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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 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 study up 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.
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 hair cuts 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
BEST OVERALL POMADE
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.
To use this pomade, just take a little dab of this on one finger, rub it into your hands and run it through your hair for a firm but not too firm look. If you want more hold, just take a little bit more and repeat until you’re satisfied or work into dry hair instead of damp hair. If you want a nice coiffed look, use a hairbrush or comb to style once you’ve got a satisfying amount of pomade spread evenly through your hair. Because this provides a firm hold, don’t overuse this pomade. Start with a small dab and work up as needed.
2. Paul Mitchell Firm Style Dry Wax
BEST HAIR WAX
If you’re looking for a pure wax, you can’t do much better than Paul Mitchell’s Firm Style Dry Wax. You might think you’re not getting much bang for your buck here, but the beauty of high-quality wax is you don’t need very much to mold and texturize your hair. The only downside for most people is that the wax is difficult to wash out. But if you’re looking for a long-lasting hold that remains pliable throughout the day, this wax will deliver for you.
3. Brickell Men’s Styling Clay Pomade For Men
BEST HAIR CLAY
We’ve written about Brickell’s products many times before, whether it’s ranking the best face masks for men or our favorite face washes. However, this premium grooming brand also makes some of the best hair products for men. If you’re more interested in a clay pomade, you might consider Brickell Men’s Styling Clay Pomade. It’s made with bentonite clay, known to remove skin impurities, and essential oils, hydrolyzed quinoa and green tea extract to condition your hair and keep it healthy. It also smells a bit minty and offers a matte finish with a strong, but malleable hold so you can restyle if your hair gets a little tousled later in the day.
4. Redken Brews Molding Paste
BEST HAIR PASTE
The Redken Brews Molding Paste offers the strong hold and natural finish you’d expect from a hair paste. Polystretch fibers add needed control while still letting you make style adjustments on the fly.
Just use the convenient pump to get a bit of the paste, rub it into your hands then run your hands through damp or dry hair to style.
5. OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Voluminous Mousse
BEST HAIR MOUSSE
OGX is another SPY favorite for its shampoos and conditioners, but the company also makes a great mousse. OGX’s Renewing + Argan Oil Voluminous Mousse will give your thinning hair more volume, body and bounce without making it feel heavy or clumpy and it’ll give you a little extra control when styling. The Argan oil helps to nourish hair while giving it a nice healthy shine too.
6. Cremo Premium Barber Grade Hair Styling Matte Cream
BEST HAIR CREAM
Ever since Cremo came out with its game-changing shave cream, the company’s been taking its simple designs and men’s know-how into new categories. The brand struck gold again with its line of hair styling products, specifically Cremo’s Premium Barber Grade Hair Styling Matte Cream. Barber Grade doesn’t mean anything official, but it ought to because even your barber will appreciate this matte cream. It’s so light that you or anyone who runs their hands through your hair will hardly notice it. For a product that claims light hold, it still holds your hair up without that flaky feeling of other stronger hold products and doesn’t leave your hair greasy or shiny. Like most value-priced products, the formula uses water, petroleum jelly and wax, but the cream amazingly still washes out easily.
7. American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
BEST HAIR 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
8. Baxter of California Daily Fortifying Shampoo for Men
BEST DAILY SHAMPOO
Baxter of California makes a whole suite of men’s grooming products, and the brand’s Daily Fortifying Shampoo is one of its best. Wheat protein and vitamin E work to get rid of the day’s grit and grime, moisturize your scalp and leave your hair feeling cleaner and healthier with a fresh, minty smell.
Plus, this shampoo doubles as a beard wash in a pinch if your beard is getting wild.
9. Jack Black Nourishing Hair and Scalp Conditioner
BEST DAILY CONDITIONER
Jack Black does men’s grooming right, and the Jack Black Nourishing Hair and Scalp Conditioner is money well spent.
Proteins, vitamins and natural oils like peppermint and jojoba moisturize your hair and scalp and thicken and strengthen hair without weighing it down. Just leave it on in the shower while you do your business and rinse before getting out. It’ll leave you with hair that looks as soft as it feels.
10. Method Men Cedar + Cypress 2-In-1 Shampoo + Conditioner
BEST TWO-IN-ONE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
There’s no shame in going the two-in-one shampoo and conditioner route, and that’s where the Method Men Cedar + Cypress 2-In-1 Shampoo + Conditioner can help.
Coconut-derived ingredients cleanse your hair while menthol and oils like jojoba and argan condition and hydrate it, leaving you with a sensationally clean, soft and nice-smelling mane.
11. Olivina Men Rinse Out | Leave-In Conditioner Cream
BEST LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER
Everybody knows about the conditioner you use in the shower, but you can even buy leave-in conditioners to use on dry hair. We’re big fans of Olivina’s Solid Cologne and we absolutely recommend Olivina Men Rinse Out | Leave-In Conditioner Cream, which can be used in the shower or on dry hair for extra softness, strength and a light hold. Olivina may not be a household name like some other brands, but they make some of the best hair products for men, and this conditioning cream is no exception. It’s made with organic ingredients like olive oil and elderberry and smells of a Bourbon Cedar fragrance so you’ll smell like a man while conditioning your hair for the long haul.
The Best Hair Regrowth Products
12. Pura d’Or Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo and Deep Moisturizing Biotin Conditioner set
BEST HAIR REGROWTH SET
The science of topical hair regrowth is frequently anecdotal at best, which is precisely why we recommend the Pura d’Or Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo and Deep Moisturizing Biotin 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 determine, we can definitely say it slowed hair loss.
Pura d’Or Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo and Deep Moisturizing Biotin Conditioner
13. Hims Finasteride
BEST HAIR GROWTH MEDICATION
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 real doctor just by answering a few easy questions online. The company then ships the prescription straight to your door every month 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.
14. Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Loss and Hair Regrowth
BEST TOPICAL SOLUTION
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
15. BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Hair Dryer
BEST 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. If even that’s a little pricey for you, check out our favorite alternatives to the Dyson Supersonic for additional options.
16. Belula Boar Bristle Hairbrush
BEST HAIR BRUSH
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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.