You’ve probably noticed how much more complicated hair care has become as you’ve gotten older. The days of using a cheap shampoo and a decent hairbrush don’t quite cut it when you get serious about your grooming.
Unfortunately, no single product will take care of all of your hair care needs, which means your grooming kit should include a variety of products – pomades, gels, wax, even hairspray possibly.
In this article, we’ll help you narrow down the field, so to speak, while reviewing our choices for the best hair products for men in 2018. No matter what type of hair you have, styling options you wish to attain, and issues you may have with hair care, we have you covered.
Let’s dig in.
- Before you buy: 3 Things to consider when purchasing hair products for men
- 9 Best hair products for men 2018
- How we choose our best hair products for men
Before you Buy: 3 Things to Consider When Purchasing Hair Products for Men
Choosing the best hair product may sometimes seem like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. After all, there are seemingly hundreds – if not more – of options.
For many men, it comes down to trial and error: you pick a product and it works beautifully, or you pick one that you toss into the trash can after a couple of uses. But there are only a few variables you need to consider when buying a hair product for men, not the least of which are hold and shine.
How much hold means how much your hair moves after you’ve applied the product. A product with a high hold keeps your hair still, i.e, you “set it and forget it.” If you want your hair to move and have a little bounce to it – as well as allowing your significant other to run her fingers through it – then you want a product with medium to low hold.
How shiny do you want your hair to be? That’s the primary question when it comes to shine. If you want your hair to look “wet,” you should choose a product with high shine. If you want it to look natural, almost as if you’re using no product at all, then choose one with low shine or matte finish.
Many products come with a semi-matte finish but read the label carefully because different products often refer to shine in different ways.
3. Type of product
There are several types of styling products to consider:
Gel is ideal for men who want a “wet look” that stays in place. Gel is a high-shine, high-hold product that’s going to keep your hair in place. OK, so your wife or girlfriend may not want to run her fingers through your hair, but you won’t worry about your style flying all over the place.
Another advantage of gels is that they’re water soluble, which means they wash easily out of your hair. A disadvantage is that they have a high alcohol count and the tendency to dry out your hair.
Putties have high-hold and low-shine and are stiff, although not quite as stiff as gels. They’ll lock your hair in place, but won’t be quite as “crunchy” as gels, and you’ll get a low matte finish.
Hair wax is another product that will keep your hair in place. Wax doesn’t have much shine and, because it’s oil-based, it’s much harder to get out of your hair than, say, gel.
If you prefer high shine, then pomade is something you should seriously consider trying. Pomades are great for short to medium-length hairstyles and are ideal for achieving “retro” looks – like the 50s and 60s retro looks.
While pomades typically have a lower hold than other products, you can find some with higher hold.
The most common stereotype about hairspray is that it’s mainly for women, but those days have passed, gentlemen. If you’re a man with thin hair, hairspray is a great way to add volume; while men with long hair benefit from hairspray’s firm hold.
Pastes are a good option for men with medium to long hair and typically have medium shine and hold.
- Muds & Clays
Muds and clays are “dryer” than other hair products for men, which means that they have a lower shine. Muds and clays are all over the map when it comes to hold and you can find some with higher holds and others with little or no hold at all.
Clays add thickness and texture to your hair and, in fact, many clays primarily add texture to your hair.
- Creams and Leave-In Conditioners
Creams and leave-in conditioners are ideal for men with long and frizzy hair because they’ll keep your hair from flying out of place while giving it a polished and professional look.
Choosing the right shampoo isn’t easy either, but it becomes far less complicated if you know your hair type. Whether you have oily, dry, normal, frizzy, or damaged hair, choose your shampoo appropriately.
If you have an oily scalp, avoid shampoos labeled as “moisturizing” or “hydrating” because they’ll exacerbate the issue of oily hair. Instead, look for shampoos labeled “strengthening,” “balancing,” or “volumizing.” Also, work your shampoo deeply into your scalp to break up the excess oils.
If you have a somewhat dry scalp, one with minor itching that doesn’t produce dandruff (which is a separate issue), then choose a shampoo that moisturizes and hydrates. If your scalp is exceedingly dry and dandruff abounds, then look for shampoos with ingredients like tea tree oil to provide deep moisturizing.
