Curly Men: Good Hair versus Bad Hair

The Good hair/Bad hair concept is dissected by Rogelio as he talks about afro textured/kinky hair as related to curly haired men while using his own example with pics. Read his opinion below though be warned, it’s a lengthy rambling! 

 

Today, I felt like writing on my Tales of a Curly Hair Man section. What’s more is that I am going to write about a touchy topic too: the Good Hair/Bad Hair concept.

I can already feel the tension building up so allow me to introduce the topic with a personal story.

I came across the Good Hair/Bad Hair concept back in 2005 when I visited Manhattan for my first time (love that city). I was there for business and I had some free time so I did what I like to do the most when I visit a new city; I walked its whole entirety. As I walked around perfectly blending in with the endemic population, I decided to enhance the visiting experience and get a haircut as my curls were starting to look a bit wild. So, being the cool tourist that I am, I decided to get a haircut in the ghetto-est and most badass barbershop I could find yet I somehow ended up in a hair salon for women as I got too tired trying to search around for a badass barbershop to no avail. The good thing was that I ended up in an afro-oriented hair salon packed with African American women who were very welcoming and could tell from my accent and looks that I was not a local. Soon enough, we got chatting about hair.

 

The poster for the movie Good Hair which touches on the issues of curly haired women and men

Chris Rock’s 2009 film “Good Hair” touched on the issues of nappy/kinky hair most commonly encountered by African American women

Credit: Wikipedia

 

I was told all about this whole Good Hair/Bad Hair concept as the female hairdresser chatted with me. She told me I had “good” hair which prompted me to initially think the fine lady was hitting on me. Then, other hairdressers joined in to the conversation and explained to yours truly how nappy hair is considered bad hair as it doesn’t conform to the notion of straight manageable hair set by the beauty industry and thus the whole use of hair relaxers and perms by many African American women.

As we got talking, the ladies in the hair salon, who were some cool cats themselves, joked around with the Good Hair/Bad Hair concept as some of them had relaxed/permed hair while others sported their “nappy” hair natural, including the hairdresser giving me a haircut. The conversation was very interesting and I got to learn a controversial side to curly hair as the ladies there made me feel at home and we continued our conversation with other random stuff. I ended up getting a free haircut as I gave them tips on how to visit Europe in 4 weeks and I proceeded to call it a day and went back to the hotel as I internally digested the hair stuff we had talked about that evening.

The Good Hair/Bad Hair concept is not only limited to afro textured ladies, however. Fellow afro/kinky haired men have to deal with this too and ever since my visit to Manhattan, I have specifically spoken to black dudes about this concept and gotten a range of opinions on it. While I am fully aware that this whole nappy or “bad hair” concept carries some racial issues, I have found that there is also a huge lack of “hair knowledge” from those with the kinkiest of curls. These same women (and men) from a very early age are told to perm/straighten/relax/tame their hair which leaves them without truly knowing how to manage their kinks. And while the hairdresser from the story above told me I had “good hair” because I seemed to have defined curls (i.e. not nappy hair), I have too experienced this whole lack of hair knowledge and I have been able to see how knowing and learning about my own curly hair has had a positive carryover to my life in general.

Personally, I don’t think there is such a thing as bad hair, at least the concept which equates bad hair with nappy/kinky hair or undefined and unruly curly hair. I can tell you right now that I have seen some bad cases of what I would actually regard as “bad hair”, or as I call “dead rats”, on dudes walking around with straight or wavy hair. On the other hand, I have chatted to kinky haired women and men with some awesome natural manes. In fact, my own hair is full of kinks and is a freaking beast to groom yet I have educated myself on how to manage it and thus I get to sport “good hair”. My hair hasn’t always been good hair though, I can tell you that.

 

Rogelio with his curly kinky hair as a male

Good hair

 

Rogelio with his curly kinky hair when he wakes up without grooming

Bad hair aka dead rat (with muscles)

 

In the above two pictures, the only difference is in the grooming. The line between good and bad hair is drawn by grooming and hair care, not the type/form/shape of curly hair, that simple!

And since this “manly” curly haired dude promised his much loved mother that he would not swear on his blog, I will put it bluntly this way:

“To heck with the whole Good Hair/Bad Hair thing”

There, I said it.

