Basic Curly Hair Grooming and Styling for Men

As a man with curly hair, to be able to sport a mane full of manly curls, you need to know how to take care of your curly hair. What I have just said is very straight forward and there is no cutting corners, really. We men have different curly hair types and curl lengths, but knowing how to groom out curls is applicable to all of us.

Now, that doesn’t mean hours in the bathroom to be able to leave the house or having to subscribe to your nearest hair salon’s customer loyalty scheme. Curly hair grooming can be made simple and the Pareto principle is fully applicable to our curly ways. Basically, 20% of our effort will yield 80% of results.


Young man with curly hair

Grooming your curls properly can make them stand out greatly!

The importance of a hair grooming routine for men with curly hair

Before we start discussing semantics and what not, it is imperative to outline that at Manly Curls we are proud of our curly hair and we men want to have a good looking set of ringlets. When I write 80% of results, I am referring to the good looking part which I have just mentioned or, as Derek Zoolander once said, “…really, really, ridiculously good looking” set of ringlets. The remaining 20% of our efforts would be to achieve “awesomeness” but then, such an endevaour would require an investment of energy and time several magnitudes of that which is needed to achieve 80%. We will surely talk in the future about this “obscure” 20% but, for now, the 80% will have your curls turning heads wherever you go and, most importantly, allow you to identify your curls as an elongation of your own self. Some philosophical last words huh? Let’s continue.


Bisbal with curly hair

David Bisbal knows how to groom his curls the Manly Curls way!


So, where am I trying to get to? Well, it is fairly simple my fellow curly headed friend. What is to follow is a simple template for your grooming routine with guidelines providing a good starting point to start acknowledging your curls and become a “curlist” (made up that word on the spot). This should be your basis and from there onwards, as you become more knowledgeable, you can start modifying whatever you desire. The routine deals primarily with improving the odds of your hair when it is at its most delicate moment i.e in your hands. This is where many people make mistakes and this is where you will notice an immediate return on investment if you get it right. The routine should not take more than 10 minutes, especially if your hair is short to medium length.



To be done on your “shampooing days” and according to the No Shampoo method. Apply one squeeze of shampoo, enough to cover the distal phalanges (upper third) of both index and middle fingers of one hand (not more) on your wet hair. Now use the squeezed shampoo on your fingers to cover the fingers of your other hand too. Once both pairs of fingers are covered with shampoo start applying it on your crown, making sure to massage the scalp and moving your fingers from the crown down to the sides and back.

Try to get most of the shampoo on the scalp and not on the bulk of the hair. Massage enough to get some lather going, avoiding to get a heavy lather. Use each hand to work on different areas of your scalp to save time.

Grab your conditioner now, you are done with the shampoo. Rinse the shampoo lather and open the conditioner.

Estimated timespan: 1 minute.



Use every shampooing day. Apply enough to cover the distal phalange of the index finger of one hand. You should now spread the conditioner on the palm of the other hand and then rub both hands together to spread the stuff evenly on both inner hands. Once everything is spread, place the tip of your fingers on your hairline (line where hair stops at forehead) and run your fingers through the hair (not the scalp) all the way to the back of the crown then do the same but to the sides and in a down-and-up motion. Your fingers now meet at the crown. Scoop the remaining goo from your palms to the distal phalanges of both hands and start spreading the stuff over the tips of the hairs in a casual manner.

The point of the all of the above is to cover the entirety of your hair with the conditioner and then emphasize the tips (ends) of the hair. You are now done with applying the conditioner, get on with your bathing/grooming routine. Once you are done with the latter, rinse out the conditioner. Make sure to close your eyes, the eyes will not like the stuff that is in your conditioner.

Estimated timespan: 2 – 4 minutes (4 minutes should be the upper end as to how long to leave the conditioner on, I recommend 2 minutes for just about all cases).


Styling creams/serum/gels/leave-in conditioner/oils

As desired. The conditioner has done a good job to get your curls looking good so you can skip applying anything else (i.e. hairstyling products/agents) once you are done in the shower or you can go bonkers with the hairstyling agents. I would recommend to tread carefully because using too much hairstyling products can result in disaster, from having a rock-hard mane that Tom Jones would be jealous of (too much gel), to becoming a literal grease ball from too much oil (brings back some entertaining memories). I will discuss in further articles how to use the different hairstyling agents but two things are for sure; less is more and experiment at home!

