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Best curly hairstyles for men | Image: Marwan Abdalah

8 Best Curly Hairstyles for Men


With great wave comes great responsibility. As such, no curly hairstyle for men should be left to chance. Whether you have tight curls or just a bit of free-flowing movement, knowing how to get the most out of a haircut is essential for looking your best and feeling confident. In this article, we unpack the best curly hairstyles for men, providing tips and tricks on length, styling and maintenance. If you have curls, or you want to, this guide to the popular hairstyle will have you covered.

Best Men’s Curly Hairstyles at a Glance

Best curly hairstyles for men | Image: Brooke Cagle
Best curly hairstyles for men | Image: Brooke Cagle

1. Wavy Slicked Back

If you’ve watched Bradley Cooper in movies like Limitless or A Star is Born, then you’ve already seen the slicked-back wavy hairstyle in action. This one is somewhat effortless to pull off, presuming you have long and wavy men’s hair, as well as the right tools.

By “tools” we mean the following: fingers and pomade (or something similar). See? We told you this would be easy. That said, the wavy slicked back look is harder (though not impossible) to pull off if you possess coiled curly hair or kinky curly hair. In this scenario, finding the right hair product will prove essential.

How to style the Wavy Slicked Back hairstyle:

  • Make sure your hair is damp
  • Squeeze some pomade into your hand and then stroke your fingers through your hair in a front-to-back motion
  • After working the product through your hair, let it settle and dry
  • If something feels amiss, try a lighter product or creme
Beachy waves or curls hairstyle for men | Image: Benjamin Klaver
Beachy waves or curls hairstyle for men | Image: Benjamin Klaver

2. Beachy Waves or Curls

Beachy men’s curls are tougher to cultivate but well worth the effort, especially if you want to look like a modern-day rock god. As you can probably guess: healthy and naturally lustrous hair is mandatory. For the most part, this kind of men’s curly hairstyle has layers that are over-directed from the top section. Essentially, this means that hair around the ears and nape falls naturally without creating a flat or blunt edge.

To achieve this, ask your barber to layer the back and sides, leaving the edges natural. This requires some sectioning during the cut, which may take some time and is often best suited to hairdressers. When cut correctly, you should be able to hold the hair out at a 90-degree angle and see the hair naturally reduce in length as it works down.

How to style Beachy Waves or Curls:

  • Using products such as sea salt hairspray, apply a generous amount to the top of the hair
  • Using your fingers, work your hair in a front-to-back motion
  • Apply a moisturising treatment to get those waves or curls flowing, and to keep the hair from drying out
  • Regularly run your fingers through your hair to reshape and restyle
Wavy quiff hairstyle for men | Image: Andi Rieger
Wavy quiff hairstyle for men | Image: Andi Rieger

3. Wavy Quiff

The wavy quiff for men—also known as the curly quiff—looks exactly as it sounds. It’s highlighted by a voluminous, upward-facing poof at the front of the top hair, which recedes in volume as it goes toward the back, and comes flanked by shorter sides. Like many short hairstyles for men, keeping a slightly longer amount on top will provide a more aesthetically pleasing general silhouette, elongating your face and keeping you looking professional.

Depending on how curly your hair is, you might find the blend between short and long sections quite abrupt. If this is the case, look for a barber who is adept at working with afro hair or tight curls, and ask for a low fade or gradual blend. Additionally, if you have naturally thick or wavy men’s hair, there might be some trial and error before you master the styling of this popular look.

How to style the Wavy Quiff:

  • Starting with damp hair, blow-dry the hair while lifting it up and back with a brush
  • Use a continuous upward brushing motion and apply a light heat with the hair dryer
  • Once dry, apply a light amount of pomade and work the product through with your hands in a front-to-back motion
Man with curly side part hairstyle
Curly side part hairstyle for men | Image: Thom Morell

4. Curly Side Part

Some haircuts never go out of style and the curly side part is one of them. Nevertheless, there’s something kind of radical about this particular men’s hairstyle, even if it has nearly a century’s worth of history behind it. For the most contemporary take, keep your hair short on the sides and longer on top, but try to avoid a ‘disconnected’ style.