Bad hair is simply hair which is not taken care of. Full freaking stop, folks.

Whatever form of curly hair you have (waves, coils or kinks), you will sport bad hair if you don’t have a clue on how to take care of it. That is it. Bad hair doesn’t understand of skin tone, race, ethnicity, religion or natural hair shape, unless you allow yourself to think as though it does. Then, allow me to call you a fool because you are the one limiting yourself and that’s the worse one can do to oneself.

What’s more is that kinky hair/afro textured hair is just as good as other types of hair. Kinky hair has the most natural volume by default which means that hairstyles which thrive on volume are perfect for this type of tight curly hair. Likewise, because this curly hair type shows its curl pattern at very short lengths, short hairstyles are great options for men with kinky/afro hair. As an example, the High and Tight looks best on kinky hair and it is my favorite hairstyle to sport when my curly hair is short.

As Manly Curls has continued to become more and more popular, I get a constant stream of emails from our readers asking questions on their hair and quite a few times I get guys telling me how they have bad hair because they have “nappy” hair. As a matter of fact, this has been the main reason which prompted me to blog about the issue of Good Hair/Bad Hair as I want to make sure that those curly haired men thinking they have bad hair read this and finally get it straight (no pun intended).

We are in 2012 gents, and you are reading a site which specializes in giving advice to men with curly hair so get on with the program! Embrace your curly hair, be it coiled, wavy or super kinky, and then do something about it: you can buzz it to a #1, you can wear it in an afro, you can grow it long, you can braid it. So many options available that if you are a dude with afro-textured or kinky hair you are doing yourself a disservice by deeming your hair as bad hair simply because you were born with that particular type of curly hair. If you want to make the most out of my site and your afro/kinky hair, I want you to, right now, get the concept of bad hair out of your head; your hair is just as good as other types of hair.

Moreover, hair is a highly visible trait which is integral to the identity of oneself: whether it is kinky hair, straight hair, buzzed to a #1, worn long or fallen prey to male pattern baldness. Whatever you may have flourishing from your head, you carry it around 24/7 and in my humble opinion, regarding it as a bad thing is quite a miserable way to go about life.

You see, when I started this site just under a year ago (we are turning 1 year old in a few days!), I made it my goal to spread the word and educate other curly haired men on their hair while helping them embrace it (without sounding girly, not an easy task), all of this regardless of the specific variables that affect each one of us men in our daily lives. I have managed to live in 5 countries and keep my good hair in a convenient and “manly” manner, yet I can tell you right now that I have gone through some bad times and some bad life “variables” in all these years of good hair. And I am using the term “bad” in the previous sentence because I rather not use the word starting with “sh-” as I stick to my aforementioned promise. If I can do the whole good hair ordeal, you too can (provided you remove the bad hair concept out of your head).

I am realizing that this is becoming more of a rambling than anything else as I am closing in on almost 2000 words for this post. Regardless, I believe it is necessary for this site to specifically have in one post my opinion on Good Hair/Bad Hair because the widespread of this concept is one of the reasons why many curly haired men, especially those with afro textured/kinky hair, are clueless as to how to make the most of their hair. It is imperative for us dudes with curls to know about our hair because there is only one true meaning to bad hair, and that is hair which is not taken care of.

At Manly Curls we don’t advocate becoming hair divas or sacrificing our testosterone levels in the name of sporting lustrous locks. We don’t swing that way and it doesn’t work like that either. One can have good hair while being a male and going about one’s life as desired. Unfortunately, most curly haired men seem to think that good hair equates straight soft silky hair or spending one’s morning in the bathroom fixing their hair while watching repeat episodes of Sex in the City. Not at all, I will tell you now that I would not have started this blog if it were so and I certainly would not be putting pictures of myself shirtless with bad hair to illustrate that I follow what I preach.

The conclusion to today’s Tales of a Curly Hair Man is that good hair is hair that is taken care of regardless of whatever you may have been led to believe. Bad hair, on the other hand, is not hair that consists of very tight kinks or happens to not be naturally defined; bad hair is hair that looks bad because its owner doesn’t know how to take care of it, an unfortunate common issue with curly haired men. My advice to you curly men, whether you have afro textured/kinky hair or any other types of curly hair, is to get on with the program, embrace your curls, educate yourself so that you can get them looking the best you can and continue with your life as you strive to better yourself in other life areas.

