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Men can have four hair types

Men can have four hair types

If you have been reading Manly Curls for some time or if you have read any of my two bestselling books, The Men’s Hair Book or The Curly Hair Book, you will know by now that I am big on profiling hair. I believe that, to have an “awesome mane” (the cheesy name I use in my books to describe good-looking hair), one must first identify what it is that he has atop his head. It is thus that today I would like to write a super epically-awesome (if I may say so) guide on men hair types, so that you can, once and for all, know what “kind” of “stuff” you have flourishing from your scalp.

It should be said that typing your hair (i.e. putting it into a hair type) need not be difficult at all, at least if you use my guide and method. In fact, the premise of Manly Curls and of my two books is to grab everything concerning male hair and boil it down to a solid foundation that you can then easily and conveniently recreate, customize and benefit from. Ergo, the hair type that I pioneered some good time ago is both simple and to the point, and it will rapidly help you to establish the very-first stone of a solid foundation that optimizes the management of your hair, including the right men’s hairstyles, haircuts and hair products for you.

In the hair type guide that I created, there are 4 types of hair:

  • Straight hair
  • Wavy hair
  • Coiled hair (not curly hair! I will get to that in a minute)
  • Kinky hair

The ISEZ hair type guide

Myself, being a fan of acronyms, decided to name my hair type guide with a funky name: ISEZ. Each letter of the “ISEZ” term does not represent the first letter of a word but instead represents the shape of each of the hair types (so ISEZ is just an acronym wannabe, in reality). Thus, in the ISEZ term, the “I” represents straight hair, the “S” represents wavy hair, the “E” represents coiled hair and the “Z” represents kinky hair.

Still with me? Good.

But, like dude, you have a site called, like, Manly Curls or something, like where is the curly hair in your hair type guide, dude? Like, seriously, dude?

As I said earlier, I would be covering the fact that “curly hair” is not a hair type, so allow me to now let you know of the rationale behind one of the world’s most important discoveries (like, seriously, dude). You see, your hair either grows infinitely straight without bending or it curves (more like twists) as it grows; this is key in determining a male’s hair type. The pattern with which your hair grows is 100% genetically determined, so you’re essentially stuck with what you have, unless you want to mechanically alter your hair pattern. Since your hair either grows bone straight or grows with curves, it is thus that we have two hair textures: straight hairand curly hair.

Both hair textures (i.e. straight hair and curly hair) do then act as parent terms for the actual men hair types. In the case of straight hair as a texture, its hair type is the same (i.e. straight hair). However, in the case of curly hair as a texture, its hair types are wavy hair, coiled hair and kinky hair. To make it easier for you to visualize the relationship between hair texture and hair type, have a quick look at the illustration below:

An illustration of the men hair types

The issue at stake here is that, when people say “curly hair”, some will interpret curly as wave-shaped hair while others will only classify ringlet-shaped hair as curly. This is why using curly hair as a single hair type is futile and confusing, and it is also why I decided to create the ISEZ hair type guide based on shape and physical similarities rather than on subjective terms that are easily misinterpreted. Furthermore, if the curving distance for wavy hair (as it grows) were to be shortened, wavy hair would actually become curlier and resemble the shape of coils instead of waves, and, if the curving distance of coiled hair were to be lengthened, coiled hair would in fact become less curly while becoming wavier. Ergo, the stuff can certainly get confusing.

So, there: curly hair is a texture and not a hair type, and hair types is what this guide is about. From here onwards, you will find the 4 hair types that make up my ISEZ hair type guide with all the information you need to start building your hair foundation. I have also included which men’s hairstyles and hair products best suit each of the hair types so that you can get working on your hair foundation as soon as possible (and get your epic awesome mane too).

I am publishing my hair type guide here at Manly Curls as reference material for all of you, thus it is a huge guide and I suggest that you take your time to read it in full and bookmark it for further reference in the future. You can consult my hair type guide in this page at anytime you want, although this hair type guide I’m publishing here covers only the basics of the whole in-depth hair type guide in The Men’s Hair Book. Most importantly, in The Men’s Hair Book you will be learning in a holistic fashion how to customize your hairstyles and haircuts according to your hair type as well as learn how to conveniently customize your long-term hair grooming and hair care for the best hair you can ever possibly achieve.

