Long hair. If you are a male, I am going to bet that the thought of growing your straight, wavy or curly hair has crossed your mind at least once. If you happen to be a curly haired man like myself, the thought was quite possibly short-lived due to how complicated it is to groom one’s curls already at a shorter length. Today, however, I would like to cover the shoulder length hairstyle of long curly hair for men.
The curly shoulder length hairstyle will fit pretty much any man with wavy or curly hair
Long hair has been a style that has always been there and has been associated with different sub-cultures and movements, from brave and fierce warriors to flower-power hippies. In the 21st century, long hair still has a following and plenty of males who do not belong to any sub-culture or urban tribe also sport long manes, with the shoulder length hairstyle being a popular one for men and there being a good reason for it because the shoulder length hairstyle, when properly styled, suits any face or man (with a few exceptions that I will be covering). Unlike other versions of long hair in which the hair is left to grow almost infinitely (such as curly Troy Polamalu’s long hairstyle), the shoulder length hairstyle implies growing the curly hair up to shoulder level, no more.
David Bisbal, who has been illustrated before at Manly Curls, shows how cool a shoulder length curly hairstyle can look
For men with curly hair, the shoulder length curly hairstyle is a great style that requires some attention and patience. Depending on your curly hair type, you will take more or less to achieve the hairstyle’s visible length: that is, the hair length that is required, in a normal and dry state, to visually achieve the hairstyle. In fact, someone with Type V curls can take 2 or even 3 times as long to grow his curls to shoulder length than someone with Type I curls, despite their actual hair growth is the same!
To grow a Shoulder Length curly hairstyle you need to consider the following 4 factors:
- Frequency of trimming
- How long it will take to reach the visible length
- Effort needed to keep the long curly hair looking decent
- Whether it will truly suit you or not
Frequency of trimming your curly hair
Since the scalp grows hair all over the head from top to nape, growing to shoulder level implies allowing for the hair on the top of the head to achieve a length that goes all the way down to the base of the neck, while the hair in the rest of the scalp is trimmed to adjust the length according to where it is based in the scalp. For example, while the hair based at the top of the head may require 12 inches of hair to reach the base of the neck (shoulder length), the hair located on the base of the head may only need 4 inches of length to touch the base of the neck. Thus, one needs to adjust the trimming of hair in different segments of the scalp according to the length of the curls.
Building on the above, you can start growing your curls from either a “same length over the head” hairstyle such as the manly Jim Morrison hairstyle or you could just as well grow the hair from a “faded-type” style such as the popular high and tight hairstyle. I would recommend you, however, to not have more than two inches of difference between the longest and shortest sections of hair (e.g crown and nape). If you start from a short hair length, the first trim should be carried out at the 3-6 month mark because this will be the time when the curls growing from the nape (lowest point of scalp) will have reached the shoulders. From there onwards, trim your hair accordingly every 3 months approximately so that no hair segments of the scalp extend over the shoulders.
If you start from a medium hair length, my recommendation is to trim your hair so that it is the same length all over the head, and then adjust the trimmings, as previously explained, as the hair grows.
How long it will take for the achieved visible length
To grow to shoulder length, you will need patience! I cannot emphasize this enough, especially for curly men. Your curls will take quite a while to achieve a shoulder length style and the hair at the top will, depending on your type of curly hair, take approximately the following amount of time to reach shoulder length (assuming growing from a near shaved/short length hairstyle):
- Type I: 2 1/2 years
- Type: II: 3 years
- Type III: 4 years
- Type IV: 5 years
- Type V: 6+ years
This is one of the reasons why it is important to know your curl type and why I created such a guide, since the tighter your curls (read, Type IV-V), the longer it will take you to achieve visible length. I am a Type III curl head and it took me 2 1/2 years to get to shoulder length. Wow, was it an experience!
It did take me a while…
In the meantime, as you grow the visible shoulder length, your hair will be in a transient awkward phase. This is basically the time span in which your curly hair will be doing all kind of funky stuff and looking out of order and mildly unappealing as it reaches the final desired length. I will cover in the future the different techniques to deal with the awkward phase but, for the time being, stick through it and just tie those curls into a ponytail!
Efforts needed to keep the curly hair looking decent
You will have more hair thus you will have to put in a bit more time into grooming your curly hairstyle. You will have to unknot your curls and start using a leave-in conditioner. No longer will you be able to run out the door without having first looked in the mirror and invested some minutes into sorting out your curls. Likewise, the wide tooth comb will be your best ally so invest in one. Lastly, you should also consider manly hair accessories, since the shoulder length hairstyle can be annoying at times, such as on windy days.
Whether the Shoulder Length hairstyle will truly suit you or not
Allright, I left this one till the end on purpose. As I said in the beginning, the shoulder length hairstyle will fit pretty much any curly man. When it comes to the face, the shoulder-length curly hairstyle has the paradoxical effect of softening the face features of “square” faces and toughening “oval” or “rounded” faces. This is very convenient because anyone, regardless of face shape, will find the shoulder length hairstyle of benefit.
The one thing where the shoulder length curly hairstyle will not be suitable is in those who are either overweight or balding. By all means, I always say that confidence makes the hairstyle and I applaud you if you want to have any hairstyle you like regardless of how it may suit you, but if you care about how it will look to others, then you need to consider the aforementioned. Through my conversations with many women, they all agree that the shoulder length curly hairstyle will look good on any man who isn’t overweight or balding. Coincidentally, I have spoken with men about this hairstyle too, both straight and gay, and they tend to also agree on this.
Don’t be another Comic Book Guy!
If you are overweight, my styling advice is to not grow your curly hair beyond a medium length (e.g shoulder length). Overweight men tend to benefit from short hairstyles as it adds a polished and neat look, whereas longer hair tends to exude a scruffy look. Of course, disregard this advice if you truly want to have the shoulder length hairstyle and are overweight, but the reality is that other hairstyles will suit you better. You don’t need to be sporting a six pack and have the body of a Greek god to pull out the shoulder length hairstyle, a normal or athletic frame is more than enough to really benefit from this hairstyle, plus being overweight is unhealthy anyway so you kill two birds with one stone if you aim to lose weight. If you want to go down the route of losing some pounds, get some inspiration from my body transformation story and get yourself a good bullet-proof diet and solid weight training program!
While there is no denying that Hugo Hurley (Lost) has a nice shoulder length curly hairstyle, he’d benefit from a shorter neater style
If you are balding, again, you will benefit from other hairstyles. I have recently written an article with 3 hairstyles for balding curly men that will look good on those suffering from baldness. The combover is so 1950’s and looking like The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons will damage your attractiveness. Choosing a faux-Mohawk or a buzz-cut over a curly ponytail made of 3 hairs will go a long way in improving your body image, trust me.
Combovers only suit cute puppies
The shoulder length curly hairstyle is thus a great option for those curly haired men looking to spice up their looks. While it will take some time to achieve, it will look great if you understand the 4 factors that differentiate a bad shoulder length hairstyle from a good shoulder length hairstyle! I, as the author of this blog, actively support you in choosing the best curly hairstyle that will suit you because, in doing so, you join the ranks of those curly men who walk about in life with a proud mane of curls.
All the best.
P.S. if you’re interested in growing your curly hair long or just in improving its texture and looks, then look no further and not only keep an eye out for more articles here at Manly Curls (subscribe!) but do also get my bestselling book specifically on curly hair for men, The Curly Hair Book! (click the link to see the book at Amazon)