Your whole life will become much easier when you regard your hair as something inherently positive, you can take my word for it.

All the best, fellas.

Rogelio

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Rogelio

Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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22 comments for “Curly Men: Good Hair versus Bad Hair

  1. eric mcdonald
    October 17, 2013 at 4:25 am

    dear rogelio, hi my names eric and i have alot of questions concerning my hair first off my hair looks just like that bad hair aka dead rats photo in this article. i dont even know what to do. its just all my life everyones told me i had good hair and when i moved from there and now am trying to grow it out everyone just says its nappy and i sorta believe them cuz theres a dude i know who also has curly hair and his look better than mine. all the girls in our class in 5th period (im in highschool by the way) keeps touching his and keeps saying that its soft and when one of them finally wanted to touch mine and asked i was excited so i said sure but when she touched it she said it was soft and hard at the same time not just soft like his so im jealous of all the attention he gets and not me. as i said before i dont even know what to do with my head. so i just keep wearing my little nappy afro and keep letting people talk about me. but i dont want to do that. i hate that when i walk by girls i can hear them say “his hair so nappy”or “he needs a pick” it just makes me mad. can you recommend any hairstyles or ways to make my hair look more curly like the good hair picture in this article.ill try just about anything as long as i dont have to shave my head. im already scared i might end up bald before thirty like my father. plz write back sincerey , eric p.s.:is there any thing wrong with picking my head because after people called me nappy i would pick out my hair and most of it would just have it go through but there was still some resistance. does doing this make my hair permanantly noncurly or any thing? bye

  2. Dickery Jones
    December 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Hey man, I’ve been through weird phases with my hair, was desperately trying to do a James Spader type of haircut (the “Crash” movie one for instance) with long straight bangs, but it always went to its wavy state and I could never ever make it the way I wanted past the few minutes after brushing it in front of mirror. Now I’ve given up and embraced my curls, got me a different haircut, and started wearing my hairstyle tousle haired – big difference, everyone gave compliments and I no longer have to worry about my hairstyle messing itself up because it’s naturally tousled. I can easilly make type 1 and type 2 curl hairstyles with just a bit of gel.

  3. Hanc
    November 11, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Hi,
    I enjoyed reading this article and stumbled across this as I was searching for ‘rough hair’. When I was a kid, I had pretty curly hair with ‘tight’ curls, as my parents describe it.
    As the years have passed, they have relaxed and now I have more wavy hair.
    However, one thing remains constant : my hair quality is bad; at least to me!

    If it helps, I’m of south asian origin.

    The reason my hair quality is bad is because I had not really taken care of my hair. Since the last couple of years, I have started to take care of my hair by using leave-in conditioners or pre-wash conditioners but I don’t really see any improvement in the texture.
    Basically, I lack that ‘shine’ in my hair. It looks so dull sometimes.

    Any tips or insights, Rogelio?

    Thanks.

  4. Coiled head
    June 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    100% agreed, Rogelio, could not have said it better.

    • Rogelio
      June 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks, Glad you enjoyed it.

      All the best.

  5. Manuel
    June 3, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Thanks for the insightful post. The topic of “good/hair vs bad/hair” is very popular in the Puerto Rican community(not exclusive as I’ve heard the same coming from other latinos). I have 4 siblings and grew up listening to my parents and family members always referring to hair as “pelo bueno y pelo malo (good hair and bad hair); I personally have hair similar to yours while my one of my brothers has straight hair and I can remember being teased about my curly hair while growing up. I have always kept my hair very short to almost bald and have since decided to grow my hair out (8 months). From personal experience, I can definitely say that growing out my hair has been work; shampooing, conditioning, detangling, leave in conditioner, always wetting hair prior to styling, gel, hair spray, etc…… But in some twisted way, I am enjoying the process if that makes sense. My goal is to get it to shoulder length, and I can’t wait to be able to tie it into a pony tail in order to get up and go (to a certain extent). Now I feel that I’m rambling a bit, bottom line is, good hair and bad hair should be used only to describe the condition of your hair and not your hair texture as this is used way tooooooooooo often as a negative in our communities. Very informative site!

