Got a case of curl envy? Fighting the frizz may be a daily struggle and looking at celebrity fresh cuts might make it feel unattainable.
This does not have to be your reality. Truth is, you can do it too. And what’s more? You can do it at home!
It is no secret that Black men are blessed with a full head of thick hair but with this comes a need to maintain the volume and texture.
Afro-textured hair is not difficult to manage, it is just differently managed. And here’s how to get curly hair for black men.
Related: Best hair serum for curly hair
Black hair is unique, beautiful and historically symbolic. There was a time when hairstyles represented your background, family, tribe and social status.
With colonization came the discrimination and criminalisation of black hair.
Today, hair is a symbol of pride for Black people, a representation of who they are, their essence and ethnicity.
Although times are different, the ratio of black representation to white is minimal in the capitalistic world. Mainstream brands do not cater to textured hair.
Kinky hair needs the care and attention that it deserves. Hair care is self care, my friend.
Gone are the days when soap was the only way to cleanse oneself. Boys! It is time to throw out your multitasking products.
Anything that says 3 in 1 body wash, shampoo, etc. has got to go. Allow me to introduce you to the best possible ways to maintain that mane.
It can be intimidating but all you need to do is take it slow. Consistency and patience is key. Sounds like a lot of effort? It doesn’t have to be.
There are 3 things you need to do – know your hair, care for your hair and maintain it. That is all folks. So let us get to it.
How To Get Curly Hair For Black Men
Identify your Curl Type
If your hair-type is curly, it is essential for you to identify your curl pattern. More often than not, one person can have multiple patterns of hair, “so you may have a combination of, say, kinky, coily, wavy, and curly,” says hairstylist Vernon François.
It is recommended you identify your curl pattern when your hair is sopping wet for accurate determination.
Decoding your pattern may seem daunting but don’t you worry, we’ve got you.
Follow our basic guide to see which bracket you fall in.
First Identify type :
Type 1s are straight, Type 2s are wavy, Type 3s are curly, and Type 4s are coily.
Second Identify sub-classifications :
Type As have a wider pattern size of your wave, curl, or coil pattern, Type Bs medium, and Type Cs the smallest of the three.
Meaning, if you are a Type 3A, you have thick but loose curls. “The real beauty of identifying your hair type is that you’re better at understanding how to care for your texture so you can have more versatility,” explains Anthony Dickey, the curl wizard behind the Hair Rules salon and brand.
Curly hair dries out very easily and fairly quickly. Our body naturally moisturizes our hair by the sebaceous oils from the scalp. This should ideally be the right amount to coat the roots, then down our hair strands.
Unfortunately, nature is not that kind to us all. We have to take matters into our own hands.
One thing that everyone knows and agrees with is that kinky hair needs moisture to look its optimal best.
You can’t let it look thirsty like that, dry hair is not just frustrating but also damaging.
It can lead to breakage and split ends, hindering hair growth. Once you have identified your hair type and moisture level you can easily treat your dry hair issues.
Use The Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Starting off with the basics, wash your hair thoroughly with the right shampoo for you.
Clean your scalp gently using your fingertips and not fingernails, massaging in circular motion to distribute product and remove any build-up.
Know that shampoos are essentially drying so try not to get a lot of it on your hair strands, focus more on the scalp alone.
Rinse water through your scalp down your hair locks so the residue shampoo can pick up grime if any. A few good recommendations for shampoo are: Brickell Daily Strengthening Shampoo for fuller and shinier curls, Krieger + Sohne moisturizes and prevents dandruff.
Once thoroughly clean yet wet, we can go to the next step. Which is conditioning! Take an ample amount of conditioner and run it though your hair, making sure to coat it well, restoring everything the shampoo took away.
Unlike before, it is now time to focus on the hair alone. Try not to get conditioner onto your roots and scalp as it can easily clog your hair follicles.
Recommended conditioners for curly hair : ArtNaturals Argan Oil Hair Conditioner is great for nourishing dry hair and suitable for sensitive skin types, K + S Men’s Hair Conditioner will leave your hair looking soft and full, the product is anti-fungal keeping dandruff at bay.
