When it comes to styling hair, hair gel is one grooming product that you don’t want missing from your bathroom shelf. The right type of hair gel allows you to style your hair any way you want and change your look. However, men’s hair gels are not as popular today as they were back in the ’80s, and you might need some help selecting the kind of hair gel that is best for you. That’s why I wrote this article, but before I roll out my selection of the best hair gel for men, and of course, recommendations, let’s take a closer look at hair gels.
TLDR: Summary of best hair gel for men
Before we take a detailed look at each hair gel, here’s a chart that shows how each hair gel compares with the other:
|No||Best Hair Gels||Rating (Amazon)||Hold||Shine||Apply on:|
|1.||American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel||4.4/5||Medium||High||Damp, Towel dried hair|
|2.||Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel||3.9/5||Medium||Medium||Damp or Towel dried hair|
|3.||Jack Black – Body Building Hair Gel||4.4/5||Medium||Natural Shine||Slightly damp hair|
|4.||TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel||4.7/5||Medium||Medium||Wet or Dry hair|
|5.||Style Sexy Hair Hard Up Gel||4.7/5||High||High||Damp pr dry hair|
|6.||Mitch Steady Grip Hair Gel||4.6/5||Medium||Medium||Damp hair|
|7.||Oribe Rock Hard Gel||4.4/5||Medium||High||Damp or Wet hair|
|8.||Axe Messy Look Hair Gel||4.5/5||Low to Medium||Matte||Damp hair|
What is Hair Gel?
Hair gel is a jelly-like hair styling product that hardens your hair to a particular style. Even though it’s not as popular today as it was a couple of years ago, hair gel still exists in the market. However, it’s now competing with different types of hair products such as pomades, hair waxes, clay, and anything in between. Recent hair gel manufacturers have started replacing some unhealthy ingredients in gels with healthier alternatives whilst adding other ingredients that wouldn’t over-harden your hair.
Key Ingredients of Hair Gels
Now that you know what hair gels are, let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients in hair gels that make them effective at styling hair:
- PVP (poly N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone): This is an excellent film-former that is substantive to hair, it is completely water-soluble, and forms clear films. However, it also absorbs water easily, which makes it quite sticky and tacky to touch in humid weather. It can also cause freeze and give your hair a dull appearance. In dry weather, on the other hand, it becomes brittle and flaky.
- PVA (polyvinyl acetate): This is another ingredient in hair gels that resist water adoption in high humidity conditions. This means that it holds better when the weather is damp and it is more flexible in dry weather so that it doesn’t flake. However, it is not as substantive to hair as PVP. So if you live or work in humid conditions, your hair gel must have PVA.
- Cationic polymers (Polyquaternium): These are positively charged polymers that are very substantive to human hair’s negatively-charged surfaces. This feature makes some cationic polymers useful in hair styling applications. They form clear glossy films and decrease the buildup of static charge and fly-away hair. Cationic polymers typically provide good combing results for both wet and dry combing and also impact a smooth feel to the hair.
- Polyurethane (good thermal stability), acrylic copolymer, polyacrylates, acrylates copolymer, and other copolymers are hair hold agents found in hair gels.
Which Hair Gel is the Best?
Let’s take a look at some of the best hair gels of 2020.
The American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel is one of the best hair gels on the market. It provides a stronghold for your hair, allowing you to style it however you want. Just style it and apply the American Crew styling gel, and your hair takes on the style. American Crew firm hold styling gel also provides your hair with a high shine, leaving it looking sleek and beautiful. The gel is suitable for all hair types, from thick and wavy to short and straight; apparently, the gel has been known to bring out your hairs’ natural shine.
American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel is made with natural extracts like vitamin B5 to help your hair look even thicker and shinier. It also contains a Dual Polymer complex that helps provide that firm hold and high shine that the product boasts of.
- Made with Natural Extracts like Vitamin B5, and a dual polymer complex to give your hair a firm hold and high shine
- Low pH prevents your scalp from drying out
- Contains carbomer which allows it to be easily spread over your hair
- Comes in a 33.8 oz bottle
- Has a nice manly scent
- Can flatten the hair if it gets too wet.
