1. Find Your Hair Type
The first step to selecting the best product for you is to understand your hair type, as using the wrong products can work against you, or worse, damage your hair. For example, if you have thin, fine hair and use a heavy hold product, it could weigh hair down—not a good look.
Most guys fall into one of these hair types:
- Extremely curly/textured
- Wavy, curly
- Thin, fine, or straight
2. What’s Your Look?
Next, you’ll want to find products that create the look you want. Keep an eye out for the following terms and descriptions on product labels to help you choose the one you want:
- Shine/Wet - Creates a shiny finish or wet look.
- Matte/Dry - A more natural look that’s not glossy.
- Texture - Use to layer through hair for a multi-dimensional look.
- Hold - The level of strength a product has to hold a finished style.
3. Pick Your Product
Now we can get into which products work best for specific looks and hair types.
This one’s been around a while but is still a go-to for styled, wet looks. It’s functional and versatile, available in a range of holds—from light to extreme.
Thicker hair and short to medium hair lengths.
Use on dry or damp hair. Spread evenly on fingertips and run fingers through hair from front to back and back to front. Then style as desired.
Pomade, wax, clay. What’s the difference? A true pomade is a combination of wax and oil. It can provide light or high shine and create a natural, wet look—similar to gel but without the possibility of drying out or flaking into hair.
Matte products are called by many different names, which can make choosing one easier said than done. One common characteristic among them is that they all achieve a matte or dry finish. They’re great for adding moveable hold and texture without that wet look. It’s perfect for messy hairstyles.
Thin and thick hair, and wavy hair of all lengths.
Apply a small amount to your fingertips (you can add more later if needed) and rub together so that the product goes on evenly. Run through your hair front to back, back to front and then style as needed. Works best on damp or almost dry hair.
Styling creams don’t get as much play as other men’s styling products but they’re perfect for achieving subtle control without looking like you’ve spent a lot of time styling your hair. Styling creams are lighter than waxes and less clumpy.
Thin to thicker hair, wavy and curly hair of all lengths.
Put a small amount in your hand and rub between your fingers. Apply as needed. You also can use styling creams as a finishing agent after your wax, pomade, etc. to set your style.
If you have thinning hair, mousse is your friend. It lightly coats hair with polymers that help plump up strands for the appearance of thicker hair.
Thin or fine hair.
Shake the bottle and add a little product to one hand, then apply to dry hair with both hands. For maximum hold, blast hair for a couple of seconds with a blow dryer.
Think hairspray is just for the ladies? Think again. Many stylists agree that hairspray is the best way to finish any style, as long as you don’t go overboard. Look for a spray with flexible hold.