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Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

20 yrs as a licensed dermatologist

20 yrs as a licensed dermatologist

10 prestigious medical awards

10 prestigious medical awards

How To Style Men's Thick and Wavy Hair

How To Style Men's Thick and Wavy Hair

How To Style Men's Thick and Wavy Hair

 

by

Thick, wavy hair can be unruly and difficult to tame. All of that volume, combined with the added bulk of your natural waves, can be tough to wrangle into a polished style.

Plenty of men make the mistake of trying to control their hair with tons of extra effort and product. While you may be able to cement your hair into place this way, you can leverage your hair’s natural body and texture (which most guys would kill for, by the way) to create a look that’s both easy to style and effortlessly polished. The key is to choose a haircut that jives with your thick, wavy hair and then style with the products that best suit your hair type. 

Start With The Right Haircut

Having thick hair is a blessing in disguise because it gives you the flexibility to easily play with various hairstyles. You can play with different lengths and bolder styles like an undercut or an aggressive fade or just as easily comb your hair over for a more classic look.  

Here are just a few hairstyles that will work well with your thick or wavy hair: 

Mid-fades work well for men with thick hair. You can keep all of that body up on top of your head, but the fade at the sides adds some polish and minimizes how much hair you need to tame as you’re getting ready. You have the flexibility to play with the length on the top with this cut too; cropping your hair short will minimize the amount of time and product you need to style it into place, but you can also leave it longer for a more dramatic look.

If the drama of the fade is a little too bold for your taste, you could opt for a cut with a textured top and tapered sides instead. Like the fade, this will leave you with a little less hair to control, but you’ll have a more gradual blend with more hair on the sides than you’d get with a fade. Ask your barber to the longer hair on top in a way that lets you just run a little bit of defining product through with your hands to finish off this style.

If your hair is really wavy, a cut with a hard side part can play up your hair texture for a low-maintenance but still-polished look. 

Thick, lustrous hair can be swoon-worthy if you grow it out, especially if you’ve got a little natural wave to work with (looking at you, Jason Momoa and Orlando Bloom). Letting your hair grow out requires serious commitment, as healthy hair typically grows about ½” per month but, along the way, you’ll be able to pull it back into a man bun or half-knot during the in-between phases.

If your hair is insanely thick and heavy, you might consider trying an undercut to ditch some of that extra weight. If you have long hair, an undercut might not even be noticeable underneath the rest of your hair when it’s loose and down since the volume of what’s left may be enough for a whole head of hair on its own. An undercut also gives you the flexibility to play around with a half-knot man bun on days that you just want to get it up off of your neck. 

The beauty of having all of that hair is that you can leverage that natural volume style short and mid-length hair fairly easily. Pompadours, side combs, faux-hawks, and coifs can be difficult to style for men with thin or fine hair but are all on the table for those of you blessed with thick, full hair. And wavy hair works well with loose and tousled styles that look polished but require minimal effort to style. 

You can play with your facial hair here too, gents. If you get a shorter cut up top, then you can balance it out with a fuller beard; similarly, longer cuts look great when paired with a trimmed beard or scruff. 

Keep in mind that your hair type and face shape should both factor into the haircut you choose. You want to be sure to pick a cut that works with your hair and flatters your face. 

Style With The Right Products

Getting the right haircut is only half the battle. The key to managing thick, wavy, unruly hair is to pair that stellar cut with a (small) arsenal of products that allow you to style your hair instead of trying to pomade it into submission.

Styling thick hair can be tough because that extra volume comes with extra weight. You’ll want to use products with enough hold to keep your hair in place throughout the day, but don’t want to load up with so much product that you end up with a helmet of hair.

Pomades are great for achieving a flexible hold. If you want to rock a super high-volume look, like a pompadour or a quiff, then you’ll need a product with a strong hold. For looser, textured styles that leverage the density of your hair but don’t require too much additional shaping, a medium hold pomade will do the trick.

Waxes give a stronger hold with a natural shine but are soft and flexible enough that you can restyle your hair between work and dinner without needing to wash the product out and start over. Waxes are particularly great for wavy hair because the strong hold will help your waves to keep their definition all day.

Keep in mind that you usually don’t need to use a ton of product to achieve the look you’re going for, so start small and add more product if you need. You can always supplement with a little extra pomade, but if you accidentally use too much, then you’ll have to wash your hair and start from scratch.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to style your thick, wavy hair can be the difference between looking a little unruly or effortlessly polished. Having thick or wavy hair can be a real blessing because you have so much natural texture and volume to play with.

In addition to getting a flattering haircut and using the best styling products for your hair type, you also need to take care of your hair. This is important for any hair type but especially true for long, thick, or wavy hair.

  • Use a hydrating conditioner once or twice a week. Conditioners will keep your hair hydrated, which in turn will keep your hair from getting frizzy and will help your waves to keep their shape by locking in the moisture that they need to stay healthy.
  • Don’t blast your hair with heat. Thick hair can take hours to air dry, so sometimes blow drying can’t be avoided. If you do have to reach for your dryer, try to avoid using the highest heat setting. 

Styling thick or wavy hair doesn't have to be daunting. If you’ve got a great haircut, style with the right products, and take excellent care of your hair, you’re going to be able to lean into that natural volume to look - and feel - like a million bucks every day.

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