USD 32.00 (1Liter / 33.8oz)
The Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel provides a medium hold and shine for your hair without any of the fails that used to be associated with gels. This gel is made with a non-traditional formula containing Birch Juice, which works to smoothen and soften your hair whilst also calming your scalp; Ginger, which is great for straightening hair and combat flakiness in the scalp as well as adding a natural shine to your hair. It also contains Vitamin B5, which is known to play a crucial role in the health and growth of your hair.
The Baxter of California Thickening style Gel is perfect for those with thin hair because of its hair thickening qualities. It’ll give your hair medium hold and shine without leaving your hair flaky or crunchy. It can be used for a variety of styles and on a variety of hair types, from straight hair to thick hair, wavy or curly hair.
- Contains natural ingredients to keep your hair looking good while also protecting your scalp.
- Ginger and Birch Juice smoothen your scalp and strengthen your hair.
- Provides medium hold and shine without making your hair flaky or crunchy
- Has a subtle but nice amber smell.
- Comes in a small 4 fl oz. container and might not last so long
USD 19.00 (120ml / 4oz)
10% OFF Promo Code: URBAN10
The Jack Black Body Building Hair Gel is the epitome of masculinity, providing your hair medium hold and natural shine. This means that your hair maintains its style throughout the day, whilst looking naturally shiny but not oily. It is a unique gel that is alcohol-free and provides a flexible, natural-looking hold that is easy to control without your hair becoming flaky or crunchy. The gel is fragrance-free and can easily be rinsed clean immediately after use.
Jack Black Body-building Hair Gel dries completely after use and is made from organic ingredients that add to your hair volume and provides a natural-looking shine.
- Provides medium hold and natural shine to your hair
- Made of organic ingredients that increase your hair volume and shine
- Non-sticky and doesn’t leave any residue
- The gel is odorless and easy to wash out
- Comes in a small 3.4 fl oz container
USD 14.00 (3.4 Oz)
There’s nothing more sexy and masculine than a messy hair man with curly bed head hair, and this is precisely what the TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel does to your hair. It provides medium hold and shine to your hair, making sure that your hair maintains that fresh “out of bed” look for the day while retaining a natural-looking shine.
The TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel contains a solid hold formula that will keep your hair in the style you want. It washes out easily and won’t leave any flakes or residue. It is also good for your hair as it is alcohol-free and contains antioxidants that are good for your scalp and hair. This hair gel is perfect for thick hair and can be used for long, curly, or wavy hair. It can be used on dry hair for hold and shine, likewise on wet hair and then blow-dried to provide more texture and natural shine.
- Provides medium hold and shine for your hair
- Perfect for thick hair
- Protects against humidity
- Washes out easily and leaves no residue
- Comes in a 6.76 fl oz bottle
USD 23.00 (200ml/6.76 Oz)
If you want to give your hair a sexy style as a man, then the Style Sexy Hair Hard Up Gel is your best friend. Made from a wax base, it provides an excellent stronghold and just the right amount of shine to give you that sexy handsome look. The Style Sexy Hair Hard Up Gel is a high-performance hair gel that provides you maximum hold and Keeps your hair shining, just right all day. The gel can be used on damp or dry hair to mold, sculpt, and form your hair into the perfect look. It contains lanolin, which hardens your hair within minutes after application, keeping it in a style you desire all day.
- Provide an excellent stronghold and a shiny glossy finish
- Suitable for a wide variety of hair types and hairstyles
- Hardens on damp hair after minutes of application
- Can be used to sculpt, mold, and form hair into the perfect hairstyle that you desire.
- Can be hard to wash out compared to other gels
USA 32.95 (500ml/16.9oz)
The Mitch Steady Grip Hair Gel provides your hair with medium hold and shine, which means that your hair will maintain its style throughout the day. It is made with an alcohol-free formula that ensures that your hair is not flaky or crunchy. The Mitch Steady Grip Hair Gel is good for your hair as it is paraben and gluten-free, as well as big and color-safe. It can be used on all hair types and it’s perfect for thin hair.
