10 Steps for Creating the Perfect Donut Bun

Apr 8,2016 | Dance


As recital weekend approaches and competition season is in full swing, it might be time to refresh your technique for creating the dreaded donut bun.

Fear not, dance moms. With a little practice (and a lot of patience), you too can master this dancer’s essential.

Imagine it’s 5:00 am; your daughter is tired, cranky and barely awake. It’s still dark out, and you so have not yet had your coffee. But you, dance mom, must transform your daughter’s bedhead into a stunningly perfect dance bun. Breathe.


Mastering the Donut Bun, Step-by-Step

1.  Get coffee. Trust us, it helps!

2.  Give your dancer something to focus on while you do her hair. Tablets or videos are great to keep her occupied and help her sit still.

3.  Have all of your hair supplies at your fingertips:

At this point, if your child is not already in her costume, have her wear a robe or a shirt that buttons up the front so you don’t risk messing up the bun by pulling a shirt over it. Next…

4.  Start with dry hair. Spray the whole head with water and/or a light styling spray. You will find what works best for you, but in any case, it is best to dampen the hair before you start. And it’s best to start with hair that isn’t too clean; clean hair is more difficult to style and hold

5.  Brush or comb the hair back into a high ponytail. Don’t be surprised if your daughter looks up from her video long enough to say, “Mom, it’s not high enough!” Don’t leave any bangs or other hanging pieces. (If your child has bangs you will have to slick them back with hair spray after you have the bun in place.) When the hair is as smooth as possible, secure the ponytail with a hair elastic

6. Place the donut (or sock) around the ponytail like you would a scrunchie

7. Spread the ponytail out evenly over the donut so that the donut is covered and you have a “donut hole” in the middle.

8. Place another hair elastic over the donut. This forms the “bun,” but you will still have hair hanging out underneath the donut.

Here’s where it gets complicated, depending on the length and thickness of the hair.

9.  The remaining hair must be carefully twisted around the bun and secured in place. If the hair is thin, you might only need to twist a single section of hair around the bun and secure it with an elastic, then pin it in place. If the hair is thick or very long (or both!), divide the hair into sections and twist them one at a time. If your child’s hair has layers, you will probably need to pin it as you twist to keep the layers from falling out.

10.  After the bun is secured with pins all the way around, you can begin smoothing out the top and sides of the hair with hairspray. For recitals or competition days, use an inexpensive firm hold spray like Aussie or Aqua Net. Spray the hair all over (including the actual bun) and slick down any flyaways. If you have flyaways around the ears and neck, try to secure them with pins and hairspray as well.

When you are pleased with your bun, add your bow or hairpiece. The end result: a classic, sleek and beautiful look that will last all day.

Do you have a tried and true method for creating the perfect dance bun? How long did it take you to master your technique? Share your tips!