Keeping up with a coiled mane can seem like an impossible task for a guy. If you’ve been wondering how to get natural curls and properly maintain them, look no further – this guide is for you.
There are plenty of products with false promises and old-wives tales that will tell you how to deal with your curly hair. Lucky for you, we went through a whole lot of these promises and best practices and came up with the very best tips on how to get natural curls.
Ditch any tips you got from your mom’s friends or youtube videos, and dig into the list we put together for you. It won’t matter if you’re at work, the gym, or the bar; with our help (and this handy guide), handsome, masculine, natural curls will follow you everywhere you go.
1. Reduce Hair Washing
Hopefully, you know this already, but washing your hair less is the first and easiest step in getting natural curls. As you might know, shampooing your hair is one of the worst ways to dry it out and leaves it vulnerable to fly-away-hairs and breakages.
Your curls, and hair in general, naturally build up oils that keep them healthy. Natural oils also help hair clump together to create beautiful ringlets. To help support this God-given hair savior, try and avoid any shampoo with silicone and sulfates, as these will strip every bit of moisture and oil from your hair.
Different types of curls will need different amounts of care. Looser curls can do fine with two to three washings a week, but guys with spring-tight rings should aim for closer to one wash a co-wash a week (a co-wash is washing it with only conditioner, might sound crazy, but we’ll get to that) and only one shampoo deep cleaning a month. Trust us, it helps immediately.
2. Use a Wide-Toothed Comb (instead of a brush)
If you’re still brushing your hair instead of using a wide-tooth comb, then be thankful you found this guide because you are seriously destroying your chances of maintaining healthy curls. Curly hair can be brittle, so brushing it is a sure-fire way to end up with a mess of split-ends. Instead, a wide-toothed comb should work perfectly for your detangling needs.
It will take a little trial and error, but eventually, you will find the perfect tooth thickness for your size locks. Once your new favorite comb is acquired, apply a little bit of oil or conditioner to the teeth, then hold your hair right before the knot and softly work the teeth through your hair.
It will take a little finagling, but when done right, you can remove those tangles without destroying the grouping of your curls and tearing your ends up. Time to throw those brushes in the trash, use them as kindling, and whatever you do, keep them away from your natural curls.
3. Let Your Hair Dry Naturally
You might have to adjust your shower schedule a little if you’re the type that showers right before they leave for work or go to bed, but letting your hair dry naturally is another simple way to keep your curly hair healthy.
Curly hair is naturally the driest hair type (I’m sure you’re tired of hearing that), so it’s only common sense that forcing it to dry faster is a no-no. Avoiding any unnecessary heat from touching your hair will make sure it stays as moist as it can be. Try using a microfibre towel to help elevate your soaking wet hair from drenching your shirt. Worst-case scenario, you could always do the dog shake.
4. Try sea salt spray
If you want to add some volume to your curly hair, sea salt sprays are worth trying. Sea salt sprays add texture and volume, giving you a sort of surfer hair, fresh-from-the-tropical-beach look that people love. If you have naturally curly hair, a little sea salt spray brings out the bounce and lets the curls be a little more full.
One issue is that the salt in the spray can dry out your hair ever so slightly and strip it off a bit of the oil, weighing it down. It isn’t going to dry your hair out completely (if it did, it wouldn’t be on this list), but that is something to keep in mind if keeping your hair moist has been a problem for you.
Sea salt spray is also great for people with straight or wavy hair. The spray will help the natural kinks and waves in their hair become more pronounced.
5. Avoid anti-frizz products
Many anti-frizz products on the market are not made with naturally curly hair in mind. They’re fine for people with frizzy straight hair, maybe even wavy hair, but there are plenty of chemicals in anti-frizz supplies that will leave curly hair dry and damaged.
Instead, try co-washes, naturally drying your hair, and wide-toothed combs all help give you the control you need, so leave anti-frizz products in the past.
6. Use Curl Enhancing Products
Curl cream is an excellent product for guys with curly hair. It coats the hair in a thin film that helps keep your hair cuticles smooth and hydrated. If your hair has softer cuticles, it helps them glide past each other instead of creating friction, which eventually becomes knots and tangles.
Curl cream can also help your hair retain/regain its moisture and encourages the formation of coils, so you can be confident that you’ll have the type of textbook, bouncy curls that women dream of. Finding a suitable curl cream to add to your routine is one of the best ways for men to get natural curls and maintain them properly.
7. Try Hairspray
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about the crunchy, sticky stuff used by hair metal bands and ’80s soccer moms. Yes, the days of flashy aerosol cans destroying fashion (and the ozone layer) are over. Now, there are plenty of hairsprays for a variety of tasks.
If you struggle with holding your natural curl throughout the day or have fine curls, a thickening hairspray can help add volume, shine, hold or anything your heart desires to your hair game.
