Curly Hairstyles for Men: Get Great Hair

This is a guide on curly hairstyles for men, featuring 5 hairstyles for curly haired men: the Side Swept, the Undercut, the Hanging Locks, the Shake & Go and the Afro hairstyles. It’s a hairstyles guide that is more than 3800 words long, so take your time to read it thoroughly, click the recommended links for further hairstyling content and bookmark the guide so that you can go back to it any time. Enjoy!

Curly Hairstyles for Men: Get Great Hair

For a curly haired man, there are 3 absolute truths in life:

  1. He will die at some point
  2. He will have to pay taxes
  3. His curly hair will have a life of its own

While the first two truths above are shared by all human beings, it is a reality that the third truth concerns curly haired men exclusively and to a great extent. You see, I call my curly hair my “beast”, and I tell you so in my book, The Curly Hair Book: Or How Men Can Now Rock Their Waves, Coils And Kinks; likewise, I tell you in my book how a curly male will always find his hair looking as though it has its own life; this is because the natural bending and curvy shape of our manes predisposes our curly tresses to puffing out, getting themselves hooked onto each other and, overall, being resistant to any styling; furthermore, this lively hairstyling phenomenon gets worse the curlier the hair. Curly hair is as resilient as a mattress spring, and it will always go back to its natural coiled state when styled, which means that curly hair is, for the most part, best not styled too much.

All of the above played a role in my decision to create a blog with an emphasis on curly hair as well as write a 230+ pages-long book on curly hair for men in which I also cover the mildly-complicated topic of styling curly hair. These days, this blog you’re reading gets thousands of visitors daily and The Curly Hair Book has achieved Amazon bestseller status; however, those were simple consequences of doing things right and taking my quest to help out fellow curly haired men worldwide one step further. Of course, Manly Curls is an on-going project, so it is here where I like to continue with my awesome mane (as I call it in my book) quest and provide helpful content to those men with waves, coils and kinks for hair. Today’s article is related to my awesome-mane quest, and I’m going to be dedicating this article to writing a guide on curly hairstyles for men.

5 Curly Hairstyles for Men: Side Swept, Undercut, Hanging Locks, Shake & Go and Afro

In this curly hairstyles for men guide, you will be finding 5 hairstyles for curly haired men:

  • the Side Swept
  • the Undercut
  • the Hanging Locks
  • the Shake & Go
  • the Afro

Each hairstyle is dedicated to a specific curly hair type; likewise, you will also find a list of recommended products for each of the hairstyles in the guide. If you aren’t aware of the curly hair types, I basically created, some time ago, a curl-typing guide that aims to measure the vertical length of a curl and thus put your curly hair into a type; this guide is one that I extensively cover in The Curly Hair Book, and I too have covered it, albeit in a much-lesser extent, in my popular Manly Curls article on curly hair types (click the link to visit the article). As said, each of the curly hairstyles below will be for a specific curl type, so let’s now stop the digressing and get on with our curly hairstyles business.

Curly hairstyles for men: The Side Swept

The Side Swept is a hairstyle for curly haired men who own curls that are loose in shape; these curls are, as I have labelled them in my curly hair type guide, Type I curls.

A nice classic hairstyle itself, the Side Swept is an easy-to-do hairstyle: simply look in the mirror and draw an imaginary line starting at either of your forehead’s temples (left or right), with the dividing line going all the way back to the crown (i.e. vertex); then, grab a high-quality wide tooth comb and, starting at the aforementioned imaginary line, sweep the hair towards the direction of where the other temple is. In the case of drawing the imaginary line at your left temple, then you will be sweeping the hair found on the right side of the line, and, in the case of drawing the imaginary line at your right temple, then you will be sweeping the hair found on the left side of the line. Once you have swept the hair as instructed in the previous lines, you then finish off the Side Swept hairstyle by sweeping the hair on the other side of the parted line, and you sweep the hair in a downward directions so that the locks remain vertical to the imaginary line.