Consider yourself blessed if you have normal hair. That means your hair is pretty easy to manage and you simply need to look for a shampoo that has a balance of moisturizing and cleaning.
Just remember that choosing the right shampoo for your hair is often the difference between healthy-looking hair and hair that’s, well, a bit too so-so.
The 9 Best Hair Products for Men 2018
1. Pomade, Great example — Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold
Suavecito doesn’t simply want its pomades to be great – it also wants them to be a cultural phenomenon.
So far, so good.
The Suavecito Firme Hold pomade is one of the most popular hair products for men because 1) it’s good, and 2) its creators bust their butts marketing it. Indeed, the folks at Sauvetico travel weekend after weekend to custom car, motorcycle, tattoo, and barber shows, spreading the good word of their products – which now number over 100.
In turn, they’ve helped stir up a grooming product industry that they felt had become “stagnant.”
Sauvetico’s Firme Hold is a follow-up to the company’s Original hold pomade, which also ranks among the best pomades for men annually. Although it’s never easy to go above and beyond a product that already was excellent, Sauvetico manages to pull it off with its Firme Hold pomade.
And what’s not to like?
First, Firme Hold is water-based, which means you’ll avoid the greasy – and sometimes stained – look of lesser quality pomades. There are no harsh chemicals to dry out your hair or damage the scalp, and it washes easily out of your hair without the need for special shampoos or soaps.
Another advantage of water-based pomades is the ability to re-style your hair throughout the day if needed. After all, you never know when your go-to style will get knocked askew – whether it’s because of the elements or an over-zealous wife or girlfriend.
Then again, Sauvetico works hard to take “re-style” out of the equation because it’s Firme Hold provides as strong of a hold as you’ll find in any pomade. Whether you’re preferred look is a pompadour, slick back, side part, or something messier, Sauvetio Firme Hold will help you keep things in place. It’s certainly one of the best men’s hair products for thick hair.
The Firme Hold pomade feels like wax when you first apply it, but the resemblance ends there as its soft and easy to comb. It hardens like a gel, which not all men appreciate, but make no mistake – it will keep your hair in place throughout your day.
Sauvetico’s pomade has the look of a dark, honey gel and has a distinctive scent that’s decidedly masculine and smells a bit like old-fashioned cologne. It also has a smooth and creamy consistency and spreads nicely into your hair without lumps or a grainy feeling.
Like their Orginal hold product, the Firme Hold Pomade has a medium shine. If you’re looking for more shine, apply it to damp hair, and apply to dry hair for less shine.
Here’s another reason to like this pomade: it’s affordable. Sauvetico has some of the most products on the market, especially when you consider cost per ounce (Firme Hold comes in a 4 oz. container). Better yet, you only need to use a small amount of this pomade to achieve your preferred style.
Why do you need this pomade? Well, for all of the reasons above – hold, affordability, ease of use, etc. There’s no sense messing around with lesser-quality pomades that will frustrate you as you try to keep your favorite style in place.
Suavecito produces some of the most popular men’s grooming products available today for a reason – they work.
2. Hair wax, Great example — TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
In an ideal world, everything we do grooming-wise would look completely natural. Our clothes, our beard, our cologne – would all appear to be just right for us. In many, many cases, they do.
And that’s one of the many reasons we like the TIGI Bed Head B wax for men: your hairstyle looks completely natural (and not contrived) after applying it. You’ll get a natural finish that doesn’t appear to consist of plywood or any other material that needn’t be part of your look.
In fact, some people may not even notice that there’s wax in your hair.
In an era of heavy competition – hair wax is one of the most popular grooming products today, after all – TIGI rises to the top with its Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax. It’s perfect for defined looks that need more hold and texture while offering a matte finish that’s not greasy or excessively shiny.
The hold, meanwhile, is what you’d expect from wax formulated with beeswax – the stuff that holds a beehive together. TIBI bed Head B Separation Workable Wax has a strong hold, although with a bit lighter touch than other waxes. Nonetheless, it should provide you with a hold that lasts the entire day.