Looking for something to shield your hair from the humidity? There’s a hairspray for that. Want a stronghold but afraid of that crispy feeling and flakes? There are plenty of strong yet flexible holds on the market that will allow your hair to breathe and bounce without making it look like you have dandruff if you scratch your head.
You can even find hair sprays that are 100% all-natural, so you’ll have a little bit less of a carbon footprint on your conscience. There aren’t many reasons to run from hairsprays nowadays, which means it’s time to embrace the spray.
8. Condition your hair (here comes the co-wash)
Make sure that when you wash your hair you condition it properly as well. Shampoo can leave your hair stripped of its natural oils, and we know that maintaining them is crucial to great curls. Men with more tightly coiled curls will want to avoid washing them altogether (save for, maybe, once a month) – instead opting for a co-wash.
A co-wash is when you follow your typical shower routine, except instead of washing your hair with shampoo and then conditioner, you skip the shampoo entirely and stick solely to the conditioner.
Avoiding shampoo might sound crazy if it’s your first time hearing this, but using a conditioner is a great way to build up the natural oils in your hair and leave your scalp feeling hydrated and healthy.
As we mentioned, washing with shampoo too often will bring fly-away-hairs and dry it to death, so a conditioner is essential if you want to avoid that notorious frizz. Since conditioners weigh your hair down a little, finding the right co-wash can help your hair look a little sleeker and dodge any unwanted puffiness.
9. Try a heat curler
Heat curlers are the fastest way to make it curly if you have straight hair. Don’t expect it to stay, it’s only inevitable that your hair will straighten back out, but for a little while, you’ll have the hair of your dreams (but a good hairspray can help). If you’re not used to curling irons, just be careful, because it’s easy to damage your hair if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Naturally curly hair is a different story. Since curly hair types are drier than others, you’ll usually want to avoid any unnecessary heat as it combats the steps you’ve been taking to maintain your hair’s oils and healthy hydration. If you take our other tips into account, you shouldn’t need the assistance of heated curlers to get the look you want.
If you insist on using a heat curler, there are brands out there that claim not to strip the moisture from naturally curly hair or damage it, but make sure you do your homework before taking their word for it.
10. Consider a perm
Perms don’t have to make you look like Jon Bon Jovi in the ’80s. They’ve moved far, far away from that (unless that’s the look you want, of course). A perm is a great way to add volume to those natural curls, so it might be worthwhile if you want some added thickness and texture.
A perm can be a fun way for guys with straight hair to live the curly hair lifestyle for a little while. Just know that your naturally straight hair will inevitably return to its normal state.
11. Choose the right haircut
The right haircut matters big time when it comes to maintaining your curls. Many guys with thick and curly hair have the issue of the sides puffing out too much, creating a rounded look that you might want to avoid.
The easiest way to deal with this is to chop the problem locks off but finding the best haircuts for men isn’t always the most straightforward job. Consider a cut with a longer top fringe and a short to medium fade on the sides. You can keep a little hair there, but you want it to be manageable. You don’t need a ton of curls for them to be impressive.
How to Get Natural Curls FAQ
How to get more defined curls with natural hair?
One easy way to get more defined curls with natural hair is to get a perm from your local hairstylist. A perm won’t last forever, but it’s a great way to get a quick boost of volume and texture if you think your locks have been falling flat.
A couple of other methods you can work into your routine are not shampooing your hair too often as that drains out the natural oils that keep it hydrated. The other is to stop brushing your hair. Don’t even run your fingers through it; even that will break up any clumping (natural occurring curls) you’ve achieved.
The biggest takeaway is to focus your hair energy on keeping your hair moisturized. There are lots of different products with coconut or argan oil to help add that needed hydration. If you have unruly curls, consider a protective hairstyle like braids for men.
Do you brush curly hair?
Do not, we repeat, do not brush out your curly hair. If you do, you’ll separate the individual strands and make it impossible to form the tight, full curls you’re aiming for.
If you want to do what’s best for your naturally curly hair, brushes are the enemy. If you have tangly hair, there is a detangling spray you could try, but whatever you do, avoid that brush. It also has the strong potential to leave your hair a frizzy mess. Then you’ll have a whole new problem to tackle.
Can you make straight hair curly?
There are sure-fire ways to make straight hair turn to glorious curls, just don’t expect anything to last forever. As green as the grass is on the other side, it’s impossible to change your hair’s natural texture for good.
A perm is a great way to get some temporary curls. We don’t mean a poodle-cut. We can leave those in the ’80s (but you should know the mullet is back in). Just get a fade or undercut on the sides and leave your hair long enough on the top for you to get some meaningful clumps going.
How to get natural curls
There are several steps you can take to get natural curls. One is to avoid washing your hair too often, and when you do, let it dry naturally and don’t brush it out, no matter how bad the tangles are.
Just get a detangling spray if you need to instead of battling them yourself. Curl enhancing cream is also readily available and is a good addition to the grooming products of any guy with naturally curly hair. Read the above article if you want more help because it’s all there.