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How to Do a Man Bun: 4 Unique Styles

Long-haired gents, open up your styling possibilities with a low-key man bun that keeps you cool and your mane under control. Learn how to do a man bun in 4 different ways in our step-by-step guide.

Wondering How to Do a Man Bun?

Image titled How to Do a Man Bun featuring this cut floating against a blue background

The man bun is a men’s hairstyle style you’ll either love or hate. If you find yourself in the former camp and your hair is long enough, you owe it to yourself to learn how to do a man bun (or bro bun, dude bun, or samurai top knot). 

Fortunately, this kind of long hairstyle for men is super simple to do. You’ll be able to master the man bun in minutes!

There are several ways to wear a man bun. Some guys prefer a basic man bun, while others opt for a messy man bun, a twisted man bun, or a half-up man bun. Whatever your desired look is, we’ll show you step-by-step how to make it happen. 

One of our favorite things about the man bun hairstyle is the versatility. Very few hairstyles can be tweaked to create so many different looks. The finished result will differ depending on the type of man bun you do, your haircut style, hair color, texture, thickness, and length.

The possibilities are endless! We’ll take a look at the four most popular types of man buns first, then show you step-by-step instructions to do each type.

Anyone can create a great man bun – all you need to know are the styling steps and the products you’ll need. We’ve got you covered on all fronts. Let’s get started! 

4 Types of Man Buns

Before you learn how to do a man bun, you should know which type of man bun you like the best. The four most popular types of man buns are the basic, messy, twisted, and half-up man buns. Each one is slightly different, so let’s take a look at each style. 

Basic Man Bun

Guy with a basic man bun wearing a black tank top and a chain

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The basic man bun is the style that comes to mind for most when they think of a man bun hairstyle. There’s nothing fancy about it – it’s just a quick way to pull your hair up and off your face and neck. For the basic man bun, all the hair is pulled up (usually to the crown area) and styled into a bun. 

The basic man bun is definitely a favorite style and every long-haired man should learn how to do it. You’ll be glad to have another quick style in your arsenal for those in-between wash days, bad hair days, and scorching summer days when you’re desperate to stay cool. 

But make no mistake – the basic man bun is an attractive style that looks good enough to wear for almost any occasion.

Messy Man Bun

Man with a messy man bun standing in a side profile and looking away from the camera seriously

Cookie Studio/Shutterstock

The messy man bun is a style that looks effortlessly cool. It’s just as simple to do as a basic man bun. Any hair type and texture can wear a messy man bun, but this style looks amazing on wavy or curly hair. That additional texture helps add interest and a laid-back vibe to this quick hairstyle.

Messy man buns are usually worn in casual settings. Like the basic man bun, they’re perfect for those days when your hair is a little dirty, when it won’t cooperate enough to leave it down, or when it’s hot outside and you’re looking for a cooler style. 

Doing a messy man bun is super simple, and there are a few tricks you can use to keep your messy style from looking ratty or neglected. We’ll show you those tricks in just a bit.  

Twisted Man Bun

Bearded man in a jean jacket and a twisted man bun sitting against a blue wall for a piece on how to do a man bun

AJR_photo/Shutterstock

The twisted man bun looks slightly more polished than the basic man bun. Instead of pulling the hair back into a ponytail and styling it into a bun by pulling it halfway through the elastic, the hair is twisted into a coil and wrapped around itself before being secured. 

Our favorite thing about the twisted man bun is that it pulls double duty. When you take a twisted man bun down, you’ll be left with soft waves that form while your hair sits in the twisted bun. So you basically get two styles in one with the twisted man bun! 

This hairstyle also has the added benefit of better securing and protecting your strands. When all the hairs are gathered into a twist and coiled around, it’s not going to tangle, loosen, or be as exposed to damage as it would if you left it down. 

Half-Up Man Bun

Side profile image of a man in a white shirt for a piece on how to do a man bun

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

The half-up man bun is a great option for guys with hair that isn’t quite long enough to pull into a full bun or those who want to leave some of their length hanging down. It allows you to show off your hair’s texture while wrapping some of it in a trendy man bun. 

