Man Buns and Top Knots were all the rage a few years ago. While the trend may have faded, it appears that these men’s hairstyles are here to stay for a while. Therefore, we’ve decided to put together a guide to help you grow and style one.

In this guide, you will learn about both man buns and top knots, whether they will suit you, and how to style them:

Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all.

Man Bun Top Knot

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What Is A Man Bun?

Although often associated with post-2011 hipster men, the Man Bun can be traced back as far as the 2nd Millennium BC. Long hair in a bun can be traced back as far as the 2nd Millennium BC.

Vedic depictions of Shiva feature the Kaparda hairstyle. This sacred bun or shell of matted or braided hair is said to be from where the river Ganges flows.

The style can be seen on the terracotta soldiers (210BC) and later on early iconographic representations of the Buddha. Wearing the hair in a bun was commonplace among Chinese men up until 1644AD. The rising Qing Dynasty enforced the Queue, a style where the hair on top is grown long and often braided.

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What Is A Man Bun Shiva Verdi Beard

Reaching its 21st Century trend apex around 2015, the Man Bun has started to slowly phase out of mainstream fashion. Ambassadors such as Jared Leto and Leonardo DiCaprio have sheared theirs off in favour of more classic styles like the Side Part.

Nevertheless, if anything is to be learned from the above, long hair on men has been around longer than written history.

Bespoke Unit's Men's Guide to Man Bun and Top Knot Hairstyles

How To Grow A Man Bun

What Is A Top Knot

A Man Bun requires at least six to ten months of growth to obtain around seven inches of hair length. The look is simply achieved by sweeping all the hair towards the crown from the forehead and nape. The bun is then usually tied high around the crown area. Sometimes the bun is tied higher towards the top of the head or even low around the nape.

Man Bun wearers should invest in a couple of hair products to keep their mane healthy at the very least. The first and foremost is conditioner, which nourishes to hair with the necessary oils removed by shampoo. Dried out hair is messy and harder to maintain.

Secondly, it is always good to consider styling cream or oils that will not only provide richness and volume. They also ensure that the hair remains manageable. When tying the hair into a bun, be sure not to grip too tight. It has been known for this to pull on the roots and lead to headaches and even hair loss.

Depending on your professional environment, a Man Bun can be considered for the office. A Man Bun can fit right into more creative and liberal workplaces and if it’s well-maintained, it could pass in other high-brow settings. Otherwise, a Man Bun can be held loose with some hair hanging out.

Alternatively, it can be displayed as an untidy mane coupled with a grizzly beard. Longer hair pulled into a ponytail and looped back through the elastic to make a Pony Bun.

Examples of a Man Bun (left) and typical Top Knot (right)

What Is A Top Knot?

How To Do A Top Knot Male

Alternatively, a Top Knot variation of the Man Bun can be adorned by men with shorter hair. The Top Knot comes from the traditional Chonmage haircut worn by Japanese men. It dates back to the 15th Century Edo period Samurai. They would use this hairstyle to hold a helmet in place during battle.

Unlike modern Top Knots, the top was shaved and the sides kept long, which was then oiled back into a knot. A traditional Chonmage style is seen today among Sumo wrestlers. Special hairdressers known as Tokoyama are called on to create this symbolic look.

Examples of Traditional Samurai Chonmage Top Knots

Traditional Chonmage Top Knots

Top Knots are commonly paired with an Undercut. This creates a strong disconnect between the volume on top and the temples. A neat, shaved Side Part can also be used to emphasise this. The sides can also feature a Fade to neaten the finish along the nape.

The top can be slicked back and tied into a bun on or just above the crown. Alternatively, it can be swept back in a messy style or made neat. The bun itself being dishevelled, ornate or a simple ponytail. It is also becoming something of a trend to go for a Ragnar Lodbrok by braiding the top.

Due to their unconventional appearance by being a hybrid of two contrasting hairstyles, a Top Knot can risk being less accepted during formal occasions. Caution is advised for those stemming from corporate backgrounds.

Will A Man Bun Or Top Knot Suit Your Face Shape?

The Man Bun and Top Knot can be styled differently according to the needs and limitations of different face shapes. However, although there are a number of solutions, unconventional styling can prove problematic for some face shapes.

We’ve identified 7 individual face shapes, which play a vital role in determining how well certain styles may suit different men. If you don’t yet know your face shape, we strongly recommend you quickly follow our guide here in order to identify it before you continue reading this section.

Ideal Matches

The following face shapes will have few issues if experimenting with either a top knot or a man bun. Nevertheless, we have a few styling tips that may be handy before you get started.

Oval Face ShapesWhat is a man's oval face shape?

Oval can try out both styles. However, try to retain some reserve in the cut’s eccentricity. Going too soft or hard may play havoc with your your refined proportions.

Square Face Shapes

What is a man’s Square face shape?

Both styles work well for Square face shapes. Angular Top Knots with shaved sides provide height and bring out your features. Meanwhile, Man Buns can be used to the opposite effect with little risk.

Triangle Face Shapes

What is a man's triangle face shape graphic

Triangle face shapes can use the volume of a Man Bun to provide bulk on top and balance the proportions with their jawline.

Acceptable Matches

The following face shapes can certainly try wearing a top knot or a man bun. However, it’s important to bear in mind a few styling tips beforehand.

Diamond Face ShapesWhat is a man's diamond face shape graphic

A Man Bun can certainly compliment a Diamond face shape’s proportions by providing soft contrast to their angular features. However, if attempting a Top Knot, care should be taken that the sides aren’t shaved too closely to avoid emphasising the ears.

Heart Face Shapes

Graphic of a man's heart face shape

Heart shaped faces run the risk of exposing too much of their relatively wide forehead by wearing a Man Bun or Top Knot. An alternative would be to wear a messy style bun with strands of hair that fall down the sides and fringe to provide some soft texture.

Oblong Face Shapes

What is a man's oblong face shape graphic

whilst an Oblong face shape can benefit from a Man Bun’s length on the sides, it needs to be careful to avoid excessive height. This can be sidestepped by wearing the bun lower down the crown but caution is advised. Unfortunately, Top Knots are not really possible as the shaved sides and knot will just elongate the face.

Round Face Shape

graphic of a man's round face shape

Round face shapes can greatly benefit from an angular Undercut Top Knot, which will render the sides squarer and provide height. However, a regular Man Bun will soften the features and only make the face appear circular.

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