curly hairWhen it comes to the hair sprouting from our heads, quite a few men have a “grass is greener” attitude about the hair type they’ve been blessed — or cursed — with, in relation to the wonderful coiffeurs they see as they walk around every day. One of the biggest areas of envy and appreciation rests among the differences found between straight and curly hair.

As a dude with curly hair, I know a little something about this topic. These days I tend to sport a fairly short haircut, which means my twirling locks can no longer shine in the sun. But that wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, I used to have a long, luxurious curly mop of hair, befitting a rock god — or at the very least a rock-climbing, sandal-wearing pseudo-hippie who liked to thrash about at concerts and listen to girls compliment him about how beautiful his lion’s mane was.

Problem is, curly hair can be a real pain in the ass. When I was a kid, I wanted straight rock-star hair, not the impossible-to-tame tangle Mother Nature had given me. I tried straightening AKA relaxing it, which didn’t work very well. I tried lots of gel and hair mousse to hold it down. Didn’t have much success there either.

For a guy with curly hair, the options can be rather limiting. Short hair works, and longer hair can work as well. Everything else is just an exercise in ringlet management. Sure, you can grow out a respectable fro (I did on several occasions), but whereas I was going for the cool Lenny Kravitz vibe, I probably ended up looking more like a young Art Garfunkel. When I was a lad, straight hair just seemed like it would be a lot easier to sculpt and work with.

I don’t put a lot of effort into my hair anymore (hence the cropped tresses), although it’s been an interesting journey to get to this point of curly-headed Zen. For other men wondering what to do with all of that curly hair, here are a few tips:

Embrace What You’ve Got
You’re a curly-haired son-of-a-bitch. Embrace that fact. It doesn’t matter if you want to take a lot of time to fix your mane up, or if want to let it go wild. You’re never going to have straight Keanu-Reeves-dangly hair. Once you get over that bit of bad news, you’ll be free to be who you were truly meant to be. In the hair department, at least.

Short Hair Rocks
Keep it simple and crop it close to your scalp, or experiment with a few different types of short hairstyles. A bit longer on top and buzzed on the side, or uniform length, gelled with humidity gel and then separated into locks, or perhaps you’ll want to shave all of that head fuzz off. Short, as a general rule, means easy to care for.

Let it Grow
If you’ve got the curls, why not let them grow? Invest in some straightening cream, humidity gel or a frizz-conquering mousse in order to keep your locks from declaring war on your head. It might be more work to grow your curls out, but hair, like great art, often takes a bit of sacrifice. You can get that full-framed fro going on, or let your curls reach down past your shoulders in an explosion of swirly delight as you show the world what you’ve got.

Kick Back and Relax
Yes, you are the chosen one. The gift of crazy curly hair is yours. While I suggest you find a way to live with this fact and learn to love your curls, some of you won’t be able to do that. If you do decide to relax your curls, make sure you get some professional advice first, because this is some hardcore, chemically-heavy sh*t we’re talking about.

First off, you’ll have to decide between lye and non-lye-based relaxers, as well as how much of a chemical pounding your hair and scalp can take. If you have sensitive skin, you can get into some real trouble as you kill your curls. Be wise, ask around, and make sure this truly is the route you wish to travel before taking the plunge.

The good news here, no matter the results, is that you can come back (after your scalp mends). You’re curly-haired brethren will always be happy to welcome you home.