If you have super-thick hair, a half-up man bun might be your best option because thick hair in a bun can get very heavy. Tying thick, heavy hair into a tight bun can even lead to traction alopecia – hair loss due to strain on the follicles – over time. 

The half-up bun is a great year-round style. In the summer, it allows you to get half your hair up to cool you down a bit. In the winter, the hair left hanging down can help keep your neck warm. 

How to Do a Man Bun 4 Different Ways

Now that we’ve looked at a few types of man buns, we’re going to show you how to do a man bun in 4 different ways. Master them all, and you’ll never be at a loss for what to do with your luscious, long locks! 

We recommend starting with “day 2” hair that isn’t squeaky clean. You should detangle your hair thoroughly first to avoid causing breakage as you style it.

You can use a boar bristle brush to gently detangle, or spritz a detangling spray or use a little hair milk to detangle, moisturize, and define any curl or wave in your hair. 

It’s easy, will take you less than 5 minutes to style, and should last all day if you follow our step-by-step instructions and product recommendations. Let’s check it out! 

1. How to Do a Basic Man Bun

The basic man bun is the easiest style to do. You’ll start by gathering your hair into a ponytail at the position you want your bun to be in. Then, you’ll partially pull the hair through the elastic to create a loop of hair at the back. Here’s how to do a basic man bun. 

  1. Brush your fingers through your hair and gather it into a ponytail at the height you want your man bun. If you’re not sure about placement, just place the ponytail at the crown area. 
  2. Secure the ponytail with a strong elastic by wrapping it around 2 or 3 times. You don’t want it to be so tight that you can’t wrap it again, but it should feel secure. 
  3. On the 3rd or 4th wrap of the elastic, partially pull the ponytail through so it creates a loop. 

You can experiment with how much of the ponytail you pull through in step 3. Pulling just a little bit through creates a smaller bun, while pulling more of the ponytail through on that final wrap creates a larger bun. 

2. How to Do a Messy Man Bun

The messy man bun is fun to do and gives you a little more room for creativity. If you have any texture in your hair – waves, curls, or coils – it really does a lot for this hairstyle. Here’s how to create a messy bun. 

  1. Tilt your head back and gather your hair into a ponytail where you want your messy bun to be. Messy buns look best with a little height, so try to aim for the crown area. 
  2. Secure the ponytail with a strong elastic hair tie by wrapping it tightly, but not as tightly as it will go. For most people, this will be either 2 or 3 wraps. 
  3. On the 3rd or 4th wrap, don’t completely pull the ponytail through. Partially pull it through to leave a loop of hair (this becomes your man bun). Make sure some hair hangs down under the bun – this will add to the “messy” look. 
  4. Use your fingers to very carefully pull down a few face-framing strands. Then, use your fingers to pinch small sections of hair at the front and gently tug forward and up to create some additional volume and texture up front.

Making the bun look messy does require a couple extra steps, but the results look great and can last all day. If you start by spritzing your hair with a sea salt spray all over first, the style will have better hold and amplified texture. 

3. How to Do a Twisted Man Bun

The twisted man bun is a little more secure than the basic and messy man bun. This is because the hair is twisted into a coil, then wrapped around itself and secured for all-day hold. It also leaves you with natural-looking waves after you take the bun down. 

Twisted man buns have a more polished look that can be appropriate for almost any occasion. Here’s how to do one. 

  1. Tilt your head back to gather your hair into a ponytail at the height you’d like your bun to be.
  2. Secure your ponytail with a strong elastic. 
  3. Grasp the ponytail in one hand and begin twisting it clockwise or counterclockwise until it forms a coil and begins to curve. 
  4. Wrap the curving coil around itself at the base of your ponytail. Keep hold of the twist the entire time to keep it tight. 
  5. Secure the twist with a second elastic by wrapping it around the base of the twisted bun. 
  6. Finish the twisted bun by securing it with a few bobby pins. 

You can make the twisted man bun into a messy twisted bun by tugging on pieces of the secured bun. You can also “fluff” the bun up by grabbing both sides of it and gently spreading or pulling the bun outward. 

To do a quicker twisted man bun, just toss your head upside down, gather your hair into one hand, and twist it into a coil around itself. Use one elastic to secure the twist and a few bobby pins to keep it in place. This version isn’t as secure, but if you’re in a rush, it works great! 

4. How to Do a Half-Up Man Bun

The half-up man bun is very simple to style. You’ll follow the general steps like you would for a basic man bun or a twisted man bun, but you’re only putting half your hair into the bun. Here’s how to do a half-up man bun. 

  1. Section the top half of your hair and separate it from the bottom. Secure the bottom section of hair with an elastic to keep it out of the way as you style the top. 
  2. Gather the top section of your hair into a ponytail at the height you want your man bun to be.
  3. Decide if you want to create a loop bun (like the basic man bun) or a coiled bun (like the twisted man bun). 
    1. To create a loop bun, wrap the elastic around your hair a few times. On the final wrap, don’t pull the ponytail completely through. Partially pull the ponytail through to create the loop bun. 
    2. To create a coiled bun, twist the ponytail you’ve gathered into a coil until it begins to curve in on itself. Wrap it around the base of the ponytail and secure it with an elastic and a few bobby pins. 
  4. Loosen the bottom section you secured earlier and finish styling the hair you’ve left down. 

You might find that you don’t actually need to put an entire half of your hair into the bun to create this style. If you have thick hair, you might only need to grab a small section up top to do a great half-up style. The half-up man bun looks great with an undercut for contrast!  

5 Tips to Create the Perfect Man Bun

Tips for doing a man bun put into graphical form

Now that you know how to do four different man bun styles, here are some helpful tips you can use next time you bun it up. 

  1. Start with hair that isn’t squeaky clean. Since freshly shampooed hair doesn’t have as much grip and texture as day 2+ hair, you want to start with hair that is slightly dirty. We’re not talking about greasy and gross, but you want a workable texture in your hair to create a good man bun that will hold. 
  2. Thoroughly but gently detangle first. Putting your hair into a bun goes a lot smoother when there are no tangles to throw things off-track. Detangled hair is what keeps laid-back styles like the messy man bun from looking like neglected hair. Don’t pull the brush through so hard that you cause breakage or snapping. Start detangling from the ends and slowly work your way up toward the roots. 
  3. Use the right hair ties. You might be tempted to use actual rubber bands or elastics with metal connectors, but don’t. You should use elastics labeled as “ouchless,” seamless, or no-metal to avoid damaging your hair with man bun styles. These elastics can be purchased in a variety of colors. We recommend grabbing some that are similar to your hair color for a less obtrusive look. 
  4. Try dry shampoo for a bun booster. Since man buns need slightly dirty hair for more texture and workability, dry shampoo is a perfect partner product to use. Just shake it up well, aim the nozzle at your roots, and spray. Allow it to sit for a minute or two to soak up excess oil, then use your fingers or a brush to evenly distribute the dry shampoo. Then, you can style your man bun with a boost in volume, a fresh scent, and better hold!  
  5. Switch your bun placement up. Placing your bun at the same area every time can lead to excessive strain on the follicles in that section. To avoid this, switch your bun placement up. It’s the same principle behind farmers rotating crops. By ensuring you’re not overly straining hairs in one section of your head, you can better manage the strain bun styles put on your scalp and hair.

Now you know the top 4 man bun styles, how to do a man bun, and a few tips and tricks to help you style the best buns. Whether you have shoulder-length hair or flowing locks down your back, the man bun is a versatile style you’ll return to again and again. 

Once you style your first man bun, you’ll wonder what took you so long to start wearing this popular, attractive, convenient style. It’s sure to become one of your go-to casual styles, and if you can master the twisted man bun, it can even be appropriate for more formal settings. 

We think the man bun is one of the best versatile hairstyles for men. You’ll agree once you give it a try!