How to Get Curly Hair for Black Men: 8 Easy-Peasy Methods That Work

While curls are a natural phenomenon for black men, some men still struggle with keeping their hair curly or getting well-defined curls. The good news is, unlike hair type, which cannot be changed, you can change your straight hair into curls.

The nature of afro-textured hair tends to make it difficult to retain curls, especially after wet hair has dried. While some black men want curly hair for a temporary look, some want it as a signature look. For whichever reason you want to get your hair curly, it is achievable.

Continue reading to see different methods you can use to get your hair curly. Also, these methods make use of materials you have lying around somewhere. You don’t have to break a bank to get curly hair.

1. The Sea Salt Spray Method

The sea salt spray method is one of the commonest methods black men use to get curly hair. It adds texture to your hair and enhances curls formation. This gives your hair more body and movement.

Follow these steps to use sea salt spray to get your hair curly:

Materials: sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, detangling brush, sea salt spray, moisturizing oil


  • Wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoo and rinse out the lather thoroughly
  • Then, apply conditioner and rinse it out as well
  • Afterward, apply a leave-in conditioner and detangle your hair carefully and properly
  • Thereafter, spritz sea salt spray all over your hair
  • Scrunch your hair upwards with your hands to form curls and evenly distribute the spray
  • Finally, you can apply moisturizing hair oil to add shine to your hair

2. Hooded Hair Dryer Method

This method uses heat to get curly hair. Black men have afro-textured hair which is easily damaged by heat. Therefore, before you use this method, apply a heat protectant to shield your hair from the damage of heat tools.

Materials: sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, hair gel, a wide-tooth comb, hooded hairdryer, clean towel


  • Start with washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo to remove oil build-up and clean your scalp
  • Rinse it properly and condition it afterward
  • Use the towel to remove excess water
  • Then, apply a leave-in conditioner and detangle your hair to remove knots that formed while washing your hair
  • Thereafter, divide your hair into small sections and apply the hair gel to each of the sections
  • If you want curls that have more hold and are crunchy, you’ll need more gel. On the other hand, use a little amount of gel for soft curls
  • Use the wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute the gel and bring out the curls
  • Watch the curl formation as you comb. Add more gel if you don’t have the curl definition you want yet
  • Apply your heat protectant product
  • Put the hooded hairdryer in a cool setting and sit under it to dry the curls and get them set properly
  • Afterward, use the wide-tooth comb to separate the curls and add volume
  • Apply hair oil to add shine and moisture

SEE: Beard Style for Men- Exclusive Beard Styles for Black Men

3. Straw Curls Method

The straw setting method is one of the methods women with afro-textured hair get their hair curly, it comes in handy for black men too. The straw set works with damp hair and you should do this with heat tools for better curls definition.

Materials: plastic straws, shampoo & conditioner, moisturizing hair oil, bobby pins, a rattail comb, hairdryer (optional), detangling brush


  • The first thing to do is to wash your hair clean with the shampoo and conditioner (both products should be sulfate-free)
  • Use a detangling conditioner and brush to detangle knots before you straw curl your hair
  • Afterward, take a small section of your hair and begin to wrap it around a straw
  • If you want tight curls, wrap the hair tightly around the straw and loosely for loose curls. Then, secure it with a pin
  • Repeat this until your whole hair is covered with straw curls
  • Set the hairdryer to a cool setting before you sit under it
  • After some minutes, bring out your head to see whether your hair has dried well or not. Your hair needs to be properly dried for the curls to come out well
  • When you’re sure that your hair is dry, carefully remove the straws and pins so you don’t ruin your new curls
  • You can fluff the curls with an afro pick comb to add volume
  • Then, apply oil to replenish moisture and add shine

4. Curl Sponge

Curl sponges with smaller holes work for very short hair, maybe about half an inch. This is one of the effective methods of getting curly hair naturally without heat or chemicals.

Materials: Shampoo and conditioner, hair moisturizer or hair oil, curl activator, curl sponge


  • Wash your scalp and hair clean to remove oil and dust build-up
  • Dab it gently with a towel to remove excess water
  • Apply leave-in conditioner and detangle properly before you begin to curl
  • Then, apply hair moisturizer to soften your hair. This will make the curl formation process easier
  • Follow up with curl activator. Apply it and use a wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute the product all over your hair
  • Rub the curl sponge all over your hair to form curls. Make sure you’re following a circular motion and do not go back and forth. Otherwise, you’d unravel the curls you already formed
  • After getting your curls, you can add a side parting to make your curls look more stylish

5. Use Hair Rollers for Curly Hair

Hair rollers are more common with women, but it doesn’t mean men cannot get their hair curly with them. You can get smaller rollers for smaller and tighter curls, especially if you have short hair. If you have long hair, medium-sized or big rollers would be better.

