Hair Styling Products for Men: The 2021 Definitive Guide

As the saying goes, "your hair is your crown and glory" —a well-groomed man with neatly done hair effortlessly stands out of the crowd. Hair styling products specific to men are an indispensable tool to pull-off a well-groomed look. 

With so many hair styling products for men available in the market, it can hinder the right selection of products for your hair type and style. Besides, with interesting marketing gimmicks, it is easy to fall prey and hoard products not suited for your hair type and style.

Fret not—this 101 guide to hair styling products for men will:

  • Ward off any confusion related to the different types of hair styling products.
  • Guide you through products that will be most suitable for your hair styling and grooming journey.
  • Save your time and money. You no longer have to go about testing and experimenting with each hair styling product to check if it is right for your hair. 

Before we begin introducing the variety of hair products, you must first understand what type of finishing you’re looking for. 

How do Hair Styling Products for Men Serve Their Purpose?

Shine or Matte Finish 

Adding a shine or matte effect by using a hair styling product gives it character. Shine refers to how your hair appears after applying a product. Shine varies from a glossy sheen to a wet sheen to a low gloss or matte finish.

Hold 

This refers to the product's holding power in keeping the preferred hairstyle intact and in place for long hours. Hair-holding products can range from high, medium, to low hold. High-hold products keep your hair in place for long hours. Low and medium-hold products hold your hair moderately while retaining the original hair's natural wave and movement.

Texture 

Texture refers to how much dimension and body you want to add to your hair through hair styling products. 

Why are there so many different types of hair styling products for men?

We all know what they say about first impressions, and that is to create a lasting impression. A unique or personalized hairstyle helps give that edge to a first impression. Hairstyling is almost like an art, experimenting with different styles to create a defined hairstyle.

Different hair styling products cater to the diverse needs to pull off that desired hairstyle. The many products available may seem like too many or too confusing. Nevertheless, each type of product delivers different execution properties. 

Again, before looking for a hair product, you need to identify the kind of hairstyle that best suits your face shape.

Why is identifying a hairstyle that suits your face shape important?

Everyone has a unique face shape. Moreover, everyone has a different hair type – soft, coarse, curly, straight, wavy. And most importantly, not all hairstyles suit everyone.

Some face shapes are best suited with a shorter hairstyle, while others look best with a long hairstyle. Some face shapes require hairstyles with styling methods that enhance the volume of the hair. 

All these factors determine the kind of hair products that will best suit your hairstyle and hair texture. Determining this will make it easier for you to filter and shortlist the product that fits your needs.

Next, you will have to ask specific questions to yourself, and you should be able to answer them to determine the hair product you will need.

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Hair Product 

Understanding the kind of style you want for your hair is crucial, as it directs you to choose the right type of product for your hair. Four basic questions that you need to ask yourself are:

  1. Do you want your hairstyle to have a shiny/wet finish or a matte finish? 
  2. Do you want your hairstyle to have a crisp hold throughout the day, or do you prefer your hairstyle to be a little easy with its natural wave, or would you like it to be a balance between the two? 
  3. Do you want to add texture to your hair? As in, do you want to add body, waves, or a visual separation to your hair? 
  4. What are your preferences for a hair product's consistency - a smooth and creamy product or a firm and heavy product?

After answering these questions, you can then begin to look for a product that suits you. Let us now look into the different hair styling products for men available in the market.

What Are The Different Types of Hair Styling Products for Men?

If you go looking for a hair styling product at a physical store or an online store, you will see about 11 different varieties. You might come across a few that you are familiar with, and some may be entirely new to you.

The types of hair styling products for men available today are – Styling cream, paste, hair clay, mousse, gel, hair wax, pomade, sea salt spray, texture powder and sprays, fiber, and hair spray.

Are you overwhelmed reading this list? Don't worry. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of each of these products and their pros and cons. 

Styling Cream

This is one of the oldest, most widely, and commonly used hair product by men. You may find at least a bottle of hair cream in a men's closet, at the very least. 

It is lightweight in its consistency. It is a go-to hair styling product for taming hair if it becomes very dry, especially after washing it. It is a versatile product and is suitable for all hair types, but it works best for those with slightly long hair—about 3 inches or longer.

