The Grooming Manual

Back Next article

How to Choose the Best Hair Product for Men

How to Choose the Best Hair Product for Men

How do you style your hair? Long and messy? Short and trim? Regardless of your personal look, you’re probably using some kind of hair product for men to keep it in place and look your best.

But how did you choose that product? For some guys, they started using some random gel, wax, or cream when they were teenagers and haven’t changed since. Maybe your Significant Other recommended a product and you just went with it. Or perhaps you don’t use any product because your options seem a bit overwhelming.

It’s true - there are a ton of hair products for men on the market. The differences between them can be confusing and hard to understand. But by breaking down the hold and shine of each product, you can choose the right hair product for men for your needs.

This is far from an exhaustive list of all the men’s haircare products available. Use it as a general guide for comparing and selecting the best hair styling products for men.

Hold and Shine

All men’s hair products are rated by two characteristics - hold and shine. Hold is how firmly in place it keeps your hair.

Shine is how wet and shiny the product makes your hair look. A shiny product makes your hair look slick and greasy. A matte product leaves it looking dry and natural.


Most hair gels are high hold, high shine. They keep your hair rigidly in place, allowing for little to no movement. Although you can sometimes find lower hold gels, the general rule is that gel makes your hair crunchy and immovable. No one’s going to run their hands through your hair once gel has turned it rock solid.

If you want to be able to wash your product out easily, gel can work for you. It’s water soluble, so it comes right out with a thorough rinsing - something that can’t be said of oil based products.

For spiky hair that needs to stay in place no matter what, gel might be the right option. But it has a bad side. Most gels have a high alcohol content. Alcohol is not a product you want on your hair and skin. It dehydrates and irritates. Leaving it on your hair and scalp all day is likely to dry out your scalp, dehydrate your hair, and leave flakes behind. Not a great look.


Pomade is a classic men’s styling product that has been popular for decades. It’s often associated with the slicked back styles of the 50’s and 60’s. But it continues to be one of the most popular styling products for men today and comes in a variety of formulas, each offering differing levels of shine and hold.

Wax pomade has a high shine and a low to medium hold. It will keep your hairstyle in place but allows for some movement and re-styling.

best wax pomade for men

Clay pomade leaves you with a matte finish and a strong hold. It's best for guys who want to keep their hair style in place but don't want the shiny effect you get from most hair products.

best pomade for men

Gel pomade is designed for a strong hold and a glossy finish. It creates a polished shine that works with many hair styles.


Hair wax is similar to pomade in many ways. While pomade can be either water or oil based, hair wax is oil based. Depending on the product you choose, it can offer a firm or medium hold and can be found in both shine and matte finishes.

Hair Spray

Some guys use hairspray to lock their look into place. But before you do that, realize that hair spray can cause skin problems.

When you apply hair spray, some inevitably lands on your face, especially your forehead. That collects there and can clog your pores. This leads to oily buildup, bacteria growth, and blemishes. And if you have sensitive or dry skin, it’s even worse.

If you can, skip the hair spray in order to avoid skin problems. There are lots of other natural hair products for men available.

Choosing the Right Product for You

Every guy is different, and each person’s hair style is unique. So take some time to try out a variety of hair care products for men. Compare your options, but keep in mind that a natural hair product for men is best. Make sure you won’t be dehydration your hair, scalp, or skin just to keep your hairstyle in place.

Back Next article