There’s no shortage of style options for guys with long hair. Whether you’re trying your hand at the trendy man bun or top knot, getting loc’d and loaded with some cool dreads or letting your natural lion’s mane hang loose, it’s no longer taboo for men of all ages to sport a longish look. And contrary to popular belief, long hair actually requires less maintenance than shorter haircuts: You don’t have to go in as often for a trim, plus you can always opt to tie it up during lazy days.
One very crucial thing that guys with long hair have to keep in mind though is their grooming routine. Read on for the best ways to keep your hair in tip-top shape, whether you’re aiming for a grungy hippie look or some full-on Casanova curls.
1. Don’t skip on washes
You know when your girlfriend hasn’t shampooed in a few days and everything seems just a little bit stringier? Well, double that—guys produce more oil (and sweat, as some say), which means your strands probably are twice as gnarly. Hair can look and feel especially ripe after a workout, some outdoor sports or even some heavy lifting or bustling around the office. Cleanse hair while you shower with a strand-strengthening shampoo that promotes thicker-looking hair, like Dove Men Care Thick & Strong 2-in-1 Fortifying Shampoo + Conditioner. Afraid of some extra frizz in the AM? Shower at night, before bed, to give your strands time to re-lubricate.
2. Buy a heat protectant or primer (and use it!)
Really. Long hair is older hair and therefore shows more wear and tear. Once you get to a certain length, you’re more likely to use a blowdryer to dry your strands. A caveat: Any heat applied to hair strands, especially when they’re wet, can cause damage—and yes, this includes UV rays from staying outdoors as well. Protect your strands with a light spray-on thermal protectant, like TRESemmé Platinum Strength Strengthening Heat Protect Spray, before blow-drying or going on a weekend hike. (Bonus: It helps add smoothness too).
3. Trim regularly
Long hair of whatever type—whether curly, wavy or straight—will show more of your natural texture and hair condition, so it’s important to keep things healthy-looking. Every eight weeks is a good timeline, or anytime you’re starting to feel a little unkempt or scraggly. Men who have just come out of their dreadlocks or have a natural afro might want to get more frequent trims, as these hair types tend to be drier and prone to frizz.
4. Switch to softer hair products
Stuff like pomades, creams and soft waxes like putties are ideal (we love the versatile feel of Bed Head for Men by TIGI Pure Texture and Axe Natural Look: Understated Cream, and steer clear of the hard-drying gels or anything “maximum hold”—oftentimes, you don’t need it. These help keep your style intact while also protecting your long hair from frizzing out and becoming unmanageable. Guys with long hair don’t need to apply as much either: A simple finger swipe or a dime-sized dollop of product raked through your hair is enough to keep a man bun or top knot from budging.
5. Deep-condition weekly
All that blowdrying and product use can take a toll, and a weekly (or bi-monthly) at-home treatment can easily get you on the up and up again. After rinsing off your 2-in-1 product or your conditioner, take a quarter-dollar-sized blob of treatment cream in your hands (we like the no-nonsense moisture we get from Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask) and coat through your entire head. Focus a lot more product on the tips, as these are the oldest parts of your hair and the parts that have incurred the most damage. Let it set for around five minutes—shave that stubble in the meantime—and rinse off completely with cool water.
6. Mind your scruff
For a well-balanced look, groom or trim your facial hair regularly. This ensures your overall look from looking dishevelled-slash-homeless and also keeps your look crisp enough for a professional work setting.
For guys with long hair, what’s your daily grooming regimen?