    Thanks,

    Manuel

    • Rogelio
      June 4, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Hi Manuel,

      Thanks for your comment, I am glad you share my view on this topic too. My brothers have less curly hair than I do, their hair is wavy whereas mine is coils and kinks, goes to show how inheriting hair from parents can vary wildly.

      And absolutely, enjoy the process of growing your curls to shoulder length. Keep an open mind and do not be afraid to experiment so that you learn more about your hair. Coincidentally, today I have posted an article on growing curly hair to shoulder length which I am sure you will find useful:

      http://www.manlycurls.com/2012/06/growing-curly-hair-how-tips-shoulder-length-men/

      Keep me updated on your progress and feel free to shoot me an email if you got questions!

      All the best.

  6. Mike Floyd
    June 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

    An intelligent view on such a controversial topic. Thanks for posting it Rogelio.
    Regards,
    Mike Floyd.

    • Rogelio
      June 4, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

      All the best.

  7. Ben
    May 31, 2012 at 5:39 am

    I don’t suppose it was my email one of those that prompted you to write this post? :P

    Thanks for writing this post and for having helped me through email too, adds even more weight to what you said in your email dude. Kudos, I appreciate it.

    Ben (see email address for reference).

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Not your email per se, it’s the fact that I have received long term copious amounts of emails of men with the same, in my opinion, equivocal mindset when it comes to their hair.

      I am very happy you are taking actions as per our email conversation and that you are going forward in a positive manner. And remember, it is just hair, there are more important things to worry in life!

      All the best.

  8. Sheila
    May 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I have been a natural now for 3 years and this “good hair vs bad hair” used to annoy me in the beginning. Nowadays as I have come to terms with my natural hair, it doesn’t bother me anymore and I totally agree on everything you’ve written, especially this

    “Your whole life will become much easier when you regard your hair as something inherently positive”

    Amen to that :)

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Sheila,

      Priceless and I love the fact that natural ladies also check my blog and post their opinion like you have. It is great that you have decided to embrace your hair instead of submitting it to cliches and notions built on self-esteem. Thanks for passing by!

      All the best.

  9. Jess
    May 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I love this post! It’s so wonderful to see a site for men with curls, and your points are very well taken. There IS no “good” or “bad” hair, only hair that is well maintained or not. Very well said. – Jess

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Jess,

      Thanks for sharing your words. As you know, this is a touchy topic itself yet we need more positive vibes to fight such a cliche!

      All the best.

  10. Ishmael
    May 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I agree with the article and the people who commented too. Good/bad hair doesnt do more than play on people’s insecurities. Apparently the market for turning bad hair to good hair (read relaxers) is huge too.
    Food for thought!

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Agreed Ishmael! Thanks for giving your opinion.

      All the best.

  11. stewart
    May 30, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I recently came across Chris Rock’s documentary and it was super interesting. I was amazed that african american women would go to such great lengths to avoid sporting their natural “nappy” hair. While watching the film, I kept thinking to myself “what if they just embraced their hair instead of attempting to conform to the social “norm” of straight hair. I think Rogelio raises a good point in saying that there is no such thing as bad hair in and of itself. Hair can only be “bad” if not taken care of properly. There is nothing inherently bad about any specific kind of hair.

    All in all, I think its important to embrace one’s self (hair in this case), and do so in a manner that revolutionizes what society deems to be normal or acceptable.

    That is all LOL.

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Stewart,

      I have seen that you are a frequent poster on my blog, I agree with you. I too have watched Chris Rocks Good Hair film and while controversial it sort of highlights the current state of this concept. It’s all embracing oneself as you say, and making the most of what one has, otherwise one will live a life of misery. We can all improve what we have and become better humans overall!

      Thanks for passing by and sharing your opinon.

      All the best.

  12. JJ
    May 30, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Could not agree more Rogelio, thanks for writing on a controversial topic like this one. I am African American and see good/bad hair as the residue of our slavery days. Fortunately this is an issue which is fading away more and more, especially with the concept of natural hair becoming more popular.

    JJ.

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Hi JJ,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I too am glad that good hair/bad hair is becoming less popular. As I say, how good hair is is not dependant upon its shape. Good hair is simply hair that is taken care of.

      All the best.

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