it’s ballet recital time of year! if your child’s hair is really short, it is a challenge to get it into the classical “ballerina bun”. here is how i do it with ella’s hair.
you need: elastic band, bobby pins (and hairpins if you have them), a hair net to match the child’s hair color, and a pair of knee high nylons that are close to the child’s hair color (for this tutorial i used knee highs that are lighter than ella’s hair so they will show up in the pictures).
NOTE: bobby pins are the thicker ones that have one straight side and one bendy side.
they are used to hold a design firmly in place. when putting them around the base of the bun, insert them with the straight side next to the head so it lies smooth under the bun and doesn’t hurt—when using them to hold loose pieces of hair in place, insert them with the straight side away from the head, so they look smooth and flat (they won’t hurt here because there is no pressure on them). insert them at an angle to the hair that is flatted to the head, so they have something to grab.
hairpins are the ones that are thin and shaped like a long U. (for some reason we haven’t been able to find any hairpins recently—apparently nashville has become a hairpin-free zone—so this is a stock picture from a beauty supply website).
they are used to hold sections of loose hair in a given design. they are useless for securing the design to the head so if you have to buy only one type of pin, get bobby pins.
now down to business: use the elastic band to put the child’s hair into a ponytail in the target bun location—check with the dance school about this!—some schools like the low, traditional bun, some like a higher, contemporary bun. if some of the child’s hair is not long enough to go into the ponytail, just leave it loose for now. ella’s hair has grown out quite a bit since it was cut earlier this year—at first the whole front wouldn’t even go into the ponytail.
then wrap the knee high nylons around the elastic band and tuck the loose ends in. the knee highs give bulk to the bun and give you something to build on. you can use more than two knee highs if the child’s hair is very thin.
take small sections of hair and pull them over the knee highs, pin them if you wish or just tuck them under if they will hold (this is where hairpins are more useful than bobby pins—hairpins will grab a whole section of hair to keep in place while you finish the bun and they can go right thru the knee highs to grab wispies).
this part doesn’t have to be pretty but do make sure you have the hair evenly distributed around the knee highs so the final result will be round and symmetrical.
take the hairnet and wrap it around the bun—it will be too big—just twist it and wrap it over and over until you run out of net—the way you applied the elastic to make the ponytail.
put in as many more bobby pins around the base of the bun as needed to make it secure—have the child shake her head to double check. if there were any loose pieces of hair that didn’t make it into the ponytail, pin them flat to the head now. crisscrossing bobby pins will make them hold better. step back and admire your handiwork.
spray the bun and head liberally with the ozone-depleting hair product of your choice and you’re done!
*for my very first dance recital i was a mouse in a grey tutu. 14 years later, when i was a professional dancer, i requested and was granted the privilege of performing the role of the mouse king in “the nutcracker”—why did i do it?—because by then i had danced every female role in that ballet and the mouse king was the only male role that was within reach. :D everyone who has ever danced on stage, even for fun, has at least one story to tell—what’s yours?