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Mens Hair Products: Quick Useful 101 Guide 5 3
Mens Hair Products: Quick Useful 101 Guide
10-08-2016, 12:47 PM
Post: #1
Mens Hair Products: Quick Useful 101 Guide
As a hairdresser and barber, my work isn't just limited to cutting hair, even though the public seems to think of us hairdressers, barbers and hairstylists. My job is, in a nicely summarized phrase, is to 'make your hair look great'. Cutting hair is one of the means to reach the final destination, but so is shaping the hair, styling it and choosing the right product for the hair; it is with this latter mean that I would like to focus this forum post on.

What are the hair products for men?
Traditionally, women have driven the sales of hair products in just about every market, including in the United States. However, since 20 years ago in the late 1990s, the male hair care industry took off and this sub-set of the global hair care industry began to be inundated with product after product, of which some made shady or bogus claims. Some of these hair products are for the most part recognized by men anywhere in the world (e.g. hair gel) while other products such as hair wax or hair spray have yet to gain the styling appeal of the more traditional hair products.

The list of the most useful hair products for men can be summarised as follows:
  • Hair wax
  • Hair gel
  • Pomade
  • Styling creams
  • Hair mousse
  • Hair spray
Let's now go through each of the hair products for men:

Hair wax:

Even though the name itself may suggest so, hair wax isn't a product made out of regular wax (as found in candles). Hair wax is a pasty textured product that almost miraculously improves the manageability of hair and allows for some otherwise impossible mens hairstyles. While there are plenty of low quality hair waxes, there are also great hair waxes in the market and for which choosing the best hair wax for a guy should not pose a problem.

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Personally I like several brands that have been discussed on this forum and which are available online. High street retailers don't tend to carry these waxes as it is usually that you will find medium quality brands like American Crew in such types of shops for this line of mens hair products. The good news though is that the Internet has developed itself immensely when it comes to online commerce, and buying hair products for yourself online is ever so easy (just search in Amazon for male hair waxes and prepare yourself to be astonished with the huge range of products that are stocked at Amazon!).

For more on hair wax for men, see this forum thread:

Hair gel:

Hair gel is the most known mens product out there, and this is simply due to the versatile nature of hair gel. With this product, one can shape his hair or wear it natural; tousle his locks for the perfect out-of-bed look or style some spikes or mohawk crests. The possibilities with hair gel are endless and more varied than those styling possibilities for hair wax.

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The only inconvenient of hair gel is that it is usually a hassle to wash off the hair, requiring a strong shampoo (like a clarifying shampoo) to fully remove the sticky gel that remains stuck and even crusted on the hair if the hair isn't washed within 24 hours of using it.

On the other hand, hair wax is more much forgiving and one can even wake up the next day without having removed the hair wax the night prior, and then proceed to easily shampoo the wax off his hair.

For more on hair gel for men, see this forum thread:

Hair pomade:

Pomade is actually a classic product that was made exclusively for men in the late 19th century. Today's pomades are products to use when you want your hair to sport a high shine effect or a wet hair effect, along with a strong hold on you hair. Pomades can also vary in holding strength despite the most common hold being a strong hold. You can get pomades with a firm hold all the way up to a very strong hold.

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Until recently, pomade largely remained a select hair product for men but its popularity has taken off in the last decade due to the improvements in ingredients used to make hairstyling pomades. The lack of popularity of pomades in the past was due to the poor quality of most pomades in the market. Recent innovations in the manufacturing of hair products have propeled many men's hair products to the forefront, including pomades.

With some of the lesser known manufacturers, there are still some major concerns for the actual safety of this product since pomade can be made of mineral oil and, over the last 3 years, there have been several cases of pomades being manufactured with engine oil made of mineral oil, which is very dangerous and risks mortal burns as has already been documented! These potentially lethal pomades are usually counterfeit products that resort to cheap and dangerous products to increase the profit margin of the sale of these counterfeit hair products. It should be said that these cases of dangerous pomades have only been reported in Asian developing countries and not in the United States or Europe. However it is always a good thing to bear this in mind if you're shopping for the cheapest pomades from unknown manufacturers.

It should be said though that the situation has improved dramatically from what it used to be 10 to 15 years ago, when I remember that just about any product that was branded as international (and thus perceived as luxurious or high quality) was fake and was being made in kitchen sinks and bathtubs!

For more on pomades for men's hair, read this forum thread:

Styling creams:

Styling creams have been used for many decades, going by the name of hairdressing creams back in the 1950s. Today, styling creams are so much better than the styling creams of yesteryear. You cannot even begin to appreciate how lucky we are about this if you've never tried a hairdressing cream from the 1950s on your hair.

Styling creams are used to provide a nice natural shine on your hair while yielding a low hold on your hair. Styling creams can be thought of pomades with a little less shine and a much lower holding strength. This means that styling creams are great hair products for men with long hair or for men who want to have their hair in a casual manner.

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Styling creams are also the best hair products for men with curly hair. One more advantage of styling creams is that they help to moisturize the hair and this goes a long way to tame frizzy curls. To benefit from styling creams as a curly guy, your hair can be of any given length.

For more on styling creams for men's hair, read this bigger guide on men's hair products:

Hair mousse:

Hair mousse is a type of hair product that gives a dry shiny look to hair. This particular styling texture is difficult to achieve with other hair products and it's the reason for hair mousse products being so useful for men who want to be able to sport a wide range of hairstyles.

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Another peculiarity and benefit of hair mousse is that this product will make your hair appear thicker when used with a blow dryer. Hair mousse is a volumizing product by itself so you can get a moderate hair thickening effect by using hair mousse on its own. However when you pair a hair mousse product with a blowdryer, you're then talking business! To get the biggest hair thickening effect with this combo, simply style you hair with your fingers and hair mousse as you point the blow dryer to your hair and especially to the section of your hair that you're styling your fingers on.

For more on hair mousse for men's hairstyles, see this forum discussion:

Hair spray:

Hair spray is another hair product that has been traditionally used by women but which is slowly being used by more men. I always recommend to my clients to always have at home a can of hair spray handy as the spray can be a true lifesaver when in a rush. Hair spray allows one to securely fix the hairstyle in place so that one can go about his day without fearing that his hair morphs into a new shape in a couple of hours (an issue which is specially serious for curly men).

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Hair spray is easy to use and it can make a huge difference in one's hairstyle so for those men who like to always look sharp, hair spray should be a mens hair product to seriously consider. One more thing to always remember is that hair spray products are extremely flammable, so do not smoke or have any products emitting a lot of heat nearby!

For more on hair sprays for men, read this forum thread:

Which mens hair product to choose?
After all, one can't simply end this article with the list of available hair products for men, some form of consensus must be reached to give you a better understanding of how these hair products play into your own hair grooming needs.

I am advocate for experimentation, which simply means having a product for each of the 4 categories listed above. By having a hair wax, hair gel, pomade and hair spray, you can then test each product against a hairstyle of your preference and then arrive to a conclusion of which of the 4 products best suits that particular hairstyle you tested the products on. You repeat this same testing procedure on other hairstyles that you like to wear or plan on wearing and eventually, in a matter of a couple of weeks, you will have garnered enough hair product knowledge and be able to reach your own consensus on each of the products.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, as hairdressers, we are here to help you maximize your hairstyle with all the tools available, and hair products should certainly be a part of your weaponry when it comes to your goal of great hair.
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10-24-2016, 03:51 PM
Post: #2
Leave-in conditioners are also great hair products for men's hairstyles of all types!
Thank you for posting this excellent 101 guide on men's hair products. We always welcome the input and knowledge of barbers and hairdressers in our forum, and this guide of yours is very useful for those males wanting to learn the most-important details when it comes to men's hair products. Alas, we've covered all these hair-styling products in great details in many other guides, but this 101-type guide makes for a very-tidy and efficient reading resource. Again, thank you for sharing your knowledge as a fellow barber and hairdresser!

Since this guide can be easily referenced for those seeking to know the foundation of men's hair-styling products, I'd like to add another hair-styling product that is usually overlooked but which is just as useful as the other hair-styling products in your guide. I'm talking of leave-in conditioners, and I know for a fact that you do too recommend leave-in conditioners as hair-styling products, since your input and posts on other similar threads have indeed recognized the great merits of leave-in conditioners as hair-styling products!

Leave-in conditioners can, however, cause some confusion when one is looking for the most-popular mainstream products for men's hair. I do know that you left out this type of hair-styling product (i.e. leave-in conditioners) so as to not complicate matters further and I would leave your guide as you've published it. With this said (and as we talked via private messages on this topic), I'd like to add leave-in conditioners to your guide and explain their use as part of providing the whole range of hair-styling products for men.

