How To Style Curly Hair (For Men)

Let’s face it: styling curly hair for men can be a challenge if you don’t know how to properly care for your curls. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wished you had straight, easy-to-manage hair? Or felt a little bit envious of all those neatly combed, side-parted guys, who seem to be able to effortlessly style their hair and look perfect in no time?

If yes, you’re not alone.

Men with curly hair are completely underrepresented in the fashion world. But we think it’s time to break out of this ‘men with curly hair stigma’. Knowing how to properly style curly hair for men can make even the shyest guy stand out confidently from the crowd.

how to style curly hair for men

Whether your hair is short or long, fine or thick, proper styling techniques combined with the right products can make all the difference. With a little patience and a little time, you can develop a simple routine to care for your curls and will find it much easier to work with your hair’s natural texture to create the style you want.

In this post, we’re about to explain not only how to style curly hair for men, but we’ll give you our best tips as to how to care for your curls, what styling products are best suited for your hair type, and which hairstyles can maximize the natural beauty of your locks.

How To Style Curly Hair For Men: General Tips

One thing you’ve probably noticed if you are a man with curly hair is that the appearance of your curls can change dramatically from one day to the other. Sometimes for no reason whatsoever!

One day you’re rocking gorgeous-looking ringlets that seem to behave just like you want them to, the next day they just won’t collaborate – no matter how hard you try to tame and style them.

It might seem like one extreme or another for men with curly hair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is some general advice on how to style curly hair for men, so that you can keep those bad-hair-days at bay for longer.

general tips for curly hair men
  1. Work with your natural curls using the right styling products and your hands!
  2. Avoid using a comb, since this will flatten your hair and destroy your natural curls path. If you have to use a comb, pick a wide-toothed one to work your curls without damaging them and make them frizzy.
  3. Shampoo a maximum of once or twice per week.
  4. Always use a moisturizing conditioner to cut back on frizz. Leave-in conditioners are also recommended on every wash-day.
  5. Be gentle with your curls! For example, prefer a microfiber towel since they are gentler with your hair. Or even an old cotton T-shirt will do! If you have the time, it’s even better to just let your hair air dry.
  6. If you prefer to blow-dry your hair, use the diffuser attachment and always blow dry with low heat to avoid drying your hair out and control frizziness.
  7. And finally, whatever you do, always use the right products for men with curly hair!

Check out our previous post for the essential guide to the best curly hair products for men.

How To Style Short Curly Hair For Men

If you are a man with have short curly hair then you would probably remember how Justin Timberlake’s hair looked like in the ’90s.

Luckily he then learned how to properly style and manage his curls, which taught guys with curly short hair a lesson: keep your hair cropped at all times! Especially if you have tight curls, which are noticeable even when your hair is cut short.

So the first thing you need to do if you want to maintain a clean appearance is asking your stylist to crop your hair.

And make sure you get it cut or shaped when dry. Curly hair is more relaxed when wet, springing back a little when dry, so wet hair does not provide a good representation of how your hair cut looks when dry.

how to style short curly hair men

Another option is to get an undercut by trimming the sides and back of your head shorter and leave your curls on top. This is an easier cut to style and manage, as you don’t have to worry about controlling a full head of hair.

Whatever haircut you choose, when it comes to styling short curly hair remember to avoid styling products with high alcohol content. Alcohol will dehydrate your hair massively, and this is exceptionally bad for curls, which tend to be drier than straight hair. And crispy hair is never a good look, as Justin Timberlake taught us!

When styling your short hair, try to twist your curls around your finger to define them. Wrap small sections of your curls tightly around your finger and form them in different directions, to make them look natural.

men with short curly hair

How To Style Long Curly Hair For Men

If you’re having trouble taming your curls while they’re shorter, why not growing your hair out for a change?

There will be a transition period when you’ll probably feel like you want to shave your entire head, but if you hold on and let it grow you might be surprised by how your curls will look transformed. Your locks will weigh more when they’re longer, so they’ll lay flatter, giving your hair a more relaxed, casual touch.

Long curly hair is a bit more versatile when it comes to styling options. And if you’re really having a bad hair day, or don’t have time to style it properly, you can always opt for the ever so popular ‘man bun’.

The first rule when it comes to styling long curly hair for men is to steer clear of heavy gels or wax products. Instead, try to use creams, salt sprays, and even leave-in conditioners to define the curls and keep them in place without weighing them down.

how to style long curly hair for men

Pro tip: use your styling product on wet hair to prevent breakage and use a wide-toothed comb to work your hair into the style that you want. You can run your fingers through your hair to further accentuate any curls.

Other styling options for long curly hair men include:

  • Using hair products designed to define and enhance curls, while reducing frizz adding an anti-frizz serum.
  • Creating tight, neat curls by applying a high-hold pre-styling product when your hair is still damp. Make sure to then blow-dry your hair with a diffuser to keep your curls in shape and battle humidity. 
  • Opting for a relaxed, casual touch full of volume by using a sea salt or volumizing spray. Use them on damp hair and let your hair air dry to get the best result possible.