Materials: rollers (plastic or foam), shampoo and conditioner, rattail comb, detangling brush, leave-in conditioner, mousse, hairpins


  • Wash your hair and remove excess water and leave it damp enough
  • Carefully detangle it with a leave-in conditioner
  • Start with a small section of your hair and roll it on the rollers (tightly or loosely for tight or loose curls) and secure it with a pin
  • Do this until you have rollers all over your head
  • Afterward, generously apply mousse to give the curls more hold
  • Leave your hair to air dry, maybe overnight
  • In the morning, take out the pins and rollers to reveal bouncy curls
  • You can fluff the curls with a comb to add volume or leave them as ringlets
  • Apply oil to add shine

SEE: Best of the Best Short Curly Hairstyles for Men

6. Invest in Curl Enhancing Products

Invest in curl enhancing products if you want to get curly hair or add more definition to your existing curls. Some of these products include styling gel, texturizing spray, hair mousse, styling clay, cremes, curl activator, detangling brush, pomades, moisturizing shampoo, and deep conditioners.

Additionally, while you want products that will give you well-defined curls, always go for lightweight products that won’t leave build-up or weigh down your hair. For instance, opt for water-based pomades instead of oil-based pomades.

7. The Rag-Rolling Method

This hair curling hack best works overnight. Also, it’s a good option if you do not have hair rollers. Take an abandoned shirt and cut it into vertical strips. Each strip should be thick enough to hold your hair and make a knot. Moreover, this method best works for hair that is over six inches long.

  • Wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
  • Use a lint-free towel to remove excess moisture. Stop drying when your hair is only damp
  • Afterward, apply a curl-enhancing product like crème or gel to give your hair more hold
  • Take a small section of your hair and begin to roll it onto the rag starting from the ends of your hair until you get to the roots. Then, tie the rag to make a knot
  • Repeat this all over your head and leave your hair to dry overnight
  • You can wear a plastic cap or wrap a wave cap over your head
  • In the morning, remove the rags to unravel bouncy curls
  • Apply hairspray to add texture to your hair. Use other styling products for moisture and shine

SEE: Ways to Stylishly Wear Fade for Black Men

8. Braid Your Hair to Get Curls

One of the easy ways black women get curly hair overnight or within a few hours is by braiding their hair into cornrows or braids and it can also work for men. The thickness of the braids or cornrows you make determines how the curls will come out.

  • After washing and drying your hair to dampness, begin to braid your hair
  • You can have about five or six cornrows to get tighter curls
  • Take out the braids when your hair is dry
  • Apply hair gel or mousse for more hold and shine

Tips to Help Keep Your Hair Curly

  • Work with the right barber. This is necessary because the right haircut will bring out well-defined curls
  • Use the right products
  • Work with natural oils like argan oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Also, use natural butter like shea butter and coconut butter
  • Do not use combs or brushed that will tug and pull at your curls and unravel them
  • Invest in a diffuser
  • Only brush when you want to style or detangle your hair. Detangling with your fingers in even better
  • Wash your hair less often
  • Replenish moisture with oils instead of by washing your hair
  • Get trims to remove split ends and prevent breakage
  • Invest in anti-frizz products
  • Allow your hair to air dry most of the time
  • Create a routine for clarifying shampoo
  • Comb your curls from the bottom to the top. Otherwise, you risk ruining your curls

SEE: Aftershave for Men- Best Selected Products to Buy


Can you get my hair permanently curly?

If your hair is naturally straight, getting permanent curls may not be possible. When new hairs begin to grow, your natural straight hairs will resurface. To get permanent curls, you’ll need to revisit your stylist and have your hair curled again.

Can black men get curls by the wash and go method?

The wash and go method can help you get your hair curly without products and heat. However, this method does not last for long. After your hair dries, the curls will lose their definition, become messy and unruly.

How long does your hair have to be to get it curly?

Your hair has to be long enough for a comb to run through. This should be over an inch or two. At this length, you should notice slight bends or curls on your hair. If your hair is shorter than this, getting your hair curly will not be achievable.


There is something about how your hairstyle defines your identity. Moreover, when your hair is well done, it comes with an extra level of confidence. To get curly hair as a black man or to get tighter curls, you should be ready to do the work.

Your hair care regimen should have curl-enhancing products. With the right products and methods, getting curls shouldn’t be a herculean task. Although some of the methods may be time-consuming, it’ll be worth it eventually.

What you do after your hair gets curly determines how long the curls will last. In addition, proper care will help keep frizz and breakage at bay.

Thanks for reading.

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