For something that seems so trivial, curly hair is surprisingly complex. And unfortunately, there’s no shortage of poor-quality hair products for men on the market today masquerading as 2-1’s or, god forbid, 3-1 products. I mean, really, how can you clean the dirt off something and moisturize and protect it at the same time? Their opposite functions!
And because of this, many curly-haired men don’t like their hair. When really, it’s their hair product that bears the blame
That’s why we’re going to break down the below points.
1) What’s unique about curly hair.
2) What ingredients you want and those you don’t.
3) The types of products you need for your curly type.
While all hair has the same basic structure, the three-dimensional shape varies considerably & the biological factors that go into creating that great-looking three-dimensional curl shape also confer some disadvantages to the structural integrity of the hair strand. Hey, gotta give to take.
To go a little more in-depth, curly hair has a naturally lower tensile strength (force needed to break hair strands) than straight hair, and unfortunately, if the strength drops too low, your curly hair will lay flat, break, frizz, and do all kinds of things that will send you straight to the barber for a buzz cut.
The name of the game is keeping hair strong and healthy. However, nature throws curly-haired men two more curve balls.
The outer layer of hair, called the cuticle, is similar to the shingles of a house, regulating what can get into the inner part of the hair shaft. For men with kinky, curly, and wavy hair, the cuticle is naturally more raised, allowing your hair to pull in more chemicals from your shampoo or conditioner while losing moisture at a quicker rate than straight hair.
This means that chemicals such as sulfates, which don’t usually pose a problem in men with straight hair, can leach in and weaken the hair of men with curly hair. This, combined with the extra loss of moisture, or a sudden influx of water on a humid day (think frizzy hair), can have a real negative and long-term impact on your curls.
Your scalp produces a naturally moisturizing and protecting oil that coats the hair shaft and works to promote healthy hair. Very beneficial. However, this oil has a difficult time traveling the length of the hair shaft of natural curls.
Along with starting at a lower tensile strength and being more susceptible to damage, curly hair also does not fully benefit from the natural oils that your scalp produces.
This is why it’s so essential to use curly hair products for men vs. standard off-the-shelf products. The best curly hair products for men account for these issues and work to minimize them to keep your hair healthy and looking its best.
When starting your search for the best curly hair products, it’s best to start with the disqualifying ingredients. And this is true across the spectrum, whether that’s wavy hair, curly hair, or kinky curls.
1) Sulfates – Sulfates give that rich lather seen with most shampoos. More than that, they also act as surfactants that break down oil and other dirt on the scalp to provide the cleanse expected out of shampoo. However, they are also irritating to both the scalp and cuticle. For this reason, it’s better to choose less harsh detergents that still break down oil and clean the scalp but do so in a less irritating manner.
2) Silicones – Silicones are often found in conditioners as they soften the hair and provide a coating that locks in moisture and helps fight frizz. Good at first. However, Silicones build up. After each coating, they weigh the hair down, little by little. The difficult thing is, they’re hard to get off! It’ll take a very harsh clarifying shampoo to remove all the silicone buildup. Not worth it.
3) Drying Alcohols – Often found in cheap styling products. Short-chain alcohols (Ethanol alcohol, Ethyl alcohol, Propanol alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, Isopropanol alcohol, Benzylalcohol) dry out the hair and leave your hair wilted and prone to damage.
Note: long-chain alcohols such as cetyl alcohol are safe to use as the molecule is too large to penetrate the hair shaft.
4) Parabens – Parabens are shelf-life extenders. However, recent research has shown that they also cause skin irritation. Better left alone.
5) DEA – DEA is often used to balance the Ph of haircare products. However, similar to Parabens, it’s been shown to irritate the skin. A no go.
6) Propylene Glycol – Commonly used in conditioners as a slip agent to give a better feeling. Like DEA, it often irritates the scalp. Another no-go.
We’re going a little broader and sorting by categories that should be checked off in quality hair products for curly-haired men. Don’t worry; we’re also including ingredient suggestions at the end of each.
1) Gentle Cleansing Agents – They’re all important, but this one might be the holy grail. It’s vital to clean the scalp without irritating or damaging the cuticle. Look for gentle cleansers such as decyl glucoside, sodium cocoyl glycinate, sodium cocyl isethionate, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, or ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate.
2) Moisturizing Agents – Your hair needs to stay hydrated, just like your houseplants. Without hydration, your curls will wilt away. This is especially true for tightly coiled hair. But don’t skip just because you have fine hair. Dry hair is lousy on anyone. Look for ingredients such as sesame seed oil, biotin, virgin Coconut oil, aloe, argan oil & glycerin.
3) Protecting Agents – harsh environmental stressors such as UV rays (especially UVB rays) can break the keratin bonds in your hair and, over time, cause severe damage to your hair. That’s why good curly hair products for men must contain “sunscreen” for your hair. Great ingredients include safflower seed oil, argan oil & aloe.
4) repairing Agents – Damage to curly hair can be minimized but not avoided. Your haircare routine must contain agents that can help repair the damage. These include hydrolyzed keratin (best), wheat protein & silk protein.
5) Soothing Agents – Scalp health is key to hair growth and quality. The hair follicles need to be primed into an optimal growth state. Many hair products for curly-haired men & even the best hair products for men, lack this component. Look for products that contain coffee seed extract, green tea extract, aloe, safflower seed oil & niacin.
Thankfully, Formula F=kx haircare products avoid harmful ingredients and cover all five key categories needed to achieve the best-looking, healthiest natural curls possible.
The amount of additional moisture and protection your hair will need depends on your curl type (don’t know your type, find out). Generally, thick curly hair, naturally dry hair, and kinky hair all need extra attention vs. wavy curls or fine hair.
Wavy hair is the easiest of the curl hair types to maintain. A simple routine of a quality shampoo, conditioner, and styling product is enough to keep your hair looking its best.
We recommend starting with the Formula F=kx classic system featuring the best shampoo for men with curly hair, the best conditioner for men with curly hair, and a curl-defining hair gel that won’t weigh down your waves. This will put you well on your way to having healthy and head-turning locks.
Curly hair or type 3 hair is a little more maintenance intensive than wavy hair. It naturally has a lower tensile strength and is more prone to dryness. Type 3 curly hair male products must be formulated to meet these challenges head-on.
If you have curly hair that’s naturally fine (type 3a), a chief concern is also going to be not weighing down the curls. For this reason, it’s best to go with a quality shampoo, conditioner, and lightweight styling product such as the Formula F=kx defining gel. If you have fine but dry curls, you can add a leave-in conditioner to your routine for added moisture to give you a healthy, defined curl pattern. Be careful here. You don’t want to over-moisturize your hair.
The best hair products for thick, curly hair (type 3b & type 3c) will be a quality shampoo, conditioner, and curling cream to help lock in moisture and protect the hair. We recommend the Formula F=kx extra moisturizing system. A leave-in conditioner can also be added to the routine for those with naturally drier hair.
Kinky hair, also called coiled hair, is the most difficult to keep healthy. We have a complete guide to taking care of tightly coiled hair here. For this article, we will go over the basics.
Your shampoo and conditioner must check off the boxes in our ingredient category. You’ll also want to use a moisturizing styling product that will protect your coils from UVB light while moisturizing them throughout the day. A leave-in conditioner is also recommended. These products, along with utilizing hair masks and Co-Washing where needed, will put you on the path to healthy, head-turning kinky curls.
Men with curly hair must use specially formulated products to take care of their hair and scalp health. Formula F=kx haircare takes the complication out of haircare by providing scientifically-backed products that meet the needs of today’s curly-haired men. We help you look your best.