An Abridged History of the Man Bun

Ah, the enigmatic, infamous man bun. Hate it or love it, the man bun’s got a hold on us. This past month, science hit us all in the buns, claiming they lead to balding and/or alopecia. In even more recent news, Brigham Young University banned the hairstyle this week for not complying with the clean cut appearance they demand from students. Since the man bun’s origins, the up-do has cultivated some strong feelings. Whatever side you’re on, there’s no denying its a trigger-sensitive trend that’s gotten more heat than frosted tips. As an ode to the trend, or epidemic, we’re creating a timeline of the man bun – the when, where and ‘what the fuck?’ of the up do.

Trying to pin down the beginnings of the bun isn’t an easy task. Some fanatic bun-dawning ‘scholars’ go back as far as the Samurais and Vikings. Although we’re tempted to start with Li Shang’s rockin bun in Mulan, we’ll settle for 2012 when New York Times broke the first bun story.


According to the Times, the man bun began in the heart of Brooklyn on the once tousle-haired heads of bartenders and hipsters. They borrowed their girlfriends scrunchies, pulled back their locks, and the world gasped. Not really, but a cascade of long hair did trail behind, all of which was swept up into buns and onto the bandwagon.

Within the year the trend became widespread in popular culture after classic bun-wearers like Jared Leto started flaunting funky little pouches of hair. In 2012 it was Chris Hemsworth with a low bun, in 2013 Collin Farrell joined in with a high peppy one, and maybe the most iconic, Leonardo DiCaprio, hit his bun peak in 2014. Since then the bun has gotten more creative — or out of control, depending on your stance. Sites are devoted to the art of the man bun, and how-to tutorials plague YouTube.

Love for the little buns
Love for the little buns

Since its beginnings, we’ve seen the highs and lows of the trend – the love, the hate, the classic, the topknot, the pineapple, and apparently now, the man braid. Just Google man braid, please. Through it all the bun prevails, and there’s no telling where it will end, despite the constant claims of the up do’s imminent death.

Man fishtail braids anyone?

Stay tuned for more urgent man-bun updates.

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