean!) sock.

Actually, if you can steal one of your boyfriend’s socks that would be better for you for two reason: 1. His feet are bigger than your dainty Cinderella-like tootsies, therefore creating a larger knot and 2. You won’t have to ruin one of your own socks (ha-ha!)

Take the sock and your scissors. Cut off the toe so you now have a long tube.

Step 2. Take your new tube and roll the sock down to create a kind of “donut” shape. It should essentially look like a really thick circle.

Step 3. Put your sock aside and grab one of your hair ties. Flip your head upside down so that you can pull all of your hair on top of your head into a ponytail. You will probably need to use your comb (and possibly gel if your hair tends to get really frizzy or is prone to fly-aways) to flatten any awkward bumps.

Step 4: Once you have your ponytail all smooth and perfect grab your sock again because this is where your mind is about to be blown. Forget having to deal with your dreaded nugget bun—you’re about to fool everyone around you into thinking you have magically grown an impossible amount of hair overnight—and if cheating the hair Gods is wrong then I don’t want to be right.

Take the sock and pull it down your ponytail, toward your head, to that it is now sitting on the crown of your head.

Step 5: This is where things can get a little tricky. What you need to do now is take the hair in your ponytail and cover the sock so you can create the illusion of a naturally thick topknot. Grab your bobby pins, ladies!

Take your hair in small sections, one at a time. With each, start wrapping it around the sock, fastening with the bobby pins as you go. The first time you try this it may take you several attempts because the best way to get the whole sock covered can vary based on how thick your hair is and you might have to experiment.

Make sure that you are wrapping the sections of hair in the same direction and not trying to wrap one to the left and another to the right—this is will look messy and will ultimately end up not covering the entire sock.

(Depending on how much hair you have, it may be easiest for you to just take all of your hair at once and try to wrap the sock up in one, straightforward swoop, but this will not work with every head of hair and I have found that wrapping it one section at a time to be the most effective method)—No hairnets! This isn’t ballet class.

Step 6: Now that you have your sock bun all fastened to your head you can whip out the hair spray. For this particular up-do, don’t worry about helmet head—the stronger the better. Give yourself a spray (or several) while smoothing down any remaining fly-aways.

Also, be sure to take a good look in the mirror and make sure that your bun is perfectly centered. There’s nothing worse than a lopsided topknot!


(Since we’re being so sneaky already!)

  • Try using an old, soft bristled tooth bush for your finishing touches: Spray the tooth brush with hair spray and gently comb it over any loose hairs or unwanted frizz. Using your comb for this could lead to clumping under your topknot.
  • Travel sized hairspray packs a big punch: travel sized hair sprays are best for unsteady up-dos because the spray is more condensed, making it more powerful.
  • If you don’t want to ruin socks, there’s a hair accessory for that: there is a hair accessory designed to accomplish the same bun-bulking action that a rolled sock does. They are inexpensive and great to have if you don’t want to sacrifice your socks. (Sold at your local H&M).
  • For heavy hairs under your bun, grab your trusty bobby pins, once again: some pieces of hair are too short to stay in a topknot and heavy to be held up with hairspray all day. Especially some of the hair under your topknot that may fall on your neck throughout the day. Use a few bobby pins to secure these pesky tendrils. Be sure to snake them under your pulled up hair so they don’t show!

Phew! You did it! And there you have it—with very little blood, sweat and tears—the perfect topknot for the gal with a normal amount of hair.  It’ll still be holding when you get home from work so amp it up with a bedazzled hair tie to place around your topknot for that extra for a night look. Call up your favorite restaurant and plan a fabulous night out for you and your man. You deserve it with that glorious up-do!