In the Side Swept hairstyle, your hair should remain relatively flat; that is, your curly hair, when styled in the Side Swept’s manner, will not have volume and will hardly stick out from the scalp. Much like the picture below:

A male model with a side swept hairstyle.

A male with a Side Swept hairstyle looking all bossman with his curly hair (though I have no idea why he’s wearing red lipstick)

The hair length I recommend for the Side Swept hairstyle is 1 to 3 inches, so basically a shortish medium length for your curly hair.

Hair products for the Side Swept hairstyle

For the Side Swept hairstyle, I recommend you use either a pomade or hair mousse; the hair pomade will give you sleek hair whereas the hair mousse will give you definition of your curls. To style the hair, you can use a high-quality wide tooth comb or your own fingers to do the sweeping motion; it’s up to you although I recommend that you experiment with both options to find out the one you like most.

These are the hair products to grab for your Side Swept hairstyle:

  • Hair pomade
  • Hair mousse
  • High-quality wide tooth comb

Click here for the list of specific hair products to buy

Curly hairstyles for men: The Undercut

Technically, the Undercut is a haircut, but, because it involves clipping half of the hair mass on your scalp and creating sharp edges, the Undercut only gets to look good when left with plenty of hair volume instead of with flattened the hair. Ergo, the Undercut is a haircut that best suits the styling back of your hair by means of using your fingers and/or tousling the hair a bit to create a messy look; the final shape achieved with an Undercut is one that has sharp edges and lots of hair volume, which then favours the seeing of the Undercut as not only a haircut but also a hairstyle. In terms of which of the curl types benefits greatly from the Undercut, it is Type II curly hair that gets the most out of said hairstyle.

To get an Undercut, it could not be any simpler: just get a hair clipper and clip your sides and back of the head (anything below temple level) with a single guard length. The guard length I recommend to clip the Undercut with is any from a #1 to #3, not any higher; do bear in mind that, if you are a light-skinned male, your scalp will show if you get a #1, so better go initially with a #2 for a few weeks and then hit a #1 so as to allow your scalp to tan naturally before going with the #1. With regards to the top of your head, this area of the head is not clipped nor is it cut under most circumstances, although you can trim your hair somewhat in order to have a shorter length atop your head; in such case, the hair length that I recommend for the Undercut is any length between 2 to 6 inches.

A man with an undercut hairstyle for his curly hair.

The Undercut can look quite good when styled back

In the Undercut, there is no tapering of the edges (the perimeter between your sides/back of the head and the top of the head); the Undercut is what is commonly regarded as a bowl cut (hence the sharp edges) although I always recommend curly haired men to get a little tapering done on the edges so that they don’t end up looking like a walking mushroom when their hair is down. If you plan on having your hair down at times, then do get a small amount of tapering done on the edges.

To style your Undercut, use your fingers to direct the hair backwards (you can also use a wide-tooth comb). You may then shake your head to tousle the hair a little and follow the shaking of the head with again directing the hair back with the fingers. With the Undercut, you should aim to have your hair with a height (from your scalp) of 2 inches or more.

Hair products for the Undercut hairstyle

The hair products to use for an Undercut include a hairstyling product, a hair clipper, a high-quality wide tooth comb and a hair dryer. A hairstyling product should be any of the following three: pomade, light-hold hair gel or hair mousse. A hair clipper is also needed, and I recommend you to buy a high-quality hair clipper because the cheap ones do not withstand much use and they overheat like crazy, which further aggravates the hair clipper’s wear and tear. Do too grab yourself a wide-tooth comb despite the fact that using your fingers for the styling of the Undercut is more than enough; a wide-tooth comb will be of use to you for any future curly hairstyles you may want to sport, so you might as well go ahead and buy one of these special combs. Lastly, a hair dryer is a hairstyling tool that I recommend you to own since you can get some wickedly-defined hair volume with a hair dryer, and the Undercut for curly hair certainly thrives with hair volume.