Shine and Hold: It gives a light shine with a light and mild hold.

How to apply: After washing your hair, take a small dab of cream and massage or rub it between the fingers. You can then gently run it over your mane. It gives a natural finish to the hair.

 

Pros:

  • Easy to apply because of its light and smooth consistency.
  • Tames flyaway and frizzy hair.

 Cons:

  • It softens the hair, but the chemicals present in it can slowly affect and damage your hair's strength and health.

Click here to shop for styling cream products.

 

Hair Paste

This is an all-around versatile styling product. It suits almost all hair types, lengths, and styles. 

It is water-based and a little thick in its consistency. It tames wavy hair, adds texture, and gives a light and a natural definition. Shine and hold depends on whether you apply it to dry or damp hair.

Shine and hold: It gives a shine ranging from light to medium shine. It provides a hold ranging from medium to high hold.

How to apply: Since it is a little thick, it requires a little rubbing in between the palms for some time to soften it. Softening of the product allows for even distribution of the product on your hair. 

When you apply the paste to dry hair, it gives a light shine with medium hold-applying a paste to semi-damp hair results in a medium shine and high hold.

 

Pros:

  • Only a small amount of paste can give good results.
  • Since it is water-based, it is effortless to wash off.

Cons:

  • It makes your hair soft, and therefore it can leave the hair a little supple (too flexible).
  • Some paste contains alcohol and salts. These ingredients can sometimes dry or dehydrate your hair.

Click here to shop for styling paste products.

 

Hair Clay

As the name suggests, hair clay contains bentonite clay, a common ingredient in clay compositions. Hair clays have hit the market only in recent years.

The consistency of clay is creamy and thick. It works best for men with coarse and thick hair. Hair clays effortlessly give a high voluminous look to the hair with a high hold. 

Shine and hold: Provides low to medium shine and medium to high hold.

How to apply: Its properties are a little similar to that of hair paste. It is one of the most versatile hair styling products. A small amount works well too.

  • On applying clay to towel-dried hair, it gives a high shine with a high hold.
  • Once the clay is applied to dry hair, a low shine with medium hold occurs.
  • Using clay on damp hair results in medium shine with high hold.

Pros:

  • It works as a cleanser, too – drawing little dirt and hair impurities without drying your head of hair.
  • It absorbs into your hair quickly.
  • It can also help to repair damaged hair.

Cons:

  • It can get a little sticky when applying it to your hair.
  • Slight residues of clay remain, even after washing your hair.

Click here to shop for hair clay products.

 

Mousse

The mousse was a top-rated hair styling product back during the 1980s. It is losing its grasp but still a go-to product for creating that voluminous look.

Its consistency is like that of foam. It lifts the hair for a full and volumized appearance. 

Shine and Hold: It gives high shine with high hold.

How to apply: Apply the mousse to clean damp hair. To achieve a full high volume appearance for your hair, use the mousse starting from the roots and slowly going towards the ends.

 

Pros:

  • It does not make your hair sticky.
  • It gives a more natural finish.

Cons

  • Alcohol being an active component of a mousse formula, can cause drying of hair.
  • It can also cause damage to dyed hair.

Hair Gels

This is one of the most popular and most commonly applied hair styling products for men. It is the first fancy hair styling product that most men purchase to start their grooming routine.

The earlier hair gels almost had a cement-like consistency. However, newer hair gel products are a lot better in terms of texture. Hair gels allow you to style your hair in the shape and direction of your choice.

Shine and hold: It gives a high shine and high hold. 

How to apply: Apply the gel onto damp hair directly. You can also use it on towel-dried semi-damp hair.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced.
  • It works well for all kinds of hair types and lengths of hair.

Cons:

  • Because of the chemical content, it generally causes dandruff and brittle hair.
  • Hair can become too hard when styled with a gel.

Click here to shop for hair gels products.

 

Hair wax

Hair wax is a little similar to a gel, but its texture remains the same, unlike gels that harden over time.

It has a cream-like consistency. It is suitable for short to medium hair lengths with straight hair. It works best for those hairstyles that have a combed hair finish look. 

