Ask Rogelio – Grow Long Curly Hair as a Male

One of our readers asks how to grow his curly hair long as a male and Rogelio gives him the pros and cons to growing a curly mane long as well as his experience.


Hey man,

I saw some pics of you with your long curly hair and I want to grow it like yours. I have never been a fan of growing my curls longer but yours look great and I think we have the same hair too (hair type III). What is your take on growing long curly hair? What are the ups and downs of having a mane like that? I really want to be sure before I commit myself.


Alexander, Chicago (USA)

Hey Alexander,

I’m glad you want to do something different with your hair.

Growing curly hair into the longer lengths and especially to Shoulder Length and beyond, is not for everyone. Curly hair tangles, knots, frizzes, dries up and does what it wants. I have learnt to tame my beast after all these years but then, I was 100% confident in experimenting with my mane and immersing myself with getting to master curly hair.

Once your curls reach the minimum length for the long length classification (6 inches), you will reach a turning point in which you either continue or you cut it. If you decide to go ahead, you must stick with it and, by then, you will know whether this is for you or not. This is my what I think and have experienced with long curly hair.


Rogelio ties his curly hair into a bun

With long curly hair, you will have to do all sort of funky stuff you never thought you’d ever do (e.g hair buns)


Rogelio with his curly hair

Yeah, I was actually hiding all this hair in the above bun, that’s how crazy it gets…


1) Curly hair is more difficult to manage than straight hair, this is especially true the higher you go in my Hair Type classification. Someone with Type IV curly hair will have to spend more time into grooming his mane than someone with Type I. Go to any average city and you will find that 95% of those peeps with long hair have straight hair, there’s a reason for that.

2) The longer your hair, the more difficult it is to keep it looking good. Long curly hair will rapidly look dry if you don’t know what you are doing and fact is, most people (including women and hairdressers) don’t know how to properly address curly hair, and it is not their fault for who in this world wants to add another drama to their life?

3) You must be ready to sacrifice your looks temporarily in the name of experimentation. Knowledge comes by keeping an open mind so if you like your curly hair neat and low maintenance, do NOT grow it long.

4) Long hair, whether straight or curly, is seen as a statement. This can be good or bad, but it tends to carry negative and unfair connotations in the workplace. In other words, depending on your profession, you will have to put up with not being able to grow it for fear of discrimination or limiting your job promoting potential.

5) In terms of attractiveness, long hair should only be sported if you also take care of your overall looks. I have said this before, I have absolutely nothing against overweight people or balding heads, but I have spoken with plenty of women about hair and the consensus is that long hair in men will only look good if the male has a thick mane and is, at least, of average to athletic build. You must take this into consideration if you are at a time in your life where your physical image is important to you because you can undermine your perceived attractiveness with long hair. Personally, I think this point is moot and you should go with what YOU like but my opinions in many life things tend to be different to mainstream.

6) You can get abuse or be discriminated against. This is very a real and serious issue. I have seen some nasty cases of abuse to long hair dudes, to the point that I have intervened to defend the guys (and actually put the bullies in their place). You must be prepared for this, especially if you are not a naturally confident guy.

7) Long curly hair takes a very long time to dry up after a shower. During your first winter with your long curls, you will start having second thoughts about your mane as water trickles down your nape in the cold. Or how about when you have to shower with cold water? These points may seem trivial but they will carry a big meaning when they occur (see my experience showering with cold water and long hair).

Looks bad enough, doesn’t it? Let’s see the pros.


1) With long curly hair, you feel like your true self. It is a difficult feeling to explain but you feel authentic. You also feel a total connection with your hair which unsuprisingly has a very personal and introspective touch to it. Curly hair takes anywhere from 1 1/2 to 4 years to grow long and a lot happens in that time so it will carry memories. I suppose you only get to understand this once you have experienced growing long hair, but it is very real and the reason why many dudes with long hair won’t want to cut their locks even though they want to try going back to short hair.

2) The feeling of your curls caressing your face is awesome. Seriously, it’s priceless.

3) If you take care of your overall looks, long curly hair will look great and women love it. Again, “taking care of your overall look” is key here. Women love athletic bodies but an athletic and neat body with a long mane is a preference to a big portion of them (think Fabio/Tarzan type).

