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There comes a time when all men must look in the mirror and confront the truth: We haven’t been taking as good of care of our hair as we should. There’s a reason women spend so much time caring for their hair — washing it, blow drying it, styling it, treating it. At the same time, most men limit themselves to a combination of shampoo and conditioner (which they’re probably using way too often). And all this time the best men’s hair products have just been lying there, waiting for you to pick them up.
If you’ve been on top of your hair game, kudos to you, man. But if you haven’t, maybe it’s time to study up on the best men’s hair products that can help you elevate your hair game. Why should you care? Because a lot of men don’t start worrying about their hair until it starts falling out or turning gray, when it’s already too late to save your locks. If you’re among the men who are starting to see signs of balding — no shame in owning it, gents — it’s high time to go deep on the best hair growth products for men, too.
First thing’s first. Before you can think about how to take care of your hair (and the men’s hair products that can help you), you’ve got to identify a few key facts about your hair, namely, the kind of hair you have. Believe it or not, you can formally classify pretty much all hair. Knowing what kind of hair you have makes styling and choosing hair products that much easier.
So before we get into our favorite men’s hair care products, keep reading to understand more about your own hair type.
The Andre Walker Hair Typing System
There are multiple hair classification systems out there, but the most well-known hair classification system is the Andre Walker Hair Typing System, created by Oprah Winfrey’s stylist, Andre Walker.
Going off this system, there are four types of hair and subcategories for the different kinds, ranging from straight to kinky.
Straight hair: Straight hair tends to be oily and the most difficult to curl, and it ranges from fine to coarse. It tends to be the oiliest because the oil excreted from your scalp can easily travel all the way up the hair to your tips.
- Fine/thin hair tends to be difficult to damage, oily, shiny and soft.
- Medium hair tends to have a bit more body and volume than thin hair.
- Coarse hair is needle-straight, more rough than soft and very resistant to curling.
Wavy hair: Wavy hair falls somewhere between straight hair and curly hair and is neither too oily nor too dry.
- Fine/thin wavy hair has the beginning signs of the S pattern and looks like an actual wave. It can be straightened or styled fairly easily.
- Medium wavy hair tends to be a bit more difficult to style and a bit more frizzy, or variably wavy, and more prone to absorbing moisture.
- Coarse wavy hair tends to have a pretty strong S pattern and tends to be more resistant to styling. It’s also rougher and frizzier than medium wavy hair and has a bit more bounce due to the tighter waves.
Curly hair: Curly hair has a definite S shape and tends to be voluminous, less oily and generally less shiny because the skin’s oils have a harder time climbing to the end of the hair. At this level of curliness, hair tends to form ringlets.
- Loose curly hair has a definite S shape, but may not necessarily be tight enough to form ringlets. Because it’s a bit looser, it still has a bit of shine.
- Tight curly hair tends to resemble a corkscrew and is even less oily and shiny.
Kinky hair: Kinky hair consists of tight curls of multiple strands of hair and tends to be wiry, fine, fragile, bouncy and not very oily. Kinky hair can curl tightly enough to resemble more of a Z pattern than an S pattern.
- Loose kinky hair has a defined curl pattern but is loose enough that when pulled it still appears to have an S pattern.
- Tight kinky hair has a definite Z pattern, consisting of noticeable zigs and zags.
Of course, no hair classification system is perfect or exact, but now you know what it means if you ever see products advertised for 3A hair. (Those would be curly hair products for men.) The labeling is more common in women’s products, but even if not as popular in the men’s aisle, knowing your hair type will help you figure out the best men’s hair products for you.
The Different Kinds of Hair Styling Products
Now that we know a bit more about our hair, let’s dive into some important distinctions among hair products for men. Sure, we all know about men’s shampoos and conditioners, but what exactly is a matte finish, or what’s the difference between pomade and hair gel?
- Matte finish just means that when you’re finished styling your hair it won’t have a glossy, shiny look.
- Hair wax is a thick hair styling product that contains, you guessed it, wax, which holds and styles the hair. It’s somewhat pliable and less likely to dry out and frequently results in a looser, texturized look with a matte finish. Waxes are generally best for straight hair, short hair and medium hair.
- Hair paste is very similar to hair wax. It tends to be fairly thick, offers a strong hold and typically results in low shine and a matte finish. Hair paste is generally good for short hair, medium hair and thin hair.
- Pomade is often a catch-all term for a hairstyling product and can be based on water, wax, jelly, clay and cream. Depending on that base material, pomades can be made to offer a shiny finish or a matte finish, with a light hold or a strong hold. Most often, pomade consistency is somewhere between a wax and a cream. It tends to be on the thicker side and offers some degree of shine, but not always, depending on that base material. Pomades are generally good for thick hair and curly hair, but they’re pretty versatile and can be used for most hair types.
- Hair mousse is a foam that adds volume, conditioning and some hold when added to wet hair. It can be easily styled with a brush and comb but does tend to dry out over time. Hair mousse tends to be best for thin/fine hair but works to add volume and some control for most hair types.