You may want a firmer hold if you have longer hair, but we think TIGI Bed Head B’s hold is strong enough. It will certainly be strong enough if you have a shorter hairstyle, but it’s a very versatile all-around wax.
There are several other points to be made about TIGI Bed Head B:
- If, by chance, you do need to restyle your hair it’s easily workable. You can use your fingers to guide those stray hairs back in place, in most cases, or you can add a bit of water for a more extensive restyling.
- You won’t get any flaking or clumping with this wax after using it for a day.
- A little of it goes a long way, which seems to be the case with a lot of quality grooming products. A container will last you a good long while, which makes TIGI Bed Head B more than just a short-term investment.
- It’s a thick wax, for sure, but relatively easy to wash off.
- We like its list of ingredients, including beeswax (as mentioned), which holds in moisture along with keeping your hair in place. Another important ingredient is castor oil, which is often used in the treatment of acne and helps moisturize the skin. And Cetearyl alcohol, which helps keep your scalp and hair healthy, is yet another quality ingredient that you’ll find in TIGI Bed Head B.
If you’re looking for a wax that offers superior hold, natural finish, and works well with a variety of hair lengths and styles, then this wax is for you. Besides, Bed Head is truly one of the premier men’s hair product brands.
We have also reviewed several more hair waxes which may also be worthy of your hair.
Here’s a video that also takes a close look at TIGI Bed Head B.
3. Hair gel, Great example — TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Firm Finish Gel
TIGI is the distributor of yet another fine product, namely, its Bed Head Power Play Firm Finish Gel. Like its Firme Hold wax, this is a product that should be part of your grooming kit and arsenal and it one of the best hair styling products for men.
What is it? It’s an alcohol-free gel that contains antioxidants and conditioning agents to nourish and shield the hair while providing a solid hold. Its list of ingredients also includes vitamin E, which protects against damage – including the effects of harmful UV rays.
It also offers control and luster without flaking like many other lesser-quality gels. Your hair will feel moisturized and free from split ends that can turn styling into a living hell.
The Bed Head Power Play Firm Finish Gel provides a shiny, firm finish that will keep your hair put and nicely slicked back. Just spread it evenly throughout towel-dried hair. If you want to add more texture and reduce the shine, simply blow dry and style the hair after you’ve applied the gel. No matter how you use it, however, you’ll like how it keeps your hair frizz-free.
Reviewers like the fact that the gel gets softer the longer you work it into your hair while still providing a firm hold. They also like that a small amount is all you need to work your hair into the preferred style.
4. Hairspray, Great example — TIGI Bed Head Hard Head Hair Spray
Hairspray is a relic from the past.
Hairspray is for women, not men.
Whoa now, hold on.
Let’s set the record straight before we delve into the best hairspray for men – TIGI’s Bed Head Hard Head Hair Spray.
First, hair spray, while not having the immense popularity it enjoyed, say, 30 to 50 years ago, is still an effective grooming tool. And it’s vastly underrated. Today, men reach for gels, pomades, waxes, and clays, all of which are excellent products but don’t give the supermarket hairspray shelf a second glance.
Which leads us to our next point.
No, hairspray isn’t only for women, and hair sprays today are a whole helluva lot different than they were back in the day. For one, today’s sprays often include ingredients that are good for your hair. For another, they don’t contain harmful chemicals as they did in the past.
Here’s the other thing: yes, gels and waxes are perfect for creating various hairstyles, but for some men, their heaviness isn’t to their liking. If you’re a man with thin hair, hairspray is an ideal way to add volume.
Meanwhile, men with thick hair also face hairstyling challenges, including that their hair often looks dry and brittle because the natural oils of the scalp can’t reach the tip of the hair follicles due to the denseness of the hair. That can leave your hair looking dry and brittle. While you already have the volume and lift that most men with short hair don’t have, you still need a hairspray that supplies a firm hold.
We could on about hair spray’s attributes and why you should use it, but let’s talk about a hairspray we think you need to try – the aforementioned TIGI Bed Head Hard Head Hair Spray.
As one (female) reviewer described it, the Bed Head Hard Head spray is the “Holy Grail” of hair sprays. Strong words, indeed, but she’s hardly alone when it comes to shouting out the BHHH’s many virtues.
