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Man Buns With Short Hair: 8 Essential Tips (With Pics)

August 1, 2023
Man Buns With Short Hair: 8 Essential Tips (With Pics)

Patience can be hard to muster up sometimes. There are plenty of men who long for fuller buns but are stuck playing the waiting game. So, here are some man bun tips for men with short hair. 

As you’ll soon hear in more detail, the key is to understand the main difficulties at hand. 

Forming a man bun is partly dependent on hair being long enough to pull back and knot at a point you find acceptable. 

Patience does play a huge role in allowing this to happen. But there are definitely some tips and tricks you can deploy to make it happen sooner than you might think possible. 

Let’s get to it. 

8 Tips For Styling A Man Bun With Short Hair

There’s a chance that not all of these will be relevant to you. But there’s an even better chance that at least some of them will. 

Read through them all and cherry-pick the ones you feel will serve you best. 

1. Know When It Just Isn’t Possible

Sometimes, it’s best to know when to admit defeat. 

Unfortunately, attempting to defy the laws of physics is usually neither effective nor advisable. 

To avoid wasting your time, set yourself a minimum length, before which you won’t even bother trying to tie a man bun. 

Before this point, it’s highly likely your hair will be too short to effectively form a bun of any sort. 

If by any luck it is, it’s still quite likely that hair will be under huge amounts of tension. This is both uncomfortable and unhealthy for your hair. 

A good minimum length to set would be 6-7 inches. 

By this point, you should have just about enough length to tie a small man bun, even though it may not be exactly where you want it on your head. 

It’s also just enough length to prevent excessive tension and discomfort when you do it. 

2. A Top Knot May Be More Realistic 

The differences between a top knot and a man bun are pretty subtle. Because of this, they’re also poorly understood. 

A top knot is a bun or a small ponytail that lies further forward on the top of the head. 

The sides and back are usually clipped short; a style conventionally called an “undercut”. 

As it only requires long hair on top, with the knot further forward than a traditional man bun, the hair doesn’t need to be quite as long. 

top knot with undercut and beard

6 inches should do the trick. 

Although man buns are slightly fading in popularity, undercuts are still blazing ahead with no real signs of slowing down. 

It’s not the most subtle of styles and doesn’t look as natural or laid-back as a classic man bun. 

However, the in-your-face nature of the top knot may make it a desirable option for men with short hair looking to set themselves apart. 

3. Tie The Short Hair Under The Long Hair

Let me explain. 

When tying a man bun, the hair at the top and sides are combed and pulled back. It’s bunched together and knotted into a bun. 

It’s quite likely that your sides will be a little shorter than the top, or vice versa. This is normal and not something to worry about. 

However, it’s important to account for this when tying your bun. 

For example, let’s say the hair on top is shorter than the hair on the sides. Pull the hair on top back first, then pull the hair on the sides back over it. 

This should almost look like you’re folding the longer hair (sides) over the shorter hair (top). 

Do the opposite if the hair on the sides is shorter than the hair on top. The sides should be pulled back first, followed by the longer top pulled over it afterward. 

This should make it easier to tie into a man bun, preventing the shorter hair from sticking back out of the bun when you try to do it. 

4. Hair Product Should Help

Although this is unlikely to be a magic solution to the problem, it’s definitely likely to help you tie a man bun with short hair. 

This is particularly true if you do it together with the other tips in this article. 

Some product that makes it feel thicker, fuller, and easier to manage will make your life a lot simpler. 

We’re talking about products such as sea salt spray or volume cream. 

The reason for this is that it makes it easier to manage. It’ll be easier to group and bunch the hair together, pull it back, and tie. 

It makes it easier to tame. 

You’ll have fewer flyaways. Plus, the hair within the bun, as well as on the top and back of your head will be more likely to stay in place. 

It’ll also have a nice, healthy-looking sheen, as long as you don’t overdo it. 

5. Bring The Bun Further Forward

This should be your go-to solution if you’re finding that your hair simply isn’t long enough to hold in a bun further back. 

The most common and usually most desirable spot for a man bun is around the crown. 