Get the following hair products for your Undercut hairstyle:

  • Light-hold hair gel
  • Organic pomade
  • Hair mousse
  • Hair clipper
  • Hair dryer

Click here for the list of specific hair products to buy

Curly hairstyles for men: The Hanging Locks

The Hanging Locks is one pretty-awesome hairstyle for curly men if you get it right; specifically, the Hanging Locks hairstyle is one diesel hairstyle for men with Type III curly hair.

The Hanging Locks hairstyle is centered around having enough hair length that gets the curly hair to hang down as opposed to puff out as short curly hair always does. As you will know from my book, all curl types have different lengths at which they will hang down; with Type III curls, it is at about the 10-inch extended-length mark that the curls get to hang down; “extended length” means the amount of length your hair has when it is stretched fully, and, in my book, I extensively cover the two length types (the other one is “visible length”) and how they apply to your own curly hair and curly-hair type (in fact, length type and curl type are two defining factors to customize your hair grooming and hair care!).

David Bisbal with his curly hair for long hair

Long curly hair rocks; I think all you Manly Curls readers know that by now

For the Hanging Locks hairstyle, you will need to have the top of your hair with 10 inches of extended length while the sides and back should have 8 inches of extended length; this will give a voluminous-albeit-hanging mysterious look that will grab all women’s attention (Manly Curls guaranteed!). Once you have achieved this hair length, you style the Hanging Locks by simply dampening your hair and then coating your hair with a leave-in conditioner/hairstyling-cream combo, or you can alternatively decide to not coat your hair at all with hairstyling products and go “au naturel”; if your hair is only 8 to 12 inches long though, I recommend that you use hair products to enhance the hanging down of our curls as au-naturel hair requires much-longer extended lengths to hang down.

Once you have coated your locks with the aforementioned leave-in conditioner/hairstyling cream combo (or decided to not coat them), you then allow your curls to hang down naturally, parting away any locks that are bothering your eyesight. Lastly, you may use some hair spray to secure the hair, but the fun of the Hanging Locks hairstyle is that the hair is free to dangle, and using hair spray kills the fun, especially if the hair spray is overdone.

Hair products for the Hanging Locks hairstyle

For the Hanging Locks hairstyle, you will need a leave-in conditioner and a hairstyling cream. Once your hair has reached an optimal dampness state (i.e. damp, not wet!), you then coat your curly hair with a leave-in conditioner first and, after the leave-in conditioner, you proceed to coat the hair with a hairstyling cream (aka styling cream). Despite the fact that, in the Hanging Locks hairstyle, you do not use a wide-tooth comb, it would still be a good idea to get one for other hairstyles you may decide to choose in the future; essentially, if you don’t own a wide-tooth comb yet, do then get one from the list at the end of this guide.

To reiterate, grab the following hair products for your Hanging Locks hairstyle:

  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Styling cream
  • High-quality wide tooth comb
  • Hair spray

Click here for the list of specific hair products to buy

Curly hairstyles for men: The Shake & Go

The Shake & Go hairstyle is my favorite hairstyling recommendation for men with Type IV curly hair; with this curly hair type, the locks are quite tightly coiled, yet they still respond to styling, unlike the even-tighter Type V coils. However, Type IV curls shouldn’t be manipulated too much as they are damaged easily and will always coil back to their natural state no matter what, so it is best to just let Type IV curls express themselves as they are intended to naturally do: by puffing out and having great overall volume.

The Shake & Go hairstyle is as simple in nature as the rest of the hairstyles in this hairstyles guide: you dampen your hair, coat it with a hairstyling product and you then shake your head; voila, you and your curly mane are ready to face the day in style. It is imperative, however, that you also have an optimal hair-grooming routine and hair-care strategy as I teach you in The Curly Hair Book; basically, your curly hair must be looked after properly for it to react properly and accordingly to any hair styling, including the Shake & Go hairstyle and the rest of hairstyles in this guide. If you fail to look after your curls, you will not get your curls to look awesome and you will instead be the owner of a, as I call it, dead rat. Point is, have a good hair-maintaining system in place before considering styling your curly hair like a Sir, and this rule not only applies to Type IV curls but to all other curly hair types too.