And what are those virtues? Let’s have a look:
- You’ll love the hold you’ll get from Bed Head Hard Head yet it still allows for flexibility of movement.
- It dries quickly without leaving the “crunchiness” of other hair sprays. Do you remember your mom, and her friends, with hair so stiff that the blast of a jet engine couldn’t move it? Bed Head Hard Head isn’t like that.
- Its formula is designed to condition and repair hair, i.e., the drying effects of the hair are counteracted by the moisturizing qualities for which TIGI’s products are known.
- It has a citrus berry smell that’s excellent, yet still very unisex.
- It all comes back to hold. Bed Head is all about providing a firm hold in all of its hair care products, and their Hard Head hairspray is no exception. You might not get the shine of pomades, gels, and waxes, but your hair will stay in place.
Again, hairspray may not be for everyone, but it is for women and men. And TIGI’s Bed Head Hard Head is just the product for you, gents, if a strong hold – along with a few hair-friendly qualities – is for you.
What the heck, we’ll even help get you started with this video about applying hairspray.
5. Hair Clay, Great example — Smooth Viking Hair Care Styling Clay
Hair clay used to be out there on the fringe, looking in as pomade, hair wax, and hair gel captured the attention of men looking to raise the bar on their grooming game. That’s not necessarily the case anymore, however.
Hair clay is now in the game, so to speak, and it has become a go-to product for men who are looking for all the benefits of hair wax (and its firm hold) along with a product that restores and thickens your hair.
And hair clay does just that – especially top quality products like Smooth Viking’s Hair Care Styling Care. The latter meets all the criteria for determining a top clay, including that your morning application of it is going to last you a long day.
Smooth Viking is serious about the hold its hair products provide and say their styling clay is perfect for people with a more active lifestyle. And we don’t have to tell you what playing sports and heavy perspiring can do to your carefully-styled hair.
But, to bounce back to the start for a second, let’s take a quick look at exactly what clay is. For hair clay to be legit it has to have clay in it (makes sense), and the clay often is bentonite, montmorillonite, or ozocerite. The clay then has a base of petroleum jelly or water. While it sounds like clay should be greasy, it’s not.
Bentonite, made from volcanic ash, is the type of clay found in Smooth Viking’s Hair Care Styling Clay. The clay coats and separates individual hairs to cause a more full-bodied and healthy look. This is ideal for men with thinning hair (and why Smooth Viking’s clay is among the best men’s hair products for thin hair).
It’s also ideal for men with short hairstyles, not just for men whose hair is thinning. If you have a shorter style in which the hairs are cut a bit too short, you’ll still be able to get your hair to cooperate with Smooth Viking’s signature clay.
The Smooth Viking Clay fortifies its hold with two different types of beeswax and a lanolin wax. You’ll also find some great essential oils, such as carrot seed oil, castor seed oil, and soybean oil in Smooth Viking’s formula, and all of them contribute to your hair’s overall good health.
While clay works similarly as gels and creams, it has a more fibrous texture that makes it easy to get the style you want without worrying about using too much product or adding unwanted shine to your hair. Smooth Viking’s Clay has a matte finish that adds luster to your hair – but not a shiny or glossy look.
There’s not much of a scent to Smooth Viking’s Hair Care Styling Clay, but styling clays are all about the hold, not fragrance. Your hair will look good and stay in place, and it’s hard to ask for more than that.
6. Sea salt spray, Great example — ArtNaturals Sea Salt Spray
It all depends on what you’re looking for in this world, and that includes hair care products.
We’ve covered it here and in other posts: certain products are better for certain types of hair, hair lengths, and your styling goals. Wax, gel, shampoo, styling clay, pomade – you have a ton of choices.
What if you’re looking for that “beachy” surfer kind of messy hair look? No worries, there’s something for you and it’s known as sea salt spray.
Moreover, you don’t have to pick any old sea salt spray – not when you can choose a high-quality one such as ArtNaturals Sea Salt Hair Spray.
ArtNaturals’ sea salt spray will help give your hair a tousled, carefree, yet attractive look that calls up images of being on a beach with a sea breeze all around you. More specifically, it gives your hair extra texture and bounce while absorbing excess oil, soothing your hair follicles and making it feel like you’ve spent time in salty air by the sea.
