Women aren’t the only ones who want to take care of their hair.
I’m not going to lie.
I spend some time on my hair too trying to make sure I look my best.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
Most content seems like it’s catered to women and their hair, but my friends, I’ve got you.
Whether you’ve got naturally curly or coily hair, I’m here to tell you that you can get curly hair as a Black man.
Choose The Right Shampooing And Conditioning Products
You might think that something as basic as shampoo and conditioner aren’t going to affect whether you get curls or not.
The reason is that both of them can directly affect the health and strength of your hair.
Plus, if your hair is weak and damaged, it’s going to be that much harder to form curls.
So how do you pick the right shampooing and conditioning products?
Let’s start with shampoo.
What most people don’t realize is that shampoos are not created equal.
While some might be great for the hair, others can actually damage it.
A lot of shampoos have an “ingredient” called sulfate.
This seems like nothing because tons of products have a slew of words no one understands.
Sulfate is something you’d find in products like shampoo as well as soaps and toothpastes.
When you wash your hair, brush your teeth, or scrub your body, when you start to notice suds appear, that’s the work of sulfates.
While small amounts of this are usually okay, sulfates can be detrimental to the hair because it can dry them out.
You might think you’re being careful with your hair routine to keep your hair moisturized, but if you notice nothing’s working, it could be because your shampoo is working against you.
And while sulfates are one downside to some shampoos, shampoos in general are just great for the hair.
They help improve the look and feel of the scalp.
They also get rid of any product build up that might have your hair looking greasy.
Now, when it comes to hair care products, you’ll have a lot of people tell you that the conditioning part is the most important.
While both shampooing and conditioning are important, most people do focus on conditioning.
If you have a natural haired woman in your life who is close to you, you’d know that during “wash day,” the washing is actually the shortest part.
Most people focus on the conditioning part because that’s where the hair actually comes to live.
It’s great for the hair to be clean, but we want moisture, hydration, and defined curls.
That’s what the conditioner is going to come in and do.
Not to mention, conditioner plus water are going to make your hair a lot softer and easier to comb through.
Now, how do you pick the right shampoo and conditioner?
Well first, a good place to start is with a brand that mentions curls or coils in the product.
While there are also great options within brands that don’t mention this hair type, this distinction usually means that they focused on your particular hair type.
Another thing to consider are the ingredients.
Knowing that shampoos can easily dry out the hair, some brands will add moisturizing ingredients to these products.
You’ll want to look for ingredients like shea butter, castor oil, or argan oil.
You’re going to want to look at products with ingredients like honey which is not only great at hydrating hair, but it’s a natural humectant meaning it helps retain and preserve moisture.
Another great conditioning ingredient to look for is coconut oil.
While a lot of natural oils will sit on top of the hair when applied, coconut oil is proven to actually penetrate the hair.
It’s also associated with decreasing protein loss which helps make your hair stronger from the inside out.
Other ingredients to look at are olive oil, avocado oil, glycerin, aloe vera, and shea butter.
Once your hair is properly shampooed and conditioned, you can move on to forming those curls after the process is done.
But there is something to be mindful of after shampooing and conditioning.
You should be conditioning your hair twice.
Regular conditioners should be washed out of the hair.
Leave-in conditioners are what’s going to keep your hair hydrated and soft long after your hair has dried.
When picking the right leave-in conditioner, start with the ingredients I mentioned previously.
Once the process is done, you can focus on properly drying your hair.
Learn How To Properly Dry Hair
Drying your hair is another important step to getting curly hair.
Most people are going to want to use heat.
Applying heat through a blow dryer can cause heat damage to the hair.
And when you have heat damage, it’s harder for curls to form.
What you’ll want to do is let your hair dry naturally.
Now, you can go about this one of three ways.
First, you can use some type of material to dry it.
In the past, most people were using towels.
A lot of people don’t do this anymore.
Towels were said to be too rough and can cause breakage, especially on wet or damp hair.
Now you’ll see that most people have transitioned to using a t-shirt to drying their hair.
This is an option for you too.
The second option to help curl your natural hair is a diffuser.
Sometimes while your hair is drying, it can get stretched which causes your curls or coils to be less defined.
This is especially true if you have loosely curled hair.
By using a diffuser, you can keep the definition and keep your hair as tight as you’d like.
And the last method for drying your hair is to literally leave it alone.
After you finish the washing, conditioning, and leave-in conditioning, just let your hair air dry naturally.
Keeping your hair free of heat is going to keep your hair healthy and help bring out more curls.
Use Styling Products
Once you’ve solved how to properly dry your hair, now it’s time to get into the styling products.
First, you have hair gel.
Now, depending on the type of hair you have, you’re going to want to use light-hold hair gel or medium to firm hold hair gel.
