Everyone has an opinion about the man bun. The style, which caught the attention of the mainstream media several years ago, sparks everything from outrage to full-on adoration.
Although some would like you to believe the style is all about feminizing men, long hair has been the go-to look for males throughout history. It’s only the last few decades that have given rise to cropped, tailored-looking styles. It just goes to show how much the fashions change over time.
Still, we’d love to consider man buns and hard part haircuts part of the ongoing culture shift toward androgyny we’ve seen on runways and our TVs. It’s time for the average man to have his shot at hair equality.
If you’ve been growing your hair out in hopes of making it to the bun stage, rest assured that you haven’t reached the end of the road. There’s near endless variation when it comes to man buns. Whether you’re the lucky man who’s already mastered braiding or you’d prefer to keep most of your hair close cut, there’s a way toward your hair goals.
Knowing If The Man Bun Is For You
As with any trendy style, the man bun has been hotly debated. Is it just younger men who can wear it, or is the look open to all? Call us beauty optimists, but we think the man bun can work for any hair texture, age, or office dress code. You’ll just need to consult with a trained barber before running with the look.
Why consult a professional? Barbers are experts when it comes to flattering facial shape and making sure your facial hair works well with your overall aesthetic. A professional can help you pick a length and style that complements your personal style instead of overwhelming it.
How to Style a Man Bun
Getting started with a new style doesn’t have to be complicated. We recommend thinking of the man bun as an intentional look, not one you just leaned on instead of washing your hair. Arm yourself with an arsenal of products—we love a pomade like the Matrix Over Achiever 3-in-1 Cream Paste—and set up shop in front of a mirror.
The key to the perfect man bun is having it look polished but never too perfect. Using your fingers, rake your hair straight back into a ponytail at either your crown or the back of your head. Secure the tail, then twist until it begins to wrap around itself and use another elastic to secure the style. Fluff into your desired shape.
Alternatively, you can also make a man bun on the go by creating a ponytail with a final trick that secures it into an updo. Instead of pulling your ponytail all the way through the elastic on the last loop, leave it halfway in for an easy man bun look.
Once you’ve mastered the basic man bun style, level up by incorporating braids and accessories into your ‘do. We love a man who can add a French braid or a twist to his style with confidence. We’d also recommend investing in elastics that match the color of your hair for a more sophisticated take on the style.
Man Bun Ideas
Traditional Man Bun
What better way to start than the classic man bun? You may be asking yourself, are man buns still attractive? And the simple answer is YES. This is a timeless look for men with longer hair. All you need is a hair elastic and some styling product to keep on top of flyaways. If you’re looking for a little extra shine while holding your bun in place, try Redken Brews Wax Pomade.
Half-Up Man Bun
For a more relaxed take on the classic man bun, give this cool half-up ‘do a go. This is perfect for those moments when you need your hair out of your eyes yet still want to have some of your luscious locks out on display. Blow dry your hair before assembling it into a half-up bun for a sleek finish. We recommend using a heat protectant like L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Fluidifier Blow Dry Cream before blow drying for the best results.
Undercut Man Bun
If you’d like the versatility of long hair with all the ease of a short style, then the undercut man bun is the right choice for you. For this look, prepare for your stylist to buzz all the hair from your ears to your neck. The top section of your head, however, will retain all the edginess of long hair in a top knot.
To make sure you’re getting the best version of the look, ask your barber or stylist to let you throw up your hair into a half bun before getting started on the trim. Once he or she has evened out the resulting line, the custom buzz will be exactly the way you want it.
Taper Fade Man Bun
Once you’ve taken the undercut for a trial run, you’ll have the option to make your style even edgier with a fade. Your barber can customize where your fade begins and ends, so don’t be afraid to pipe up during your cut. After all, the best hairstyle is one that works with your day to day life.
Whether you opt for a high fade (one that happens close to your part) or a low fade (one that’s nearer to your ears), your man bun will act as the cherry on top of a very striking style.
Skin Fade Man Bun
Can’t get enough of the fade? Don’t worry, there’s a an option for you—one that’s perfect for humid summer months. Instead of leaving hair very close-cropped, the skin fade does away with any fuzz below your ears.
Sure, this look may create the illusion that you’re wearing your man bun as a decorative hat, but fashion always comes with a price tag. If you’re not quite sold on the style, we recommend trying it as a pompadour look before fully committing to the man bun.
Claw Clip TopKnot
Another maximal effect, minimal effort style, is this claw clip top-knot. Pull your hair into a ponytail, weave and bunch your ponytail back on itself and clip underneath. Then spread your hair on either side of the clip to cover it. Then use a strong hair spray like Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray to give this voluminous maximum hold and shine. This look is one for men with longer hair, as you need the length to cover the entire claw clip.
Low bun = low maintenance. This style is one for those moments where you probably should’ve jumped in the shower and washed your hair before going out, but you opted to snooze your alarm instead. And we’re totally not judging you because beauty sleep is important. All you need to do is quickly whip your hair into a low ponytail and pull it through to create a bun.
