It doesn’t matter whether you’re a catwalk model or a dog-tired postman, everyone’s hair comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks—and naturally curly hair can certainly be both a blessing and a curse.
One day you wake up with those hot, envy-inducing waves, only to see them morph into a pile of frizz after a few specks of rain. We know the struggle, which is why we sat down with GQ Barber of the Year 2019, Carmelo Guastella, to get some game-changing advice on how to enhance your routine and which are the best products will help you do it.
How To Dry Your Curly Hair
“The first rule with curls is after you wash your hair, don’t dry it vigorously at all,” begins Guastella. “If you do, it breaks up the curls and it goes all fuzzy and dries really badly. What you need to do is dampen down with a towel rather than rub. Press the towel onto your head without administering any vigorous lateral or circular motion.”
“I always prefer hair that is naturally air-dried, but if you are using a hairdryer, always use a diffuser. You don’t want to blow your hair around, you just want to add heat to dry it.”
“The idea of doing all this is to keep the curls together. However, when the hair is totally dry, just move it around and break up the curls a tiny bit for style. Trust me, it looks much, much better if you do this.”
How to Style Men’s Curly Hair: Fine Hair
“What you do next depends on what type of hair you have,” he continues. “If you have fine hair you want to add product that gives volume to the hair, like a sea salt spray. Just spray a bit of that on and massage it into your hair gently.”
“In my experience, sometimes curly hair looks much better two or three days after a wash,” he continues. “So don’t feel like you should wash your hair too much if you have curls as the act of washing itself helps to break up and disrupt the curls.”
“Of course if you have fine hair then it will go greasy if it’s not washed. So one of the best products I like to recommend for people with fine, curly hair—and just fine hair in general—is dry shampoo.”
“Let me explain: On each hair follicle we have sebaceous glands that produce the oil on our scalp. When you have fine hair you have a larger volume of actual hairs on your head than if you have thick hair, hence more sebaceous glands. More sebaceous glands means quicker oil production, which is why your hair goes greasier, quicker.”
Dry shampoo then, helps soaks up the excess oil in your hair without stripping it completely, lending it it a much cleaner, fresher appearance. It might be better for you to consider short hair if you have fine curls though as when it’s long it’s that much harder to style and manage. It’s about how much time have you got and how much effort you want to put in.
“Fine hair is not the best hair to have curls,” admits Guastella. “It tends to go more limp the longer it gets. However, just a couple of sea salt sprays on the top of the hair helps a lot. Make sure you work it in gently though as you don’t want to break the curls.” If you don’t get along with sea salt spray then you can always try volumising mousse as they work in a similar way. “Personally, I prefer sea salt spray though,” continues Guastella. “It just distributes better.”
How to Style Men’s Curly Hair: Medium-to-Thick Hair
“The best hair for having natural curls and waves in your hair is medium-to-thick hair,” advises Guastella. “However, there’s less sebaceous glands at work in thick hair so it has the tendency to get and appear drier. Hence, you’re going to need to add something to hydrate the hair. So you will require a hydrating shampoo for thick hair as opposed to a volumising, dry shampoo for thin hair.”
All makes sense, right? “You also don’t need to over-wash your hair if it’s thick and curly,” suggests Guastella. “You just need to use a leave-in conditioner product to add hydration to the curl.”
“You also should avoid drying your hair with a hairdryer,” he continues. “Don’t put heat on it: pat it dry or, best case scenario, leave it to air dry.” The thicker the hair and the more aggressive you are with heat and towel-action, then the frizzier it’s going to get.
And Carmelo wants you to pay attention to it as it’s growing out, too.
“What I will say about growing out thick, curly hair is that it can begin to look thinner on the top and thicker on the sides the longer it gets. You will need a barber who is good with his scissors to address this.
“A lot of smaller barber shops like to cut hair quickly with clippers,” he continues. “They won’t be able to address issues like point-cutting to balance out long, thick curls. It takes too long to do it and it’s not worth their time for the price of the haircut.
So if you have thick curls and you want to grown them, be prepared to pay a bit more money for an experienced stylist. Then it will grow out perfectly. Then you’ve got a haircut that can last two or three months.”
In Summary: Don’t Be Scared to Grow Your Curly Hair!
“Overall, I would say to men to embrace your curls,” enthuses Guastella. “A lot of guys are scared of growing their hair. They go to the barbers and say they want to grow their hair and then sit down and get it all cut off. A lot of barbers think they have to cut off as much hair as possible, and that’s not always the case. In fact, it rarely is.”