Having said the above, I feel that publishing this version of my hair type guide here at Manly Curls will benefit many of you and will provide you with plenty of knowledge so as to begin to understand and improve your hair.

Enjoy it!

Straight hair

As you’ve read already in this guide, straight hair is hair that simply grows straight without curving. Mind you, there will be some minor curving if enough length is grown in a straight lock due to the peculiarities of daily wear and tear and of mechanical action such as combing or heat styling. However, the curving will be very slight and only appreciable when the hair is long (I’m talking of more than 6 inches of hair length).

To make things a little easier for you to ID your hair, back when I was creating this guide I decided to include a length mark for you to use so as to identify whether your hair is straight or not, and this length mark is 3 inches starting from the scalp. If you hair does not bend within the first 3 inches of its length starting from the scalp, you then have straight hair; if, instead, it curves, then move onto the other types for proper identification as your hair will be wavy, coiled or kinky.

For reference, dudes with straight hair include Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and our friend Justin Bieber.Brad Pitt with his straight hair in a shaggy hairstyle.


Brad Pitt has made extensive use of his hair throughout his career to enhance his already-handsome looks, and, with that hair of his, who wouldn’t?

Advantages vs. disadvantages of straight hair

Straight hair is the easiest of the 4 hair types to shape and style, which is a big plus. Straight hair does also get to hang down with only a couple of inches of length, so straight hair is pretty useful if you want to emulate the Justin Bieber hair fringe flipfrom back in the day when we could not tell if Justin was a boy or a girl (not that we now can, but at least now with Justin Bieber’s brush up hairstyle we can now assume that he’s got some XY on him somewhere in his DNA).

Hang on, with all these uber-cool advantages mentioned above, straight hair must surely have at least some kind of disadvantage, right Rogelio? I hear you ask. Well, my friend, that is indeed correct: straight hair royally sucks at getting enough volume, which is why men with straight hair go crazy with hair dryers, hair wax and hair gel to acquire some volume for their manes. It’s a trade-off: you get the cool Bieber-esque dangling locks while your ability to naturally recreate enough volume on your hair is nil. Each hair type has the same kind of trade-off and, considering that you’re pretty much stuck with your hair type for the rest of your life, it’s in your interest to maximize the advantages of your particular hair type.

Hairstyles for straight hair

The hairstyles that best suit straight-haired men include short hairstyles that can be shaped into myriad of patterns as well as long hair ranging from jaw length to shoulder length. A Faux Hawk requiring a short haircut works pretty well for straight hair as does the aforementioned brush up hairstyle (although make sure to use a hair dryer for the brush up; just read the guide on the link I posted earlier for Justin Bieber’s brush up if you want to give yourself a brush up hairstyle).

Hair products for straight hair

If you have straight hair, the best products to use for your hair type are hair wax, pomade, hair mousse, hair spray and a hair dryer. You can, of course, get many other men’s hair products but these 5 hair products that I’ve just mentioned should be your hairstyling bread and butter. Furthermore, if your hair is of a medium length or longer (i.e. longer than 2 inches), you want to be using a regular conditioner at least once a week. In my book, The Men’s Hair Book, you will find the whole template and methodology for working out the frequency of use of a conditioner and shampoo (among many other things you will learn).

Get the following products for straight hair :

  • Get this hair wax
  • Get this hair pomade
  • Get this hair mousse
  • Get this hair spray
  • Get this hair dryer
  • Get The Men’s Hair Book

Wavy hair

Wavy hair is hair that slightly curves as it grows from the hair follicle, so, when given enough length, wavy hair resembles wave-like shapes and thus its name. At short lengths (up to 1.5 inches), wavy hair can be mistaken for straight hair, so ideally you need 3 inches or more of hair length to be 100% sure of your hair type. In any case, if your hair curves within its first 3 inches of length but does not make a full coil shape, then your hair is wavy. Due to its natural wave-like shape, wavy hair gets to represent the “S” in the ISEZ term.