Let’s start with light-hold.
There are some styles that look like you just shook your head out and you were ready to go.
While some people are able to naturally do that, most of it is styled to look that way.
If you’re going for the look of loosely styled curls or coils, use a light hold hair gel.
For those who are going in and manually adding curls to the hair, this is a good product to start with.
This type of hold gel is also good for those who want to achieve a “wet look.”
All you really need to do is combine the hair gel with some other oil-based product, and you’re good to go.
Now, if you have short curly or coily hair, medium hold or firm hold gel is going to give you the best results.
I’m talking anywhere up to six inches long.
And while gel might be the first styling product you think of, there are others to consider trying.
Another great styling product that might be up your alley is hair styling clay.
This is not to be confused with hair styling wax.
Hair styling waxes can easily lead to build up, and you’re not going to want this on your curls or coils.
Build up can easily lead to weighing the hair down, and you won’t want that if you want your hair to be bouncy.
Hair styling clays have a lighter hold than the waxy alternative, and it’s not going to leave residue behind.
While you might not be familiar with hair styling clay, you probably know about pomades.
If you were ever trying to get waves, you probably were using pomades and wave greases to help bring the look to life.
While oil-based pomades have a stronger hold, similarly to hair styling waxes, they’re going to cause a lot of build up.
Not only that, but they’re harder to wash out.
What you’ll want to do is use a water-soluble pomade.
One, these products will add a shine and luster to your hair.
Two, they’re lightweight but still provide your hair with some hold.
Three, they’re easy to wash out.
It’s still important to pay attention to how much you’re using.
While oil-based pomades easily lead to build up, using too much of a water-based one can also lead to the same problem.
Start with small amounts and work your way up to the best method for your hair.
Gels and pomades might be great for the guys with shorter hair, but if you’re dealing with long curls or coils, your styling product of choice will probably be a styling cream.
If you’re trying to bring your curls to life and make sure they have definition, styling creams are ideal, especially if your hair is loosely curled.
The addition of the styling cream will help the curls take shape, but you should note that styling creams don’t have any particular amount of hold.
If you’re looking for a product that will keep a style, try a gel or water-based pomade.
Whether they’re rocking coils or curls, women have been using hair mousse for decades.
Why is it that men don’t use them?
We’re making a mistake by not using them.
Hair mousses work in a big way.
These products help enhance your hair’s curl pattern.
That means if your hair is coily, it’s going to help make it look more coily in a great way.
Just be mindful that hair mousses should be used on damp hair, so make sure if you’re going with this method that you don’t allow your hair to completely dry before using.
And finally, the last product you should consider using is a hairspray.
Women use hairspray all the time.
Anytime they add a wave or curl to their hair, they use a hairspray.
If they’re trying to maintain a curl or coil, they use a hairspray.
What does that mean?
If you’re trying to do the same thing, consider using a hairspray.
Similarly to other hair products, you can go with a light or firm hold spray.
It’s usually best to go with a lighter hold because hairsprays can also add build up to your curls or coils and weigh them down.
Use A Curl Sponge
We’ve talked about the prep leading to curling your hair and what products will help make the process easier.
Now, it’s time to talk about tools.
One of the best ways to achieve curls is with a curl sponge.
Most people look at curling irons as a way to achieve curls, but this is usually for people with longer, straighter hair.
One, curling irons add heat which can cause damage.
Two, these tools also change the texture of your hair.
Better used on people with short natural hair, this tool allows the hair to form curly-looking coils.
If you look at the design, these sponges have small holes which help form the curls.
You’re going to want to use this product on wet and detangled hair.
In conjunction with a styling product, you’ll want to use the curl sponge in a circular motion.
This motion will allow the hair to catch in the holes and help form the curls or coils.
Some cautionary tips when using this product is making sure you don’t use a curl sponge on straight or dry hair.
Also, stay away from applying too much pressure.
You could easily cause breakage, and you definitely don’t want that.
Using a hair sponge to curl, twist, or coil your natural hair isn’t a difficult process, but just make sure you have all the information you need.
Find A Great Barber
So far, we’ve given you the foundation to getting curly hair.
We’ve given you products and tools you can use.
Now, it’s time to find a great barber.
There are two things to think of when finding the best barber.
The first thing I usually tell people is if you’re a Black man, the best barber for you might be Black.
I say this because odds are, they either have the same hair type as you or something similar.
Because of this, they have their own personal experience of working on their own hair.
Not to mention, many barbers often end up with clients that have a similar hair type as them.
I said “might” earlier because depending on where you live, there might not be any Black barbers in the surrounding area.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with having a non-Black barber, but this is one thing you need to ask.
Are they familiar with working on Black hair?