Shine and Hold: For both shine and hold, it gives a medium finish. Some newer hair wax products come in the matte finish too.

How to apply: It needs a little warming up by rubbing the product at your palms for a little longer than usual.

 

Pros:

  • It does not cause damage to the hair.
  • It gives a neat, slick, and crisp look.

Cons:

  • Requires thorough washing after using the product.
  • If residues are still present after washing your hair, it is likely to damage it.

Click here to shop for hair wax.

 

Pomade 

Pomade is becoming the most popular and widely used product in recent years. Earlier pomades were oil-based, having contents of grease and petroleum. Hence, it was cheap. Nowadays, pomades are water-based and slightly pricier than oil-based.

It has a rich, creamy consistency. It is an ideal product for a slick, prim, and well-combed hair hairstyle. 

Shine and Hold: High shine with medium hold.

How to apply: Pomades work well when on towel-dried or blow-dried hair. Damp hair does not allow the product to stick to your hair. A little rubbing between the palms of your hands is necessary to soften it before applying it to the hair.

 

Pros:

  • Oil-based pomades have reasonable pricing.
  • Water-based pomades are highly washable.

Cons

  • Water-based pomades provide less hold and less shine as compared to oil-based pomades.
  • Oil-based pomades are prone to cause acne.

Click here to browse our selection of pomades.

 

Sea Salt Spray

Sea salt is often called the "newcomer" to the list of hair styling products. It is useful for medium to long hairstyles and curly hair.

Sea salt spray is a spray formula containing sea salt ingredients. Its main purpose is to give volume and texture to the hair, enhancing your hair's definition. 

Shine and Hold: Low shine with a high hold. 

How to apply: It is a pre-styling product. Before starting your hair grooming routine, you spray this product before using any product on your hair.

 

Pros:

  • It adds texture and definition.
  • It absorbs any grease from the hair.

 

Cons:

  • It can cause drying of hair and scalp.
  • It needs to be used in moderation.

 Click here to shop for sea salt spray.

 

Texture Powder and Texture Sprays

Texture sprays are water-based, and texture powders are powder-based. It is an excellent product to add dimension and volume to your hair. 

Shine and Hold: Matte finish with light hold.

How to apply: Both are pre-styling products. You can use it on damp or towel-dried hair before applying other styling agents/products.

 

Pros:

  • Texture powders help to absorb excess oil present in the hair.
  • Texture sprays are almost weightless and can be used as a post-styling product too.

Cons:

  • Salt is present in texture spray and can cause hair damage and hair drying.
  • Texture powders can make your hair a little stiff.

Browse our collection of styling powders here.

 

Fiber

This product is almost similar to dried-out wax. It has a dry and hard consistency and is best for men with thick hair. It works great for other hair types, such as short to medium hair lengths. 

Shine and Hold: Matte/ no shine with high hold.

How to apply: After washing your hair, allow your hair to dry completely. Apply the fibre onto dry hair for extra volume and adding texture.

 

Pros:

  • Best product for men with thick hair

Cons:

  •  You cannot apply it on damp hair.

Click here to shop for fiber pomade products.

 

Hair Spray

Hair spray is the last step to your hairstyling routine and acts as a finishing product. It sets and keeps the hairstyle intact, reduces frizz, and controls flyaways.

 Shine and Hold: Low shine with high hold.

 How to apply: At the last step of your hairstyling routine, spray it over your hair.

 

Pros: 

  • It provides an additional holding power, and thereby the hairstyle retains its shape and style all day long.

Cons:

  • Some hair sprays leave a greasy or powdery residue. Thorough shampooing is necessary.
  • Applying too much hair spray can dry out your hair.

Shop our hair spray collection here.

 

Conclusion 

Finding the right product that caters to your specific needs can and will be taxing. We hope this article gave you what its intent was for – to clear your doubts and provide you with clarity on which product would suit your taste, hairstyle, and type. 

If you have decided on what you’re looking for, you can start shopping for hair styling products confidently. Not sure where to begin? Check out our store where we bring the most exquisite collections from all around the world. If you’re still having trouble deciding, reach out to us and our dedicated staff will assist you.