- Hair cream adds a bit of control and shine but isn’t as thick as a pomade or a wax. In application, it more resembles a mousse without as much drying later. Hair creams are generally better for longer hair, curly hair and thick hair, but because they tend to be pretty light, they can work for straight hair, thin/fine hair and most men’s hairstyles.
- Hair gel tends to stiffen and harden hair to lock in a particular look. It can often look wet and shiny, but once it dries it won’t feel greasy and it tends to offer an extremely strong hold. Hair gels are better suited to short hair and medium hair but will work with straight or curly hair because of their holding strength.
Ultimately, any of these products will likely work for your hair depending on the kind of look you’re going for. But if you want to be sure you’re choosing the right product for your hair, the best thing you can do when choosing a hair styling product is the easiest thing to do: read the label.
Even though these descriptions are generally true across products, they are less useful as hard-and-true definitions and more useful as yardsticks because of the sheer variety of products and differences in labeling between companies. One thing you can definitely count on is that most styling products will indicate the finish and strength of hold right on the box and container.
Alright, that’s more than enough definitions to get you started. In addition to the best hair styling products for men, we’ve also rounded up some of the best hair growth products for men, some great daily shampoos and conditioners and even some tools for home haircuts because you never know when you’re going to need to be able to fully manage and care for your hair.
The Best Men’s Hair Styling Products
1. Suavecito Pomade Original Hold
It’s nigh impossible to pick the best pomade because pomades vary so widely in terms of base material and strength of hold and because top brands frequently produce lines of pomade that offer the entire range of strength as well a shiny or matte finish. That all being said, we love Suavecito’s Pomade Original Hold. It’s water-based so it’ll wash out easier than oil-based pomades and offers a medium shine and a medium hold, which is great for most hair.
2. Patricks M2 Matte Finish Medium Hold Styling Product
If you want a hair paste that guys with all but the longest hair can make work, go for the Patricks M2 Matte Finish Medium Hold Styling Product. As the name suggests, it offers a matte finish and a medium hold, and because of the wax base, it remains reworkable throughout the day no matter what look you’re going for. Plus, it smells fantastic and contains multiple hair-enriching ingredients, so damage will be the least of your concerns. We’ve tested this extensively and it’s one of our go-tos for easy, all-day styling.
3. Firsthand Supply Texturizing Paste
Those with messier, looser hairstyles looking for a little more texture and control will appreciate the Firsthand Supply Texturizing Paste. With a simple formula of jojoba oil, kaolin clay, apricot kernel oil and shea butter, this paste makes achieving that lightweight-yet-chunky beach bum look a cinch. And it’ll be a heck of a lot better for your hair and scalp than more complicated pastes out there.
4. Harry’s Taming Cream
Hair cream is one of the best men’s hair products for guys looking for a looser style or who are just getting into styling. The Harry’s Taming Cream hair cream offers a soft hold and natural finish for an easy-to-use, low-risk styling product. It also rinses out super easily compared to a lot of other styling products.
5. STMNT Grooming Spray
The STMNT Grooming Spray might be among the best men’s hair products when it comes to lightweight styling. Give it a few spritzes throughout your hair to add a little extra thickness and light hold without the stiffness and stickiness you might expect from something that calls itself a spray.
6. American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
There are a lot of great hair gels out there, but why risk choosing something unknown when you can go for a trusty, tried-and-true brand? That’s what you get from American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel. Whether you’re applying it to wet hair or dry hair, when you use this gel you’re getting the extra holding power and super shine you want without the alcohol that dries out and damages your hair during the day.
The Best Daily Hair Care Products
7. Bevel Hair Shampoo
Bevel’s relatively new to the hair care game, but we recently tested the Bevel Hair Shampoo and we’re already big fans. Though it’s made with textured hair in mind, it worked to gently cleanse our thin straight hair too. Not to mention, it smells great. As long as your hair isn’t super oily, it’ll benefit from the coconut oil and shea butter here.
Related: Best Men’s Shampoos
8. Bevel Hair Conditioner
The yin to the Bevel Hair Shampoo’s yang, the Bevel Hair Conditioner brings whatever softness you lost from the shampoo back with a vengeance. Dry hair doesn’t stand a chance against this creamy coconut oil and shea butter conditioner. Use it like a regular conditioner in the shower or, for maximum results, leave it in for 10-15 minutes and apply light heat from a hair dryer before rinsing. When we tested it, we felt the difference after the first day and you surely will too.
9. Old Spice Gentleman’s Blend 2-in-1 Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
You can never go wrong with Old Spice, especially the relatively new Old Spice Gentleman’s Blend 2-in-1 Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. Made with coconut oil (seriously a great hair ingredient) and apricot kernel oil, this shampoo promises a strong cleanse and strong conditioning to match with a tropical coconut fragrance to boot. This has been our lazy hair care go-to product in the shower for a couple of months of now and our hair feels as good as ever.