It’s very easy for someone to give you tips, tricks, and advice on hair that isn’t theirs.
Plus, if they’re unfamiliar with handling Black hair, how would they know what works on your hair and what doesn’t?
Them working on straight, loosely waved hair isn’t going to be the same as working on your curls or coils, so it’s best to find a barber who is better suited to your exact hair needs.
The main reason for wanting a great barber is not only are they going to help you achieve the cut and style you want, but they’re another great resource for finding the best tools and products to use on your hair.
Approach 1: Separate Your Curls Manually
How are you going to get your curls?
One method is by manually separating them.
While this can be a tedious process, it can have great results.
What you’ll want to do is separate the curls manually.
Here’s how you’ll start.
Start taking small sections at the back of your head.
Make sure you have some type of product in your hand, and you’re going to want to smooth it down each section of hair, making sure you move your hair in a twisting pattern to help your texture take shape.
You’ll want to do this along your entire head.
Styling creams would work best in this situation.
Just be sure that you’re starting at the root and moving towards the end.
Applying the product in this direction will help prevent any frizz that might show up.
If your hair is on the longer side, it’s recommended to shake your head from side to side to help prevent any clumping that might be taking place.
But one of the most important things to take away from this method is to leave it alone.
Once you’ve manually separated your curls, don’t touch them.
The more you try to adjust them, the messier and frizzier they’ll get, especially once they start drying.
Approach 2: Manually Curl Them With Small Tool
This approach can go any number of ways.
If you have shorter, coily hair, you might use a curl sponge like I mentioned in a previous section.
Curl sponges are rubbed on the hair to allow small curls and coils to form.
This is usually best used on hair up to six inches long.
These sponges have different configurations in that the ones with the smaller holes work on shorter hair while the sponges with the bigger holes are more ideal for longer hair.
For hair longer than six inches, you’d probably have to look for another method for curling your hair.
Some people can use different techniques, and while some of them might seem weird, they work.
Flexirods are a common way that some women choose to curl their hair.
If you’re dealing with some serious length, you can use thin flexirods to achieve your curled look.
Now, this might be the weird option.
Some people use straws.
Hear me out.
Straws are cylindrical just like any curling tool.
All you do is wrap the hair around the straw.
Because of the size, you’ll definitely get smaller, tighter curls, but if that’s what you’re looking for, this can work wonders.
Of course people can achieve curls with hot tools like a curling iron, but we’re staying away from heat, remember?
Either of these two approaches are going to help you achieve curls in a heat-free way.
Hairstyles For Black Men With Curly Hair
When it comes to what styles go with curly hair, this is something you can definitely consult your barber on.
But we’ve got some ideas for you.
If you ask for a curly tapered haircut, the curls at the top of your head would be slightly tapers while you’d have an undercut on the sides and in the back.
You might consider a mohawk.
While I’m not talking about the extreme mohawks associated with rockstars of the past, this style isn’t anything too dramatic.
The only thing that would really need to be done to achieve this style is for your barber to closely shave the sides so the curls in the center of your head stand out.
If you miss the high top days of the ‘90s, you can bring that look back with your curls.
Instead of the picked out look a la Will Smith, you could keep your curls on the top while having the classic fades on the sides and back.
How To Maintain Curly Hair
Once you achieve your curly hair, you probably won’t want to part from it for a while.
And you can keep the look if you know how to maintain it.
Here’s what you need to do.
Make sure you’re regularly conditioning your hair.
While you should reserve shampooing to probably once a week, using leave-in conditioners on the hair multiple times a week will keep your hair healthy, hydrated, and defined.
Another way to keep your curls is to invest in a diffuser.
Whenever your hair is damp or wet, use the diffuser to help keep the curl pattern of your hair going strong.
You’ll also want to minimize brushing.
Anytime you brush your hair, especially if it’s dry, you’re going to change the immediate texture of your hair.
One, stay away from dry brushing always and minimize brushing your hair out unless you’re detangling it.
And the last tip for maintaining curly hair is to wrap it when you go to sleep.
While you might be able to get away with a durag if your hair is short, you’re definitely going to need something bigger if your hair is on the longer side.
Whatever you’re using to wrap your hair, make sure it’s silk or satin based.
Cotton products can tug on the hair leading to breakage or they’ll absorb the product in your hair which can cause dryness.
Take all these steps, and you’ll definitely keep your curls thriving.
How To Get Curly Hair For Black Men, Conclusion
Curly hair doesn’t have to be difficult.
While the process can sometimes be tedious, it’s usually worth it in the end.
You might be trying to switch up your look, and I don’t blame you.
Normally when a new season or year comes around, I’m left trying to do the same thing.
While you might be into getting curls now, that might change.
If you ever go back to wanting waves, make sure you check out the best way to get waves.