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Hairbun, as seen in 1253: Exoplanet Names
First appearance 337: Post Office Showdown
Known appearances 63

Hairbun is a stick figure character in xkcd. Like most characters in xkcd, she does not necessarily represent the same person from comic to comic. She is distinguished by her hair, set up in a bun. She can have several variations of her hair style, and occasionally uses glasses. See the gallery below.


Hairbun is a minor character in xkcd. She appeared two weeks in a row in the spring of 2015 (1504: Opportunity and 1507: Metaball) and was recognized as a "new" character at that time, though she had been used several times prior to then.

However, after comic 1500 she has appeared 14 times from 1504: Opportunity to 1756: I'm With Her (which was the 2nd comic in a row with her). This is more than once every 20th comic, compared to only 20 times before comic 1500 which is only once every 75th comic, so there was a good reason for why she was not "discovered" before.

Originally she was named Hair Bun Girl, to follow the similar name scheme of Beret Guy, but since she specifically represents an adult, and not any small girls with a hair bun (like Science Girl), and even often portrays older women, the name was changed in the spring of 2016, to avoid any misconceptions, and also to not call a woman a "girl". This name now instead follows the name scheme of Ponytail.

She is not the same character from comic to comic. She is mainly just another woman that Randall can use when he wishes to give a woman a specific characteristic so to set her aside from the more commonly used women, Megan and Ponytail. Often she is depicted together with both Megan and Ponytail proving this point. (Ten appearances as of February 2016: 703, 708, 1052, 1253, 1504, 1507, 1601, 1637, 1645 and 1756.) She has, for instance, represented the mother of both Megan and Cueball, see the list below under the list of Hairbuns drawn with glasses.

  • In her first appearance, 337: Post Office Showdown, she is drawn with glasses.
  • Her first appearance without glasses was in her second appearance, 378: Real Programmers. In the recent comics (past no. 1500), this is her most prevalent appearance.
  • Hairbun can represent a real person:
    • This is similar to Cueball who also represents real persons from time to time.
    • This first occurred when she represented Emily Dickinson in 788: The Carriage. In that comic, Emily is drawn exactly as the standard version of Hairbun, and she is labeled as such.
    • It also occurred in 896: Marie Curie where zombie Marie Curie is drawn as Hairbun.
      • In the book Thing Explainer, she is also used to represent Marie Curie in the explanation for The pieces everything is made of (i.e the periodic table).
  • Her appearance, apart from her glasses, can also change.
    • In 703: Honor Societies, 708: Sex Dice, 1511: Spice Girl, 1601: Isolation and in every instance in 1608: Hoverboard her hair looks somewhat different, curly and with some kind of pony tail, but since her main distinguishing characteristic is the hair bun, these comics are included.
    • Her hair looks somewhat similar in 1645: Toasts, but without the ponytail appendage.
    • These characters actually look like adult versions of Science Girl, but as neither displays the other characteristic of that girl, they stay listed as Hairbun for now.
      • However, 1520: Degree-Off has been moved to Science Girl in spite of the hair bun girl in that comic being adult as she fits the science characteristics.
    • Six times in total, she has appeared with different hair, though never with glasses.
    • This leaves 19 times (after 34 appearances, 6 with different hair and 9 with glasses) where she has looked like the picture used on this page, and 15 timed she has looked differently. See the gallery below.
  • There are some characters with hair buns that are not Hairbun:
    • Since she is a grown woman, she should not be confused with Science Girl or any other small girls with hair bun like in 1584: Moments of Inspiration.
    • In 572: Together a woman looking like Hairbun is obviously Megan who has turned old during the comic, so this comic is not included here. But it could indicate that Randall often uses Hairbun to represent an older woman, as this was also the case in 586: Mission to Culture.
    • A character with a hair bun was also featured in 911: Magic School Bus, but she is drawn in color and with a dress and represents the fictional character Ms. Frizzle. She is thus not included as a Hairbun.


Hairbun is depicted in several different ways. Here is a gallery of some of these different appearances:

Hair Bun Girl with curly hair and ponytail.png Hair Bun Girl with glasses.png Hair Bun Girl as Emily Dickinson.png Hair Bun Girl with curly hair but no ponytail.png

See also[edit]