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These are the best products for a slick bun, according to Australian hairstylists

IMAGE VIA @madisonbymadison22/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY KAT CHRISOULIS

Slick and sleek.

If three years living through a global pandemic taught me anything, it’s that I can get away with trading in slip-on heels for slides, expensive knitwear for oversized hoodies and freshly blown-out locks for shamelessly oily roots. I think it’s safe to say ‘lazy girl’ (aka goblin mode) culture isn’t just a fleeting phase in the ever-accelerating trend cycle.

Now, a bad hair day or a week-without-a-wash moment can brazenly be steered into ‘it girl’ territory thanks to the power of one hairstyle in particular: a sleek, slicked-back bun.


For more hair advice, head to our Beauty section.


In recent years, the slick bun has transitioned from a look reserved exclusively for ballerinas and school-canteen ladies, to one worn by the likes of Alexa Demie, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid. In search of the products that will help me perfect my slick bun, I asked some of our favourite Australian hairstylists about their holy-grail products.

Matt Jones, Style Director and Educator at EdwardsAndCo 

 

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The great thing about sleek buns is that you can do this with day or two-day-old hair. The natural oils will help to keep flyaways down and make the hair appear shiny and healthy. Start by washing your hair with something hydrating but light, for example, the Jaye Haircare Invisible Hydration Range, this is a great allrounder and ultra-lightweight, so it won’t cause your slick bun to look oily.

While the hair is wet, add in a smoothing cream and rough dry the hair, not dead straight as it will be hard to bend the hair into a bun. If the hair is dry, add in some serum or styling cream like the Virtue Labs Correct Unfrizz Cream to even out the texture. Use a Mason Pearson bristle brush to pull your hair back into a slick tight ponytail. Hairspray and aerosol shine sprays can help at this point to not only help secure the look but really make your hair glassy and glossy, Kevin Murphy Session Spray is perfect for giving you a shiny finish without making the hair crunchy.

After securing the ponytail, start twisting it into one long coil. Once it’s tight, wrap it into a bun shape and secure with bobby pins. If you have heavily layered hair you may want to invest in a fine hair net the same colour as your hair to help keep any little pieces that poke out in place. Finish the look by giving the hair a final blast of hairspray and decorate using your favourite clips or headbands.

@mattjones_edwardsandco

Laura Spinney, hairdresser

[The] best thing for a sleek pony is a dense bristle brush like the Evo Conrad Boar Bristle Brush – perfection. Or [try] Mason Pearson for a more spenny option. Team this with a high shine product like the Oribe Royal Blowout Spray (oil base, perfect for high shine) or R + Co Bleu Cult Classic Flex Hairspray or if you want a grippy finish the R + Co Chiffon Styling Mousse. You can put on wet or dry hair.

[The] general rule is that on wet hair you can halve the dosage as it spreads a lot easier. I found the best hair ties for security are the clear or black rubber elastics. Small enough to hide or blend easily with the hair. Apply product, use a dense bristle brush to spread and sleek! Bingo bango! Just note [that] if you are applying on wet hair your ends will feel a bit trash once you take them out so my suggestion is one day only! Take it out and give your hair a breather.

@laura.spinney.creative

Madison Finn, freelance hairdresser

 

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My favourite product for doing slick hair is Evo Gangsta Grip. It’s a resin-based gel and is so, so, so strong! It lasts longer than any other gel I’ve used and washes out super well. All you need is water, this gel and a comb, and you will be slicked for two days straight, easily.

PSA: Make sure you do it when your hair is wet so you don’t use too much gel. For a lighter product and a looser slicked look I would use Evo Macgyver Mousse. It doesn’t hold as long but is more moisturising and has a lighter fluffy feel!

@madisonbymadison22

Monique McMahon, Founder and Colour Director of Que Colour

Make sure you have a good quality hair clay/gel to get the look started. Apply a small amount between your palms and work through the front of your hair to smooth down flyaways. We love this cream clay from Anti haircare. A boar bristle dressing brush is essential, it will give you that really slicked back and smooth finish with no bumps. I recommend blonde boar bristle as it boosts the hair’s natural shine!

Next grab a flexible/light hair spray for any stray hairs, spray this lightly onto your brush (or a hot tip is to use an old toothbrush!) and smooth over final stray hairs around the face. A flexible hold will be more forgiving and less crunchy. We love this one from Wella.

@moniquemcmahoncolour

Katherine Ruiz, People Haircare Co-Founder

Slick buns don’t have to be exclusive[ly] for greasy hair days. After washing using People Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, towel dry your hair and brush back into place. Smooth and sleek styling without the fuss (or the frizz). Packed with nourishing and moisturising ingredients such as olive oil and mango, People Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner tames flyaways and frizz, while softening thick and coarse hair.

@katherinejruiz

For more effortless hairstyles, head here.

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