Related: Best 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioners
10. Davines OI All in One Milk
The Davines OI All in One Milk leave-in conditioner is as convenient and easy to use as it is effective. It’s lightweight, softening and adds plenty of moisture and a little healthy shine too. Sure, it’s a little pricey but you’ll be glad you have it when your hair is in desperate need of rescuing.
Related: Best Leave-In Conditioners
The Best Hair Regrowth Products
11. Pura d’Or Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner Set
The science of topical hair regrowth is frequently anecdotal at best, which is why we recommend the Pura d’Or Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner Set. No other hair-loss shampoos come even close to packing as many hair regrowth / anti-hair thinning ingredients into one formula. This shampoo boasts over a dozen hair-loss ingredients, including biotin, niacin, saw palmetto, rosemary oil and pygeum bark, all of which have been found to promote hair strength and growth or reduce hair loss (how much is still highly debatable). As for the conditioner, it leans into the biotin and aloe vera to give you healthier, thicker and fantastically soft hair. We’ve used both the shampoo and conditioner and while the jury’s still out on hair regrowth, which takes months to study and determine, we can definitely say it slowed hair loss.
12. Hims Finasteride
If you’re noticing severe thinning and balding or maybe decided too late to do something about it, you may want to go beyond over-the-counter hair growth products for men and invest in a proper hair growth medication. Finasteride is a prescription-strength medication that stops the enzyme that turns your body’s testosterone into DHT. We recommend heading over to Hims for your finasteride supply. Hims is a telemedicine company, so you can get your prescription from a certified medical professinoal just by answering a few easy questions online. The company then ships the prescription straight to your door every three months for a no-fuss hair growth solution. All you have to do is take the pill every day and you’ll be fighting hair loss with minimal effort.
13. Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Loss and Hair Regrowth
If going through a doctor feels a bit tedious, there are over-the-counter hair medications you can buy from any drugstore or major online retailer. The best option is minoxidil, which is the active ingredient in Rogaine. The beauty of Rogaine is its simplicity. It’s a topical solution of minoxidil, so all you have to do is apply a cap-size amount of Rogaine’s foam to the thinning parts of your scalp twice a day, and you can see results in as little as 12 weeks. (Note, that’s why Rogaine sells a three-month supply.) Rogaine works best while there’s still some hair left, so the sooner you start using it, the better your results will be. But whether you’re on top of your baldness or late to address it, Rogaine is definitely one of the best hair growth products for men.
The Best Hair-Care Tools
14. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Hair Dryer
Not all of the best hair products for men are creams, waxes or shampoos. The well-groomed man’s best-kept secret is actually a salon-quality hairdryer. If you’re using mousse or just looking to apply on dry hair instead of wet hair, investing in a solid hairdryer makes a lot of sense. If you’ve ever looked into hairdryers, you’ve probably seen Dyson’s hairdryer. While it’s certainly the best hair dryer available, you don’t need to spend $400. For well under $100, you can get a professional-grade hair dryer with BaBylissPro’s Nano Titanium Hair Dryer. The nano titanium ionic technology dries hair faster and the heat is gentle and even so you’ll dry your hair without drying it out.
Related: Best Hair Dryers
Related: Is the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer Worth It?
15. Belula Boar Bristle Hairbrush
The Belula Boar Bristle Hairbrush offers all the benefits anyone could want out of a great hairbrush. The soft bristles can gently style and control thin, fine and straight hair, but the brush can also keep curly and frizzy hair healthy by drawing sebum (basically hair’s natural oil) from the scalp to the ends of the hairs. The only thing this boar bristle brush (or any pure boar bristle brush) can’t do is detangle, but that’s really not a problem if you don’t have long hair.
16. Kent 16T Double Tooth Comb
If you do need some detangling or additional styling, you need a high-quality comb like the Kent 16T Double Tooth Comb. It’s got two sides, a fine side and a wide side, both of which can be used to control, style and detangle hair. It’s been our daily comb for years and still going strong.
17. Wahl Model 79467 Clipper Self-Cut Personal Haircutting Kit
For truly next-level hair management, you can always cut your own hair. To do that, you’re going to need some great hair clippers, such as clippers from barbershop staple Wahl. The Wahl Model 79467 Clipper Self-Cut Personal Haircutting Kit has everything you need for a full-on buzz to a little sideburn grooming. It’s compact and easy to handle and features a 22-piece haircutting kit, including 12 attachment guards, taper guards, a cleaning cloth and brush, scissors, a case and more. But that’d all be useless if the clipper couldn’t cut through a thick mop of hair, which the Wahl clipper does exceedingly well for the price, courtesy of a powerful no-snag motor and self-sharpening, precision-ground blades.
18. Equinox Haircutting Scissors
If you’re serious about cutting your own hair and getting the best men’s hair products to do so, you’ll need a pair of Equinox Haircutting Scissors to stash with your clippers. These scissors are 6.5 inches long, which is a usable size for the average hand, and their super sharp stainless steel blades will cut through hair like butter. Add in a thumb rest for comfort and a tension screw to adjust the force needed to close the scissors and you’ve got an all-around, wallet-friendly pair of scissors to groom yourself to perfection.