Jared Leto, Orlando Bloom and Chris Hemsworth did it.
Bearded hipsters are doing it. My girlfriend’s boy in Portland is doing it. There’s a whole Tumblr, of course, devoted to it. What is it about a man and his man bun?
Is it the way it’s tied, a tiny knot of hair protruding from his scalp like a button? Or is it the way it appears in many shapes and sizes, low and messy at the nape of the neck, or gloriously high and round like a ballerina’s bun? Or up and straight outward, like the tuft of a tail? Whatever the attraction, there it is, male fashion’s answer to dressing up devil-may-care tresses for red carpets events, editorial photo shoots, frolicking in the water with your young girlfriend (Leo DiCaprio, I see you), sweaty soccer games (hey Becks) and God-knows-what-else.
It’s a curious parallel to ladies who cut or spike their hair into very short pixie cuts (hi, Pink), or shave their head entirely a là Natalie Portman. They have the same effect as the best of man buns: badass elegance. Men, too, can rock long locks. Flat-iron ‘em, curl ‘em, we don’t care. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
The particular combination of a bearded man with a bun, however, is pure art. Unlike ladies, men just have so much more fluff on their faces, and I’m amazed by the variations in style. Bristly, uncombed mustaches and beards with a messy bun on top. Neatly trimmed beards with hair softly swept back and down into a tight knot. Scruff with hair greased back and low.
Want to give it a shot? Men, if you’ve never had to do anything to your hair except get it cut it buzzed every few months, here’s how to achieve the look (ladies, you might want to load this page up on your boy’s iPad for a not-so-subtle hint that he should try something new with his ‘do):
Step 1: This is arguably the hardest step, and the one that will test your levels of commitment and self-control. You must grow out your hair, if you want a sizeable bun. Take an extra minute or two to condition your hair after shampooing. Seriously, it will make a difference. When I had a bob, my hair was just past my chin. It took about a year and a half to grow it down to where my heart is in my chest. If your hair is shorter than this, add another six months or so. Stay strong – it sounds like an eternity, but it will be worth it!
Step 2: Brush, if you aren’t going for the messy bun look. Smooth away bumps by combing or brushing your hair back.
Step 3: Tie. If you have thick hair, use an actual hair tie. There are light brown ones and black ones, depending on your hair color. If you have thin hair, use small rubber bands about the size of a ring; thick hair ties will just fall out.
Step 4: Twist. Once you’ve brushed your hair back, twist the ponytail and it will naturally start to fall into a circle. Wrap the hair tie or band around the circle.
Or, tuck. The other option is don’t twist, just pull your ponytail through the tie, twist the tie, then fold the hair underneath, so the ends stick out.
Step 5: For a slick look, give your hair a few spritzes of hairspray.
Step 6: Done. Now go put on a tuxedo and rock a red carpet somewhere.