Corbin Bleu with a shake and go hairstyle for his curly hair.

Forget about silly “laws of attraction”: curls get the gurls, and Corbin Bleu is very aware of such phenomenon

For the Shake & Go hairstyle, I recommend a hair length between 4 to 6 inches on the top of the head as this length will allow you to move your hair with the shaking of your head. The hair atop your head can be either the same length all around your head or be longer than the hair on the back and sides; it’s your choice and both hair-length formats look equally good.

Hair products for the Shake & Go hairstyle

The Shake & Go hairstyle only requires a hairstyling product and a leave-in conditioner. Just like in the Hanging Locks hairstyle, you should be coating your curly hair with a leave-in conditioner first and then coating the hair with the hairstyling product; for your hairstyling product, any of the following will do: hair mousse, light-hold hair gel or coconut butter (only use a fingertip for the coconut butter). You may also use hair spray if you want to secure the hair in place so that it looks all day long just as it did after you shook your head; you can also use a hair dryer before the hair spray in order to get a bit more hair volume as well as dry the hair faster.

Grab the following hair products for your Shake & Go:

  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Light-hold hair gel
  • Hair mousse
  • Raw coconut butter
  • Hair spray
  • Hair dryer

Click here for the list of specific hair products to buy

Curly hairstyles for men: The Afro

The Afro hairstyle is an epic hairstyle for men who have curly hair that is so tightly-coiled that the individual curls cannot be distinguished from a 3-feet-long distance; such curls are known as Type V as per my curly hair type guide, and Type V curls are also regarded as kinky hair or afro-textured hair in daily life.

The Afro hairstyle consists of allowing the curls to naturally puff out, encouraging their natural volume in order to form an overall hair shape that resembles a head aura, so to speak. In the Afro hairstyle, the more consistently circular the curly hair is, the better, and, back in the ’70s, women and men sported some lusciously-epic Afros that were several times bigger than the actual head of the Afro’s owner! Unfortunately for our hair styling world, the Afro hairstyle fell into oblivion after the 1970s although, fortunately for our hair-styling world, the Afro has been picking up, for the last 2 years, a renewed interest among curly men, and I’m to be “blamed” largely for such a renewed interest in the Afro hairstyle as my message of an awesome mane and wearing one’s curly hair proud spreads worldwide and reaches more and more men with waves, coils and kinks for their hair!

Prince wearing an Afro hairstyle instead of his usual relaxed hair

Prince turned up to the Billboard Music Awards 2013 with an epic Afro, and everyone was like, “yes he did”

Word on the street is that he reads Manly Curls

To get an Afro hairstyle, you must grow your curly hair on the top of your head to an even all-round length, with this length ranging from 2 to 6 inches, although you can certainly have your Afro longer than 6 inches, but its maintenance can become somewhat frustrating and time consuming at longer lengths if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can have your Afro hairstyle with the same hair length all around the head, or you can have the hair on the sides and back tapered to a length that is, at the hairline, 1 to 3 inches lower than the length on the top of the head; whatever hair-length format you choose, do ensure that you pick a competent barber with plenty of experience with kinky hair as the haircut itself is critical for sporting a good Afro.

Once you have grown your curls to an appropriate length, you will then style your Afro by emphasizing the puffing out of your locks, using both your fingers and an Afro pick; for those who don’t know, an Afro pick is a hairstyling tool resembling a rake: you use it by means of inserting the teeth of the pick in the hair mass so that the Afro pick claws into the hair; then, you carefully lift the hair up with the Afro pick, ensuring that the pick runs smoothly up the length of your kinks. To encourage the circular shape of your Afro, you must use your hands to mold the hair as you even out any areas of the Afro that are slightly longer or shorter. It is imperative that you style the Afro when it is damp, not wet or dry, although further retouching can be performed when the hair has air-dried fully.