Leave-in conditioners:

Leave-in conditioners are products that allow you to loosely style your hair while achieving a naturally-shiny texture. A leave-in conditioner will condition your hair (i.e. make it glossier and fuller as well as help to avoid tangles) just like regular hair conditioners do, only that a leave-in conditioner is meant to be left on the hair and not be rinsed out (unlike regular conditioners). Since a leave-in conditioner is to be left on the hair without being rinsed, you benefit from the ability to style your hair while keeping it conditioned and tangle-free.

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Leave-in conditioners as hair-styling products are specially useful to curly-haired males. This is because curly hair benefits greatly from being conditioned frequently and because curly hair usually looks its best when it is loosely styled at medium length and long lengths. As a matter of fact, a leave-in conditioner can be used to weigh one's curly hair down when one's curls still puff out and up (i.e. stand up instead of down). Thus, those curly-haired males wanting to rock dangling curls can use leave-in conditioners to ensure that their curls stay down and lustrous!

For an even better curly-hair dangling effect, you can combine a leave-in conditioner with a hair-styling cream (as described earlier in this guide) to weigh the hair down at lengths of hair in which curly hair cannot be weighed down with just a leave-in conditioner. By using a hair-styling cream with a leave-in conditioner to weigh down your curls, you also benefit from a wet-hair effect that amplifies your hair's natural shine without looking greasy. There are other great products for curly hair that curly males can use, but both leave-in conditioners and hair-styling creams are top products for rocking aesthetic curls.

Other males who benefit greatly from leave-in conditioners are long-haired males. In a nutshell, leave-in conditioners are among the best two types of hair-styling products for long men's hair; hair-styling creams are the other type of best hair-styling products for long men's hair. Any male with hair that exceeds six inches in length would be doing himself a disfavor by not owning a leave-in conditioner; that's how radically-useful this type of men's hair conditioner is!

If you're interested in using a leave-in conditioner, whether it is to give your hair some extra hair-conditioning oomph or to style your hair loosely with a natural texture, you can take a good look at this linked list of recommended leave-in conditioners for the some of the best leave-in conditioners at different price points and for different wants and needs.


While I don't want to move away too much from the convenience and handiness of this hair product guide, I think that leave-in conditioners should too be added to this guide so as to fully complement this already-awesome 101 guide on hair-styling products. The Hairstylist (author of this guide) and I did discuss the inclusion of this extra hair-styling product in order to give you folks yet another great hair-styling option for the many men's hairstyles that you have at your disposal by reading the many hairstyle and haircut guides in our forum!

Lastly, as The Hairstylist put it so well in his guide, we (industry professionals) are here to help you achieve your desired look by choosing the right grooming routines, hair-care approaches and, of course, men's hair products!

I'm one of the admins of this forum. Any questions/issue? Contact me directly or any of the moderators. We welcome any feedback to improve our community.

You can also check out our forum's BEST HAIR PRODUCTS FOR MEN thread to read opinions and useful information on men's hair products.
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10-26-2016, 09:54 AM
Post: #3
RE: Mens Hair Products: Quick Useful 101 Guide
This is a great guide. Covers the basics and from my barber's perspective, this guide would be good enough to hand out to my customers at the end of their haircut! Half joking here, that would look a bit odd... But seriously, great guide and covers all that there is to hair products in a pinch.

About leave in conditioners... I had no idea that they could be used as hairstyling products, go figure. I'm a barber and I had never heard of this use but it makes sense. The thing is that I mainly work on short hair, buzz cuts and shape-ups. Most products that I discuss with customers are hair gels, hair waxes, pomades and some styling creams. Now that I think about it I can't remember the last time that I had a customer with long hair at our barbershop...

I just joined this forum today because of the many guides that you lads have here. I'm absolutely impressed with the level of knowledge from the barbers in this forum and in part, I joined to learn more about my trade with bits of knowledge like the one I've just learnt now on leave in conditioners!

I have short hair and I'm deciding whether to grow my curly hair long or not. This forum has given me lots of hairstyle ideas for both my work and for my personal life. I dig that there's a section on this forum covering curly hair since curly hair for men seems to be a taboo topic not just online but also offline.

So you've guys have got two thumbs up from me with this guide and the many other guides in this forum! Cheers, lads.
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