Adrian grenier with his wavy hair in a messy hairstyle

Adrian Grenier: possibly the only dude on Earth whom I’d admit has better hair than me…

Advantages vs. disadvantages of wavy hair

Wavy hair could be said to be the ideal hair type for guys. Wavy hair still maintains the easy hairstyling trait of straight hair while it also has the natural hair volume ofcurlier hair types, so wavy hair gets to look like a serious lion’s mane at medium lengths. Wavy hair also looks pretty good when long and doesn’t have the extreme look-at-me factor of coiled and kinky hair (trust me, after a while, the novelty of having women approach you to ask about your hair care routine will wear off).

Hairstyles for wavy hair

Hairstyles for wavy hair include medium length hairstyles like side parts and messy hairstyles. Likewise, shoulder-length wavy hair can look pretty cool and wavy hair will also look good during the whole growth stage to reach a shoulder length, which is something that coiled and kinky hair do not benefit from and which I call the awkward stage for coiled and kinky hair due to these 2 hair types typically looking awkward or funny during the growth stage to shoulder length (although this won’t happen if you know what you’re doing, so continue reading).

Hair products for wavy hair

Since your wavy hair is (after all) curly, you want to start using a leave-in conditioner on most days of the week. Likewise, your need for a regular conditioner increases with wavy hair and, once your hair length is longer than 2 inches, you want to be using a regular conditioner a couple of days per week; if you are unsure about conditioners, then read through my hair conditioner guide to learn what a regular conditioner and leave-in conditioner are. Bear in mind though that you can find in The Men’s Hair Book all the frequencies of hair-product use as well as the methods and system to working out absolutely everything that your hair needs according to your hair’s particular necessities.

With regards to hairstyling products, you can still use hair waxes and pomades, but make sure to also get a good styling cream to use when your hair looks frizzy and to also use when you want to further define and polish your waves at medium lengths or longer. You can still use a hair dryer, but make sure to use it with a diffuser.

Get the following products for your wavy hair :

  • Get this hair wax.
  • Get this hair pomade.
  • Get this styling cream.
  • Get the same hair dryer as for straight hair, but do also include this diffuser. The diffuser is simply clipped to the nozzle of the hair dryer and helps to dissipate the heat (you will learn why in The Men’s Hair Book, but essentially, this is good for your waves).
  • Get The Men’s Hair Book as for straight hair.

Coiled hair

Coiled hair is what most of you (but not all) would interpret as “curly hair”. As the name says, coiled hair forms in coil-like shapes that are easy to spot. Mind you, wavy hair does also grow in a coiled shape (since it curls) but, because of the long distance that it takes wavy hair to complete a coil, the shape that wavy hair forms is “wavy” and not coiled. With coiled hair, however, the distance to coil is shorter and hence its shape.

Coiled hair will form coils in its first 2 inches of hair growth. Unlike wavy hair where you will just see the hair curving in its first 3 inches of length, coiled hair will explicitly and visibly form coils in the first 2 inches of hair length. You can, in fact, think of coiled hair as 3D cursive “E” letters (capital “E”), and thus the “E” in the ISEZ term for coiled hair.

For reference, dudes with coiled hair include Troy Polamalu, David Bisbal and yours truly (aka “that” dude with the epic blog… kinda, sorta, maybe…).David Bisbal with his curly hair in a cool long hairstyle.


To grow coiled hair long or not grow coiled hair long; that is a question that will cross the minds of many coiled-haired dudes

Advantages vs. disadvantages of coiled hair

Coiled hair that is properly looked after (keyword being “properly”) will stand out in a good way. Defined curls (i.e. coils) are a rare sight (which hopefully will be more common with all of you reading my sites and books), and medium length to long length curls will attract babes like honey attract flies (or, as the songs goes, like a “milkshake brings all the boys to the yard”); I can tell you that.