Prior to using your fingers or Afro pick to style the Afro, you must coat your curls with a hairstyling product to not only encourage the shaping of your Afro but also create enough slip along the curls. To finish off the styling of your Afro hairstyle, you can use hair spray to secure its shape in that moment and have it last all day long.

Hair products to use for the Afro hairstyle

The hair products recommended for your Afro hairstyle include a leave-in conditioner, a hairstyling product such as light-hold hair gel, hair mousse or coconut butter (added after the leave-in conditioner), an Afro pick and some hair spray; the latter to be used if you want to extra secure the shape of the Afro.

Get the following hair products for your Afro hairstyle:

  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Light-hold hair gel
  • Hair mousse
  • Raw coconut butter
  • Hair spray
  • Afro pick

Click here for the list of specific hair products to buy

Curly hairstyles for men: Hair Products list

Ok, now that I have covered the hairstyles available for curly haired men, it is time for me proceed to tell you where to grab the hair products that are needed for each of the hairstyles.

What I have done in this section is list each of the hair products mentioned for each of the hairstyles and I have then found for you an Amazon source for each hair product listed; as you quite likely know, Amazon is an excellent, trustworthy online retailer to purchase household products from, and Amazon is certainly an excellent source to specifically purchase hair products from; I personally have yet to find any other online retailer more reliable than Amazon for the sourcing and purchasing of hair products like the ones listed below.

For your convenience and so that you don’t get all confused with so many hair-product names, I have also written alongside each listed hair product which of the 5 hairstyles in this guide make use of the specific product; this way, you can conveniently click on the hair products below knowing that the one you’ve clicked on is the one that suits your curly hairstyle and curl type. I recommend you to buy your hair products in one go so that you can then start styling your hair immediately and get to know your waves, coils or kinks further.

These are the hair products to purchase for your particular hairstyle from the guide:

Curly hairstyles for men: Your guide to awesomeness

I have written over 3800 words for this curly hairstyles for men guide; this number of words is similar to the number of words for other hairstyle guides of mine such as the one on military haircuts and the one on Fade haircuts. As I have written in The Curly Hair Book (click here to see/buy it on Amazon) and my other bestselling hair-care book, The Men’s Hair book (click here to see/buy it on Amazon), I’m a hair geek in that I have studied and experimented with hair plentifully over the years; with that said, I don’t think there is any other human on this Earth capable of writing specific hairstyling guides that surpass 3800 words, but hey, I’m weird and sexy, and I know it (OK, I’m joking with the sexy bit).

To conclude this curly hairstyles for men guide, allow me to mention that you can also use the hairstyles that are one number above and one number below your curl type, so, in reality, you have 3 hairstyles to choose from for your curls (2 hairstyles for Types I and V curl types). Truly, there’s absolutely no reason now for you to not have your curly hair looking like a Sir and having women throwing themselves all over you. Make the most of this curly hairstyles for men guide, and go get ’em tiger!

All the best, gentlemen

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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8 comments for “Curly Hairstyles for Men: Get Great Hair

  1. John
    May 30, 2015 at 2:08 am

    My prom is coming soon and my father wants me to get a haircut but I want to “rock” my curls. I do not want to cut it since I was reading your guides and I would like to get it long it is currently a type 2-type 3 about 3-4 inches long. My sister suggested the undercut but it doesnt always show the curls it is normally used straight so what do you suggest? And also what do you mean by cutting the edges to not look like a walking mushroom like how do I explain that to a random barber?

