Men’s Hair Product Guide (2023)
Best Hair Products for Men
If like most, you have heard of clay, wax, paste, cream, or pomade, but weren’t sure which product to use on which hairstyle, then read on, as we go through the best hair products for men.
Table of Contents
How do I choose the right hair product fo men?
This way you will be able to identify your hairstyle with the hair product because most products can be applied to more than one hairstyle, depending on the individual.
To start, you will need to understand that most men’s hair products fall into two categories.
Firstly, is the finish or what your hair will appear like after you have applied your product. Most will state, either Matte or shiny finish which will identify the desired look after application.
If it does not state any, then normally this will fall into the shiny category.
Next is the strength of the hold on your hair which can be normal, medium, strong, extra strong hold and lastly extreme hold.
Some will also give two strengths, for example medium to stronghold. See the men’s hair product guide below.
Best Hair Products for Men
Pomades come in two types, oil and water-based. Both are used for classic hairstyles that require a comb to get the end result
Is Pomade good for hair?
Obviously, oil based pomades have side effects as listed above which definitely can put some men off using oil based men’s hair products.
However, water-based pomades are definitely much better for your hair, wash out easily and offer great finishes and hold.
What styles can be achieved with pomades?
The most famous and common styles are the Pompadour, slick back, duck tale and side parts.
Most people will remember the teddy boy styles from the 60’s and initially compare thus to the slick back look.
However, these days, slick backed hairstyles for guys have become very popular and using a good quality pomade is a great way to achieve the desired look.
Pomades are usually more expensive than other products, especially for a good quality product that is water-soluble.
How to apply pomade to hair
To apply, first make sure the hair is clean from any other product residues.
For best results, towel dry your hair after washing so your hair is neither wet nor dry.
Take a small amount of pomade, rub into your palms to warm it up before applying to your hair.
Make sure you get the pomade into the hair from the tips to the roots.
The amount required will depends greatly on the length and thickness of your hair. The thicker the hair, the more hair product will be required.
The trick is to get the pomade evenly distributed throughout your hair before styling. Once you are happy, either use your fingers to style or use a comb.
If you want to blow dry your hair, you can get the style you want and finish off with a blow-dry to keep the style in place. You can also blow-dry first before applying, it’s entirely a personal choice.
For me, slightly damp hair works best when applying and a light blow dry after styling if needed works best.
How to wash out Pomade?
Nowadays, most pomades are water-soluble and oil-based products are becoming less popular.
Therefore, using a good-quality shampoo will remove all residue and leave you ready for your next styling session.
To keep your hair in good condition, it’s recommended that you also use a good quality conditioner after washing.
Sleeping with Pomade in
If you are using water based pomades, then it is possible to sleep whilst it has been applied. You will leave some small amounts of residue on the pillows, but this is to be expected.
In an ideal world, you would wash out any hair products before bed, but, this is not always possible for most guys.
In the case of oil-based pomades, make sure you are not sleeping with your best bed linen on the bed, this could get you into trouble in the morning.
Pomade for curly hair?
Pomades area great way to straighten out curly or frizzy hair and have been used to do so for a long time.
For best results, pick a pomade that is water based. This will allow you to add some water during the day to restyle, especially for difficult hair.
Also, get a product with a strong or extreme hold to give you that added strength to keep your hair in place.
Pomade VS Wax?
This really is a personal preference of your preferred style and hair.
If you are looking for a slick shiny look that will last all day, then a good quality water based pomade is a great option.
They are also available with extreme hold and can be used by men with curly and difficult hair.
Clay works well all day because it won’t dry out and flake. It also has the added benefits of being a natural ingredient that can also help to promote hair growth.
It helps to draw out dirt and impurities from your hair without removing the hair’s natural oils. This is turn will not dry out your hair, which allows you to keep the desired style all day.
Clay is a natural ingredient that helps to promote hair growth. It is rich in natural minerals and nutrients which helps to condition and moisturize your hair, how good is that!
Pomade vs Gel?
For me, there is no competition here at all. hair gels are cheap alternatives that will set hard and leave your hair brittle.
I am a great believer in, you get what you pay for and a good quality pomade will pay dividends in both the finish, style and hold.
It will also wash out easily and leave your hair in better condition.
Hair Clay for men – Med to Strong Hold/Low shine
One of the best men’s hair product on the scene for men is hair clays. The clays on the market normally have one of two clays, Kaolin and Bentonite, or a mixture of the two. If you do not see these two clays in the ingredients, then it probably isn’t a Clay.
Clay is a natural ingredient that helps to promote hair growth. It is rich in natural minerals and nutrients which helps to condition and moisturise your hair, how good is that!
How does it promote hair growth? Simply, the clay stimulates the hair shaft and scalp. Clays will also add texture and definition with medium – strong hold with matte finishes.
Best Hair Clay for fine hair
I personally, would not go cheap on a hair clay. In the world of you get what you pay for, a good quality clay tends to be the best.
There are also many other brands out there on the market and some of the better quality ones that I have personally tried and would recommend are :
How to use Hair Clay?
For best results, always make sure your hair is clean and free from any hair product residue.
Pre style your hair (Sea Salt Spray or hair tonic) to help give your hair a lift before styling.