This refers to a recent trend in barbershops where stylists shave the hair up to the part. While easier to style when fresh, the hair will inevitably grow out awkwardly and often, this process involves shaving a small section of the crown. Instead, ask to leave some weight on the side and to be blended.

From there, leave a significant amount of hair on top—generally two to three inches—and style it to the side in one direction. A quick word of advice: figure out which direction your curly hair naturally grows in and then part it accordingly. This one puts those handsome curly or wavy locks on full display.

How to style a Curly Side Part:

  • Find your natural part, brush all your hair forward and draw a direct line from the centre of your crown to the corner of your hairline
  • Comb the hair to one side
  • Apply a light pomade of matte product and work it through with a wide-bristle comb
  • If necessary, apply a light heart and comb through with a hair dryer
Taper fade haircuts for men
Low Taper Fade | Image: Keller Konturen

5. Tight Curl Fade

One of the most straightforward and clean curly hairstyles for men involves fading the back and sides, whilst leaving a slightly longer amount on top. For people with tight curls, this hairstyle is incredibly versatile and low maintenance, as tighter coils will tend to sit more forgivingly on top. Leaving around two to three inches worth of hair on the top will give you enough to play with and style, however, it is important to remember that as it coils, it will appear shorter.

As with all fade hairstyles, how low you go is up to you. If you are looking for a slightly more extreme look you can take the sides and back down to bald or try a burst fade. On the other hand, a slightly longer clipper length with appear more approachable, but will ultimately require more upkeep as it grows out.

How to style the Tight Curl Fade:

  • Spray a light mist of water or sea-salt spray onto the top of the hair
  • Using a diffuser, work the hair with a hairdryer
  • Ensure that all sections are covered
Wavy fringe hairstyle | Image: Daniil Onischenko
Wavy fringe hairstyle | Image: Daniil Onischenko

6. Wavy Fringe

For men with relaxed wavy or curly bangs, consider the wavy fringe. It works best when you retain most of your hair length at the top, employing either a high or low fade on your back and sides. The resulting aesthetic falls somewhere between bohemian and casual. Whether or not that describes you is something only you can decide.

It’s all about bringing out the style, volume, and texture of your wavy men’s hair and medium-long bangs, and then seeing where that takes you. If the barber knows what he’s doing, he’ll cut your hair in layers to lower the weight and keep the volume and texture intact. When styling at home, you should scrunch your damp waves as your hair dries, using a texturing product to hold everything in place. Needless to say, a fair amount of time, patience, and dedication are required for this wavy men’s hairstyle. But it’s worth it.

How to style a Wavy Fringe:

  • Use mousse on damp hair and scrunch your wavy fringe at the top, giving it volume and a slightly messy appearance
  • Keep everything in place by way of a light hair spray
  • Add a texturing product if you want more texture
Wolfcut | Image: Josh O'meara-Patel/Instagram
Wolfcut | Image: Josh O’meara-Patel/Instagram

7. Wolfcut

One of the best curly hairstyles for men on the younger side, the wolfcut has fast become the cut of choice on TikTok. Originally, the edgy hairstyle was adopted by Korean women but has slowly crept its way into the looks of the everyday Aussie bloke. The hairstyle is essentially a blend of the ‘80s mullet and a shag, characterised by choppy layers on top and longer layers on the side. It doesn’t matter if your hair is long or short, straight, wavy, or curly, because the wolfcut style gives you that effortlessly tousled, bouncy vibe that looks flawless on everyone.

