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The Complete (Step-By-Step) Curly Hair Routine For Men

Image Showing Steps In A Wash Routine For Curly Hair

If you read nothing else, read this guide. You must have an effective curly hair routine if you want to rock “wow” level curls. There’s no other around it.

This is because, unlike straight hair, natural oils have difficulty climbing the shaft of curly hair. I.E., your hair’s not getting the moisture and protection it needs. Combined with the cuticle’s more natural roughness and porosity, curly hair has a predisposition to get irritated. And irritated curls tend to look rather… bad.

Fortunately, learning and implementing a routine that works for your hair type is the most challenging part. Once in place, expect only to spend 5-10 minutes extra caring for your curls. I think you’ll find it well worth it. I did.

Curly Hair Routine For Men

The basics of a curly hair routine are always the same:

  1. wash

  2. condition

  3. style

  4. dry

However, how you go about each step varies by hair type, density, thickness, and porosity. If you don’t know you’re curl type, go here and figure it out.

Back? Okay, good – To jump straight to your hair type, click the links below.

A quick note before we begin, you’ll want to avoid any of the below ingredients. These little guys love to irritate and damage your curls and are found in the low-quality products currently being pandered to men with curly hair.

  • Parabens

  • Sulfates

  • Silicones

  • Phthalates

  • Propylene Glycol

  • Drying alcohols

  • DEA

  • Formaldehyde

Wavy Hair (Type 2) Routine For Men

image of man with type 2b wavy curls

Washing Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is the least dry of the curl types. For wavy curls, it is recommended to wash your hair every 1-3 days. Make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo (found here). Sulfates tend to dry out curly hair, and dry waves are flat waves. Instead, focus on quality products without cheap, damaging ingredients

To wash:

  1. Dispense 1-2 pumps of shampoo onto hands depending on hair density & amount of grime buildup.

  2. Apply onto the scalp

  3. Message onto scalp with fingertips for 30 seconds

  4. Rinse off

Conditioning Wavy Hair

After rinsing out the shampoo, use a moisturizing conditioner (we suggest Formula F=kx Keratin Conditioner) to reintroduce moisturizing oils back into the now clean hair shaft & scalp. Quality ingredients are crucial to maintaining curly hair. You can’t turn a Phillips screw with a flat head screwdriver.

To condition:

  1. Dispense conditioner in your hand and squish it upwards into your waves

  2. Massage evenly moving shampoo down shaft hair to remove product buildup

  3. Let sit for 2-3 minutes

  4. Rinse. Let the water run downwards through the strands to rinse the conditioner out.

Styling Wavy Hair

Use either a moose or a lightweight, hydrating gel for wavy hair. It’s important not to weigh down wavy hair with heavy products. 

Hair must be styled wet. Wet your curls either by showering or using a spray bottle.

To style:

  1. Remove excess water with a microfiber towel. Hair should be wet but not sopping.

  2. Apply product into hands and scrunch into hair.

    • The exact amount of product needed depends on hair porosity & thickness. Play with it to find what’s right for you.

    • Another option is to use a wide-tooth comb or Denman brush to apply products to curls.

  3. Style and tease curls as needed to create your perfect look.

To learn more about products, tools, and techniques for styling, go here. 

Drying Wavy Hair

Do not touch your waves while they are drying. This will allow the gel-cast to form and protect your hair from frizz. Don’t worry; scrunching will break up the cast once the protective gel coating has been created.

To dry:

  1. Air dry or Blow dry your cold using a diffuser attachment.
  2. Once dry – scrunch curls to break the gel cast. 

What To Do Between Washes For Men With Wavy Hair

protect wavy hair during sleep

If you want to make sure your waves last until the next wash, it is imperative to protect them when you sleep. To encourage the texture to spring up, we recommend sleeping with a tight satin scarf or a small bonnet that will keep the waves “scrunched” and allow you to wake up with perfect wavy hair!

refresh wavy hair

Wavy hair has a looser curl pattern that tends to lose its shape quite quickly, so you may find that you need to refresh your hair to maintain the style until the next wash.

We recommend refreshing every morning to ensure your waves stay defined. Here are our top refreshing tips:

  • If your hair feels dry, refresh dry hair using very little product. Spray some water in your hands and emulsify the conditioner to make it lighter.

  • To restyle, use a scrunching motion to apply a small amount of styling product (gel/mouse/Cream/etc.) to encourage waves to shake off the bedhead and spring back to life.

Curly Hair (Type 3) Routine For Men

image of man with type 3b curls

Washing Curly Hair

If you’re a guy with type 3 curls, you understand the struggle with dry curls. We recommend washing only 2-3 times per week with a gentle shampoo (key). This will help maintain your hair’s shine, keeping it soft and healthy too.