With your hairdryer, start to style your hair in the direction that you want.
Apply the Clay -Apply a small pea sized amount to your hair.
Don’t overdo it! If you need more, you can add more later.
Warm it up – Get the clay into the palm of your hands. Rub your hands together to gently warm the clay up.
Ensure there are no bits of the clay in your hand and you will be ready to style.
You can now apply the clay by pushing back the hair, which will coat the top of the hair.
Keep working your hands through your hair from root to tip until you are happy that your hair is coated throughout.
Now work some volume and definition into your hair until you are happy with the desired style.
Finally, finish the look. Read our article on How to Use Hair Clay – The Ultimate Guide!
Fix Your Desired Hairstyle
If you want to fix your hairstyle, you can use hairspray or even a sea salt spray to finish the job.
However, remember we said to use a small pea-sized amount. Well, if you don’t like hairspray, just add another small amount of the clay to pick up any flyaway hairs.
For me personally, I prefer to use an extra amount of the product if required and forget about using a hairspray. This is because a good quality clay will allow you to rework your hair all day.
Hair Clay Hairstyles
Hair Clays are best used for the chilled out and informal slick back hairstyles.
I really like clays’ because it can be reworked during the day by simply running your fingers through your hair.
A good clay cann also be used with a primer or finisher such as Sea Salt Spray. This can help you to get extra hold and be extra adventurous in your styling, so give it a try!
Hair Clay vs wax
Clays’ are my personal favorite, simply because they suit my hairstyle and finish. With clay, it will give you the hold all day and it’s more natural with more benefits as mentioned above.
Wax on the other hand, is as it says waxy which is harder to work with for me. It takes more effort to work it through the hair properly but again this is a personal thing.
If you are serious about getting the right look for your hair, then give both a try and see what works best for you.
Defining creme – Medium to strong hold/ High shine
Defining creams offer a great alternative to pomade. They are used in the same way, but whilst on the hair, they condition and nourish the hair.
Most hair creams will condition the hair whilst styling, which is a great bonus.
You can shape and restyle throughout the day and some come with extreme hold and shine.
How to Apply Styling Cream
Applying the cream to damp hair is often best, although it can be used on dry hair.
Rub a pea-shaped amount into the palm of your hands and rub together.
Apply to the hair evenly to ensure you get the product into the roots and tips.
Style as required using either your fingers or a comb.
Hair Paste – Medium Hold/Medium Shine
Hair pastes are probably the new kid on the block with regards to men’s hair products.
They offer a hold similar to pomades and can come in a variety of textures ranging from sticky toothpaste to glue-like tacky.
Pastes can be used on almost all hairstyles and offer a versatile offer in the hair world. Most also come in a water-based form which means they are easily washed out.
Sea salt spray – Medium to strong hold/ Low shine
Sea Salt Spray is a great alternative to dry shampoo. Its easy to use and gives a great wavy and messy finish that guys love. Check out Robin’s video above for extra tips. It’s men’s latest “go to hair product” and we had to include it in this men’s hair product guide.
It can be used as a pre-styler to add volume and texture to your hair before applying your main hair product such as clay. It will also add volume to thinning hair and won’t dry out.
Men also use it as a finisher, after getting their hairstyle to the desired look. it will give a matte finish to the hair with extra hold and finish.
All in all, Sea Salt Sprays are a very versatile and essential tool for men’s hair care. Read our article on the Benefits of Sea Salt Spray for men’s hair
Best pre-styling products
If you are looking for a pre-styling product then the Sea Salt Spray is my go-to product. It offers everything I need, and it won’t dry my hair out like some products.
However, there are more men’s hair products to also consider. There are tonics, boost powders and volumizing powders.
Hair Powders are as they say on the tin, a powder. It’s like a talcum powder that you simply apply to the hair before styling. These are great for people who don’t want to add moisture with a Sea Salt Spray.
Difference between Wax, Pomade, Gel and Clay
If you are looking for a video to help you a bit more about the differences between most men’s hair products, then this video is great.
Don’t forget, it’s all down to a personal preference, and what works for one guy might not work for you.
Men’s Hair Product Guide – What’s our Conclusion?
In today’s male grooming market, there are many men’s hair products to chose from and many hairstyles to try out.
I hope in this men’s hair product guide that I have given you some ideas and information to allow you to make your own choices for your next hair product and hairstyle.
What do you think is the best men’s hair product? If you have a personal favourite and want to share your thoughts, then please leave a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Men’s Hair Products
If you want to use a Sea Salt Spray as a pre styler and then add a hair clay to get more definition, then yes its ok to mix it up. However, always follow the directions on the product to ensure you are using the products correctly.
If you want to get soft natural hair, then firstly you need to get your hair washed and conditioned. Use natural hair products that won’t dry out or damage your hair. If your hair needs a styling product, go for natural products and try to use as sparingly as possible to retain your soft locks.
The messy hair look is also know as the surfer or beach wave look. To get this look, simply use a good quality Sea Salt Spray. This men’s hair product guide includes some information about using Sea Salt Spray. You can also check out the benefits of sea salt spray.
Credits- Meso would like to thank the following resources which allowed for extra research.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWd_KSSDweU – hair products wax etc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyuv5JbjtO0 – clay vs wax Robin james