Hairstyle for Men with Curly Hair – The High and Tight

The High and Tight is a curly hairstyle that favours men with curly hair. Known to be the insignia hairstyle of the Marines, the High and Tight hairstyle is simple in that the sides and back are shaved or closely cropped, leaving the top to be cut/styled with scissors or hair clipper to a length of 2 inches or less. What separates this hairstyle from other clipped hairstyles is that there is no fading or tapering of the areas to be shaved/cropped, rather, everything except the top of the scalp is left shaved or clipped near-shaved. Thus, the High and Tight is a hairstyle for men with curly hair which has the individual sporting short length curls.

The high and Tight is a hairstyle for men with curly hair



To get your High and Tight haircut first, you should visualize an imaginary line going around the head in a straight pattern from one temple to the other, with all the hair below this imaginary line to be shaved or clipped very short (#0-#2 guard length) and the hair above the line to be clipped with a different guard length or trimmed with scissors (see the picture above for an idea of the level at which the line is visualized).


A man with hair shaved and the High and Tight curly hairstyle

The High and Tight hairstyle is favored by fighters and sportsmen


I have found that setting the aforementioned imaginary line anywhere lower than temple height defeats the aesthetics of the hairstyle and can end up making one look like a human mushroom. The High and Tight hairstyle is especially useful for men with curly hair because it gives a clean look yet allows for the expression of one’s curly hair and retains a masculine look. It very much suits any type of face, although those with square type faces will find that this hairstyle might instill a too masculine-looking appearance.


The high and tight hairstyle for men with curly hair

The High and Tight hairstyle looks diesel on pretty much all men with curly hair


One must be careful digging into this hairstyle because the contrast between the hair at the top and the shaved sides and back is very noticeable, especially in men of fainter skin and dark hair. Understand that your scalp cannot tan under normal circumstances as the hair in the scalp act as a barrier to stop the everyday ultraviolet rays from the sun, so the skin covering your scalp will be untanned, unless your hair is already clipped very short. This means that if you decide to jump into the High and Tight hairstyle straight away without building up some tanning on the scalp skin, the contrast of white scalp skin with your facial complexion and your hair color will be too strong. The only exception would be for our fellow black readers as their scalp skin will already be of the same complexion as their facial skin; the High and Tight hairstyle is also a great hairstyle for black men as it suits the tight Type IV-V curls that black folks tend to have for their natural curly hair.

To give you an example, I once decided to jump on the bandwagon and did a high and tight from a medium length hairstyle, only to find people could spot me from three miles away as my scalp skin was way lighter in tone than my facial skin. My recommendation is to prepare for such a haircut by first having the barber cropping your sides and back with the clippers (say a #1 or #2), and allowing the newly clipped areas of the scalp to tan a bit with natural sun exposure. After a week or two of allowing the scalp to tan naturally, you can then shave it all and get your diesel High and Tight hairstyle!


Front of the high and tight hairstyle for men with curly hair

The High and Tight hairstyle toughens the face of those men who get this haircut


Overall, the High and Tight hairstyle is a great curly hairstyle for those looking for low maintenance and still being able to have some curls to add to their image. Be aware that this hairstyle will automatically masculinize your face, that is, children will be running away from you and you will be called “Sir” quite a few times. Make sure to smile plenty and use your gentleman’s skills to offset any preconceived notions. From personal experience too, you will get random people asking if you are in the military, which can make for some fun conversations!

All the best,


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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 “Hairstyle for Men with Curly Hair – The High and Tight

  1. Eli Robinson
    October 16, 2014 at 5:31 am

    My question is how easy is it to maintain? It seems like a haircut that would have you constantly in and out of the barber shop… Unless there is a way to do it yourself? Would it be possible? Seems like it would be difficult to keep the symmetry.

    • Rogelio
      October 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Eli,

      No need to go to the barbershop. Get yourself a good hair clipper and do the haircut yourself. I would recommend that you get a heavy duty hair clipper as you will want to be clipping your Recon every once in a while as you like.

      Simply retouch the landing strip and rest of the head every 2 weeks, although I used to do it once a week. It’s a haircut that will take you 5 minutes to retouch once you get the groove of cutting it.

      With regards to good heavy duty hair clippers, I would recommend that you either get this hair clipper if you want maximum power or this other hair clipper if you want a great clipper that is affordable. The good thing about these hair clippers is that they are useful for any men’s haircut, not just for the High and Tight Recon. If you’re going for the Recon, then you will benefit a lot from either of those two hair clippers and you will save a lot of money over the long term as you won’t have to visit the barbershop to retouch your Recon!

      Feel free to let me know how that goes.



  2. Sara Cooper
    February 28, 2014 at 3:20 am

    Overall, quite informative. I’m a woman with curly hair… and I live in San Antonio, so the humidity affects it too. I don’t mind the curls, it’s that my hair is so dang think it’s like wearing a fur cap in summer. Seriously, my hair traps enough heat to create a micro-climate.

    At any rate, I thought I’d mention that one of your shampoo choices isn’t available any longer, and ask what you use in place of it?

    Be well,


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