While, with wavy hair, girls will approach you to bore you to death with the same hair-care questions, with (nice) coiled hair, girls will instead be desiring to play doctor and nurse with you. Shapely glossy coils exude a very-sexual allure, and not taking advantage of this swag potential as a dude would be a serious offense to yourself. The problem? Having nice-looking coils (i.e. an awesome mane) is a tricky thing and the vast majority of men with coils don’t know how to manage their hair; thus, they end up resembling SideShow Bob or Will Ferrell instead of resembling a curly-haired version of Fabio.

A big disadvantage of coiled hair is that it isn’t easy to style, especially if your hair care or hair-grooming routines are atrocious as it happens with the vast majority of curly hair men. You should always use a wide tooth comb to style your curly mane, and you may also use your fingers to style those coils of yours; however, do not style your curly mane with a regular comb for the love of Bambi! I see this all the time with curly dudes who are oblivious as to why their curly hair looks like tumbleweed (hint: 98% of the time, it’s the comb).

So, while coiled hair is certainly not easy to style, coiled hair does however gain plenty of natural hair volume without a problem, so you do not need to do any fancy hairstyles (like straight-haired dudes have to) to be able to enjoy some epic hair volume, and this wild volume is part of the sexual allure of coiled hair (but again, you only get to enjoy this benefit if you actually take care of your coils).

Hairstyles for coiled hair

The hairstyles that suit coiled hair include the military haircuts for short hair and theShake and Go for medium length hair. Growing curly hair long can be a traumatic experience, so only attempt to grow your coiled mane long if you are determined to stick to it no matter what the circumstances ahead may be, which includes having to learn everything about your curls (within reason, no need to grab your lady’s Cosmopolitan magazine). The good thing is that shoulder-length coiled hair can look quite epic, so waiting the couple of years to grow your coiled mane to shoulder length can certainly pay off in terms of overall aesthetics. It’s up to you, but I know it was very much worth the effort and time for me.

Hair products for coiled hair

The first product that you should be getting for your coiled hair is my book, The Curly Hair Book. Before you start thinking how dare I shamelessly plug my other book in this manner, let me tell you that The Curly Hair Book was the first book I wrote out of my 2 books and I wrote it with the ravishing passion that only a curly-haired dude with a blog called Manly Curls could write. My goal with both my books is to educate you and help you to make the most of your mane and, in The Curly Hair Book, I do exactly that while also telling you about my personal experiences with my curvy locks and how my hair-related experiences can be of use to you and for your mane (not main) future. I also wrote in The Curly Hair Book about “that” time when I thought I was going to be kidnapped in some lost village in the middle of Oman… so, yeah, the book will not be a boring Cosmopolitan-esque read; that’s for sure.

In term of men’s hair products and other than The Curly Hair Book, you want to be investing in both regular conditioners and leave-in conditioners. Another hair-care product that you should ideally be introducing yourself to is a deep conditioner. A deep conditioner provides a stronger conditioning effect than the one achieved with a regular conditioner, so use the deep conditioner only once a month or once every 2 weeks.

With regards to hairstyling products, don’t use hair wax and instead leave your hairstyling to a good styling cream. Furthermore, a leave-in conditioner can serve as a de facto hairstyling product, especially if you’re going for the Shake & Go look or if you have long hair. Lastly, you may also start using natural butters and oils to coat the tips of your coils so as to protect them and give them better definition. Oh, and do yourself a big favour and grab a wide-tooth comb while you’re at it.

Get the following products for your coiled hair :

  • Get the same styling cream as for wavy hair.
  • Get the same conditioner as for straight hair and wavy hair.
  • Get the same leave-in conditioner as for wavy hair.
  • Get the same pomade as for wavy hair.
  • Get this wide-tooth comb.
  • Get the same hair dryer as for straight hair and wavy hair (with the diffuser recommended for wavy hair).
  • Get this extra-virgin olive oil to lightly coat the tips of your curls (olive oil goes great for conditioning curly hair and the olive oil in the link can also be used to cook!).
  • Get The Curly Hair Book

Kinky hair

Kinky hair is the last of the 4 hair types and it is the curliest of the 3 hair types under the curly texture. Kinky hair is also known as afro-textured hair and it is the hair type most commonly found in black males, although kinky hair can also be found in other races and ethnic groups. With kinky hair, the length needed to curl is so short that the curls (i.e. kinks) will look like having sharp curves and more like a “Z” shape than an “E” shape, and thus the “Z” letter in ISEZ.