True, it sounds like a lot from one product, but ArtNaturals Sea Salt spray – and sea salt sprays in general – deliver on their promises.
But what is sea salt spray, exactly?
Well, most sea salt sprays use Epsom salt and not salt from an ocean. Epsom salt, combined with additional compounds such as styling clay, binds to your hair and adds texture. If your hair is limp, sea salt spray will give it life and help it stand up on its own. You’ll even be able to run your hands through it without feeling extra residue or grit.
Salt tends to dry out hair, so keep that in mind, and sea salt spray typically works better on medium to long hair. But that’s the idea – if you want voluminous waves and a carefree look that doesn’t look contrived – it’s best if your hair is longer, anyway.
ArtNaturals wants you to achieve a nicely tousled look while also providing ingredients that are good for your hair. Ingredients such as castor oil and coconut extract, which helps keep your hair moisturized while countering the drying effects of the spray’s salt. There’s also black walnut extract, which is rich in antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids, and tangerine extract, which helps stimulate scalp circulation and rejuvenates your hair’s roots.
Their Sea Salt Spray is made with natural ingredients and is paraben and cruelty-free. It’s gentle enough to be used for all hair types, including colored and highlighted hair.
Something else to like about ArtNaturals’ Sea Salt Spray is its ease of use. You don’t need to use a ton of it to get the look you want, and all you need to do is to spay some of it on nearly-dry hair and then shape your hairstyle with your hands. You can use a hair dryer to solidify your hold a bit more, but it’s not necessary.
7. Shampoo, Great example — Redken Go Clean Daily Moisturizing Shampoo
Why not use your wife or girlfriend’s shampoo? Shampoos are all the same, after all. Right?
No, not really, and Redken makes a point with its Go Clean Daily Moisturizing Shampoo that men need a shampoo designed for a man because men’s hair has a different texture than women’s hair. Men also have to contend with hair loss and baldness much more than women do, and their hair usually becomes rough, greasy, and difficult to manage if left untreated.
Don’t let your hair become like that. Instead, reach for a superior shampoo such as Redken’s Go Clean Daily Care Moisturizing Shampoo that confronts the issues common to men’s hair care. For one, its formula contains protein, which strengthens hair to help it better ward off hair loss and the dreaded MPB (male pattern baldness).
For another, it also contains glycerin, which helps in the fight against dry, brittle, or frizzy hair because it provides necessary moisture. Glycerin also helps provide a shine that you don’t always get without using a hair gel or wax.
Redken’s Go Clean Shampoo addresses many issues, indeed, and will work for you whether you have a dry or greasy scalp, thinning or thick hair, and even dandruff.
But Redken’s Go Clean Shampoo handles the basics, as well. It gently cleanses your hair of dirt and other debris that may accumulate on your follicles throughout the day. It even smells great with an invigorating, mild scent that lasts the entire day. It’s not a scent that implies you just doused yourself with cologne, but a fresh scent that reminds people that you properly showered to start your day. We’re big fans of a proper shower, too.
In fact, it smells so good that you can use it as a body wash – and many men do.
If there’s any weakness about this shampoo it’s that it leaves your hair feeling almost too soft. But, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not worse than the alternative, i.e., dry, brittle hair that’s hard to manage and doesn’t look good.
8. Conditioner, Great example — American Crew Daily Conditioner
Make no mistake – American Crew’s Daily Conditioner moisturizes the hair. But that’s to be expected from a conditioner.
What it doesn’t do is over-moisturize your hair. A conditioner that provides too much moisture will weigh your hair down. American Crew’s go-to conditioner provides the right balance of moisture while leaving your hair tangle-free and easy to manage.
Then again, quality products that are popular and earn a boatload of good reviews are part of the American Crew legend. It’s one of the leading professional men’s grooming brands in the world, not bad for a company that’s been around less than 25 years.
Whether it’s shaving, hair, or men’s body products, American Crew delivers on its premise that men need to pay attention to their looks and grooming without sacrificing their masculinity.
