7 Expert-Approved Hairstyles for Black Men With Curly Hair

Zachary M. Anderson
·5 min read
Photo credit: Instagram @floyds99barbershop
Photo credit: Instagram @floyds99barbershop

Hair—particularly the diversity of textures and patterns—has been a point of confidence, pride, and trend-setting innovation for generations of folks within Black communities. From leading the development of the earliest hair care patents, to inventing research-based products and tools that continue to dominate the market today, there’s long been remarkable consideration for the versatility and diversity of Black hair.

Curly or not, no two strands of hair are ever alike. Hair is arguably one of the most versatile characteristics—and external statement pieces—of personalities. Beyond serving its functional purpose of keeping the crown of the head warm and protected from the elements, identity and expression has been rooted in hair for centuries. A single strand of hair has the power to quite literally reveal one-of-a-kind characteristics of our DNA.

No matter your identity, and whether curly or straight, brunette, blond, or red (and any color in-between), hair has the power to set the vibe. How many of us have “freshened up” cut ahead of a photo-planned vacation, date, or big interview? And not to mention the confidence—and attraction to and from others—that can be sparked by a bunch of simple strands we call hair.

Now, getting tactical. Curly hair takes maintenance. Don’t skimp on quality products and expert advice when it comes to your hair. From curl definition and upkeep, to looks tailor-made for short or long curly hairstyles, there’s always an inspiration and a regimen that shines.

Check out these 7 curly hairstyles for Black men to try now.

Asymmetrical High Top

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The '90s are back. The asymmetrical look makes an unforgettable statement, and while it takes some confidence to pull-off, you won’t regret this one, especially if you have medium-length curly hair. One way to achieve curls for the look: go for a good leave-in conditioner.

“Leave-in-products are a great option every man should have, as they provide extra moisture to the hair, protect from damage and help to eliminate frizz,” said Steven Wren, barber and owner of Steven Brandon Hair Studio at Sola Bloomingdale. “The difference in caring for short and long curls depends on the style worn by each individual. The person that wears a short and curly style may need to see the barber/stylist more often to maintain that short look.”

Deep Waves

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A classic, the deep wavy look is a go-to that won’t be washed out. A sharp line-up defines the style and gives a handsome finishing touch. Expect to put some time into developing your waves, and look into products that can help achieve the look.

“A lot of times, the friction we cause while sleeping can not only raise your hair cuticle, making it unnecessarily frizzy, but it also causes breakage which can lead to very uneven curls,” says Celine Bido Yasin, hairstylist at Maggie Rose Salon. Slick it down. “Water-based pomades are great to use when creating the brushed 360 wave style,” adds Wren.

Classic, Casual High Top

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There’s no mistaking the high top, and this hairstyle is one way to secretly add some height to your stature. But back to the hair, the classic, casual high top is a great curly hairstyle for Black men for those days when you might not want to pick out your curls. Keep the styling stress free.

“Proper care for every type of curl pattern begins with maintaining daily moisture," says Wren. "Look for sulfate-free shampoos and avoid products containing alcohol, as they may cause breakage and dryness. I suggest styling your hair with a curling cream. Creams in general are all moisturizing, smoothing and help to define curls."

Go Long

“A strong healthy curl pattern is a reflection of the hair’s health within,” advises Yasin. “It’s common to use very heavy products, so it’s important we clarify the hair at least once a month, as this is the biggest cause for limp, dull, and frizzy curls! Depending on your hair type, you can choose a shampoo and conditioner that’s appropriate.”

The styling products you use on your hair are important, but keep an eye on the products you use to clarify your hair, too.

Loc It In

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There’s something unique about locs. They take time, dedication, and give off a sense of self-awareness and artistry. Freeform locs can be the ultimate go-to for the low-maintenance curly hair guy. Keep your sides and edges shaped up, keep your beard trimmed, and set a wash-day routine.

“Proper upkeep of your hair depends on your lifestyle. You must wash away any particles and product build up,” says Wren. “Styling creams are also a great alternative for wavy or curly hair. This type of product will provide the control you need without weighing your hair down or leaving behind harsh build up.”

Go Bold

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Don’t be afraid to add some color to your curls. As long as you’re keeping your hair moisturized, color can help bring out the shine in your crown. And don’t forget a routine trim.

“Keeping up with your trims is so important because you’re getting rid of the dry ends that cause your hair to tangle more and sometimes can disrupt the curl pattern,” says Yasin. And keep your conditioner close. “Using a conditioner is key to achieving defined curls. Hair softening conditioners can be found in sprays, creams or lotion leave-in conditioners. These products should be used once a week and will remain in your hair until your recommended wash,” says Wren.

The Classic 'fro

The afro has been around for a long as anyone can remember, and became a symbol of the Black Is Beautiful movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Many guys opted to give the ‘fro a try over the quarantine months of 2020. You’ve made it to a ‘fro, but what now for the upkeep? Grab a great detangler.

“If you feel like you’re experiencing a lot of breakage, or that your curl pattern is a little looser than before, we recommend Truss’s Netmask," says Yasin. "It is an extremely moisturizing protein mask that has a great slip to aid with detangling, and leaves the hair very smooth and soft whilst helping strengthen from within.”

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