There is a rugged handsomeness about guys with long locks. They seem to effortlessly channel confidence, right? Fabio-grade length requires a bit of upkeep, but it’s less work than you think. However, don’t let your hair just do its own thing and forget about it. While there’s no need to micro-manage, you have to at least supervise what’s happening north of the scalp. We tapped stylist and ambassador for SallyHershberger 24K, Jae-Manuel Cardenas, about what it takes to put your hair on the cover of a romance novel. Below, he shares his tips on caring for long hair for all you men out there.
Why Men Should Embrace Long Hair
“I always seem to hear the misconception that it’s more difficult to keep up with long hair than short hair,” shares Cardenas. “Well, that’s wrong, fellas. Long hair is the easiest hair to maintain. Don’t believe me? Ask the ladies. They know what’s up. I used to cut my hair very short. I decided to grow it out in high school. At first, I just kept it in a very slick gelled ponytail (not the best look, think Selena Quintanilla’s boyfriend), but that was because I didn’t know how to take care of it and allow my natural waves to shine.”
But now Cardenas knows exactly what to do. And he’s here to break it all down for you.
“When my hair was short, I had to get it cut at least every four weeks. I blew it out every morning; the maintenance was insane,” he exclaims. “Now, I get it done every couple of months and never use a blow dryer. Because it is longer, I have so many different style options I can wear. Longer hair is becoming increasingly common and more acceptable, even in corporate-type environments. I see a lot more men who are growing their hair out, and it looks great. That high and tight pompadour is so yesterday. It’s all about sexy, cool hair. You don’t necessarily need to grow it to ‘man bun’ status, but a little more length can be life-changing.” We definitely agree.
For those of you who do want to grow it out to man bun lengths, Cardenas offers some simple advice: “Let it grow! You can go to a stylist to shape it up and remove some weight and split ends, but don’t touch the length too much. Throughout history, long, thick hair on men has been a sign of wealth, prominence, and power. So let those long, healthy locks loose.”
How to Care for Long Hair as a Man
Embrace the Air Dry
“If you are low maintenance, long hair is the best,” Cardenas tells us. “You can easily go from a cool, tousled look to polished in seconds. I never do any heat styling on my hair; I normally let it air-dry.”
For those with wavy or curly hair, Cardenas recommends you “don’t brush it, or even touch it, as it is drying. The more you mess with your hair while it air dries, the frizzier it will become. The only time I comb through my waves is in the shower, with a wide-tooth comb and conditioner.”
Use Texture Spray
Surf spray isn’t just for the ladies. “For the fellas with fine and straight hair, I always recommend using a mineral or beach spray for some good texture. Spray a little on damp hair and your beachy dream vibes will come to life,” says Cardenas. “I always use a curl cream or gel when my hair is damp and then just let it air-dry. If I feel like it is still frizzy, I will go over it with moisturizing oil. Or if I wake up and my hair looks good, I will spritz it with a little water to revive the curl/wave—that way I don’t have to re-wet my hair. It saves me so much time in the morning.”
Keep Up With Your Trims
According to Cardenas, keeping up with long hair is very simple. “Getting trims every eight to 12 weeks will prevent your hair from looking too messy, unkempt, or bushy. Also, use the right products for your hair type. Always go for products that are more on the moisturizing side, especially because long hair tends to be a lot drier.”
Play With Different Hairstyles
Always think outside the box when it comes to your hairstyle. After all, that’s the fun part about having long hair. Down definitely doesn’t have to be the only option. “If I want a more polished look, I will use a gel and put it in a slick pony. Or if I’m in the mood, I’ll change my look to half-up, half-down or I’ll play around with braid styles,” Cardenas says.
Don’t Overdo the Shampoo
“The moment I stopped shampooing every day was when I realized how shiny and healthy my hair can be. As far as shampooing goes, here is one trick that I tell all of my fellas (and ladies as well). Stop shampooing so much! Every time you shampoo you are stripping your hair of its natural oils,” Cardenas shares. “I recommend using a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo. Only use a regular shampoo once a week. I bet you are asking, ‘But I go to the gym! What am I supposed to do then?’ I regularly attend SoulCycle classes, where I am dripping in sweat. When people hear ‘no shampoo,’ they think that you can’t even wet your hair—this is a big mistake. I rinse my hair every single day; otherwise, my wave pattern is a disaster when I wake up. After the gym, rinse and maybe use some conditioner. I promise it will change your life. Also, sometimes my scalp can get oily—but my ends are dry—so I do what I like to call a ‘spot clean.’ I use shampoo only on the top of my scalp and not on my ends.
Best Products for Men With Long Hair
Cardenas breaks down his recommended products to maintain your long hair below:
- Sally Hershberger 24K Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s perfect for days when I feel like I really need to cleanse my hair and scalp.
- Unwash Biocleansing Conditioner is by far my ultimate cleansing conditioner—I use this in between shampoos. I am obsessed.
- Ouai Curl Crème because it’s perfect for taming those frizzy curls, especially during a humid NYC summer.
- Oribe Rock Hard Gel is the best for getting a slick, shiny, perfect ponytail.
- Sally Hershberger 24k Dry Oil is my oil of choice. It is so lightweight, goes on the hair dry, and it’s great for all hair types.