We’ve all been there.
You have an important event coming up. Maybe a date or an important work presentation. It would be best if you had every edge you could get. Above all, you need the perfect hair styling product. One will let you emerge from your ordeal with (perhaps literally) not a hair out of place.
So you hit up a local shop or visit a few online stores, only to be met with confusion. There are a plethora of men’s hair products out there, and you’re not sure what’s the best fit for you. Hair wax? Hair clay? What on earth is ‘pomade’ anyway?
The reason for this variety in men’s hair products is the variety of hair types possessed by men around the world. Some of us have straight hair, others wavy, curly, or frizzy. Furthermore, your hair might be naturally dry or greasy, thick or thin. Different hair products will better suit different types of hair.
Among the owners of these different hair types, personal preference also has its part to play. Some of the main factors to consider when choosing the right men’s hair product for you are:
Hold: How firm do you want your style to be after application? Some products will hold your hair in place like an unassailable fortress, while others have a lighter hold for a more natural look. There can be a spectrum of how light or firm the hold will be even among different products. The product packaging will typically indicate where along the spectrum it lies in terms of hold.
Shine: Do you prefer a natural, matte look? Or do you like a shiny, wet look? Different products will help you achieve these different appearances.
Malleability: Do you enjoy touching up your hair throughout the day? Or would you prefer a one-and-done deal when it comes to your ‘do?
Complicated? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find an explanation of the most common men’s hair products to choose from.
Summary of Men’s Hair Products
|S. No||Product Name||Type||Key Feature|
|1||American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel||Hair Gel||Holds hair in place|
|2||Firsthand Supply Texturizing Clay||Hair Clay||Matte to a semi-matte finish|
|3||Blind Barber 60 Proof Wax||Hair Wax||Natural Sheen Finish|
|4||THE LABEL.M MEN’S GROOMING CREAM||Hair Cream||Leave-in styling|
|5||Boldify Hair Thickening Fibers||Hair Fiber||Invisible even in intense lights|
|6||Arcadian Grooming Matte Paste||Paste||Water Soluble, Cruelty-Free|
|7||Reuzel’s Pink Pomade Grease||Pomade||Oil-based pomade|
|8||Shear Revival Crystal Lake Styling Pomade||Pomade||Water-based pomade|
Suited for: Men with straight hair of medium to high thickness.
I chose to start this list with hair gel as it might just be the most common term for men’s hair products, right up there with hair wax. It’s also one of the most common products you’ll find in the stores.
So what exactly is hair gel, and what makes it different from other products? Hair gel is a water-based product, not unlike some kinds of pomades, as you’ll learn below. However, unlike most other products, the gel contains an amount of alcohol, which helps it in the drying process.
The main benefits of hair gel are that it’s common, relatively cheap, and does the job fast. If you’ve ever tried it on your hair before, you’ll know what I mean. The gel dries fast and holds your hair in place well after application. It also has a high shine to it – if any of your buddies use it, you can probably tell they’ve applied some styling product to their hair.
But wait! You might be thinking right now, ‘Okay, so gel’s good? No need to read the rest of the article, right?’
A gel is very convenient (I admit to having a tube in my closet for those days I’m running late). There are, however, good reasons you don’t want to apply it every day.
First of all, if you apply too much gel, it can turn crusty and flaky when it hardens. This can leave your hair looking dirty and untidy.
Secondly, the alcohol in hair gel can be detrimental to your skin when it dries. If you already have chronic dry scalp, you might want to be careful when using gel.
While gel works well in a pinch, I highly recommend looking at other products and seeing if you can find something more suitable. The last thing you want is to cause damage to your hair by applying too much gel.
If you’ve been using gel for a long time and are very attached to the product, you can consider looking up gels that do not contain alcohol. These would be a lot easier on your hair overall. We recommend American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel.
Suitable for: Men of all hair types and thickness (especially curly and frizzy hair).
The following product is one that I highly recommend if you’re a complete beginner in the world of hairstyling. Styling clay gives your hair a rich, dense look while still feeling clean and natural. While it is often confused with hair wax, clay has a softer consistency and is easier to apply.
Clay products are so-called because they contain actual clay as a component. Ever wonder why ladies apply clay masks to their faces? Clay is a good absorbent and excels at drawing out impurities. This applies to hair follicles just as much as it does to facial pores.
Applying clay to your hair will absorb some oil and grease from your scalp, making your hair appear healthier. These absorbent properties are due to a natural clay called bentonite found in most styling clay products.
Clay gives your hair a lighter hold compared to other men’s hair products. It will also give your hair the least amount of shine, leaving it with a matte to a semi-matte finish.
Some styling clays even boast of having nourishing properties for hair. This means that for those of us with thinning hair, some clays can simultaneously add volume to your air and help prevent further hair loss.
If you need to give your existing hairstyle a bit of a tune-up, try applying a bit of clay. It will give your hair a richer look without drawing too much attention. We recommend Firsthand Supply Texturizing Clay.
Also, check out our article on the Best Hair Clays for Men if you want to explore more options.
Suited for: Men with short, straight hair of any thickness
If you need something a little stronger than clay, wax is probably your best bet. While ‘wax’ has become something of a catch-all term for hair products (sort of like ‘gel’), genuine waxes tend to be made from natural products like (you guessed it) beeswax.
Waxes tend to be a little thick and clumpy out of the jar and thus need to be warmed up or emulsified before application. Simply rubbing the desired amount between your palms before shaping your hair with it should suffice. Also, remember to apply it starting from the back of your head for the best effect.
When the wax dries in your hair, it does an extremely good job of holding your chosen hairstyle in place. This makes it ideal for more elaborate styles, where you need your hair to stay in place for as long as possible.
Waxes generally give your hair a semi-matte to a light shine. Should you need a quick touch-up to your hairdo throughout the day, a bit of water (or a wet comb) should be enough to fix it up.
Waxes are perfect as a substitute for pomades. Especially so if you have sensitive skin or could do without the shine that pomades provide. Being mostly made of natural products, waxes will keep your painstakingly crafted hairdo in place without irritating your skin.
Suited for: Men with frizzy and thick hair.
Hair cream is one of the more obscure men’s hair products on this list, perhaps because it almost seems like a hair care product rather than a styling one. Nevertheless, hair creams have certain properties which make them an excellent potential tool to add to your styling arsenal.
Think of creams as an even lighter version of clay. As the name implies, they have a creamy consistency and will moisturize your hair when applied. If you have frizzy, untamable locks, a good hair cream will make laborious locks much easier to work with.
As such, creams work well as a pre-styler, clearing the way for a stronger product to do their work. Even on their own, its light shines and holds lend themselves well to natural-looking styles. A good choice for those who find even clay a little too firm to work with off the bat.