Some black men prefer grooming their hairstyle in a wave or “S” curl pattern. There are steps and considerations to obtain waves with or without chemical enhancements to the scalp. Black male wave hair styles have evolved over the years with the latest wave patterns and enhancement products providing a head or "crown" full of waves.
Wave or “S” curl hair patterns
For years, black men have preferred wearing wavy hairstyles or the “S” curl look in black fashion and style. The hairstyle has always been a popular choice amongst black men and also black women. The extent of waves that are obtained by a black man depends on several factors which include the grade of hair, chemicals or non-chemicals involved, the type of hairbrush used and the type of wave or “S” kit. The newest application of wearing waves is with the sides of the hair cropped while the crown of the hair is full with twists or braids. These services are usually performed by a licensed beautician. Another pattern is what is called the "Gumby" wave pattern, which is a modified high-top on the crown of the head, which at the lowest point, the wave or "s" curl pattern is established.
Hair Texture Is The Key
Depending on the grade of hair, there are various ways which an African-American man can groom his hair to produce waves. The variable of hair texture determines what type of wavy hair style a black man can wear and how long it will take to achieve a “pattern” of waves that are noticeable. Hair wave depends on the grade of hair and in most cases the DNA of ancestors or parents.
Mixed black men can adopt a combination of natural or curly hair without doing much work or using products designed to produce waves . This is derived from the DNA of both parents. One parent may have straight hair and the other coarse or “kinky” hair. The two grades of hair work together because the straight hair adopted from the mother provides the highlight or “sheen” and the coarse hair provides the backbone or glue for the texture of hair to hold a wave pattern. The straight grade of hair provides the “S” or curl pattern while the coarse hair provides the sheen that acts as the glue.
For black men that already have natural wavy hair a light sheen product should be used to accentuate the wave pattern. No medium or heavy oils should be used.
The Technique of Obtaining Waves
To create waves in the hair, many black men make a visit the barber once a week. The process starts with a hair cut and most barbers, by request, will cut the hair as low as possible so that the scalp is almost noticeable. This is the beginning of training the hair to develop a wave pattern.
The grade of hair will determine if an “enhancement” kit is considered. If an enhancement kit is used, the hair should at least grow out for three days before applying products or solutions from any wave enhancement kit. The process of using enhancement kits on hair to obtain waves can range from 45 minutes to an hour. If certain chemicals remain on the hair longer than the expected time, there is risk of burning the hair and scalp. Most of the hair wave kits on the market are do-it-yourself kits. If a man is unsure of the process involving the chemicals, he should have his local barber or beauty salon apply the chemicals. If he is changing from another hair style, the hair must be cut low and then “trained” to create an “S” pattern that is noticeable.
The type of brush and auxiliary products used in styling the hair is determined by the grade of hair. A soft brush is used for thin to medium type of hair with light grease called “hair food,” which includes vitamins for hair sheen which establishes the pattern of waves in the hair. Some men brush their hair four times a day and wash their hair every night until they see the noticeable “S” pattern. If sheens are used, they should be light oils that hold the waves together. Heavy oils can cause matting and scalp problems and lead to scalp sores and the “caking” of the hair.
If a black man has coarse hair, a harder brush must be used to train the hair to lay in a wave pattern. Again, light oils and sheens can be used on the hair to help obtain the pattern desired. There are products such as, Murray's Hair Pomade, designed for creating a wavy hair pattern and “S” Curl products that specialises in wave making hairstyles.
“Do rags” are modified stocking caps that are worn on the head at night during sleep to hold oils together. There are do rags also worn during the day to hold the hair together and specialised caps that can be worn with formal wear designed to hold the oils in the hair to obtain the “S” pattern of waves.