Men, Identify the Length of your Curly Hair!

To sport the best of curls, we curly haired men need to not only know our curly hair type but also our hair length. Wavy, coiled or kinky, know your length and get on with your mane!

Know the length of your hair

One of the facets of starting to take care of your curls is knowing how long they are. We curly haired men sport different hair lengths, which, together with the different hair types available, gives us two essential factors that need to be worked out in order to sport some great curls. According to your exact hair length, your hair will fall into any of the following 4 length categories: near shaved, short, medium and long. Before you proceed, however, make sure that you also know what curly hair type you have because with these 2 curly hair profiling tools, you will be on your way to taking your hair one step above.

All right, so, to measure your hair, you will need a mirror and a measuring device. Unlike the ruler that you’d use for identifying your curly hair type, you will use here a measuring tape to measure your hair length. This is because hair length is measured in its extended state, not its natural (relaxed) state. The extended state of curly hair is when you pretty much straighten it by pulling gently on the curl and uncoiling it, hence the curl is in an extended state. This is very important, so make sure you understand the concept of what an extended state is for hair.

To measure your hair length, grab a hair lock from the area that most represents what hair length you have. For example, if you have a faded haircut with cropped sides and back and a trimmed top, choose the hair lock from the top of your head as that is the most representative length of your hair. Then, once you have identified the hair lock to use, do the following:

How to measure your hair

1) Gently pull the curl from its relaxed state until it is flattened straight (extended)

2) Put the measuring tape alongside the whole length of the hair lock, starting from the scalp (base of lock) to the tip (end of the lock)

3) Double check in the mirror that the curl is in its extended state and so is the measuring tape as it is placed alongside the lock

4) Record the length of the curl by visualizing where the end of the hair reaches in the measuring tape.

5) Repeat 2 times more and work out the mean average of the 3 lengths you have measured. You now know your (extended) hair length.

Pair your hair length with the following so as to identify in what length category your curly hair falls:

Hair length categories

Near Shaved: as the name implies, the hair has been cropped close to the scalp and it’s visibility resembles that of stubble. The length range of near shaved goes from stubble to what a #1 guard length equates (1/8 inch). As a hairstyle itself (Buzz Cut), a near-shaved length provides a low-maintenance grooming option that is commonly used by curly haired men in the higher end of curl types (III to V). This length does not allow for the formation of a curl in all curly hair types except for Type V curly hair.


Timberlake with a curly hair hairstyle

Despite having a great set of manly curls, Justin Timberlake has us accustomed to his shaved hair.


Short: this length goes from near-shaved up to two inches. It is a hair length chosen by many curly haired men as it offers a low-maintenance option that allows for the formation of curls in most curly hair types (except Type I). This hair length will provide you with an invigorating mane while allowing you to easily groom your curls. At this short length, curly hair is easy to keep and secure in place, which means that most hairstyles specific to the short-length category will last you for the whole day. At the same time, short-length curls are never out of place and will give you a very classy look.


Matthew Morrison with a curly hair hairstyle

Matthew Morrison from Glee knows how to make the most of his curls with a short length style


Medium: from two inches to six inches in length. Depending on your curly hair type, you hair will start to hang down (Type I or II) or will still defy gravity (Type III to V). Maintenance increases slightly from the short-length category because the longer the curls grow, the more their tendency to become dry will be, hence you will need to put more efforts into managing your curly hair. This length is characterized by removing years from one’s face as curls are formed wildly giving a slight rebellious image, which we will teach you here at Manly Curls how to pull even in the most conservative of settings (e.g workplace or the office).


Josh Groban with a curly hair hairstyle

Josh Groban’s Type I curls hang down at medium length


Will Ferrell with curly hair hairstyle

On the other hand, Will Ferrell’s Type III curls defy gravity even with sunglasses on top!

Long: this length covers from six inches and beyond. It is at this hair length that maintenance becomes more complicated as curls need constant moisturising and conditioning to avoid them looking bad. Likewise, curls start tangling and knotting against each other which means one needs to be proactive and reactive so as to keep those curls looking great. While not necessarily hard to maintain, it certainly requires a bit more effort and time than the other shorter lengths although it is still a practical length for modern-day curly men. I have sported my curls in the long-length category and can assure you that with the advice I’ll give you here at Manly Curls, you will be able to get to this length too without having to spend your morning in the bathroom fixing your “luscious locks”!


Kenny G with curly hair hairstyle

Kenny G displaying smooth Type III curls of long length


Kravitz with curly hair hairstyle

Known for his constant change of styles, Lenny Kravitz shows that Type V curls can also be grown long


That is it. Know the length of your hair while identifying your curly hair type, and you will be on your way to sporting a great set of curls the way we promote here at Manly Curls!

All the best, fellow curly haired men.


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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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3 comments for “Men, Identify the Length of your Curly Hair!

  1. Hassam
    November 2, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Please tell me how to get my hair trimmed, which is type 1 and which has a length of 3 inches at the top of my head and approximately 1.5 inches around the rest of the head. This is in order to achieve a hairstyle like the hairstyle of Josh Groban. Please be as specific as possible because all barbers around my area have no idea about trimming hairstyles like the one of Josh Groban.

  2. Rob
    July 12, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Great article. Applying the advice as we speak!

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