Prev Next
Portrait of teenage curly-haired boy standing against the wall outdoors and looking at camera

The Curly Hair…Teenage Boy Method?

By Amalah


I’m hoping some of your readers may have suggestions for me! My son is 12 and has thick curly hair. He has been growing it out for a while and it’s now past his shoulders. The curls are tight and lately, he’s been getting so so many dreadlocks.

According to him he uses a lot of conditioner and combs his fingers through his hair while he’s washing it. I’m not sure how well he’s actually doing this, my days of helping him bathe are long gone. Every once in a while I’ll wash his hair for him and really dig through the tangles.

Is there a good regiment for his hair and a way to prevent all the dreadlocks? He plays a lot of sports and is very active. He often keeps his hair in a man-bun (and I die every time because it really looks good). I’m hoping for some low maintenance solutions because he wants to spend zero time on his hair.

I do take him for trims every few months, but he wants to keep it long. I’m partial to long-haired boys and he does rock the look well.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

This hair texture is definitely out of my wheelhouse, but as a fellow mom who’s partial to long-haired boys as well, I’m throwing this one out there.

Check out this popular haircare regimen

While your son might bristle at the name, I’d suggest that you check out the Curly Girl Method. Here’s a really good step-by-step breakdown, along with recommended products, do’s and don’ts, although there’s also an entire book on the topic and many, many, MANY other websites and YouTube demos and testimonials.

But don’t let that scare you — it’s actually a very straightforward and low-maintenance regimen!! I personally know several people (with hair similar to your son’s in texture and length) who follow this method and SWEAR by its hair-changing, curl-saving magic.

How does this curly hair method work?

Basically, you cut out traditional shampoo entirely (or almost entirely), eliminate heat, sulfates, alcohol, fragrance, and non-water soluble silicones, and pretty much use your fingers as your primary wash and style tools instead of combs and brushes. If he showers at night, he should plop his hair in the center of a cotton t-shirt and tie it up like so to let the curls dry overnight without getting all tangled and snarled from pillow friction.

(I have super-fine, wavy hair and often to this myself to cut down on breakage. And it definitely works for curly-haired men as well, like wowza.)

Again, that link in above goes into incredible detail on the entire Method so I don’t want to seem like I’m lifting anything from them, but basically:

    1. eliminate specific ingredients in his conditioner
    2. adopt a wash/co-wash/no-wash plus regular conditioning pattern that works best for his hair
    3. consider adding a curl-friendly styling gel that he can simply squeeze on his palms and run through his hair super-quickly on non-man-bun-days.

How does this curly-hair-method work for tween and teen boys?

I DO admit that the idea of telling a tween/teenage boy to not wash his hair sounds a little terrifying, as I can tell with 100% accuracy the exact day and time of my son’s last shower simply from a whiff of the top of his head, so…yeah. He’ll still be showering as often as needed, and friction-washing his scalp with his fingers and all that though, so I’m sure it’s fine? Maybe?

Any advice on THAT particular puberty front, readers and commentariat?

Good luck, and good for him for rocking those curls!

Photo source: Depositphotos/serrnovik

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon