The difference between good hair and bad hair isn’t what you’re born with, it’s how it’s styled: Are you using the best hair products for men? Have you sorted through all the varieties (fiber, wax, cream, etc., etc.) and found the one that’s right for you? There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all hair product. From length to texture to vibe—are you more of a slicked-back or mussed-up kinda guy?—there’s a lot to consider. Which is why we went ahead and did the legwork for you.
If you want your hair to have a “slick” look and sport a hairstyle that has a well-combed look, then pomade is for you. One of pomade’s primary characteristics is its high shine, hence the slick appearance, while it provides medium hold. A pomade won’t make your hair hard or crunchy, unlike gels, and allows you to restyle your hair throughout the day.
Pomade is ideal for those with thicker hair who are looking for a little more control over their locks. The best way to use it is by starting with a little and building with more, depending on how the product feels on your hair. This is a product that should be applied all over — make sure you don’t forget the back of your head. Still, it’s one of the best men’s hair products for thick hair.
The best men’s hair pomade: Suavecito Firme Hold
The term hair “wax” is sometimes confusing because it’s a name that’s often used to describe clay, paste, styling cream, etc. We’ll break down each of those products further along in this post but, wax is its own separate category.
Hair wax typically falls into the medium hold, medium shine category, although it can leave a shinier or matte finish, depending on the product. Most hair experts agree that wax best suits men with straight, short to medium length hair because using it in wavy or curly locks can cause clumping.
Waxes are similar to pomades, although pomades have a higher hold. You can use wax on a variety of hairstyles, especially those that require a comb (side part, pompadour, etc.). Wax is more pliable than gel and allows you to restyle your hair during the day without difficulty.
The best men’s hair wax: TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
Clay is another styling product that has become popular among men in recent years. As its name suggests, it’s made from clay, and has a firmer hold than pomade and most other products, as well as a stickier feel.
As a styling product, clay has a variety of benefits:
- It adds thickness and body to hair to make it feel fuller
- It absorbs easily into hair
- Clay draws out dirt and impurities without drying the hair’s natural oils
- Clay helps to control and maintain frizzy hair, which is an excellent benefit for men with long or curly hair
- It helps repair damaged hair
The best men’s hair styling clay: Smooth Viking Styling Clay
Hair creams come with a variety of benefits, as well, including that they give your hair flexibility and strength, while providing a low hold that doesn’t have the stiffness or greasiness of wax and gel.
Creams have a medium shine, one that’s considered “natural” compared to other styling products, and frequently are used as a pre-styling product because they add shine, separation, and substance to hair.
If you want to look like you haven’t used any product at all, go with a cream. Cream allows your hair to keep its more natural look — but that means you’ll give up some styling power. Since it’s a lightweight product you’re trading more volume for less pliability. If you have hair that’s thinner or doesn’t need too much attention, this product is for you.
In terms of being good for your hair, cream will be the healthiest option. Cream will usually contain some type of conditioning element that moisturizes your hair and it won’t cause build-up like other products.
The best men’s hair cream: American Crew Forming Cream
A little different from your average product, fiber is made from keratin, the same protein found in your actual hair. Fiber is another product that’s going to give you a whole lot of hold without the shine. Since it binds to the hair, it’ll give your hair the appearance of being fuller and thicker.
This product has a high level of pliability and a little will go a long way. If you have shorter hair (between 1” – 3” inches), you’ll find this product works particularly well for you. This product is also popular with guys who find their hair is getting a little thinner.
The best men’s hair fiber: American Crew Fiber
One of the most common hair styling products used by men – if not the most common – is hair gel.
Using a gel is going to give you an intense hold and an intense shine. With its strong styling power, we’d recommend you save this product for either the most formal of occasions or if a stiffer style is what you’re going for.
While it’s pliable and easy to control when wet, once gel dries your hair will be locked in place. You’re going to lose some touchability with this product as well since it hardens around your locks.
When used correctly, gel can be great for a classic slicked back style or a pompadour look. You’ll need a pretty liberal amount for both these looks.
The best men’s hair gel: Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel