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For many women, the "effortless" low bun feels like a lie sponsored by off-duty models. Yes, it's inherently minimalist; you technically only need a claw clip. However, nailing the aesthetic requires precision: a sharp centre part, gripping the hair tight and pulling it up to the angle that creates a snatched brow lift effect, then making sure there's not even the idea of cowlick or distracting flyaway — which, to anyone who describes their hair as frizzy with humidity, is almost laughable.
Though, if anyone could hold a masterclass on how to perfect the low, slicked-back bun, it's Hailey Bieber. Not only does the model and Bareminerals ambassador have an expert shortlist of product recommendations, she's honest about the fact that her own hair isn't quite as sleek and healthy as some might assume. On the contrary, she often wears her hair pulled back simply because she's in-between appointments for extensions.
"When I don't have extensions in, I just like to keep my hair out of my face," Bieber told Refinery29 in a recent interview, delving into the "journey" she's been through with her hair to this point. "My hair was really long as a teenager. Then I started modelling and I wanted to be cool and edgy, so I cut it really short — it never grew long after that. Now I'm trying to grow it out, but it's taken a long time. Though, I did see a big difference when I stopped colouring it — I don't dye it blonde anymore."
As for her now-trademark slicked-back look, Bieber says that she's found the style to be both "chic and easy" with the help of the right moisturizing and conditioning products. "I style my bun with a bunch of leave-in conditioners and hair treatments, because then I feel like I'm actually doing something good for my hair when it's pulled back tight," she explains. "My hair gets greasy really fast, so I'm really only putting product from the mid-length down to the ends."
For products, Bieber has three key recommendations."My favourite hair product right now is this product called K18," she says, endorsing the new leave-in mask with frizz-eliminating capabilities hyped as comparable to Olaplex. "It's so good; I use that all over my hair every time I get out of the shower. Then, if I've been swimming or need a little extra detangling, I'll use the Ouai leave-in conditioner — they actually just came out with a collaboration with Byredo [note: not available in Australia yet, sadly], which smells unbelievable. Then, I just part my hair in the center, and use a really loose-hold hair hairspray."
So, it's still not exactly a cinch, and styling will be unique to your own hair length and texture. But if you identify with Bieber's general hair "journey," you might find your own slicked-back bun a lot easier, and aesthetically on point, by implementing her tips. We won't call it effortless, but maybe marginally more approachable.
Shop Hailey Bieber's low-bun must-haves: