20 Byrdie-Approved Ways to Rock a Man Bun
This standout style has outlived the trends.
For a while, the man bun hairstyle may have seemed like a gimmick or fad, but given the length of popularity it has already enjoyed, the look seems poised to stick around for some time on the heads of famous actors, music stars, and athletes alike. It's also appeared to outlive its contemporary trendy styles like undercuts, so if you haven’t jumped on the man bun train yet, now could be the best time to try it out.
Ready to give the look a go, but not sure where to start? We've gathered plenty of inspiration for you and spoken to hairstyling experts to get their tips. Ahead, we’ll look at 20 different ways to wear a man bun hairstyle.
A basic-level man bun hairstyle that is easy to both style and pull off, this is a good option for those with thinner hair.
To create the basic shape, stylist Tina Malhotra says the most straightforward way, wet or dry, is with the use of a few essential products. “I use a hairbrush, elastic band, and a hair serum or dry texture spray. If hair is wet, brush a serum through clean hair to slick it back, or if the hair is dry, use a texture spray to give the hair some hold before brushing it back,” she says. “Then, using an elastic hairband, slick the hair back and into the desired pony height on the head, scooping up all the hair. Pass the hair once through as if you're creating a ponytail, then on the next pass, pull the hair halfway through before securing the loop.” This should create the classic man bun shape while keeping the rest of the hair pulled back slick.
If you’d like to look a bit messier, just skip the brush. “All you’ll need to do is eliminate the first step of brushing the hair back neatly, and instead pull it back in its natural shape into the man bun as described above,” Malhotra says.
3. Dreadlock Bun
For this style, you may find it best to wear the bun a bit more loose and messy if you live in a warmer climate, but you can also style your locs into a tight topknot if you choose.
Rather than use a standard hairband, you can also show off some personality with a more pronounced tie. You might even consider tying a handkerchief around the base of the bun if it's large enough.
5. Wet Look
Use extra gel in the hair before forming the updo to get a wet look with your man bun hairstyle.
6. Small Bun
If you don’t have a lot of hair to work with, this is a great way to still pull off the man bun look. Style the bun lower on your head so the strands of hair don’t become loose. “Don't forget to add some product to your shorter hair as well so that it looks cohesive,” says Danielle Chiz, owner of Bubu NYC.
7. Taper Fade
This is a clean, balanced look with tapered sides and the thicker hair on top pulled into a bun. “When worn with an undercut, I think the man bun looks best pulled tight slightly higher than the undercut line," Malhotra says. "The bun can be worn higher on the head to show off the undercut style and also keep you cooler in summer."
8. Pulled Back
A variation on the messy look for those with longer hair, loop all of your hair through the hair tie as if you were creating a low ponytail, but don’t pull it all the way through.
The man bun look works just as well for those with curly hair, too. Leave a portion of the hair on top a bit longer than the rest and work it into the bun. Use a finishing spray to keep strays at bay.
10. Skin Fade Undercut with Mini Bun
Keep hair long on top and add a skin fade to the sides for a unique man bun hairstyle. Tattoos enhance the look but aren’t necessary. “If you have shorter hair or an undercut, make sure you see your stylist more often to make sure they create the right shape when your hair is in a bun,” Chiz advises.
11. Long and Messy
If you have long hair, a messy style creates a very relaxed look. Just remember not to pull the hair so tightly through.
12. Ponytail Style
This is pushing the limits of what is considered a man bun, but as with most of Jared Leto’s work, he turns it into an unforgettable moment. Here, the actor keeps a small ball of hair in place, with the rest flowing down below it.
13. Long Dreadlock Bun
If you’ve been growing your locs out for a while, you can still pile them high for a great look. Here, Luka Sabbat looks especially casual, with a few dangling out in front of his face.
14. Tied-Back Dreadlocks
You can also opt to tie the dreadlocks in the back for a more traditional man bun style.
15. Messy Bun with Beard
If you’ve got an unruly beard, you can go all-in on the look with a floppy man bun up top. Pairing this look with sharp tailoring is a great contrast as well. “If you have unruly hair, consider using hair products to add moisture and shine,” Chiz says.
16. Gray Man Bun
For men with graying hair, a bun can be a way to inject some youthfulness into your look. Just keep it simple, as shown here.
17. Statement Facial Hair with Bun
If you want to stand out from others who may be rocking a man bun, try maintaining an interesting bit of facial hair. A handlebar or English-style mustache will give you a unique look.
18. Long Beard and Mustache
Experiment with different lengths of facial hair to see what works best for you.
19. Front-Facing Bun
Rather than creating a man bun at the top or back of the head, you can push the hair forward. This style works best with a close fade on the rest of your head.
20. Slight Fade
Add a break between your man bun and facial hair with a slight buzz in the middle for some separation.