  2. Alfredo
    July 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Great site Rogelio !
    Been reading quite a lot .
    I have type II curls. Recently got a haircut and instead of shears the hair stylist asked if she could use clippers instead. Since its so hot here in Puerto Rico I said yes. Thing is she gave what I think its one of those undercuts. She started with a #3 clipper guard on the nape and near the ears then upgraded to what I guessed is a #4 guard. The top goes gradually from slightly shorter on the crown to 3 inches in the fringe/front.
    Without asking she started using those shears with the teeth on my wet hair…I asked why she was doing that and she told me it was to reduce
    volume (I like volume because my hair is fine texture)
    My hair feels so weird now…I kinda look like Bert from Sesame Street…my head is tall and I have a long face so I don’t think this is the best cut for me. My question is if using those weird shears on wet hair is ok and if this haircut will grow nicely into the hanging curls hairstyle. I dread getting my haircut they seem to always butcher it so it be nice if I could just grow it out but I’m afraid it will grow all unbalanced and start looking like a weird hat at some point. The hairstylist blended everything nicely though. She smoothed all the differences in length. Will this help?
    Thanks in advance!
    Alfredo

  3. Alfredo
    July 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Great site Rogelio !
    Been reading quite a lot .
    I have type II curls. Recently got a haircut and instead of shears the hair stylist asked if she could use clippers instead. Since its so hot here in Puerto Rico I said yes. Thing is she gave what I think its one of those undercuts. She started with a #3 clipper guard on the nape and near the ears then upgraded to what I guessed is a #4 guard. The top goes gradually from slightly shorter on the crown to 3 inches in the fringe/front.
    Without asking she started using those shears with the teeth on my wet hair…I asked why she was doing that and she told me it was to reduce volume.

  4. Alfredo
    July 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Great site Rogelio!
    Been reading quite a lot .
    I got type II curls (thanks for your guide!) Recently my hair stylist gave me some sort of regulation cut/undercut hybrid with smoothed edges…she also used those weird shears with teeth on the top while the hair was wet to “reduce the volume”… (she didn’t asked so I couldn’t stop her…) in fact I like volume in my hair.
    I got no idea what haircut it is ! She started with a #3 guard on the bottom of the nape and sides then went to a #4 and then shears.
    The top seems to go from slightly shorter to 3 inches on the fringe/frontal hairline.
    I didn’t really asked for this haircut… she just asked if she could use the clippers this time and not the shears all around my head.
    I feel kinda weird and naked sort to speak ! Like I’m wearing a toupee or something…
    I feel kinda like Bert from Sesame Street … since my head is tall and narrow and I have a long face.
    Haven’t got any negative comments but I still regret this haircut.
    My question is if it will grow nicely with some hang and balance ( my plan is to grow it to middle length hanging curls) or will it grow looking like a weird hat ? I dread cutting my hair because they seem to always taper it a lot and tell my I should get a Brazilian blowout or a keratin treatment and I tried it before and hated it. Seems all hairdressers are against my plan of growing voluminous defined awesome curls…
    I’m from Puerto Rico so excuse my not so perfect English.
    Thank you for reassuring men to embrace their curls !
    Alfredo

  5. shane
    June 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

    HI – do you have examples of something closer to type III with an undercut. I’m really keen on getting one. Right now I have my hair very short (crew cut) with even shorter back and sides and a slight mark separating the sides from the top in anticipation of an undercut. It looks a bit aggressive and I’m wondering how it will look when my hair starts to grow curly (after 2 inches it goes closer to type III). Any inspirational photos would be great.

    Thanks a lot

  6. Alan Ramos
    November 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I’m from Brazil and I liked so much your website. There’s a content specific and complete for men with curly hair. Congratulations for your work. I have a question… I’m planning to grow my hair but I would like to see how it will be. Can you help me and told me which type of hair I have? My father has very curly hair and is black but my mother is white and his hair is wavy. If you see this message, ask me to send you a photo to evaluate my hair. Thanks!!!

  7. Andy
    November 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Rogelio,

    Do you have an examples of white men with the shake and go style with short / medium length hair? I’m trying to look for inspiration like that with type IV hair.

    Thanks

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