Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recital Day! Plus How to Make a Hair Bun

Both of my daughters were lured by pink ballet shoes and tutus at a very young age and started taking ballet classes before they were even in school. Over the years they added tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and for my oldest--pointe to their dance repertoires. After spending hours and hours at the dance studio every week for a few years in a row, including most weekends for competition team, they both decided to take a break from dance a couple of years ago. This school year, however, my youngest decided to take up jazz again. So back to the dance studio she went for another year of dance, which culminated with her dance recital last Saturday night. What a fun show! :)

She is a such challenge when it comes to having her picture taken! While she's not too shy to take all those self portraits in the bathroom or bedroom mirror and then post them on facebook or instagram, she avoids getting in front of her parents' camera lenses at practically any cost! This is the best shot I have of her from Saturday night, just after the show was over:

You see what I mean? I felt like the paparazzi chasing down the star of the show! ; )

My husband took a bunch of photos with his fancier camera and lens, too. And luckily I snagged a few shots of her on stage during dress rehearsal earlier in the week. Her group literally lit up the stage during their number:

How could they not with such sparkly costumes, right?

Now for the instructional segment of this post...

How to Make a Perfect Hair Bun: 
After years and years of practice, gallons of hair gel and hundreds of bobby pins . . . I think I've mastered the art of styling the perfect bun for recital day. Or dress rehearsal, dance competition, picture day, first communion or whatever special occasion for which a neat, tight bun is desired. I imagine there are numerous YouTube videos available with similar instructions, so I encourage you to check that out if you need more visuals. In the meantime, here are my instructions:

What you need: 
hair gel, extra hold
            [I buy a big bottle of whatever is cheapest, usually L.A. Looks.]  
two elastic hair bands, one thick and one thin
            [also called pony tail holders]
a hair net
            [find at a well stocked drug store or beauty supply store like Harmon's]
bobby pins
            [the kind you have to sort of pry open] 
            [any brand is fine, Aquanet brand is inexpensive and effective]

What you do:
Read through all instructions before starting.

  1. If your dancer has short or medium length fine weight hair, go to next step. Otherwise, for dancers with long and or thick hair, it is best to start with very damp hair. Completely wet hair and gently towel dry. Then comb out any knots, if necessary.
  2. Once hair is brushed free of any knots, apply a GENEROUS glob of gel to hair, starting at scalp, working it in to the hair. Be sure to get the gel all the way to the hairline around the face, behind the ears and along the back of the neck. Don't be afraid to use A LOT of gel, especially if the bun is for a dancer or gymnast who will be bopping and leaping across a stage or flipping around over the mats. For a special occasion such as communion or flower girl, you can probably get away with less gel.
  3. Brush or comb hair using a wide toothed comb until smooth. Work the hair into a pony tail at the height you want the bun, brushing the hair smooth as you go. Secure with a thick, elastic hair band [pony tail holder].
  4. Add more gel to the pony tail, if necessary, which it usually is, to make sure the hair is slick enough to hold together without any little "fly aways" sticking out.
  5. Braid the pony tail and secure bottom with a thin, elastic hair band [pony tail holder].
  6. Now wind the braid around the base of the pony tail and tuck the end in to the base of the bun. Secure with a few bobby pins.
  7. Take the hair net and wrap it around the bun. You may need to twist and double or triple wrap the hair net around the bun until it covers the bun neatly. Secure the net to the bun and the bun to the hair on scalp with bobby pins. If your bun is well gelled and covered with the hair net, this may take only 4-5 bobby pins. But to be sure the bun is very secure--especially if the bun is for a dancer or gymnast, go ahead and use more. Have your dancer or gymnast jump and leap around a bit to make sure the bun isn't going anywhere.
  8. Have your dancer or gymnast cover her eyes with her hands and spray hair with hairspray. Gently pat or brush hair flat with your hands to tame down any fly away hairs.

Sounds like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty easy to do. Just like the advice you probably give your budding star, practice makes perfect, so keep practicing making hair buns and you'll be a pro in no time.

Good luck!


  1. I love recitals. They all look so pretty! My daughter plays piano. Today her teacher got her started on O.D"s What Makes You Beautiful. She was a mush of giggles!


  2. Oh! Sparkly outfit!!!
    And that's a really good bun! I don't think I could do it on myself though. And everyone else in my family got short hair :(

  3. I can't believe how she's grown!

    The group looks great!

  4. I love the outfit and your daughter is too cute. I don't have that problem with my own daughter. She's always happy to pose for a picture....sometimes too happy to be in everyone's pictures.

  5. I have the same problem with my Daughter, thought if I ask nicely she'll roll her eyes at me and comply. Great tutorial on styling a bun! My Daughter prefers shorter hair (shoulder length at it's longest) these days. And her activities are more hair unfriendly. She usually pulls it into a ponytail for work and sparring in MA. She used to want curly hair, but her straight as heck hair won't even hold a curl using styling products AND hairspray longer than thirty minutes. *g*

    Your Daughter looked gorgeous and sparkly in her outfit and I bet they were fantastic on stage! Congratulations on the recital!

  6. I love that photo of your youngest daughter! She looks gorgeous! Ahhh, and I remember my dancing days - the year before last ;)

    No buns for me now (I have a No. 3 cut :) but if I had longer hair I'd been following those instructions as that bun looks amazing!

  7. luv46kdz... I love recitals, too. They're so much fun for the kids and just so .. so celebratory, you know?

    Okay, your daughter's piano teacher knows EXACTLY how to motivate a budding pianst!

    Alex... VERY sparkly outfit! So much fun!

    I could not do a bun on myself either. I can barely get my hair into a pony tail centered on the back of my head! lol!

    Tracy... I KNOW! Kids grow up way to fast... *sigh* Did you know my oldest is DRIVING?! She turned 17 in April. Youngest 13 in April. Oy.

    Rowena... Haha! So perhaps ideal is a happy medium between camera shy and lens hog? ;)

    Brandy... I would gladly take the eye roll if it was followed by compliance for a picture! Sometimes I encourage her to give me a her best fake smile--"Just fake it for me! Two seconds!" But that doesn't usually work. So frustrating.

    My girls have long hair, but easily manage pony tails for sports and dance, etc.. but a bun is required for dance recitals and dance competitions (only exception is super short with no length at all to tie or pin back), so I had to learn how to do it well.

    orannia... Aww, LOL! Your dancing days--the year before last! ; ) Are you not continuing? Or just taking a break?

    What's a No. 3 cut? Using the No. 3 guide on an electric hair trimmer?

  8. She looks so mature in that blurred picture, scary Christine!! (Like scary in a good way, but reminds me we're getting older LOL)

    It's great that she decided to dance again :) And now, Maria can drive her to the classes LOL. It's also awesome that the show was great, especially their number :)

    And ha, that's why I have short hair :P so I can't tie them LOL.

  9. I'm taking a break. I was hoping to get back to it this year, but think I will aim for next year now. I want to start ballet.

    And yes, No. 3 refer to shaving your hair using an electric shaver. If it helps, Marines (in the movies anyway :) often have a No. 1 :)


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