To some, 2015 seemed to be the year the man bun began its slow fall from the spotlight.
First, man bun poster boy Harry Styles announced that he’d soon be donating his glorious locks to charity — a promise he kept in 2016. Then, in September, it was reported that the trendy style can put too much stress on hair follicles and ultimately lead to premature baldness. But the final nail in the man bun’s coffin was hammered in by [of course] the synthetic hair industry.
In November, Groupon began selling synthetic clip-on man buns for the low price of $9.99 (plus shipping and your dignity).
Heads were shaved across continents and everyone excitedly waited for the next big trend in male hair styling. And now, just when everyone had started to put the “mun” behind them (except for Matt Damon), the Summer Olympic Games in Rio began and man buns took center stage yet again.
The Olympics were made for underdog stories. So, just as fans embraced Joseph Schooling, who went from idolizing Michael Phelps to beating him out for a gold medal, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if a downtrodden hairstyle could regain its own popularity through the perfect gold medal win.
That moment almost came atop the head of British Gymnast Louis Smith as he competed in the men’s team and individual all around qualifying events. The three-time Olympian proudly bragged that the he found the hairstyle to be quite distinguishing in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I haven’t seen anyone else with this hairstyle before,” he said, “and it’s nice to be different.”
After his appearance in the men’s team final, Smith’s man bun certainly gained plenty of attention — just not the kind he had hoped. The hairstyle quickly became a popular scapegoat for Great Britain’s failure to medal in the event.
So much for Smith bringing the man bun back into society’s good graces. Next up was French basketball player Antoine Diot, who brought his man bun to Rio despite his friends and his family’s pleas. “Everyone’s telling me to cut it off,” Diot told WSJ. “But I wouldn’t cut it off for anything in the world.”
So how has Diot’s man bun fared? We’ll find out when he and the rest of the men’s basketball team representing France face off with longtime rival Spain on Sunday.
Diot’s not the only Olympic basketball player sporting the look. Australian player Aron John Baynes also brought the look to the court. His coach approved: “It’s bold, and we’ve gotta be bold to get a medal,” Australian basketball assistant coach Luc Longley told WSJ. “He’s brought boldness. He’s got it written right on his head with that haircut.” It must not have been bold enough since the U.S. defeated Australia 98-88 on August 10.
Still, Baynes’ fans noticed:
Another sport with a shot at resurrecting the man bun craze is track and field. American steeplechaser Evan Jager is sticking with the man bun thanks to a lucky hair tie he shares with a team mate, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Likewise, Robby Andrews will take his man bun to the 1500-meter semifinal this Thursday but there’s no word yet on the meaning behind the hair tie he uses to secure it.
Lastly, there’s Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan who has the most luscious hair of all the man bun wearers who made this list.
Surely if anyone can save the man bun, it’s Sagan, who has been called “the sport’s most beloved personality,” and celebrated for his “rock god hair.” The 26-year-old skipped the Olympic road race this year to focus on Sunday’s mountain bike competition — even though he hasn’t raced mountain bikes in seven years, according to WSJ.
“No one knows what the hell to expect,” Sagan said Tuesday. “It’s funny, no?”
Will the man bun find redemption in Rio? We’ll find out Sunday.
Are you still a fan of the man bun? Sound off below!