But with short hair, you’ll most likely find that the hair at the front sticks up out of the bun when you try to do this. 

There are plenty of men who do like the look of a bun further forward along the top of their heads. 

They may not think it looks ideal – but hey, it may be the best option with shorter hair. It ensures that all of the hair stays within the bun without sticking out. 

Although this is similar to the top knot style I described earlier, you don’t necessarily have to trim the sides and back down in that way. 


Simply bring the bun further forward to a point where you’re comfortable. Every man has their own limit. 

This “high bun” isn’t as popular, but it’s still pretty common. 

It will get to a point, however, where that bun is so far forward it looks more like a horn. As you’d expect, this unicorn-esque appearance may not be to everyone’s taste. 

So, experiment thoroughly and figure out how far forward you’d allow yourself to go with it. 

6. Clips Are Your Friend

You may get to a point where your man bun is as far forward along your head as you’d allow it to get. 

However, you’re still seeing hairs on top refusing to play ball. You’ve got flyaways and hair sticking out in front of the bun. 

This looks messy (and not in a good way). 

Before crying out in desperation, know that all hope isn’t lost. 

At this point, clips may be your best friend. They can be used to hold down those stray hairs. 

This will prevent you from having to try to somehow pull them back into the bun. It’ll most likely be a pointless exercise anyway. 

Clips are great because they’re effective and easy to use. 

However, if you’ve got a lighter hair color it may not be as appealing. Dark hair is great because those dark clips will be barely visible. 

A black clip will look pretty obvious on top of blonde hair, for instance. It isn’t the end of the world, but may not be as aesthetic as you’d like. 

Overall, it’s a great option for men looking for a quick and inexpensive fix. It’ll save you time, frustration, and discomfort. 

7. Fake It Till You Make It

This tip is better for men with short and curly hair. 

However, this doesn’t mean that men with straighter hair shouldn’t at least try it out. It’s definitely worth experimenting with. 

What I’m referring to here is the “fanning out” method. That’s probably not the technical term for it – in fact, I doubt a technical term for it even exists. 

Essentially, the shorter your hair, the smaller the bun will be. 

It won’t look as full or as luscious as that warrior-esque man bun you long for. The shorter it is, the more it’ll look like a small knot as opposed to an intensely masculine bun. 

If you’re fine with that, please ignore this. It still probably looks great and if it ain’t broke, don’t go trying to fix it. 

But if you’re in the predicament of desperately waiting for that hair to grow longer and stuck with a small knot you wish looked fuller, try this. 

Fan it out. 

Instead of tying the loop at the end, let all of the hair stick out like a ponytail. Then, fan and spread it out in all directions to make it look more like a bun. 

You’ll know that it isn’t a proper bun, but it certainly can look like one. 

This is definitely more effective if you’ve got some curl. The curls will make the hair flop down as you fan it out, while straight hair may stick straight up. 

Again, it won’t work for everyone. But if you’re in the fortunate position of this being a quick fix, you may have saved yourself some frustration while you wait for it to grow longer. 

8. Give It Time

This may not be a trick or even a tip but bear with me. 

Long hair will go through several “awkward phases” as you grow it out. It’ll be difficult, frustrating, and even tiresome at times. 

There will be plenty of points where you’ll feel as though cutting it shorter will solve all of your problems. 

You’ll feel as though your man-bunned ambitions aren’t worth the hassle of pursuing. 

But give it time. 

Sometimes, an extra inch may be all you need to see you through. 

You’ll go through spurts where the hair grows faster than you were ever used to. That may be just around the corner. 

Ignore the miracle growth formulas – they’re a waste of time. Stick to keeping that hair healthy and clean. Nourish it and just be patient. 

Trust me – it’ll be worth the wait. 


You’re now aware of what you can do to style that man bun effectively even when your hair is short. 

You don’t need a Viking’s length to get you what you want. 

It’s important to make do with what you’ve got, particularly when you’re playing the waiting game. 

7 inches may not be enough to tie a hefty one, but there’s definitely stuff you can do with it. 

Experimentation is the key. Put aside your self-consciousness and have fun with it. If you don’t like it, try something else.