The Man Bun

Man buns are nothing new but they certainly haven’t left.

What they have done is become a specified hip look. Beginning in 2014, several celebrities, including Chris Hemsworth, David Beckham, Jared Leto, and Leonardo DiCaprio started wearing man buns. The style is primarily adopted by hipsters and those men who admire this artisan aesthetic to define their semi-rebellious style.

The History

Maori tikitki mens hairstyle

Actually, the man bun goes back a long way.  In 1300, an indigenous Polynesian tribe, The Maori migrated to New Zealand and only men of a certain status would wear a tikitki, the equivalent of a man bun.


Sangtu mens hairstyle

During the Joseon Dynasty in Korea from 392 to 1897 married men wore a sangtu. They styled their hair in a knot on the top of their head held in place by a pin called a donggot.


Jared Leto mens hairstyle

More recently, Jared Leto introduced the modern man bun at the Golden Globes Award show in 2014. 


Should you wear a man bun?

If your hair is already long, why not try it out. Some claim that women find man buns attractive.  Men’s Fitness recently asked 100 women if they were attracted to men with man buns. Here are the results:

Sure, why not.
Maybe, but it’s not something I look for.
I only go after guys with man buns
Absolutely not.

So, attracting women isn’t a strong reason to sport the bun. It’s really a question of personal style. If you like the Brooklyn guitar-player-style then go for it. In terms of career progression, it’s not likely to enhance your career. If you are self-assured and don’t need to progress through the traditional ranks of the corporate world, it may be just the style for you.

How to grow your hair long.

If your hair is not long already, then understand that this is a long-term game. It will take a bit to grow out the length you’ll need. And after looking kind of unkempt and shaggy for so long, you won’t want to be cutting it off anytime soon.

First, start by skipping trips to the barber. Your hair will definitely reach a level of uncontrollable. Just tell everyone you’ve been really busy exploring the world. Everyone loves an explorer.

After a few months, address the mane. Your barber can help you make the transition to longer hair. 

long hair fabio

As your mane gets longer you’ll need to change your grooming regimen. This means less shampooing, no blow drying, switching from pomades and waxes to leave-in conditioners and grooming creams. You might even think about hair bands because longer hair is a pain the ass.  It gets in your eyes, sticks to your neck during hot days and adds unwanted protein to your sandwich.

Continue to see your barber for appropriate trims to keep it longer on top and manageable on the sides. The undercut adds a bit of edge to the manbun/topknot look. If a full head of long hair isn’t your thing, try this look out.

You’ll also want to consider deep conditioning treatments so that your hair retains moisture, oils and natural shine. Too many hipsters just let it grow and wind up with a frizzy ball of fuzz on their heads. It may be decidedly hipster, but you want to look intentional and elegantly groomed.

Products and Maintenance

mens styling products

More than ever this is the time to step up your grooming products game. That’s right, you may have to fork over some extra cash for products that will help control your hair and keep it looking healthy. Doesn’t matter what brand it is so long as it’s professional hair products recommended by your barber. You’ll want a shampoo that is gentle and works to keep the natural oils in your hair, reduces split-ends and minimizes frizz. Stay away from sulfates. They can dry your hair out and cause it to break. No one needs a head of destroyed hair. Next, you’ll need a conditioner. This is will likely be a leave-in conditioner that adds nutrients, fortification and strength to your hair. Grooming creams will give it shine and manageability. Lastly, as your hair gets longer and becomes bun-worthy, you’ll need a sea salt spray to add some grunge and separation.

How to tie your man bun

Now that your hair is long enough, tie that bad boy into a bun. Grab an elastic tie. Get your own and don’t steal your girlfriend’s. You’re a grown up. You can buy your own. Scoop your hair toward the back and then choke it and slip the band around it and pull it down toward your head. Then twist and slip the elastic band around again but only halfway down. Poof. There is your man bun.  Where you tie the bun is up to you. Most prefer to tie it in the back rather than on top of the head.

If you’re a visual type of guy, here is a video by Jules Tognini that will give you a tutorial on mastering the man bun. He adds a lot of steps, but there are some good tips on styling aids. Go forth into the manbun world.