How to style a Wolfcut:

  • Ensure that the hair is wet so that when you are blow-drying, it can be manipulated into different shapes.
  • Add a pre-styler. For certain looks, one with a shine finish will allow the streaks and the reflection of the hair to create more movement when you blow dry it through.
  • Using your comb, manipulate the centre part.
  • Use your fingers and start at the reference point of your eyebrows, pull up to the top and pinch the mid part.
  • Blow dry the hair in the direction you wish to see the flow. Keep everything on lower speed and medium heat, that way you can blow dry everything through and manipulate the hair.
Natural Afro hairstyle for men | Image: César Rincón
Natural Afro hairstyle for men | Image: César Rincón

8. Natural Afro

Sometimes it’s worth keeping things natural. If your hair has a solid density of curl that can be reshaped and restyled, adding a bit of sea salt spray and running your hands through the top can make a world of difference. For this curly men’s hairstyle, a rounder shape is preferred as it helps to frame the face more generously, so longer sections at the top graduating down to shorter lengths at the nape are essential.

Importantly, just because the style is natural does not mean that it requires no maintenance. In fact, as the hair on top regularly grows out at different speeds to the hair on the sides, it may require regular trips to the barber for general upkeep.

How to style a Natural Afro:

  • Spray a light mist of water or sea-sale spray onto the top of the hair
  • Using a diffuser, work the hair with a hairdryer
  • Ensure that all sections are covered

Men’s Curly Hairstyle Maintenance Tips and Tricks

The more you know about your curly or wavy men’s hair, the better you’ll be able to sculpt it to your liking. A signifier of youth and vitality, men’s curly or wavy hair can also be a total grievance to groom or maintain. Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks that will help ease the burden of your daily regimen. That’s right, we said daily regimen. Don’t slouch.

Most of these tips apply to thick, thin, short, and long curly hairstyles alike, though some will favour specific men’s hair types over others. Don’t grow out your curly men’s hair until you’ve mastered the most important ones. Here are some men’s curly hairstyle maintenance tips and tricks:

Styling

  • Routinely apply sea salt spray or a similar moisturiser to your curly or wavy men’s hair. This will help keep the volume rich and full and prevent the curly hair itself from drying out.
  • Avoid the overuse of dry matte hair products like clay, wax, pastes, pomades, and creams. To be clear: we’re not saying you shouldn’t make these products part of your grooming routine, just that you shouldn’t overdo it. That’s because too much use can poof out the curly or wavy hair, cutting down on manageability and definition.
  • If you’re aiming for a shorter, tighter style, then apply a matte-finish product at the roots of your curly hair. Be sure to do it when the hair is still moist.

Washing

  • Do not over-shampoo your hair. Instead, shampoo once every two or three days and incorporate a moisturising conditioner as well. This combination will keep your curly men’s hair moisturised and healthy. All the while, you’re avoiding dryness, damage from over-washing, and frayed ends.

Hair Types and Density

  • If you have thick, wavy, or curly men’s hair that’s hard to manage, find a barber who can tactfully chop away some underlying locks without hindering the overall aesthetic. The result is a men’s curly or wavy hairstyle that’s formidable, but still controllable.
  • Request that your barber point cuts the ends instead of cutting a straight line. The former evokes softness while the latter creates a hard-edged vibe. Be aware that a good barber who knows his way around a curly men’s haircut is somewhat hard to find!

How Man of Many Chose the Best Curly Hairstyles for Men

When it comes to choosing the best curly and wavy hairstyles for men, it’s simple. We know hair better than anyone, and our Editor-in-Chief, Nick Hall, is a qualified barber and men’s stylist. He holds a Cert III in Barbering and has personally chosen every haircut on this list with the help of the wider editorial team.

Alternatives to Curly Haircuts

Best Barbers in Australia

Curly Hairstyles for Men FAQs

How do you take care of curly hair?

If you have curly hair, maintenance is a must. To take care of curly hair, try using a sulphate-free shampoo, avoid excessive washing and make sure you keep the hair moisturised. It is recommended that you use a diffuser when blow-drying and that you use natural treatments.

How do you sleep with curly hair?

Sleeping with curly hair can be a challenge, but there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your hair stays healthy. Namely, use moisture treatments to keep your hair hydrated and sleep on a silk pillow to avoid matting.

What is the curly hair rule?

It sounds simple but the trick to successful curly hair styling is to avoid touching your hair. once it is dry and styled. Excessive touching with your fingers or a hairbrush can cause curls to uncoil and ultimately, increase frizz.