If you struggle with oily hair or need extra washes due to sports/physical activity, co-washing is the answer. You can introduce this into your curly hair routine as required.

To wash:

  1. Dispense 1-2 pumps of shampoo onto hands. The amount depends on hair density & amount of grime buildup.

  2. Apply onto the scalp with a focus on the scalp (not hair).

    • Every 1-2 months, move shampoo down the shaft of the hair to remove product buildup. This can also be done with a clarifying shampoo.

  3. Massage shampoo into scalp for 30 sends.

  4. Rinse off.

Conditioning Curly Hair

After rinsing out the shampoo, use a moisturizing conditioner (we suggest Formula F=kx Keratin Conditioner) to reintroduce moisturizing oils back into the now clean hair shaft & scalp. Quality ingredients are crucial to maintaining curly hair. You can’t turn a Phillips screw with a flat head screwdriver.

To condition:

1)   Dispense conditioner in your hand and squish it upwards through curls

2)   Massage evenly through curls focusing on the ends of your curls.

3)   Rinse. Flip hair and allow the water to run downwards through the strands

If your curls start to feel dry despite following the above guidelines, a hair mask might be in order.

Styling Curly Hair

Styling products must be applied to wet hair.

A lightweight gel, mousse, or cream is best to style men’s curly hair. Gel for fine hair, mousse for hair needing extra volume, and cream for regular to coarse curls. A leave-in conditioner can also be used if you find yourself fighting dry curls.

To style:

  1. Wet hair either via shower or spray bottle.

  2. Dab with a micro towel to remove excess water. Hair should be wet but not sopping.  

  3. If you use a leave-in conditioner, now is the time to apply. Use the directed amount and comb through hair using either your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.

  4. Apply your styling products with your head upright to have more control over the application, and then flip your head upside down and scrunch to encourage curl formation in your hair. Tease curls as needed.

  5. Once dry, use a pick brush at your roots to encourage volume.

Tip: If layering product, start with mousse at the hair shaft base and use a cream on the hair shafts & tips. This will create lift while adding moisture and hold to your natural curls. Paste or other “straight hair” styling products can be rubbed in between fingers and used to help tease curls.

To learn more about products, tools, and techniques for styling, go here. 

Drying Curly Hair

Don’t touch your curls while they are drying. This will help create a ‘cast’ around them, a slightly crunchy layer that prevents the development of frizz. No need to worry about the crunchiness; once your hair is fully dry, gently scrunch it to break the cast and reveal soft, bouncy curls.

To dry:

  1. You can either diffuse, air dry, or plop, depending on if you’re looking for a more voluminous style or more defined curls.

  2. Scrunch curls to break the gel cast

What To Do Between Washes For Men With Curly Hair

protect curly hair while sleeping

If you want to make sure your curls last until the next wash, it is essential to protect them while you sleep. We recommend using a loose bonnet to keep your curly locks from rubbing and pulling on your pillowcase. Make sure to choose the bonnet size based on your hair length because if you pick one that is too short, the curls may shrink too much overnight and look very wonky in the morning.

refresh curly hair

Men’s curly hair is prone to frizz. If you want to maintain your style until the next wash, we recommend refreshing. You may not need to refresh every day as wavy hair does; we suggest doing it on an as-needed basis. Here are our top refreshing tips:

  • Spray your hair with water or use a steamer before applying products. Water will soften the styling product you have previously applied, and it will help the fresh products glide on more effortlessly.

  • Always use a hydrating product. Most frizz is due to a lack of moisture; adding some back into the curls will help to tame it. This is especially true for tight curls.

  • If you feel the curls are losing shape, add a bit of gel with a gliding motion to the areas that need it most.

Coily Hair (type 4) Routine For Men

image of man with type 4b coily hiar

Washing Coily Hair

Coily hair is the driest curl type. It’s essential to protect the moisture within the hair. For this reason, we recommend washing coily hair only 1-2 times per week. A gentle shampoo is a must. Even if you wash your coily hair less often, you should introduce a clarifying shampoo in your coily hair routine once a month to purify the scalp from buildup.

If you are physically active or have a naturally oily scalp, you can co-wash between washes to keep your head and hair fresh and clean.

To wash:

  1. Dispense 1-2 pumps of shampoo into hands. The amount of pumps depends on hair density and how much natural oil you produce. Experiment to find the ideal amount.

  2. Apply to the scalp. The focus is to cleanse the dirt from the scalp, not remove the natural oils on the hair shaft.

    • If you are removing product buildup (1-2 a month), focus on the hair shaft.