Finally, If you want to grow your hair out, you’ll still need to make regular visits to the barber/hairdresser. To maintain and define long curly hair, ask for a flat, layered cut to create a full, curly finish.

styling long curly hair men

Now that you have a general idea of how to style your curly hair, whether it’s short or long, let’s have a look at some of the tools and products we mentioned and that every man with curly hair should have!

Styling Tools And Products Any Curly Hair Men Need

We’ve already touched on some of the tools and products that should become any curly hair men’s best friends. Let’s have a look at them in detail.

Styling Tools

1. Wide-toothed comb.

To keep your curls free from tangles and knots, choose a wide-tooth comb with flexible and rounded teeth like this Kent 12T Handmade Wide Tooth Comb for Curly Hair. A good wide-tooth comb can help you detangle and smooth down frizz without scratching or damaging the hair or scalp.

Pro Tip: Use the comb in the shower to evenly distribute your conditioner or leave-in.

kent wide-tooth comb


2. Hairdryer with a diffuser attachment.

You’ll be surprised to learn there’s a number of different types of diffusers out there for every curl type! Got long, thick curls? Then you should choose a diffuser with a large base and finger picks that are wider apart, such as this Black Orchid Large Hair Diffuser.

Black Orchid Large Hair Diffuser


In contrast, if your hair is shorter, choose one with a smaller base that will help create more bounce to your curls. A good one is Segbeauty Hair Diffuser for Wavy Hair, which also fits most blowdryers.

segbeauty hair diffuser curly hair men


3. Microfiber towel.

A microfiber towel such as Evolatree Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap absorbs excess water from curls and waves without leaving them dull or frizzy. This is because it causes less friction on hair than traditional bath towels, helping to prevent breakage, split ends and damage. It can also:

  • Prevent roots from drying flat due to being weighed down from moisture in the hair as it dries. 
  • Cut down on diffusing times.
  • Provide you with a better curl definition.

evolatree microfiber towel hair


Styling Products for Curly JHair

Depending on your hair type, you can choose between a range of different styling products to enhance the texture of your curls. Just remember rule number one: avoid styling products with high alcohol content and aim for products made with mostly natural ingredients.

1. Anti-frizz serum.

Styling curly hair for men (and women too) often means fighting with frizziness and humidity. A good hair serum such as John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum not only will make your tresses manageable and frizz-free, but it will also give your locks a smooth and glossy shine.

Pro-tip: serums are best used before styling. Apply a single pump to soaking wet hair to lock in moisture; use an extra pump, as needed, to distribute evenly but avoiding roots.

john frieda frizz serum


2. Leave-in conditioner.

This type of conditioner provides the same anti-frizz and hair-smoothing benefits of a regular conditioner, but it’s not meant to be rinsed out. Because of this, leave-in conditioners can work well as hair styling products.

Thanks to ingredients like Jamaican black castor oil, shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar, this Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner is the best choice for men’s curly hair, including very thick and coarse hair. The shea butter and castor oil will repair dry and damaged hair, while simultaneously moisturizing and revitalizing your scalp. The result is soft, smooth curls with no frizz. This product also contains no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no propylene glycol, no mineral oil, and no petroleum. 

best leave-in conditioner for curly hair men


3. Sea salt texturizing spray.

If you are aiming for maximum volume, then a sea salt spray is your best friend. This Sea Salt Texturizing Spray will give you the texture you desire and add body to both fine and thick hair. Infused with algae and sea salt, it also contains organic aloe, green tea, and raspberry fruit which nourish, condition and strengthen your hair while providing a nice, light hold.

sea salt texturizing spray


4. Styling creams.

Styling creams like Living proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream are great at taming frizz while providing definition. They are also great solutions for long, thick curly hair, as they tend to add some weight and help avoid the hair constantly puffing out. 

best hair cream curly men


Best Haircuts For Men With Curly Hair

No matter your hair type, it always helps by going to a decent hair salon and getting a new fresh haircut. The best cut for a man with curly hair is dependent on his curl pattern and how much volume he’s like to have. Here are a few examples of haircuts that suit most curly hair types.

The French Crop

The easiest and most versatile way to manage curly hair is with a short back and sides haircut that leaves more length on top. This puts your curls under the spotlight and also gives you the option of sweeping them either to the side, to the back, or letting them hang forward.

The Textured Pompadour

pompadour cut

Ideal for men with curly, wavy and/or thick hair, the textured pompadour adds some rough to the classic style’s clean lines. Use a texturizing clay or paste and your bare hands for best results when styling.

Long Textured Waves

textured long waves

Hair at, or just past, shoulder-length lends itself to the greatest number of looks. The easiest way to style it, of course, it just to set your hair free and wear it how it falls. Just make sure to use not only good styling products, but also good shampoos and conditioners to keep your hair as healthy as possible.

Now that you know more about how to style and take care of your curly hair, you might be interested in checking out these articles too.

Best Men’s Hair Products For Fine Hair

Short Hairstyles For Men Ideas And Trends

Best Curly Hair Products For Men

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