Photography by Getty Images
Including but not limited to: must-have brushes, frizz-taming creams, and stronghold gels.
Date April 5, 2023
What’s slick, sleek and chic all over? A slicked-back bun, of course.
Worn for decades in Black and brown communities, backed by seemingly every content creator on TikTok, and worn by trendsetting models like Bella Hadid, it’s clear that this slicked-back style has major staying power.
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Its cleanliness gives off a polished look that everyone loves — hair that’s been styled but not overdone. It snatches the face for a naturally sculpted model-off-duty look. It’s simple enough to style. But there is a fair amount of personal preference and self-assessment that should come into play before you attempt a slicked-back bun. Ultimately, the success of this style is largely determined by the products you choose.
Sure, a brush and a holding product of some sort are the absolute bare necessities, but your dream slicked-back bun may be the result of a more personalized and involved concoction of products. Do you prefer the finish of a cream or gel? Does your hair type require products with extra hold? To mousse or not to mousse?
From must-have brushes to frizz-taming favourites, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best slicked-back bun essentials to help keep strands sleek and stray hairs in check without leaving behind a greasy finish or product build-up. Whether your hair is naturally straight or coiled, we’ve got you covered below.
PATTERN by Tracy Ellis Ross
For that super-sleek look, you’ll want a boar bristle brush like this one from PATTERN to firmly sculpt your hair into place. Plus, the nylon bristles on the other side of this dual-sided brush help smooth flyaways down.
Before you begin slicking, apply Olaplex’s No.7 Bonding Oil to the ends of your hair to repair, strengthen, and hydrate your locks in preparation for styling.
Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Cream
As seen on #BeautyTok, this multi-purpose Dae cream can be used to smooth strands down and tame frizz with its moisturizing blend of hydrating botanical ingredients.
Très Set Structure Spray
This mist-to-mousse structure spray by Oribe keeps hair in place all day long while still looking soft and adding a dose of salon-worthy shine.
Prefer a gel to slick your strands back? Eco Styler is a classic — especially for those with curly hair! Made with 100% pure olive oil, this product is sure to leave your hair as hydrated as it is sleek.
Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream
Fight frizz with this buildable styling cream by JVN, formulated with strengthening squalane, making it suitable for all hair types.
Here’s another TikTok viral product worth the hype — TIGI Bed Head’s Hair Stick. Use this styling stick around the hairline before and after brushing your hair back for an extra slick hold without any build-up.
Dual-Edge Brush & Comb
Curlier, more textured hair types will find that using an edge brush is helpful when trying to tame flyaways and baby hairs.
Seal the deal with a dollop of Ouai’s cult fave Matte Pomade to lock in your sleek style without it leaving it looking greasy.
For hair that may need a little extra hold around the hairline (like types 3-4c hair), reach for an extra firm hold edge control like this castor- and coconut oil-infused pick by Mixed Chicks.