Estimated timespan: 1-2 minutes

You are done.

Too easy right? There is more, albeit only a tad more.

The purpose of this grooming routine is to simplify things. Remember the 80/20 principle? You are pretty much covered with the above and the following are some simple tips to make sure you hit 80%, perhaps even surpass it. Follow them and you will be good to go.


– Use your fingers or a wide tooth comb to style your curls. Avoid conventional combs like the plague.

– Use lukewarm water on your hair. Try to avoid very hot water on your hair as much as possible.

– If your hair is matted or has knots, apply some more conditioner to your fingers or comb and work your way through the trouble area without excessive pulling.

– Make sure to emphasize applying the conditioner on the tips of the hair. As a rule of thumb, the tip is 1/5 of the length of the hair.


– Avoid drying the hair vigorously with a towel. Before drying with a towel, you should rinse the water out manually (shake head and/or squeeze curls) and then gently press the towel against the curls so as to absorb the water.

–¬†Exercise¬†caution when pulling your curls (e.g working a knot or when styling). Curly hair is fragile by nature and the men who are unlucky to suffer from hair loss will pull chunks of hair if they pull too hard.

– Be careful with too much shampoo or creating too much lather. Conventional shampoos contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is great at removing dirt but will dry your scalp (and hair) like there is no tomorrow if you use too much.


As a last note, do remember that this is a template for your curl care and it can be modified according to several factors such as curl type, hair length, predisposition to matting or dryness, or pure personal preference, to name a few. However, this template will allow you to get a kickstart on taking proper care of your hair and as you experiment, interact and become more knowledgeable, you will be able to device your own customized routine.


Take home messages

– Shampoo and condition on the same day and session

– You should be done in no more than ten minutes

– Men should too treat their curly hair gently to sport a great mane of curls

– Have a look through this curly hairstyles for men guide for ideas of hairstyles for your particular curly tpe

All the best,


Update: Check the Inspirational section frequently as I blog about the different curly hair men that inspire us to have a proud and cool set of curls!

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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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17 comments for “Basic Curly Hair Grooming and Styling for Men

  1. Liza Eastman
    September 3, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Hi, I have a 12 year old son and he has really curly hair . It is also very dry and takes a lot to even get wet ! It’s like a sponge I’ve tried many curly hair products but none seem to work . What conditioner or product would you suggest.

  2. Ismael Perez
    March 4, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Hello, I have Type IV curls, approx. two inches in length. How often should I shampoo? What brand and type of shampoo, conditioner and hairstyling products?

  3. daniel barber
    October 13, 2014 at 10:14 am

    hi rogelio
    thank you for your help this site helped me a lot. i was in the middle of growing out my hair(7 monthes) and my hair was ewally dry and frizzy and because of you i decided to not cut my hair.
    im doing your no poo method and it really helped me but i have a problem my shampooing frequency is shampoo every 4 washes ,im going to the gym 4 times a week and i wash my hair after the practice because its really sweaty, and the time i wash my hair is at 5 pm. my hair looks amazing at the day of the wash but when i wake up in the morning my hair become frizzy and dry so i want to ask you what is a good routine for my and should i just rinse my hair every morning to style it thank you very much and sorry for my english.

  4. Andrej
    September 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Greetings Rogelio, please, could you help me ? I have really big problem. I was in hospital and a I have cought louse :/ . So, I bought shampoo against this small parasites. What is the biggest problem is that I must use very tight comb to get them out of my hair and I know you wrote in other article NOT TO USE NORMAL COMB . So, the question is : If I use normal comb several times to get out louses and their eggs, will it destroy my hair and if yes, is there any way how to avoid it ? These are really hard times for my hair :/

    • Rogelio
      September 5, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Andrej,

      Did you get ticks or lice in the hospital? The heck? That’s horrible and I recommend you talk to the hospital about this. Hospitals must be in perfect sanitary conditions, and, while errors do occur, this needs to be treated serious.

      About the shampoo, you will need a special product to coat your body (if it’s lice). The product is a serious product and needs to be used properly. Here are the instructions for curly hair:

      Afro (frizzy) hair or hair that’s tightly curled can make treating a head lice infestation particularly difficult.