4) No longer do you have to wear wigs to dress up as Conan to a theme party. I once went to a party as the latin version of He-Man and Japanese tourists were stopping me on the street to take pictures with yours truly. It was a serious WTF moment. Oh, and Asian women love (I really mean it) curly men for some reason.

5) Long curly hair is versatile, both for hairstyles and haircuts. Because you can always cut more, you can shape the haircut as you wish or wear your hair in many styles. If you do it right, a ponytail will make you even more alpha than what you already are (again, keyword here is “right”).


Growing curly hair long can become a very personal experience. It surely is not for everyone and I recommend you to give my pros and cons a good thought and then ask yourself why you want to do it. If anything, you can instantly go back to short hair by cutting it so if you really want to do it, then I surely recommend you to go with your gut feeling and grow your curly hair long.

Of course, keep us posted on your experience!

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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42 comments for “Ask Rogelio – Grow Long Curly Hair as a Male

  1. Debbie
    August 12, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Hai! I know I’m not your usual reader but my hubby loves having his hair long and I love his curls, the only thing is he tends to get very proud when I suggest things and he has BRUSHED, yes, paddle brushed his curls on top of his head all away and damaged the ends pretty much irreparably. So, my question for you is, how can he classify his hair now? Should he use hair from the back of the head? Does he have to cut it and start over? He will also be joining the military soon and will not be able to grow his hair for 6-ish years, is there anything you’d recommend to maintain and emphasize his curls until such time as he CAN grow his hair again? Help me! I love his curls! And I’m actually a little bit jealous of them so I don’t want him destroying them anymore.

    (And yes I’ve read your guide on military haircuts. I would love if you could address actually styling curly hair whilst in the military.)

  2. Gabe
    April 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Hey, I have Type II hair really thick that I’m growing out now, about 4″ on top and 1/2″ on the sides and back. My question is, should I thin it while I’m growing it out?

  3. Jay Washington
    January 17, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Hey my name is Jay and I have type V hair but I’m trying to grow it out completely Atleast a little below shoulder length I do a pretty good job of keeping conditioner in my hair but what can I do to get more length and more curl to my hair? I use olive conditioner and this type of curl pudding I don’t have a problem with keeping up with it my problem is getting my length and more curls and kinks in my hair!

  4. Ravyn
    January 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Hey Rogelio.
    I would like to begin by thanking you for all your advice. As a curly haired man, I found your site incredibly useful. But I would also like to ask you how you achieve your bun. It looks awesome and I would very much like to wear the style.
    Best regards

    • Rogelio
      January 15, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Hi Ravyn.

      I needed about 12 inches of hair length to allow the hair on the front (i.e. forelock/forehead hairline) to reach all the way to the nape. Once I had that length, I would sweep all my hair back (starting at the forehead) with my fingers only and then tie the hair at the nape. It worked great to work in a corporate environment with clients and not get any negative comments. Make sure to have your hair damp and use a conditioner when sweeping your hair back with the fingers as not doing so can break your hair.

      Hope that helped!



  5. Eslam
    January 5, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Hey Rogelio I’m 20 years egyptian man, i’m a big fan and i almost read all your articles about curly hair and i’m a big fan of shoulder length curls. My type of hair is somewhere between type III and IV and i’m afraid that after getting my hair all this way, wont be the same as yours! It’s my first time growing my curls, used to do a normal cuts also i have problem in finding same hair products you recommend in my country, i have growing my hair for 2.5 months and have problem in coil It with my fingers, this makes my hair disturbance and unshaped, and unpleasant to notice could you please help me !?

  6. Jerome Doses
    November 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    My name is Jerome and I have curly hair but the top is 6 inches longer
    and the under layer of my hair is 3 inches. How can it catch up so it can
    have the same length?

  7. scott rosen
    August 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Rogelio,

    I know this article is a bit old, but hopefully you still will take a look. I have bought both of your books and learned a lot but still could use some personal advice. My type II/III hair is currently 5 inches extended on top and 4 on the sides. I know in this stage of the game you recommend a jew fro but I would really prefer something more tame. What are you thoughts on cutting the sides and back an inch or two and waiting for the top grow down more? When I use leave in conditioner and gel/styling creme the top looks good, but the sides puff out. I’d be happy to send a picture to clarify further. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon. cheers

  8. Sam
    August 31, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Hey rogelio,

    A Big question for you, what hair type do you have? Me and you have identical hair and I wanna know what type it is, and how long it will take to grow. It’s currently only about 1.5 inches long how long till shoulder length? And also when does it start getting awkward?


