Man Bun

Shannon Boyce
Businessman with bun

There are many popular men's hairstyles to choose from, including short and spiked styles, shoulder-length ponytails, and classic cuts. One of the more noteworthy looks of the moment has to be the man bun. It remains a hot hair trend - especially for millennial men.

How It Started

It all began in 2013. While this look had been seen long before that (historically, men in the Roman Empire wore their hair in buns, as did the Vikings) this was the year that it hit the current mainstream. In the years to follow, the style became a full-blown trend.

This happened thanks to high-profile athletes, actors, and musicians sporting different versions of the look. What was once considered an underground hairstyle quickly engrained itself in popular culture.

What It Is

The man bun is a versatile style that can be worn many ways. Generally, it is classified as long hair tied into a single bun. It is often seen on the crown but can also be styled slightly lower or at the nape of the neck.

Certain types require longer hair lengths than others. For a top knot (also known as the undercut), there should be at least six inches of length. A full bun on the other hand, needs ten to twelve inches. It is possible to grow out your hair, but this process takes time as average hair growth is six inches per year.

Who Has Been Seen Wearing a Bun

This style is bold, edgy, and noticeable. No wonder celebrities continue to wear it. A-list stars like Jared Leto, Harry Styles, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, and Colin Farrell have all managed to popularize the look, both on and off the red carpet.

It doesn't end there. Fashion designers often have male models wearing this style on the runway and in print campaigns. In fact, a sophisticated version of the man bun made a splash at New York Fashion Week: Men's and continues to be a popular choice. The undeniable visibility of this hairstyle has led men to try to re-create it at home.

How to Create the Look

There are many different ways to wear this look, with variations in placement, texture, and added details. That means the hairstyle can be as unique as the person wearing it. The key is to find a style that works for you.

Full Man Bun

Man Bun Hairstyle

This is by far the most popular version. All of the hair is used to create that bun shape, including hair from the back and sides.

For best results, you should have ten inches of length or more. That makes it easier to scoop the hair into a bun and it will give the look plenty of fullness. Shorter lengths can make the bun smaller and harder to secure in place.

  1. Start by using the right products. Work a styling cream through dry hair (something like Woody's Flexible Styling Cream for Men works well) making sure the product is applied evenly. This will add texture and body.
  2. Decide where the bun will be placed. It may be higher up on the crown or worn slightly lower, depending on your own style preferences.
  3. Pull the hair back with your fingers (this does not have to look super neat), fold the length in half, and tie an elastic around it.
  4. If you are struggling at first, watch a full man bun tutorial and try again.

One of the best features of this look is that it works on any and all hair types. It doesn't matter if your hair is straight, wavy, curly, thick, thin, or somewhere in between. The key is to use all of the length and make good use of hair products.

Top Knot or Undercut

Man with man bun

Another commonly worn style is the top knot, which may also be referred to as the undercut. It is worn higher up and uses hair found on the top of the head only. This tends to be smaller than a full bun since the sides are left shorter or shaved to create contrast.

This is a great place to start if you are in the process of growing out your hair. (It requires six inches of length rather than ten or more.) It is also an option if you have naturally thick hair. Since this is known for its shorter sections, it instantly thins the hair and makes it easier to style.

  1. Make a trip to a nearby barbershop. Ask them to keep the length long on top but buzz or shorten the length underneath. This will give you the contrast you need.
  2. Next, apply a styling product like cream or mousse to damp hair.
  3. Blow dry the hair completely.
  4. Comb your hair back (or use your fingers for a messier look) and tie a hair elastic around once, then fold the length in half, and tie again. You will be left with a secure and stylish top knot. (Watch this YouTube tutorial for additional guidance.)
  5. Add on a strong hold hairspray, like the Garnier Fructis Style Power Hairspray for Men, to keep it in place.

Since the top knot is sleeker than the full bun, waves and curls can be harder to manage. The key is to use styling products and blow dry your hair. This will make it easier to control.

Casual Low Bun

Trendy man with man bun

If you want a hairstyle that is quick and easy, then the casual low bun is your best bet. It is similar to the full bun (it uses hair from the top, back, and sides) but sits lower on the head. It is often worn at the nape of the neck or just slightly higher.

Length is essential for this particular look. To create this laid-back hairstyle, you need at least twelve inches of hair. The more hair you have, the easier it will be to achieve this style.

  1. Begin by pulling your hair back using your fingers or a comb. Use the front section of hair to cover up the hair line.
  2. Wrap an elastic around the length once (this will create a small ponytail shape) before folding it in half.
  3. Secure the folded section with a hair elastic. The number of times it needs to be wrapped around the bun will depend on your hair. (It can be harder to secure thick hair so you may need to use additional elastics.)
  4. Loosen up the sides. You don't want them pulled too tightly as this is a more casual style. Get the perfect look by playing around to see what looks best.

This lowered man bun works with all hair types but is especially eye-catching with wavy or curly locks. That natural texture gives this casual look a more distinct appearance. Another way to add interest is to have fun with accessories. There are plenty of hair ties made specifically for men. They tend to be stronger and slightly larger. Some even have patterns and colors, like the ones from Hair Ties For Guys.

Polished Man Bun

Handsome young men with man buns

There is a different bun for every occasion, even one that works if you have a special night out or work event coming up. This sleek and sophisticated style is a great way to add polish to your next look. It has many placement variations (on the top, the middle, or lower down on the head) and is characterized by the hair being pulled back tightly.

A number of stars have sported a version of this look on the red carpet. You can too, just be careful how tightly the hair is worn. According to dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon Dr. Jeff Donovan, continuous wear of tighter hairstyles (like the polished option) can cause traction alopecia to occur. This pulling of the scalp leads to hair loss over time.

  1. Run pomade (like American Crew Pomade for Hold and Shine) or wax through your hair. This will give you extra hold, a sleeker texture, and a shinier finish.
  2. Comb your hair back and secure a thin elastic around the base to create a tight ponytail.
  3. Fold the length in half and wrap the elastic until the bun is fully secured.
  4. Keep it slightly more casual by leaving flyaway pieces as they are, or give your style that extra polish by applying a strong hold hairspray and patting down untamed hairs.

This polished hairstyle can be adapted to suit all hair types. For an ultra sleek finish, straighten or add on a shine spray. To keep it more relaxed, pull the hair back tightly but leave the bun itself a little looser.

A Hairstyle for Any Man

There is no right or wrong way to style a man bun. These looks allow men with longer hair stylish options for keeping it under control. Find the look that works for you and wear it with confidence.

Man Bun