The Crew’s Daily Conditioner is good for all types of hair and, like all “best-of” products, it has an impressive list of ingredients. Vitamin B5 helps give your hair a soft feel, while rosemary and menthol both invigorate and tone the scalp.
It also includes Panama bark extract – also known as Quillaia extract – which is used to treat everything from bronchitis to skin sores and is also a food additive that acts as a preservative. For men’s grooming purposes, however, Panama bark extract helps treat itchy scalp, dandruff, and encourages thicker, fuller hair growth.
Other key ingredients in American Crew’s Daily Conditioner include rice bran oil, which adds sheen, moisture, and elasticity; chamomile extract, which acts as a moisturizing agent while soothing and softening hair; while rosemary and thyme extracts tone and also help moisturize your scalp.
The American Crew Daily Conditioner is ideal for people in high altitudes, where the sun’s rays are stronger and may dry out hair. And that’s when the need for a good conditioner, but one that doesn’t weigh your hair down, is crucial.
9. Hair growth, great example — Lipogaine for Men Minoxidil for Men Hair Loss
Hair loss is inevitable. Statistics show that by age 50, half of all men women will experience some hair loss. The reasons for it are many – genetics, hormones, age, even factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use.
It’s also true that hair loss isn’t the same for everyone. You may still have that healthy head of hair – albeit perhaps not as thick – you had in your early 20s while your friend or colleague who’s the same age may show obvious signs of male pattern baldness.
While treating MPB isn’t easy, there’s no reason to give up hope, however. From supplements to scalp micropigmentation to hair loss products, there’s an arsenal of products available to help you combat baldness.
Or, you may just opt to shave your head clean, which is certainly a viable (and attractive) option for many men.
But let’s focus on hair loss products, particularly Lipogaine, which is the best Minoxidil product for men.
Just to clear up any confusion, Minoxidil represents a generic class of over-the-counter medication to treat hair loss. It’s applied topically and generates hair growth in over 40% of its users, both men, and women. Lipogaine includes a 5% solution of Minoxidil in its product.
Lipogaine works primarily by blocking DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that’s often the primary cause of thinning hair. In short, testosterone is converted to DHT which, in turn, shrinks hair follicles. Your hair gradually becomes thinner and fine until hair growth stops altogether.
Another effect of DHT is that it causes circulation to the inflamed hair follicles to decrease. The delivery of oxygen and essential nutrients is hindered, causing further damage to the follicle.
High levels of DHT are normal in the body during puberty and help with the development of secondary sexual characteristics. But later in life DHT, as mentioned, has a negative effect on hair health.
Lipogaine includes other ingredients proven to prevent hair loss, including saw palmetto extract, oleic acid, linolenic acid, and more. Saw palmetto extract not only works to prevent hair loss but is also widely used for prostate health.
Many users swear by Lipogaine because of the extra ingredients it uses to prevent hair follicles from shrinking. It’s available only in liquid form and is often a bit pricier than other hair loss products, but people from around the globe extol its virtues.
You may notice positive results from using Lipogaine in as little as two months – remember, hair growth takes time – and probably within four months. Don’t be alarmed if you notice some shedding; it’s simply the new hair pushing your old, less healthy follicles out of the way. Shedding usually stops within two months of first using the product.
They even make a Lipogaine for Men for sensitive scalps which is helpful because one potential side effect of using Lipogaine is itching and scalp irritation. Many of Lipogaine’s newer products don’t contain propylene glycol, which may cause the itching and irritation.
How We Choose Our Best Hair Products for Men
One of our primary concerns in choosing the best hair products for men was variety. After all, no one product resolves all of your hair needs, so we focused on a few types and which one you choose comes down to your hair length, style, and the look that you’re trying to achieve.
Price is another factor and we firmly believe that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. We look for value instead; if a product delivers what it promises, then it’s worth the price.
We also considered ingredients. We believe that the more natural ingredients a product has, the better, because you won’t risk damaging your hair and you’ll also help the environment.
And that wraps up our review of the nine best hair products for men, friends. As always, we encourage your comments and questions and would love to have you share those with our readers. Let us know about your favorite products or your experience(s) with the products on our list.
Until next time.