Use a Leave-In Conditioner
Adding conditioner to your hair at this point restores the moisture and slip that your hair was lacking.
This is the best and advisably the only time you should use a comb or hair brush through your hair.
I would suggest using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush, starting from the ends first to get rid of knots.
If you start at the root your comb would get stuck creating tighter knots instead of helping detangle.
Leave the conditioner in the hair as long as the product specifies, for best results. You can then thoroughly wash out the conditioner once time is up
Once out of the shower it is time to lock that moisture in! After all the product is washed out, your hair is in a naked state and vulnerable to getting dry quickly.
Optionally, at this stage you may use a little bit of oil before you allow your hair to air dry or towel dry. Try to avoid using a hair dryer as heat is damaging to your hair.
If you are feeling up to it or your hair looks like it’s asking for it, Deep Condition my friend. Products like Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner will be your best friend, taking your hair to the next level. If you have fairly long hair it is best to section it, this will not only avoid breakage but also make it a little less overwhelming.
If you need to detangle your hair when dry, use your fingers to separate your curls and get rid of knots.
This is to avoid tearing, damaging your hair or stressing the roots. More importantly avoiding frizzing up and messing your glorious curly locks.
Apply the hair mask or conditioner on your sectioned hair and massage it through. During which, you can finger coil your hair also commonly called the shingling method.
To do this you take each curl where it naturally separates and and curl it around your finger and smooth it down the strand then let it go.
There you are! Enjoy your luscious curly mane.
Wear Protective Hairstyles
It is imperative that you consider protective hairstyles for your curls. This will allow your hair to be at its healthiest.
As the name suggests, these hairstyles protect your locks from various environmental factors such as heat, wind, pollution, matting, tangling, etc.
Protective hairstyles are also a great way to help grow out your hair as they drastically reduce breakage and damage.
They can also be kept in for a significant amount of time. One less thing to worry about in the day.
Additionally once the protective hairstyles are unravelled you are left with defined curls that you don’t even need to style!
While these styles are meant to be neat and secure, you must be mindful of the scalp tension.
You want it to be tight but going overboard can lead to a large number of problems like scalp soreness, headache, even traction alopecia which is the receding of your hairline on repeatedly pulling of hair.
Keep in mind that overt tightness can actually cause hair loss.
There are far too many protective hairstyles to choose from. You can not only narrow down to what you like but also what suits your hair the best.
Let’s walk through some trendy yet easy hairstyles :
Cornrows- The hair is braided very close to the scalp. Traditionally in rows but you can have them braided into any simple or elaborate design if you prefer.
People are often worried about traction with cornrows but the fact is your hair will only fall out if it is done too tight.
So keep that in mind. This hairstyle can last for two weeks to over a month. One of the best things about cornrows is that you need to do almost nothing to maintain it.
Braids- For this hairstyle you would need at least three inches of hair to braid it. This is one of the quickest hairstyles you can go for. It is pretty simple and straightforward.
This hairstyle can last anywhere between a month and six weeks. If you are looking to grow your hair out, braids are the most recommended type of protective hairstyle for men.
Wear A Durag At Night
Developing and maintaining a night routine can sound so extra and out of your zone but if you think about it, it is only 10 mins or so of your time a day for beautiful hair every morning as you wake up.
Aside from using products in your hair like a leave-in conditioner, you can start using a Durag.
A Durag or wave cap is a close-fitting cloth cap that you can tie around your head to help keep your hair in place, avoid moisture loss, hair fall and stretching.
You can also start using satin pillow cases, trust me it is a game changer. Hair loss who?
This can be extremely useful if you have your hair in protective hairstyles and would like to keep it looking fresh and neat for long.
A night routine does not need a million steps. Run your product through, put your durag on and good night, you are done.
Your hair is amazing and full of potential, continue to embrace and experiment. Remember, no natural hair journey is the same. Make yours epic!