Men have plenty of fashionable hairstyles to choose from these days, many of which would have been considered outlandish or unprofessional twenty or thirty years ago: faux hawks, steep undercuts, fades and the closely-related pompadours. The man bun, however, has made seismic waves.
Man buns began as the trademark hairstyle of hipsters, but they’ve gained mainstream appeal in recent years. Now you see men sporting this style on construction sites, in the boardroom, on the soccer field, and at press conferences.
Guys turn to the man bun for a variety of reasons. This style can keep you cool and comfortable in the summer heat. If you already have long hair, the man bun is a no-fuss way to add some extra polish for dates and important meetings. And, if you want to experiment with growing your hair out, it can give you extra options while you’re in the in-between growth stages.
How Do I Tie A Man Bun?
Man buns come in many packages and can be as unique as the men who wear them. But they all boil down to the same basic premise: using an elastic hair tie to wrap long hair up into a knot at the back or top of the head.
Sweep all of your hair (or half, for a half-knot) from your forehead to the back of your head or nape of the neck. Pull your hair through the elastic band as you would for a normal ponytail, and then don’t pull your hair all the way through the elastic on the last loop. This will form a basic single-loop knot. If your hair is long and thick enough, you can also double-wrap it into a messier bun. (Does this sound like Greek to you? If you’re brand new to ponytails and buns, sometimes a video is worth a thousand words.)
How Can I Wear A Man Bun?
In most cases, your hair will need to be at least shoulder-length to make a good, thick bun. Once your hair is long enough, there are a handful of different man buns that you can try.
The standard bun is the simplest of all; just pull all of your hair into a knot at the back of your neck or up on top of your head. The half-knot is just as easy, but you’ll only pull back the top half of your hair. This is a great option during the in-between stages of growing your hair out.
The samurai knot takes the half-knot one step further. This look requires an undercut, which means you’ll have the shaved part of your head exposed when you pull your hair back. This is a great option if you have thick or unruly hair or if you want the polish that the undercut can add to the bun. If you’re ready to commit to the bun full-time, you could even go for the top knot with shaved sides (you’ll need to have a disconnected undercut to pull this off).
And even if you’re keeping it simple you can always change up your look by changing the usual placement of your bun to your crown, the back of your head, or the nape of your neck.
Caring For Your Man Bun
How long does it take to grow enough hair to rock a man bun? Depending on how long your hair is now, growing it out can be a lengthy process - at least 6 months, sometimes longer. However, you can use this time to adjust to a new hair care routine to make sure your longer locks are healthy and looking their best. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Be gentle with your hair when it’s wet. This is when your hair is most susceptible to damage. Don’t ever rub your hair dry with a towel, and use a detangling brush or wide comb if you have to brush your hair out while it’s wet. You should air dry whenever possible but, if you do use a blow dryer, stick to the lower heat settings to avoid frying out your hair.
- Wash your hair less often. Yes, you read that right! Your hair will actually be less greasy if you wash it every few days or so. Shampoo strips the natural oils from your hair, and your scalp generates oil to replace what was lost; so if you gradually extend the time between washes, your hair will produce those oils more slowly over time. If you work out frequently, you can just rinse out your hair with water between washes to keep it clean.
- Get your hair cut regularly. You should still go in for a regular trim every 6-12 weeks while you’re growing your hair out. You’ll need to do this more often while your hair is shorter to upkeep your cut so that it grows out well, and can do this less frequently as your hair gets longer and keeps its style as it grows. This will keep you looking fresh, but it’s also the best way to keep your hair thick and healthy - and the healthier your hair is, the faster it will grow and the better your bun will look.
- Don’t overdo the product. A little bit of the right product is all you need to style your hair. Using too much product can gunk up your hair and make it look greasy even after washing, so find the right products for your style and keep it simple.
- Take care of your body. High-end hair products and vitamin supplements can help to mask the damage, but your hair quality will always pretty closely match your overall health. Stress, smoking, bad sleeping habits, and a poor diet are all bad for your health in general and can lead to having dull, frayed, or damaged hair.
Healthy hair is the key to having a good-looking man bun, so make sure that you’re managing your mane as it grows out for optimal results.
The man bun gives you the flexibility to wear your hair up or down as you please, and you can dress this style up or down for any occasion. This sophisticated, uncomplicated style is easy to maintain once you clear the hurdle of growing your hair out to the appropriate length. The hair growth process can take months, and your hair will probably go through an “awkward stage” or two as it grows, but keep your eye on the prize!
With the right hair care routine and a little dedication, you’ll be man-bunning it in no time.