Hair products for men
Fellas, let's talk about hair product
Words— Kate Dingwall
So you’re a bit bored with your look. Time for something different!, you say. Hitting the gym? It’s a good idea but it will take a lot of sweat and several weeks to see results. A quicker fix is your hair. Even if you have a great barber and a haircut you're happy with, how it's styled can be the make or break. Figuring out what hair products work best for you can go a long way in helping you come up with a new look for the season.
So how do you figure out just what product is best for you? Considering the aisles are packed with pomades, waxes, pastes and more, – it isn't exactly an easy feat.
As for grooming regimes, they can range from a labour-intensive blow-dry-and-style regime to a quick tousle when you hop out of the shower. While you probably know a guy who spends more than a moment or two on his hair, most of us are looking for a fifteen second hair care regime.
With all of this in mind, below, we’ve laid out your hair care cheat sheet. Bookmark this page and next time you’re staring at the drugstore hair care aisle with empty eyes. Or, feel free to browse through our pre-curated selection of hair care and grooming products.
Some general things to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s better to under-apply then over apply. Don’t be too liberal when you start adding product to your hair. It’s easier to add a little more product then have to hop back in the shower to scrub excess gel from your hair. Also, keep an eyes on your ingredients. While those heavy-duty hold-all gels of your teen years may be tempting, the mass of chemicals will leave your hair high and dry. Opt for brands that offer natural oils or health-leaning ingredients or smaller brands with a cult following to ensure quality ingredients your hair will thank you for.
What it is: Not akin to that sticky, ooey gel you used in high school, a proper gel will add volume, hold and used correctly, gel will give thickness to guys with thinner hair. While visions of Jersey Shore may dance in your head, gel is an ideal way to add body and texture to hair that may lack some.
How to use it: We stress - a dime-sized amount will go a long way. As gels will harden as they dry, too much gel will give your head a hard, crusty look. Gel is best applied to slightly wet hair (think a good towel-dry after a shower) for easy hold without masses of product.
Best for: Thin hair that needs an extra boost of volume.
What it is: Pomade can have a bit of a bad rap. Off the top of mind, it’s associated with slicked-down styles more frequented in the Mad Men era than anytime of late. While Elvis was a huge connoisseur of pomade, pomade really doesn’t have to evoke a helmet head. It’s an easy, breezy solution to cowlicks or hairs that never seem to fall the right way.
How to use it: After you hop out of the shower, scrape a dollop out of the jar and into your hand. Start at the back of your head and slowly work the product into your tips or problem spots. Less is more, so apply a little at a time. Pomade is tough to remove, so if you go overboard you’re hopping right back in the shower.
Best for: Pomade weights vary, so it’s easy to customize a pomade to your hair type. Overall, pomades are better for men with thicker hair. If you have thinner hair or just not too much of it, veer towards a gel to help tame your locks. As pomade has more body than gel, it’s ideal for those with dry hair. Too much gel will add to the dryness and make your hair brittle.
Pro tips: Pomades come in both oil-based and water-based. Water-based pomade is ideal if your hair needs just a slight bit of taming, maybe to tame frizz or add shine. Oil-based pomade is heavier, meaning it’s heavier duty. Treat it as a wax and use it to guide your hair to the right direction. Another pro-tip? If you’re using oil-based, apply the pomade while your hair is still slightly wet. This will allow your hair to accept the oil more naturally.
What it is: A weightier version of gel, waxes are best for the guy who wants a more natural, matte look to their styling regime. A good wax will give a more rugged, worked-through look to the hair. If you’re looking for heavy-duty wax, look for the label ‘hard wax’. The thick, hard wax is ideal for a hard stick - think pompadours, a touch of a mohawk or more peacocking styles. On the other hand, soft wax, which is more similar to hard gel in texture, is ideal for fixing up low-maintenance loose hairs.
How to use it: Apply a nickel-sized amount to dry hair, and work through. Aim at the roots if you’re looking for volume, or just apply as needed to problem spots. If you want a little more sheen to your finish, apply when slightly damp to retain moisture.
Our favourite: Made in California from paraben-free materials, Baxter of California offers a full range of waxes and pomades. We recommend mixing and matching - each targets a different issue, be it flyaways, thin hair or out-of-control curls. Our favorite part, Baxter of California carefully curates ingredients with sustainability a focus, meaning the products are sans dangerous chemicals that will fry and dry your hair.
What it is: A spray probably isn’t the first product you reach for when considering how to tame your hair. Consider that every female in your life probably immediately reaches for a spray - they’re onto something. A few quick spritzes will give you that windswept, beachy look that you’ve been trying to replicate since your trip to Mexico.
How to use it: Spray liberally to wet or dry hair, tousle, and you’ll immediately notice your hair has more life and shine. We’re keen on Baxter’s clay spray - it adds texture and character to squeeky-clean-fresh-out-of-the-shower hair without weighing it down with product. An ingredient list that reads like a salad menu, namely jojoba oil and green tea, nourishes hair while aiding in styling.
Best for: All hair types. The lightweight product adds a hint of styling for a very natural look.