The key to a good hair day? Finding the right products that’ll keep every hair in place, or offer you enough support that your hair will stand up just the way you want it to. These options — from a workable wax to a molding gel and cream — have a matte finish and a medium to strong hold so you’ll look put together but not like you tried too hard.
There’s a great Italian word, sprezzatura, that has no direct translation but is understood to mean “studied carelessness.” Fittingly, it’s often invoked when describing how some Italian men dress. Details will often be unconventional, even “incorrect,” while still looking undeniably good. The short end of the tie will often peek out from the long end, or a pair of blue jeans will be worn with a double-breasted blazer. The trick with sprezzatura is that it isn’t actually effortless; it just appears so.
The guiding principle behind sprezzatura could be applied to grooming, too. The beauty trend for both men and women has been to create a “natural” look. Gone are the days when hair was slicked all the way back and shiny enough to guide a lost ship to shore. Hair products are increasingly designed to look relaxed but refined. Even if you can’t actually get that windswept beach look or an “I woke up like this” pompadour, you can create the carefree look with the right hair product.
1. Layrite Natural Matte Cream
This cream from Layrite has a matte finish and is infused with a vanilla scent. It has a medium hold and is water-soluble. The cream holds hair in place but allows it to still be malleable.
Pros: Natural matte look, malleable medium hold.
Cons: Some might not like the sweet vanilla scent.
2. Johnny B Pliable Clay Molding Paste
For something that gives a little bit of a natural shine, but doesn’t go overboard, Johnny B’s molding paste gives a strong hold and a medium shine. It’s water-soluble, and can be applied to wet or dry hair.
Pros: Washes out easily and smells great.
Cons: Holder is stronger when applied to near-dry hair.
3. TIGI Bed Head for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
This wax has a strong but malleable hold and a natural, matte finish when applied to dry hair. Or, if you’d like a little shine, you can apply it to damp hair for a slightly wet look. Ingredients like beeswax add texture and fullness.
Pros: Doesn’t make hair look greasy.
Cons: Might be too thick for some.