Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Dear Rabbi,
A few months ago I started growing payos (sidelocks). Unfortunately, instead of growing in tight curls, they tend to stick out at strange angles, making my head look something like a wrecked airplane. Is there something I should be doing differently to make them grow neatly? I thought of using curlers, but wasn't sure if that was allowed for a man. Please advise.

[DB: What's worse? That someone thought to trouble a Rabbi with a fasion question, or that the Rabbi saw fit to put his answer online?]

The answer
A man shouldn't use curlers. Rather, if you want to curl your payos, use your finger. For the proper method to do this, we asked a Rabbi with long payos. He wrote us the following: "Wet the payos and comb them out horizontally across the forehead. Then, take the forefinger of the hand of whichever side you are doing, stick the forefinger from above in between the hair and the forehead, and push it towards the roots of the payos as far as you can comfortably get it. Then, with the other hand, curl the rest of the hair around your forefinger in the down direction, trying to keep it as in order as possible. Hold it that way just for a moment, and then gently try to remove the forefinger without messing up the curl. Once it's out, don't touch the curl; let it dry that way. Do this once each weekday morning, and maybe once again later in the day if you want (optional), and hopefully it will start curling naturally by itself. "If you ever cut your payos one time too short, then about five months later you will have a growth of hair coming from the top that will not go together with the rest of the payos, at least for a couple of years. Many have this problem. I don't have a clear solution for it."


Please don't ask me why I know this, but some hasidic men DO use curlers, and they also use gel. Further (in Israel at least) there's a marked difference between Hasidic payos and Litvish payos as any 8-year Haredi can tell you: Hasidim curl their payos; litvaks don't.

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