  9. Ruskie
    May 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Rogelio,

    Im in desperate need of advice for my hair and keeping it safe from chlorine.Im on a swim team at my university and we swim from the months of September to April. I swim everyday and sometimes twice a day so you can imagine how much my hair goes through. Anyway, I decided to grow my hair out to about shoulder length. I started wearing a swim cap when it was short and use a special shampoo to get rid of chlorine. My hair type is type II and my curls at the end get very dry and bleached even with the cap.

    Is there any advice you can give to help keep my hair healthy and normal looking while going through this hair torture?

    • Rogelio
      May 31, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Ruskie,

      Do this: take a leave in conditioner with you to the swimming pool. BEFORE jumping into the swimming pool, wet your hair with TAP water, then coat the hair with leave-in conditioner. Put on your cap and you’re ready to go.When you’re done, simply wash the hair with tap water and a shampoo. No need to use the chlorine-cleaning shampoo every day.

      The above is a trick I use all the time (and recommend in my books) and it works awesome! Try it and let me know.


      • Ruskie
        June 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

        So is there need to shampoo all the time after practice or is it acceptable to just rinse it with tap water?

        Thanks a lot for the advice. I’m planning on buying your books when I get back to the states.

        • Rogelio
          June 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

          You don’t need to shampoo with the anti-chlorine shampoo because those types of shampoo are too strong. Your case is exceptional in that you are on the swimming pool at least once a day, which means your exposure your chlorine is extensive. However, I would tread with the advice I gave you on protecting the hair prior to exposure (i.e. wet the hair with shower/tap water and then coat the hair in leave in conditioner). Then shampoo with a normal shampoo (i.e. daily shampoo) or gentle shampoo.

          Use the anti chlorine shampoo once a week maximum. From there onwards, try different frequencies.

          One more thing, how are you putting your hair prior to the cap? Are you putting your hair into a bun? The hair should be tied on your CROWN (i.e. Samurai style). Because any hair that is bordering the limits of the cap will be exposed to water no matter what.

          Let me know how it goes buddy. If I take some days to answer, don’t worry I’ll be getting back to you.


          P.S: if you’re going to be buying my books, buy The Men’s Hair Book, first as I cover more on shampoos and cases like yours in that book.

          • Ruskie
            June 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm

            Well my hair wasn’t long enough to tie in the last season, but by the end of the summer its going to be touching the shoulders… or somewhere there. I’ll be sure to tie it Samurai style for sure.

            Thanks for the advice so far and I’ll be reading up on your book before the next season which starts in September.
            I’ll let you know how everything goes as I swim some over the summer.

            PS. When I shampoo my hair without conditioner it gets kinda dry and fluffy. Is it accepteble to use regular conditioner after practice or does the leave in conditioner do the work already?

            Thanks a lot for the advice again.

          • Rogelio
            June 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

            Always follow a shampoo with a regular conditioner. When you shampoo after the training session, the leave-in conditioner you applied prior to training will be removed; ergo, you need to replenish the conditioning of the hair again and thus the use of the regular conditioner after the shampoo. Don’t worry, in my book a lay out the whole shampoo/regular conditioner/leave-in conditioner schedule and you get to actually build your own customised routine out of it!


  10. Robrom
    April 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    My last haircut was five months ago. So currently, the hair on top is about down to my lips and my hair in the back in about to the bottom of my neck. Also the hair in the back want to curl? It’s just loosely curled in the back on the bottom, just enough to irritate me!!
    Should cut my hair of back so that it matches with the length of the front? so everything grows evenly
    So my question is, given what I said about my hair type, how do I straighten out the back ends and what is my next step generally speaking? thanks and regards

  11. Stewart
    July 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hey rogelio quick question, how many inches is your hair when extended?? (trying to get an idea of how much longer i have till real shoulder length, my hair is almost 8in now (type 2/3)). Thanks man.

    • Rogelio
      July 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Stewart,

      My hair is already past chest length on its way to the navel.