- Provides medium hold and shine for your hair
- Safe for your hair as it is alcohol, paraben, and gluten-free
- Color safe
- Comes with a nice fresh scent that is not perfumey
- Can be hard to wash out compared to other gels
USD 15.00 (150ml / 5.1oz)
If you need your hair to retain its style absolutely, you should get the Oribe Rock Hard Gel. It provides your hair with a super-strong hold and high shine, ensuring that your hair retains its style throughout the day while remaining shining. The Oribe Rock Hard Gel is a modern gel with a creamy texture and dries up really fast when applied to the hair. It is perfect for architectural hairstyles and updos and would style your hair without flaking or crunching. It also has a superior humidity resistant which controls curls and frizz. Oribe Rock Hard Gel is safe for your hair as it is formulated without parabens or sodium chloride. It is also color and keratin treatments safe and provides UV protection for hair.
The Oribe Rock Hard Gel is made with the best organic ingredients such as Argan oil, which helps restore the natural lipid content in the hair while also brightening and softening it. It also contains Shea Oil which is a rich moisturizer and improves hair manageability.
To use this gel, work it through damp or wet hair, then style the hair and let it set or blow-dry the hair as you desire.
- Provides an ultra-strong hold and high shine for your hair.
- Made with the best natural ingredients such as Argan and Shea oil.
- Safe for your hair as it is free from parabens and sodium chloride.
- Contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein that strengthens and promotes scalp health
- Color and keratin treatment safe
- Might be hard to wash out compared to other gels
- Quite Pricey
USD 42.00 (100ml / 3.4Oz)
If you’re going for the messy hairdo, then the Axe Messy Look Hair Gel is a must-have for you. It provides a low-to-medium hold and a matte finishing which gives your hair that messy “ just out of bed” look for the entire day. The Axe Messy Look Hair Gel is perfect for short to medium hair and is easy to apply and is one of the best gel for curly hair. To apply, just put a little on your fingertip, mix between your fingers, and work into your hair. After that, just style your hair into that messy look and wait for the gel to dry.
- Provides a low-to-medium hold
- Easy to apply
- Suitable for short to medium length hair
- Contains sodium chloride
- Does not provide a strong hold, so cannot be used for many hairstyles
USD 15.91 (x2 packs of 6 Oz)
Which is Better? Hair Gel, Hair Wax, or Pomade?
The choice between pomade, hair wax, or hair gel is a personal one. It depends on your environment, your type of hair, and many other factors. Personally, I usually go with either pomade, hair clay, or anything in between. However, hair gel provides a good hold and mostly shiny looking. Also, if you sweat a lot or live in a humid environment, then you need a product that is not easily dissolved with water. Unfortunately, most gels are water-soluble.
However, if you are looking for a definitive look with a stronghold, and a high shine, hair gel might be the way to go. This is because you do not have to restyle because of its stronghold.
Pomade Vs Gel
There are a few differences between Pomade and Hair Gel:
- Type: Most hair gels are usually water-soluble while for pomade, it can either water-based or oil-based
- Hold Strength: Hair Gel usually has quite a strong hold and hardens rapidly. Pomades have low to high hold, and some harden while the unorthodox ones do not. This gives more flexibility to men who want different looks.
- Shine: Hair Gel usually has a high shine; oil-based pomade also has a high shine. Water-based pomade ranges from low to high shine
- Texture: Gel has a jelly-like texture, while pomade can range from gel-like to creamy. It is usually more viscous.
So, there you have it, our list of the best hair gels in 2020. Have you used any of them? If you have, how was your experience? How does your hair feel? I’ll love to hear from you. And are there other gels that you think should be on this list? Do tell me, and I’ll look into them.
p/s: Friends in Singapore, if you are interested to purchase our selected high performing hair products, visit us here @ Shopee Singapore