Men’s Hair Styling Products Explained
Let’s face it: Finding the best men's hair products isn’t exactly straightforward.
Walk into the hair care aisle of your local supermarket and you’re met with a hundred different products promising a "smooth finish" and "original hold".
That’s great and all, but where do you start?
While it’s nice to have a wide selection of products to choose from, how do you know what’s right for your hair type? And how do you cut through the hairstyling jargon (along with the marketing spin) and find the best men’s hairstyling product available?
If you’re like me, you want a no-fuss way to style your mane and rock your favorite hairstyle. And that’s what you’re about to find out!
In this blog, I keep it simple, meaning no fancy words or scientific nonsense. That way, when you’re done reading, you’ll know which product will have your hair looking fab!
Let's start from the top.
Hold vs. shine
Before you go shelling out your hard-earned cash on a new product, you need to understand your hold from your shine. These are the two most important factors to consider before choosing any men's styling product.
The hold is the measurement of how well the hair product keeps your hair in place after application. While some guys prefer their hair to be firmly held in place, others want a more natural appearance. This will often be determined by your hair type and length.
Hold measures as:
- Light Hold
- Medium Hold
- Max Hold
Low or Medium holds leave your hair more pliable, whereas Max holds keep your hair stiffer.
Are you someone who likes a bit of ‘give’ in your hair? Then a light hold is probably best for you. If you have thin hair and you’re worried about a strong breeze ruining your hairstyle, then you’d be better with a max hold.
Shine is how glossy (or "wet") your hair looks after application.
It measures as:
- Matte (no shine)
- Medium Shine
- Gloss / High Shine
Creme, pomade, gel, or mud?
Now you've got the basics, what men's hairstyling product is best for you?
Men's Hair Gel
- Hair type: Fine, Medium, Thick (any)
- Hold: Medium / Max
- Shine: Gloss / High Shine
We've all used hair gel at some point in our lives. Most of us were probably introduced to gels in our school days (as evidenced by one or two embarrassing school photos).
Hair Gel is typically cheap and convenient. Plus, it gives your hair a glossy 'wet look' finish while providing maximum hold - meaning your hair won't budge all day long.
While cheap hair gels may be tempting if you’re on a budget, they’re not much chop for your hair. Cheaper hair gels contain alcohol, which makes them easy to apply and quick to dry. Unfortunately, it also means they strip your hair of its natural oils - leaving you with dry, brittle hair, and an itchy, dry scalp.
Thankfully, not all hair gels are created equal. Unlike cheap hair gels, a good hair gel - made from natural ingredients - won't flake off during the day. And because they’re made from natural ingredients, they won’t harm your hair and scalp.
Men's Hair Creme
- Hair type: Fine/Medium
- Hold: Light
- Shine: Medium Shine
Men's Hair Creme (also known as Hair Creme) is perfect for fine or thinning hair that doesn't need the ‘max hold’ of a hair product's strength.
A quality natural men's hairstyling creme gives you a comfortable light hold - that feels like you’re not wearing any product at all. It provides your hair with the flexibility you wouldn't get with gel, along with a subtle, natural shine.
- Hair type: Thick
- Hold: Medium
- Shine: High Shine
The best pomades for men give your hair a high shine while providing a medium hold.
High-quality pomades won't make your hair stiff or crunchy like a gel can. This makes them a great option for guys with thick or curly hair.
Men's pomades can be oil-based or water-based. However, you need to be careful with oil-based products; they're often difficult to wash out and can strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils.
Water-based options - such as those found in natural men's hair styling products- are a safer option.
Men's Hair Styling Clay / Mud
- Hair type: Medium / Thick
- Hold: Max
- Shine: Matte
As you may have guessed, men's Styling Clay (or Men's Hair Mud) is made from natural clay or mud and gives maximum hold.
Clay or mud has several benefits over the other products mentioned in this blog.
The clay or mud naturally draws out dirt and impurities in the hair without stripping its natural oils. They're also great for repairing both dry and damaged hair.
While clay isn't as easy to restyle as other products, it adds more texture to the hair. This means you get more bang for your buck - as you don’t need a lot of it to achieve the style you want.
Now that you know your gels from your pomades and clay, you can select the right product for your locks.
Whichever product you add to your shopping list, always choose a natural men's hairstyling product.
Make sure you avoid hair gels containing artificial ingredients and fragrances like grease and petroleum (often found at the cheaper end of the spectrum). These can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry your scalp, leading to flakiness and itchiness.
Instead of the cheap, oily stuff, look for a natural men's water-soluble hair product. This allows it to be washed out quickly at the end of the day.
A final tip to leave you with - never slap the product straight onto your hair. Rub a small amount between your palms and then apply from the back of the head forward.
You’re then ready to take on the day with healthy hair that looks a treat!