      To read shoulder length, you will need about 10-12 inches of extended length (when you flatten the hair to measure). However, in a natural state (curls hanging naturally, no extending), the length required will vary according to how tight your curl type is. From my experience, Type II/III will need about 14 inches of extended length to reach the shoulders in a natural state. This is a big problem with curly hair when compared to straight hair: straight hair will require only 10-12 inches as it grows vertically while the inherent curling of curly hair (types) will delay the process, requiring more length.

      Again, about 14 inches (commencing from top of head) is what you will need of extended length. Remember, hair length grows about 1/2 inch per month. If your curly hair (Type II/III) is 8 inches, you have about an extra 6 inches to go, so about another year of continuous growing (no trimming).

      Glad to see you growing your curls!

      All the best.

      • Stewart
        July 31, 2012 at 4:58 am

        looks like i still have a while to go lol all good though ill hang in there. thanks for the response.

        • Rogelio
          July 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm

          Not a problem Stewart. One whole year is a conservative mark and it may take you a bit less (say 8 months) as there are some smaller variables to take into account such as thickness of the hair strand or how moisturised your curls are at a given time but, with hair, it is always best to be conservative so that you know that you can commit to it for the whole duration.

          As usual, any more questions/input, let me know buddy.

          All the best

  12. Ronald Charles
    July 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Im 18 and ive been a big fan of long hair..My parents are strictly opposed to me growing such long hair and thats the reason ive been having medium range hair all my life..Im a metalhead and im gonna start a band soon and it needs me to grow such hair gonna go against my parents wish but im not so sure if my hair falls into the curly or wavy category!

    • Rogelio
      July 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Ronald Charles,

      At Manly Curls we prefer to not distinguish wavy from curly as different types because it creates a lot of confusion. Instead, we see wavy hair as one of the types comprising curly hair. You can read more about it here:

      Having said that, the way we approach typing at Manly Curls is different and more related to men than others. In any case, feel free to contact me and I will have a look at your specific case to help you determine your hair type.

      And for what is worth, the most important thing is that you have identified that you do not have straight hair. The hair care needed between straight hair and non-straight hair is what matters, not so much whether you have wavy, curly, kinky or whatever non-straight type of hair.

      All the best.

      • Ronald Charles
        July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

        Hey Rogelio..I guess my hair type is Type 2..but my hair seems to be growing upwards and stands up when i comb im confused if its type 2 or 3..and if i want to grow long hair or the shoulder length hairstyle where should i start trimming the hair from? i think my hair will grow into an afro cut and thats what i dont want!

        • Rogelio
          July 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

          Hi Ronald Charles,

          Your issue is very common with curly hair regardless of the type. To give you an example, I didn’t get my curly hair to hang down fully until I had about 10 inches of hair length (that’s 20 months of growing from shaved length).

          My advice is to start from a relatively even haircut, with the discrepancies between the longest hair strands and the shortest hair strands being a maximum of 2 inches. Say, you do a fade haircut: the hair on the top of your head (longest hair) should not be more than 2 inches in length than the hair in your nape (cropped hair, shortest hair). I have covered the fade haircut here for reference:

          Also, don’t comb your curly hair. Combing will exacerbate the puffing of your hair. Either use your fingers or use a wide tooth comb to style your hair.

          All the best.

          • Ronald Charles
            August 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

            Rogelio Thanks A Lot! Last Question- I apply oil almost everyday..Will my hair grow faster..and is it ok to apply oil everyday?

          • Rogelio
            August 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

            Hi Ronald Charles,

            No, no oil will have you growing your hair faster, at least none have been proven to increase growth rate in humans.

            Yes, you can use oil on your hair every day but be sure to only apply to the tips and never to the scalp or close to it as that can easily and rapidly lead to a greasy scalp.

            All the best.

  13. Giovanni
    July 6, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Hey man, i was wondering if I could receive some advice from you. I have Type III Hair, 10.5-11 inches in length. Ive looked around the web to seek some help but couldnt find anything until i came across this a few minutes ago. Sometimes i wear my hair like in a bun type hairstlye when im at home or working out. most of the time my hair gets frizzy or looks dry whether it’s out or not. I use the garnier sleek and shine system to mantain my hair but it isnt good enough. i just want to know how i can make my hair look almost as if it were wet all the time or atleast for a while without drenching my head with oil. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

    • Rogelio
      July 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Giovanni,

      Been busy these days so I’ll address your question now.

