Side Swept Hairstyle Guide for Curly Hair Men

How to style a classic side swept with curly hair

One of the most-common hairstyle problems for curly hair men is styling their curls in a side swept hairstyle. My barbershop clients with curly hair complain that’s it’s close to impossible to slick their curls either back or to the side. And I do agree with them, for curly hair is too loopy and curved to be able to give you a smooth hair slick; however, that doesn’t mean that you cannot style curly hair in a side swept hairstyle.

Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant as men with curly hair and a side swept

Part of the idea that I had to write this article came from my 1930s classic hairstyles article. The side swept was indeed a very popular men’s hairstyle from the 1930s to the 1960s. Military men, Hollywood men and regular men would sweep their hair to the side as part of the traditional gentleman allure, and the side swept was also known as the Gatsby hairstyle or the gentleman’s hair style. Many men with curly hair in the 1930s would succeed in sweeping their curls to the side (and back), so there is even historic evidence illustrating how curly men’s hair and slicked hairstyles work just fine.

The classic hairstyle of Frank Sinatra

One of the featured classic gents in my aforementioned 1930s article was Frank Sinatra. “The Voice”, as he was known, had curly unruly hair, yet he always managed to look very dapper whenever and wherever he went. Other men from that era who slicked their curly hair include Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster and even John Wayne! So how come these men with curly hair always managed to slick their curls? Pomade, it was all about the pomade.

Pomade to slick curly hair

The main problem with slicking curly hair is that the curls will coil back into their natural shape, so you need a strong hair product to keep your curls from coiling back. And, back in the golden age of Hollywood, it was the oil based pomade the kind of product that kept curly hair side swept and slicked back.

A picture of a side swept style with curly hair and pomade

By this point of time, you are probably wondering what type of pomade curly men like Cary Grant used to keep their coils slicked? Well, the name of the pomade is none other than Black & White and it was this particular pomade which was used by the gallon to keep the curls of Frank Sinatra and other famous men slicked and with sheen.

How to comb curly hair into a side swept hairstyle

But it wasn’t just the pomade that posed as the solution to the slicked curly hair problem, it was also the combing that provided the perfect solution for a great side swept style.

To comb curly hair into a flat side swept, all you have to do is first coat your curls with the Black & White pomade I’ve mentioned above in the link. You must have damp hair when coating your curls with the pomade; do not attempt to comb or sweep your curly hair when it’s dry! Simply use your fingers to spread the pomade across your curly mane all around your head.

Once you’ve coated your hair with pomade, part your hair at either the left or right temple (whichever you prefer). Use a wide-tooth comb (this one here is perfect and cheap) instead of a regular comb and comb your hair to the side in a smooth motion without pulling hard yet. Once your hair is parted to the side, it’s then that you use your wide-tooth comb to continue combing to the side, but, this time, you will be pressing down on the hair, first with the comb as you comb though and then with your fingers. By pressing down on the hair, you ensure that your curls are elongated, totally coated in the pomade product and remain flat; this then avoids the curls from coiling back to their natural state.

Frank Sinatra posing for a picture with slicked hair

It may take a little bit of practice on your side to get your curls perfectly swept to the side. However, the sweeping motion is very intuitive and you will master it after only trying it a couple of times. Simply remember to press down on the hair so as to flatten it when combing through after the first side part and use the Black & White pomade.

Enjoy your classic side swept hairstyle ala Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra!

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