You Need To See What This Hair Looks Like From The Front

This story was originally published on April 27, 2016.

Something strange happens when a man adopts a hairstyle that's typically regarded as feminine. We feel the need to qualify it with "man." Buns become man buns. Braids become man braids. And since these styles are on a guy, they become "edgy" and "interesting," or, in some cases, even "weird."

But we're going to let you in on a little secret. Hair is hair, no matter the gender of the person on whose head it is. Everyone should be able to wear it in whatever way makes them happy — without being held to constructed gender standards. To prove our point, we tapped hairstylist Adam Maclay. Our request? Create seven of the most beautiful spring hairstyles on a series of Rapunzel-length locks...that just so happen to belong to men.

From the back, you almost can't tell who is wearing these looks. In our opinion, it really shouldn't matter. Because who says a girl can't covet a style on a guy and vice versa? Why is a bun on a man a man bun and not just a bun? And, honestly, what's better than looking at a bunch of hot guys in even hotter hairstyles? We say, absolutely nothing. After you click ahead, we're certain you'll agree.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Double Dutch
Braids are definitely not a "hot new trend" (on women or men). And this season especially, two is always better than one. We're seeing pigtail braids everywhere — including on the youngest Kardashians — and love this version by Maclay.

To get it, he made a diagonal part and worked some Oribe Rough Luxury Molding Wax to the ends of the hair before twisting. The trick to this particular braid is to wrap sections under (rather than over), so that the plait is raised off the scalp. Secure with an elastic at the ends, and then pull on the plaits to fatten them up a touch. Finish it all with a superfine hairspray. (We like Elnett Satin Hairspray.)
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
We popped these plaits on photographer Charley Parden, who actually wears his hair like this on the regular. "I wear my hair in braids as often as my wife will braid them," he says. That's love, guys.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Loc It Up
Locs are beautiful, deeply significant, and create incredible texture when wrapped up in a structural updo like this one.

Maclay started by smoothing Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil over the locs to hydrate them. Then, he pulled the hair into a ponytail at the crown.

Instead of simply twisting the tail into a bun, Maclay divided the pony into six sections, braiding some pieces and twisting the others. He then gathered them all together at the back of the head and pinned the whole thing into place. "It created an interesting pile of textures," he says.

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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Majors, creator, CEO, and designer for WLDLF RSRV, loved this undone twist. "I've been growing my hair out for about 17 years," he says. "I really hate it when dreadlocks look too done, like they're done in a salon, so I just let them do their thing." (Side note: He actually designed the amazing sweater he's wearing in this shot. Great hair and raw talent — is there anything better?)
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Go Halfsies
Ah, the half-bun. It's been the ultimate second-day hairstyle of lazy folks everywhere for who knows how long. How could you possibly improve upon such a gift?

Well, you can. Instead of a typical bun, Maclay opted for a knot at ear level. But first, he blew the strands dry and curled them from mid-shaft to ends with a one-inch iron. (You could obviously skip this step if you're just looking to knot and run.)

Next, he divided the top section of hair into two pieces and tied it into several actual knots (just like you would a shoelace). He pinned them in place and misted on a shot of hairspray for added hold. Bam — instant updo upgrade.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
The knot was perfect for Clay Nielsen, a hairstylist at Spoke & Weal Salon in Soho, NYC. Even though Clay spends his days styling manes in the salon, backstage during Fashion Week, and, on occasion, for us on set, he doesn't always do much to his own hair. We dig this half-updo on you, though, Clay. Especially with that vintage Dr. Dre tee. Winning.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
The Infinity Crown
Crown braids have had a pretty steady decline into #basic territory recently — which is why we challenged Maclay to come up with a twist on the style. And man, did he pull it off.

Maclay wove a spiral braid from the hairline back to the center of the head. First, he prepped the hair with some molding wax to give it some guts. Then, he grabbed a section of hair in front of one ear and plaited it slowly around the shape of the head, picking up small pieces along the way. (You'll likely need a buddy to help. Or at least a few arm breaks.)

Once you get to the tail of the braid, wrap it into a small twist and pin it to the head, ensuring it lays flat. Pull apart the braid for added texture, and don't be afraid of a few wisps springing free.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Rameet Chawla, the founder of Fueled, was the lucky recipient of this 'do. But his usual style is a touch more lax. "I typically just put a little coconut oil in my hair after the shower, and that's it," he says. (Be still, our hearts.) And it's clearly working for him: Rameet's long, healthy hair is veritably Insta-famous.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Pony Up
A simple gym ponytail this is not. And that's exactly why we love it.

Maclay misted the hair with a thickening spray before blowing it out with a round brush from roots to tips. "It adds lift and bounciness to the ends," he explains. Next, he curled the hair from mid-shaft to ends with a one-inch curling iron.

Once the hair was prepped, he simply brushed it into a smooth ponytail at the crown and tied it with an elastic. And, of course, he wrapped a piece of hair around the elastic for added polish. (You fancy, huh?)
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Despite how naturally he whips it back and forth, the ponytail is not a style you'd typically see on Christian Chico, an art director, designer, and one-half of the team behind an upcoming jewelry line called Rove. (Damn, dude!) He's usually in a bun, or he wears his hair down. "Although, a stripper braided my hair once," he says. "That's the only experience I've had with braids." Um, care to elaborate on that?
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
A Twist On A Twist
The French twist may seem stuffy, but there's absolutely no reason it has to be. If you start with messy, textured strands like the ones you see here, it becomes something else entirely.

To get the effect, Maclay started by misting Oribe Dry Texture Spray from mid-shaft to ends. Then, he brushed the hair away from the face and secured it to one side with large pins. Once those were in place, he messily twisted the hair back onto itself in a roll and added smaller pins along the seam.

"Keep the hair [along the neck] tighter against the head as you roll it," Maclay says. "Secure with small bobby pins, pinning it against the larger ones for good anchoring."
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Our very own Andrew Kennelly, video DP at Refinery29, was the proud recipient of this French twist. Andrew is known around the offices for his long, blond hair. He'll either leave it down completely or knot it back in a bun. And can we just tell you that no shine products were used in the making of this style?! That's all Andrew. Jealous much?
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Knot It Up
Bantu knots have been rocked by those with natural hair for ages. And stars like Rihanna and Amandla Stenberg (who famously danced so hard her knots fell out) have thrust this style into the spotlight even more in recent years.

To create them, Maclay started by smoothing some nourishing oil all over the hair — from roots to tips. Then, using a rattail comb, he subdivided the hair into multiple sections, creating a pattern with the parts. Once the hair was sectioned, he gathered each piece and twisted it until it became a knot.

Finally, Maclay secured each knot with two pins in an X shape, and smoothed the edges of the hairline with some wax.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Nasty Nigel, a rapper from Queens, is known for his huge natural Afro. So it was pretty fun to twist his mane into some smaller Bantu knots. "I never wear it up," he says. "If I do, I just collect it on top of my head and secure it with a tie." The style was different for him — but something tells us he's really digging it.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
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