How To Do The Half Top Knot On Short Hair

how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita

One of the things I miss most about long hair is being able to easily throw it all up in a big messy bun on top of my head. It was my go-to for dirty hair, lazy days or next day hair. And also really an instant updo that looked like I put in some sort of effort if done well.  With short hair, I’ve had to embrace the half top knot since I no longer can do a fun high ponytail. And to be honest, I don’t wear this easy to do style enough!

A half topknot is so easy and cute and really is a fun update to my everyday waves. Some people have a hard time creating a perfect messy bun so I’m hoping these step by step instructions and images will help. All you need is your trusty hair elastic. If you like, you can also add in some texturizing spray and/or dry shampoo for additional grit. So here’s how to do a half top knot for short or even long hair. It works for every length!

the tools

How To Do A Half Topknot

Step One – Start With Beachy Waves

First, start with beachy waves. I sometimes use a curling iron which you can see in THIS tutorial or a wand which you can see in THIS tutorial. You don’t HAVE to do waves, but I think it adds to the texture and overall look of this style. This look totally works with also a perfectly straight sleek blowout. For additional grit and texture to help the hair hold, you can also add in some dry shampoo (I love these) and some texturizing spray.

Step Two

Pull the front section of your hair back pulling from the sides of your forehead (do not go too far over!) and back before you hit the crown of your head. You don’t want to pull it so far back as the knot needs to truly be on top of your head. You’re essentially grabbing a big square section. I personally leave the sides down but that’s just a preference. Feel free to do a true half up by grabbing hair straight from where your ears are.

Step Three – Grab Your Hairtie!

Grab your hair tie and tie it around the section once pulling the hair all the way through.

Step Four

Next, take the section and pull it through the hair tie again but only 2/3 of the way. You want to leave a little behind so that you can make a loop/knot with it. That little bit that sticks out is how you get that perfectly undone look!

Step Five

Twist the hair tie (leaving that 1/3 section still out) and tie it around the 2/3 section to create the messy knot. Twist around once more if you have slack in the hair tie and continue to create lumps/messiness. The messier the better. I personally love a messy top knot!

Step Six

If you need to, you can pull the bun apart a bit and tweak it as you need to. If you have some crazy pieces that aren’t cooperating, you can always use a few bobby pins to keep things in a place.

See how to style your top knot with these looks!

A half top knot is such a fun style to wear from day to day errands, out on the weekend with friends, but even for an event. You can dress it up or down. You can make it as messy or tame as you like. I’ve styled it a few ways on My Style Vita before and below are two of my personal favorite looks. One more casual weekend look in an easy breezy dress and booties. And the other, a more put together look with denim trousers and a feminine blouse.

This is also just a great way to keep your hair out of your face that isn’t in a ponytail. I recently went even shorter with my bob and a ponytail is hard to stay put. So a half top knot is a great alternative for super short hair. But again, this works on long hair too! I’ve even done a braided top knot before which you can check out here. A fun twist on this simple look!

How To Do The Top Knot Step By Step

A step by step tutorial on how I do my half top knot. This method works for any length hair and also if you choose to do a full top knot and not just a half. It’s all about the undone vibe that makes it feel effortless.

how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita
how to do a half top knot for short hair via @mystylevita

Check out more hair tutorials here!

Photos by JNelly

Jessica is an Atlanta life and style blogger. Aiming to bring practical tips to your every day life. Tips that you can easily tackle and make your life feel just a tad more 'put-together'.

Leave a Comment


  1. 1.7.16

    I love how you can rock this, can you do mine please?!

    x. Sabrina | Simply Sabrina

  2. 1.7.16

    Effortless yet so chic Jess!

    the way to my Hart

  3. 10.20.16

    Love that lip color! What shade is it?!

    • 10.20.16
      Jessica said:

      It’s Mary Kay really red

  4. 1.8.17
    Holly said:

    Love the look! You mentioned that you have super thick hair… do you have any advice for people with thin/fine hair? Whenever I try a style like this the bun is either really tiny or there’s not enough hair left on the bottom, so it looks very strange. Thanks!

    • 1.9.17
      Jessica said:

      I would recommend using a texturizing/volume spray. I really like Living Proof’s texture spray. It adds insane amount of volume and texture perfect for fine hair and creating looks with it.

  5. 9.4.18
    Kate said:

    What an amazing DIY tutorial!

  6. 5.14.19
    Rachel said:

    Love a good top knot! Giving this a try this weekend when I grab drinks with the girls!


    • 5.14.19
      Jessica said:

      Yes can’t wait to see how you rock it!

  7. 5.15.19
    Lisa Autumn said:

    Such a cute hairstyle!

    x Lisa |

  8. 8.19.20
    Ashley Evelyn said:

    love this page