As any guy has probably heard from his significant other, having to grow your hair out is one of the biggest pains in the world. Most guys typically have limited options during that in-between phase, plus planning your look around that dreaded awkward stage is challenging, to say the least! Now that you have you grow out, say, an outlived undercut, you’re suddenly left in a conundrum. What’s a previously clean-cut guy to do? Should you embark on going longer, and try the male top knot? (Hint: Yes, yes you should.)
The male top knot is, quite literally, one of the coolest ways to wear your hair this year. Not only is it a trending look, but it also is a put-together way to wear your longer top lengths while you wait for your undercut to grow out (or, you know, while in quarantine). Read on for tips and tricks on creating the perfect male top knot:
Everything You Need to Know About the Male Top Knot
What is a male top knot?
First things first: A top knot is just an ordinary knot made by pulling hair halfway through an elastic. It’s positioned on the top of the head only because that’s where the longest hair is for guys, especially when you’re growing out a fade or undercut. For men with already-long hair, the updo of choice is usually called a man bun—hair that’s longer than six inches can usually loop around itself comfortably and be secured into a circle. Yes, like a ballerina bun. Sometimes even with a beard.
Creating a Male Top Knot
Step 1: Assess Your Needs
First question: What style are you transitioning from? If the answer is an undercut or any hybrid of, you’re on the right track, since you’ve probably got some length to work with. Anything shorter than six inches and you might have to wait a bit longer till hair grows out. Pulling back hair that is too short can induce some breakage or hair fall. (Plan B: The male “punytail”—like a ponytail, just… tinier.)
A top knot is also an effective way to keep things manageable during a workout, or when you just can’t deal with hair in your face at the moment. A lot of men also simply want variety and wear their hair both ways—down for play and neatly done up in a knot at work.
Step 2: Get the Tools
Yes, you may borrow her hair tie in a pinch, but we suggest getting your own stash because these little things have a funny way of getting lost in the deep abyss. Choices are pretty straightforward: Most drugstores usually sell hair ties in a bunch. Black or neutral-colored is best for everyday use, and fabric-covered elastics without a metal connector will be the gentlest on your hair.
Step 3: Apply Products
After you’ve shampooed and conditioned with SheaMoisture Men Bay Laurel & Shea Butter Bourbon Commodore 4-in-1 All-Over-Wash, blow-dry or air-dry completely.
Top knots are styles that benefit from some grip. Use a texturizing wax-like AXE Messy Look Matte Wax, or a molding paste, like Dove Men+Care Sculpting Paste. Using these instead of your beloved pomade will ensure you don’t generate too much slip. The most common way to wear a top knot is without a part, so begin by applying product on the hair and combing it straight back from your hairline.
Step 4: Tie it up.
Hold a hair tie in your dominant hand and gather your hair into your other, non-dominant hand. Switch grips and simultaneously pull the hair through the elastic. Make a figure eight with the same elastic, pull hair through again, and repeat until tight. Once you’ve reached your elastic’s tension limit (usually three twists), pull hair through halfway and leave the ends to splay out against your head. You should have a little doorknob-like bun at this point.
Step 5: Clean it up.
Spiff it up ever so casually by smoothing down any rough knots around the front. Guys with straight hair who wear a top knot will usually have a look similar to a slick-back. Those with curly or wavy hair can also work the style though by not applying too much product and letting their natural texture peek through at the hairline.
As far as sprucing up the style, some men like to balance out the look by growing some scruff at the jaw. If this is up your alley, make sure your sideburns are approximately the same length as your shaven sides for a cleaner look. You can grow your beard out longer, but a closer-kept beard reins in the whole boho feel of this style and keeps it appropriate for the workday.
10 Top Knot Hairstyles to Try
1. Shaved Top Knot
Looking for ways to change up a typical top knot? Try shaving the undersection of your hair. This is a great way to make a stylish statement!
2. Male Top Knot with Braids
Don’t want to worry about your braids for the day? Tie them up into a top knot.
3. Slicked-Back Top Knot with a Beard
Make your beard the focus of your look with a slicked-back top knot. Use Dove Men + Care Polishing Pomade to smooth down any flyaways, add shine, and create a medium hold. We love this pomade because it doesn’t leave your hair feeling greasy.
4. Male Top Knot: Half Up
Don’t want to wear a full updo? Go for a half updo with this male top knot style!
5. Male Top Knot with Twists
Make a basic top knot even more interesting by doing the style with twists!
6. Blonde Mini Top Knot
Need a change, but aren’t sure what to do? try a blonde mini top knot!
7. Top Knot with a Beard
If you have a beard and you’re looking for a signature style, try pairing it with a top knot! This style is easy to do but also looks put-together.
8. Curly Top Knot
Doing a top knot on textured hair can add so much more volume! Have fun with it, and use your curly hair to its advantage.
9. Smooth Top Knot
You can’t go wrong with a smooth top knot like this. To create a sleek base, use Dove Men + Care Well Defined Taming Gel.
10. Top Knot on Straight Hair
Sick of wearing your straight hair down all the time? Try creating a mini top knot with the front section of your hair.
Whether you’re growing your hair how, learning how to do a top knot for the first time, or getting inspo for more ways to wear this style, there’s definitely a male top knot style out there for everyone, no matter what your hair type is.