Kinky hair is easily identified within the first half inch of hair length, and it is the hair type that is the easiest to identify out of the 4 hair types. If you are not sure whether your hair is coiled or kinky, a reliable test is to stand in front of a mirror some 3 feet away from it and try to tell apart the curls in your head. Can you spot your curls or can you only see your mane as a whole mass of curvy hair without differentiating individual curls? If it is the latter (i.e. can’t tell the curls apart, then you have kinky hair.

For reference, men with kinky hair include Barack Obama, Will Smith and Morgan Freeman.

A young Barack Obama with his kinky curly hait in an Afro hairstyle.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that guy right there is a young Barack Obama back when he used to wear an Afro hairstyle

Advantages vs. disadvantages of kinky hair

By far, kinky hair is the hair type with the most volume. If you want to rock some epic hair volume, then kinky hair is where it’s at. Kinky hair is also very resilient so it provides a great surface for some creative denting (i.e. designing) on the hair with a hair clipper.

The disadvantage with kinky hair is that it will take you a lot of years (over 6 years) to grow enough hair length for your kinky hair to hang down naturally, and this is a common complaint among women growing their natural kinks long. More commonly for men, though, is the complaint of not having enough curl definition; by default, kinky hair isn’t as defined as coiled hair, so you will find it much harder to achieve defined curls due to the very tight and short nature of the curls themselves in kinky hair.

Hairstyles for kinky hair

Because of the aforementioned resilient nature of kinky hair, this hair type goes great for hair designing with a hair clipper. An epic hairstyle for kinky hair is the Afro hairstyle because of the natural hair volume that kinky hair enjoys; no other hair type is capable of growing epic Afros as kinky hair can grow! Furthermore, and again due to its voluminous nature, kinky hair does very well with high hairstyles such as theHigh Top Fade and the Fade haircut where the sides and back of the head are clipped very short and the hair on the top of the head is shaped with a hair clipper.

Hair products for kinky hair

If you have kinky hair, then forget about hair wax and pomade for your hairstyling products; well, maybe use a little bit of pomade every once in a while, but focus on the following hairstyling products instead: a leave-in conditioner, a styling cream and natural butters. As for hair care products, you should be using a regular conditioner on most days and a deep conditioner once every 2 weeks.

Get the following hair products for your kinky hair:

  • Get the regular conditioner as for straight, wavy and coiled hair.
  • Get the pomade as for wavy and coiled hair (if at all).
  • Get the leave-in conditioner as for wavy and coiled hair.
  • Get this afro pick (very helpful to detangle your kinks and enhance the Afro shape when your mane is at a medium to long length)
  • Get the deep conditioner as for coiled hair.
  • Get the olive oil as for coiled hair.
  • Get this extra virgin coconut butter to also use on your tips as well as most of your hair length.

Conclusion to this epic guide on hair types

Four thousand words, my friends; four thousand words to give you the most-detailed hair type guide that you will ever find online. I believe this is the longest guide so far here at Manly Curls, and that says a lot considering that I usually publish 2000 to 3000-word hair and male lifestyle guides. In any case, I believe writing and publishing this version of my ISEZ hair type guide is very much worth the effort so that I can dedicate this guide as an all-round men’s hair resource for all of you. As said, feel free to bookmark this guide for future reference, share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, share it on Google Plus, link to it from your site or blog (if you have any) so that your readers can enjoy this guide too or simply email it to a couple of your friends whom you think would benefit from this hair type guide.

As for me, well, that’s all for now, but do stay tune to Manly Curls to keep up with my published articles, grooming guides and occasional ramblings! And, if you have any questions or comments, then feel free to post them below.

All the best, gentlemen.

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