Hair Length Guide for the Man Bun

How much hair length for a man bun?

Everyone is talking about the man bun. Some people will even call it a bro bun. Others will call it the dude bun. It doesn’t matter; people are talking about it.

With so much talk about the manbun, people start wondering if they can achieve a man bun with their hair length. The answer? There is a minimum hair length you need to achieve. Of course, if you are wanting to style the beard man bun look, and want to know what should be the length of your beard, then any amount of facial hair is fine; just don’t get too hipster with it, ok?

A guy with a full man bun hairstyle and long hairThere are two types of man buns: full man bun and half man bun. This is what I call it and I also guide my barbershop clients with those terms as it makes it easy for them to understand. Let’s explore each type of man bun and what is the minimum length needed.

Full man bun

The full man bun is a bun that is tied with all the hair on the head. This is typically the bun that ladies style too as long hair is more common with our female buddies. To get a full bun, you simply sweep all the hair towards your crown, starting at the forehead first, and then starting at the nape (and up) so that the bun is tied in the vertex or crown area of your head (i.e. the back of the top of your head).

The minimum length for a man bun is 12 inches of hair length. Now that’s a lot of hair and it’s indeed long hair. I’ve been reading lately The Men’s Hair Book by Rogelio Samson (by the way, if you don’t have it, get it!) and he mentions that 12 inches is just over shoulder length for men. I tend to agree with this and I recommend men wanting to tie all their hair in a bun to go for shoulder length hair.

With regards to the bun’s positioning, you can tie the man bun on the crown, which is the natural position for a bun, or you can tie the bun on the top of your head for what I call the high bun or pineapple hairstyle. Likewise you can tie your bun low, close to the nape.

The picture below is of a full high man bun. With regards to celebrities with man buns, Harry Styles is known for styling his bun fully.

A man with a high bro bunSemi man bun

The semi man bun is a bun that is only tied with a segment of your head’s hair. It could be just all the hair on the top of your head, or it could be just the hair on your vertex (which typically occurs if your hair is short-ish). In any case, the minimum length that you need to tie a semi bun is 6 inches, which is what’s classified as the starting length for long hair.

A variation of the semi bun would be the undercut man bun. This is a hairstyle where the sides and back of your head are buzzed with a hair clipper to a short clipper number. This, the only hair on your head that is long enough to be tied is the one on top of your head.

This is a semi man bun as an undercut man bun.

A man with the man bun undercut hairstyleHow much hair length to tie a man bun?

As you can see above, the hair length needed will depend on whether you want a full bun or semi bun. However, and going by semantics (i.e. that a semi bun is a man bun after all), the minimum hair length needed to tie a man bun is 6 inches. To give you guys with short hair an idea, the average male grows 6 inches of hair in one year, so you’ll have to wait one year to tie a bun if you’re starting from a buzz cut length.

Tell us about your hairstyle or ask questions!



  1. I buzzed my hair in the beginning of January. Today on July 5, 2015, my hair is 4-5 inches long on all sides. Where do I go (or, “grow”) from here?

    • Jacob, just continue growing your hair long. By November, you will have the minimum length for a man bun which is eight inches. You will even be able to tie a top knot with six inches, but that depends on whether you want to get an undercut for the sides and back of the head.

      I recommend that you keep growing your hair long and then in November make a decision. Keep yourself healthy and you hair will grow fast!

      • I just started growing my hair for a semi manbun and it had been 3 months so far.
        How long do you think that it would take me to have a semi manbun and should I regularly oil my hair?

  2. Yeah my hair is almost 3in on the top and about 1.5in on the sides, should I be cutting or buzzing the sideburns if I want to grow a full man bun? Will that affect it?

    • It’s absolutely fine to buzz the sideburns of the man bun with a hair clipper. However, only buzz the hair up to the top of the ear in the sideburn, not any higher. I recommend that you use a hair-clipper length that is between a #2 and a #5, whichever hair-clipper length you like. Buzzing or clipping your sideburns will not affect the aesthetics of the full manbun hairstyle.

      • Only “up to the ear”? What about all that space between the top of the ear & the crown (where the long hair starts)? Wouldn’t you clip that too?

  3. If I am aiming for a semi bun but still not got long enough to hair on top, am I still able to get the trims (undercut) cut to tidy my hair up or is it best to keep it all growing until long enough?

  4. I have 6 inches of hair length on the top and front of my head, while my sides of the head are around 4 inches in hair length.

    What should I tell my barber on my next visit?

  5. I so wish that I had seen your awesome website before I had my hair trimmed! I haven’t cut my hair for over a year and I only trimmed (buzzed) my sideburns after taking a one-year career break.

    I recently started my job hunt and I’m scheduled for an office-job interview next week. I noticed that I had a few grey hair strands so I wanted to have them dyed and also have the ends trimmed. My wife suggested her hairstylist for this, so I scheduled and had my appointment yesterday. Well, she (the hairstylist) buzzed a bit more hair up past the top of the ear, which I was trying to grow from my previous hair-cutting mistake and buzzed a bit more towards the middle of the ear.

    I’m fuming today but it’s a lesson learned. She also thinned out my hair to reduce the volume and thickness which I agreed to have it done. I can still put my hair into a bun, but it doesn’t feel right (maybe because I’m still angry). The question for you would be: moving forward, would you advice that I continue to have my hair “thinned” out? I’m in my early forties and I’m Asian with thick and wiry straight hair.

    Apologies for the long post. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

  6. So I shaved the sides of my head like 2 times, but I decided to go for the full bun and I’ve been 7 months with my new hair. How long will it take now to grow a full manbun?

  7. I have been growing my hair since last May! I didn’t have a buzz but I had a shorter haircut. How much longer would you think I need to do a top knot or half bun?

    • If you started growing your hair from a buzz cut in May, you’ve grown approximately 5 inches of hair length by now. Give it 2 to 3 more months (March) and you’ll be able to get a top knot.

  8. The longest hair locks on my head are about 5 inches when they’re wet. How much more time will it take to grow a manbun undercut hairstyle?