      There’s no evidence that keeping your child’s hair short, or plaiting or braiding it, will make it easier to treat.

      Afro hair should be treated in a similar way to straight hair. Methodically combing small sections of hair at a time with a lice comb, and/or using a lotion or spray, will usually prove effective.

      The above is taken from the NHS, which is the health care institution in the UK. I’ve lived in the UK, and the NHS is the best health care I’ve seen in my voyages! Here is the page (link below) with all the instructions to treat lice. Please see a doctor as they will tell you exactly which product to use. Don’t worry, it’s a very effective treatment and you will be clean. I knew someone who got them and he was off the lice perfectly.

      The link (treatment for lice):

      Let me know who it goes, Andrej!


      • Andrej
        September 5, 2014 at 9:35 pm

        Oh, thank you very much Rogelio, you save my hair another time. :)I have already look on this websites and it is really helpful. I really appreciate your advices. Again, tahnk you very much. Btw. I cought it in hospital but from other patient who sit next to me I think, because his hair was in really terrible condition, not from the area in hospital. Sorry my English, I am from Czech Republic.

        • Andrej
          September 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

          They have gone ! :D Finally they are out of my head and your advices has a great part on it. I am very grateful that you made time for me a my hair. I am your debtor again Rogelio :) . Thank you again and have a nice day.

          • Rogelio
            September 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

            Happy to hear that it’s gone now and that my advice helped you, Andrej!

  5. JJ
    February 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Hey Rogelio I just stumbled on your website and it’s informative I have wavy to curly hair and I am wanting to grow it out. It gets real poofy and frizzy tho so I always cut it. I want to grow it out what are some good after shower products to help maintain curl and keep it from proofing out

  6. Curtis
    July 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Hi Rogelio,
    I really appreciate this blog, and all the info I have gotten from it. I had recently decided to start growing out my hair, and it is about 1.25 inches now. I am currently conditioning it everyday to put moisture in, and shampooing twice a week. I noticed that I have a lot of stray straight hairs that are sticking out, and I was wondering if I should have them cut. Also, my hair is a bit frizzy, and I was wondering I I could solve that with something. According to your guide I think I have Type IV curls. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  7. Andy
    April 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Rogelio,

    I am very confused to see this article as it seems to contradict your book. Are you currently recommending that curly men shampoo daily?


    • Rogelio
      April 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks Andy for noticing that, it was one of my first articles so I was still not good at proofreading/expressing myself through blogging.

      What it was supposed to mean was that every day that you shampoo you must follow it by a conditioner. It was more as in giving a generic example (whether you shampoo every day or X amount of days) so that you must always do shampoo/conditioner albeit use a styling agent as you desire (which is essentially what you read in the book too, including the No Pareto principle).

      Because this was one of my first articles, I didn’t bother to explain the whole shampooing frequency method (for one, not many people would have believed me since I was a newbie online!), that’s why at the beginning of my blogging career I preferred to explain basic concepts instead of go into the tidbits that needed the basic foundation covered first. I eventually got to explaining my No Shampoo concept, which was a very lengthy article (more like a guide, really) and had me inundated with questions about my method.

      Reading it now as it goes I can understand the confusion, and I’m going to reword it and link to the No Shampoo article.

      Thanks for noticing it. If you have any more confusion for whatever reason or have any questions (included those related to the book), feel free to let them know.

      All the best.

  8. Curlist in training
    July 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hey Rogelio, I have very frizzy curls, about three inches long and Type III according to your guidelines. I havent really used any products in the past but I am going to give it a go. Anything else I should know? Thanks

    • Rogelio
      July 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Simply stick for now to this routine. You will notice changes in about a week as your curls become more and more moisturized.
      I will be providing further guidelines in the future to take one’s curls to the next level but for now, this is more than enough.
      Keep an eye out for future posts covering this topic.
      All the best,

  9. Helen R.
    July 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Rogelio, it was great meeting you yesterday. You certainly know a lot about hair for being a guy lol Love reading you blog!


    • Rogelio
      July 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Hi Helen,
      It was great meeting you. Make sure to direct your curly haired boyfriend to this site and finally convince him to grow his curls!
      All the best,

  10. Stephan
    July 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the article, it was very helpful!

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