      Assuming you have seen the video of how to use it (it’s on their website), do not use a comb and only style with your fingers. Only use your fingers, nothing else, otherwise you will get a lot of frizz developing. The girl in the video gets away with it ‘cos she has straight hair, not curly hair.

      I haven’t seen the ingredients of that product but I recommend you to try a leave in conditioner with glycerin in it. After applying it, use a tiny amount of light hold gel in the last couple of inches of the hair strands, and finish it up with some hair spray. This is a good combo if you don’t want to use oil, which will (oil) make a big mess if overdone in the slightest.

      Alternatively, use hair mousse on damp hair which is also good for the wet look. Apply light hold hair gel as above too. You can throw in some hair spray but don’t go crazy otherwise you’ll get the dreaded cardboard effect.

      Lastly, don’t forget about the need to have a good shampoo routine as it will help you in fighting the frizz/dryness. I have a popular article on this topic, check it out here:

      And remember, always apply hair products to your curly hair when it is damp and not dry.

      All the best.

      • Giovanni
        July 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        thanks man, im going to try these tips and let you know how they work!

  14. Nate
    April 14, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Good stuff dude, I’ve had a buzzcut my whole life and have been growing my hair now for the last 3+ years. You seem to really understand how great long hair is when your a dude…Every read so far on this blog has been great. KUDOS!

    • Rogelio
      April 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Nate,

      Sorry I didn’t see your comment before as it was hidden by a few spam messages on that day. I review all comments manually and sometimes when I get a big flow of spam it is hard to not miss authentic comments.

      Thanks for commenting, I am glad you enjoy the blog! I like to hear from other long hair fellows too, 3 years is about the time I have also been growing it since my last buzzcut actually, what a coincidence :)

      Feel free to connect through here or email.

      All the best, Nate

  15. Abel
    April 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Great blog man, you manage to pull out giving hair advice in a cool way without making us guys feel like women. Never thought i would see that and i have curly hair too. Im currently following your advice for the faux hawk, hope it turns out well.

    • Rogelio
      April 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

      Thanks for your words Abel, I am glad you like this. The Faux Hawk will turn otu fine. it’s a safe hairstyle in that if you have the hair type, you can rock it no probs!

      All the best.

  16. knox
    April 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Your ability to grow curly hair to that length is impressive. I have never seen someone with curly hair like yours who can have them look like that at that length (females included).

    I prefer how your curls look in the author box though. I have the same type as yours and I’d like to sport that hairstyle. What was their length? Were they long or medium length? Was that how they looked as you were growing them? Thanks for any replies.

    • Rogelio
      April 10, 2012 at 12:05 am


      LOL it took me some trialing and experimenting to finally get my hair to look decent, was worth the effort though.

      My hair was about 8 inches in the author pic (so, long length). I am a Type III/IV so I get some heavy recoiling. My hair was showing some signs of hanging down but my curls were weighted down with my own blend of oils/ingredients that I like to do (kitchen experiments, if you will). Without products, my hair would still puff out (afro) with that length, it wasn’t until I hit 10 inches that my curls finally hang down.

      The hairstyle in that pic is basically a freestyle: I just applied the hair products and let the curls do whatever they wanted. I find this is the best hairstyle for my curls.

      All the best.

  17. Mena
    April 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

    well my hair is curly but its like a weird curly i am trying to grow it out but i’m worried it might look bad

    • Rogelio
      April 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Mena,

      Just give a try, you can always chop it if it starts getting ugly. However, if you follow the advice here at Manly Curls, you will be able to grow a nice looking mane, I guarantee that!

      All the best.

  18. Sk99
    March 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    It actually looks quite neat when done in a bun. I assume you rock the locks in your free time and keep it neat at work?

    • Rogelio
      March 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Correct. I have only had positive comments from my clients with sporting my long hair like this, plus I hide the length quite well with the hair bun.

      All the best.

  19. Afro-Ed
    March 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    The hell, you can really hide a lot of hair in that bun, my man!!

    • Rogelio
      March 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Yeah, anytime I undo my hair bun people are totally WTF-ed.

      All the best.

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