  3. Massage scalp for 30 seconds using fingertips.

  4. Rinse.

Conditioning Coily Hair

After rinsing out the shampoo, use a moisturizing conditioner (we suggest Formula F=kx Keratin Conditioner) to reintroduce moisturizing oils back into the now clean hair shaft & scalp. Quality ingredients are crucial to maintaining curly hair. You can’t turn a Phillips screw with a flat head screwdriver.

To condition: 

  1. Dispense 1-2 pumps of conditioner into hands. Again, the amount of pumps depends on hair density and how much natural oil you produce. Experiment to find the ideal amount.

  2. Apply to coils in squishing motion. Make sure to coat the entire hair shaft as often the middle-end sections are not receiving the proper amount of natural oils.

  3. Leave in for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Rinse, flipping hair upside down so water rounds down the hair shafts.

hair mask on your coils 1-2 times per month is a must to maintain the health of your locks.

Styling Coily Hair

Coily hair must be styled when wet. Use a styling cream to lock in moisture. A leave-in conditioner is also recommended. 

To style:

  1. Wet your hair via either a shower or spray bottle.

  2. Soak up excess moisture with a microfiber towel. Hair should be wet but not soaking.

  3. Apply all products. Divide your coily hair into sections to make sure you are covering every single coil.

  4. If you want to style the edges of your hair, use a little bit more product to smooth them back or create unique designs.

  5. Once dry, Use a pick brush at your roots to encourage volume and fluff out the roots.

Tip: Apply the leave-in conditioner before the styling cream. Otherwise, you will not get the full benefits of the leave-in.

To learn more about products, tools, and techniques for styling, go here. 

Drying Coily Hair

Don’t touch your coils while they are drying. This will help create a ‘cast’ around them, a slightly crunchy layer that prevents the development of frizz. No need to worry about the crunchiness; gently scrunch it to break the cast once your hair is fully dry. Don’t entirely break the cast on day one if you want your style to last longer before needing to refresh. Leave a bit of hold on the coils to ensure they continue to thrive over the coming days.

  1. You can either diffuse, air dry, or plop, depending on if you’re looking for a more voluminous style or more defined curls.

  2. Scrunch curls to break gel cast. Don’t entirely break the cast on day one to keep style lasting longer.

What To Do Between Washes For Men With Coily Hair

protect coily hair while sleeping

Coily hair tends to suffer a lot from shrinkage. During the night, make sure you are not scrunching your hair further. Rather than using a tight bonnet or scarf, we recommend sleeping on a simple satin or silk pillowcase. This will prevent frizz by keeping the hair from scratching on harsh cotton fibers. If your coily hair is longer, you may want to tie it in a pineapple style with a loose satin scrunchie before sleeping.

refresh coily hair

Since coily hair is washed less often, consider refreshing your hair between washes to make the styling last longer.

  1. If your scalp feels itchy or dry, apply a soothing serum and massage it at your roots.

  2. Keep your hair hydrated with moisturizing spray. Mix a dollop of conditioner with water in a spray bottle. Use enough product to reach all sections of your hair.

  3. If you want a bit more hold, smooth some product over your hair in sections. Don’t try to scrunch it in, or it may cause more frizz.

Bonus: Bringing Back To Life Dry Curls  

How To Co-wash Your Curls

Co-washing (washing with conditioner instead of shampoo) is an excellent add-on to any man’s curly hair routine. It delivers the best results for people with thick, coarse, or dry hair.

How to Co-wash curly hair in 4 steps:

  1. Adequately wet your hair either in the shower or with a spray bottle.

  2. Apply 1-2 pumps of conditioner and distribute evenly over your scalp.

  3. Rub your scalp with your fingertips like you were shampooing your hair.

  4. Rinse your scalp.

How To Rejuvenate Curls With A Hair Mask

A hair mask is best used for dry type 3 hair or type 4 hair. If you fall into this category, it’s a must for your curly hair routine.

How to use a hair mask in 4 steps.

  1. Shower and shampoo hair. Use hot water to open the cuticle – No scalding water! We want to open it up, not damage it.

  2. Apply conditioner liberally to hair. Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to distribute the product.

  3. Leave in for 5-15 minutes. 

  4. Rinse the conditioner out of your hair

Conclusion:

You’ve now got a key piece to the puzzle of men’s curly hair: how to create and follow a curly hair routine. To get the products for your curl type, take our quiz. Or continue learning. We recommend our article on styling products, tools, and techniques.

 

Posted in: Complete Guide to Curly Hair

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