Everything You Need to Know About the Man Bun

Photo by Kate Perkins

The man bun has been around for centuries, but thanks to stars like Chris Hemsworth and David Beckham, the long hair look is back and more popular than ever. We paid a visit to Tanya Hampton, man-hair expert and manager of For Men Only, a hair salon in downtown State College, to see what we could learn about the classic ‘do for dudes.

The first thing we learned is that no one calls it the “man bun” anymore. Most people have shortened it to “mun,” but there are other nicknames used on a personal basis. Ben Babb, State College resident and long-time rocker of the man bun, happened to be getting a trim while we talked with Hampton. He and his brother, another experienced mun-er, refer to their style as “the samurai.”

Now it’s important to note that there are two types of man buns that are currently popular: the full mun and the undercut. The full mun is when a man has hair long enough to pull all or most of it back into a bun. This look requires some serious dedication to length. 

Meanwhile, the undercut bun only requires you to grow length on the top of your head. Once your hair is long enough to secure in a knot, the hair below your crown and on the sides of your head can be shaved short.  However, Hampton warns this style is not for everyone.

“Eighty percent of the haircuts we do each day are undercuts,” says Hampton, “but they only work for a specific face shape and hair type.”

The best face shape for an undercut are those that are rounded or heart-shaped. “Long faces do not work because the undercut builds height,” says Hampton, “it should be proportionate.”

“You need a beautiful face,” says Babb.

As far as hair texture goes, if you’re interested in rocking the undercut look, your hair should be of medium thickness. If it’s too thin it will look, “like a comb-over,” says Hampton, “but too thick and you can’t work with it — it’s too poofy.”

Regardless of the style you choose, the proper mun should appear slightly dirty, as though you have just finished climbing a tall staircase or wrestling a yeti. Babb says, “the key is not showering — you need that greasy look.” But if you prefer to wash on the regular, Hampton recommends a product called SauVecito. It’s a concoction from Southern California that gives clean hair the same texture as dirty hair without all the smell or sweat. You can buy SauVecito in State College exclusively at For Men Only.

If all of this sounds too complicated and you would prefer to skip out on the man bun craze, you can still replicate the look with a clip-on mun. These happy little balls of hair are available online for only $10 — what a steal! And according to their Groupon page, 10,000 of these bad boys have already been sold.

Not interested in being a man bun poser? Looking for something to spice up your incredibly authentic mun? Well there’s also a product for you. Fashion forward Seattle natives have been rocking tiny fedoras on top of their man buns for months now. It’s the most ironic accessory used to achieve perfect hipster hair, and a great gift for anyone amused by tiny hats. We recommend buying one for your hamster this Christmas. 

As we left For Men Only, we asked for some last minute advice to give men interested in growing their own undercut mun. “Don’t,” says Hampton. The look really only works on a few people.

Her alternative? “The classic crew is coming back. Especially up and off to the side,” says Hampton. “If you’re not going to rock the mun, a classic crew cut is great.”

“The mullet is coming back too — it’s the next step after the bun,” says Babb.

Whatever you decide to pack beneath your beanie this season is up to you. Just know that the man bun is back, it’s dirty and sometimes it comes with a tiny hat.