High Top Knot
Need a men’s updo for long hair that will suit almost any occasion? Enter the High Top-Knot. This one works with all different hair types: straight, curly, textures—you name it. What we love most about this high bun is it doesn’t matter if you have flyaways or a few loose strands, as messy works and slick works. But if you want that extra clean and sleek look, opt for Redken Brews Molding Paste to hold your bun in place all day.
The chignon is basically just a fancy word for a bun, made by twisting your hair around itself and securing it with a hair elastic. It’s usually formed at the nape of the neck. However, nothing is stopping you from creating a high chignon, either. We recommend using a few bobby pins and a mousse-like Kerastase Couture Styling Mousse Bouffant to keep it all in place.
For the men with super-thick hair, you may want to opt for a fade up the sides and long on top when the weather warms up. This gives you the best of both worlds, as you can enjoy the luscious long locks and keep cool. You can experiment with many of the ‘updos for men we’ve mentioned, but a bun is always a good look. And, for a little extra pizazz, check out our guide to men’s scrunchies.
Cornrow Man Bun
If you have curly or natural hair with an undercut, wrangling it can be a challenge. Cornrows are an excellent way to protect your length while keeping your mane out of your eyes. Since these are more complex braids, we’d recommend scheduling an appointment with a professional braider.
To prep your hair for the style, apply a hair mask before your standard shampoo and conditioner routine. The extra moisture will do wonders for shine and softness.
Man Bun with Locs
Wearing locs is a real commitment. The style is timeless, sure, but it’s also weighty and challenging to pull back. Instead of developing a love-hate relationship with your locs, solve both problems by trying out a man bun.
Start by pulling your locs to the top of your head, then fold them over. Begin wrapping the remaining length around the base of your newly-formed man bun, tucking the ends in wherever possible. Secure your style with a large elastic headband, wrapping it until the look feels secure.
Long Hairstyle Ideas for Men
While we love a classic man bun—as you’ll soon discover—there are so many other ways to wear your hair. Man bun aside, how should men put their hair up? To be quite honest, there’s no right way for men to put their hair up. But a good place to start is asking what’s the purpose and occasion.
If you’re after a simple, stylish, and everyday look for simply getting your hair out of your face in the gym or slicked back in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place. Equally, if you’re after something a little more striking and quirky for a party, festival, or wedding, we can also help. Another thing to consider is the length and texture of your locks.
We’ve covered the half-up man bun, but have you considered many other ways your hair can go half-sies? Some of our favorite half-up half-down styles feature braids, buns, twists, and even claw clips. But where you choose to take your style is completely up to you.
For the more adventurous men out there, give French braids a try. While French braids are undoubtedly impressive, they’re not as challenging to achieve as you may think. They actually work best when hair is a little less glossy. We recommend trying this on second-day hair, or if you have freshly shampooed locks, add a little texture spray to help grip your hair while forming this ‘do.
Section the top part of your hair into three and begin plaiting, adding a small bunch from each side as you go down the middle of your scalp. Secure with an elastic and a good dash of Matrix Fixer Hairspray.
You’ll be shore to turn heads (pun intended) with this Merman-inspired look. The fishtail braid is made with two strands instead of three in a traditional plait. All you do is take a small strand of hair from the left half and wrap it over to the right side, and vice versa. You repeat this move until all hair is weaved together. It may seem a little fiddly, to begin with, but it produces such a cool beachy vibe when complete.
There are some styles that seem like they’ll work until the end of time—and the French twist is one of them. Start with Redken Brews Mint Shampoo, as you’ll want fresh, clean hair. Then blow dry and use a texturizing spray, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wata Wave Texture Spray, to give your hair some body. Finally, twist (and shout?). Create a low ponytail, twist up your hair into that classic shape, and secure it with a clip or grips.
The high ponytail is a classic style that should be in all long hairstyle repertoires. This is almost a right of passage for anyone with long hair—if you can get your hair into a ponytail, it’s official, your hair is long. While you can brush, comb, or claw a high ponytail into place, our best tip is to form it upside down.
Flipping your head over means gravity is on your side and can help you to get a smooth shape. Keep it all in place by spritzing hairspray six inches away from your head. To achieve a silky-satin finish, use Matrix Builder Wax Spray.
Unleash your inner beast with this simple mane-like style. This voluminous look works best with medium-lengthed hair. And while there may not be an elastic in sight to make it a traditional ‘up’-do, with a strong hair gel—like Redken Brew Extreme Gel—this style will stay up all night.
What about one for the loc lovers out there? While you may know them as dread locs – there is nothing to dread about this versatile trend. You can shape these twisted rope-like strands however you wish—loose, top-knot—you name it. However, an effortless style we love is combing over to one side. And while we’re on the topic of ease, all you need to do is keep your hair clean. Try using Redken 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash to keep your locs looking fresh. Because why get multiple products when one covers all bases?
We’ll leave you with this showstopper; some call it the crown braid, others the halo, but either way, it’s a pretty magical one. And, totally satisfying once achieved. It is one singular plait spiraled around from the outside of your scalp to the middle.
Interested in personalized advice about the best hair care routine for your mane? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.