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The Best Hair Products for Men: Gel, Pomade, Wax, and Mousse

There's something here for everyone.

No two types of hair are identical. But two men with similar hair can look wildly different with different hair products. (Hell, guys like Brad Pitt achieve so many different looks through hair product. Let that be a lesson.) Maybe you’re a gel guy, spiky and hard, or a pomade man, slicked back and with a faint shine. Mousse gives volume, oil gives moisture, and wax provides hold. Regardless of the product you select, it ultimately makes all the difference provided you want to give your follicles direction. That’s why it’s crucial, then, to know the best hair products for men: Find that goldilocks product for your particular hair and you’ll see a big difference in both finished product and public perception.

Admittedly, when it comes to styling products for men, there are a lot of choices, and each is geared toward a specific look and length. The only truism is that no one product can achieve every style. In order to find the best men’s hair products for your needs, you first need to select a goal, and then select the tools to get there. So which is the best men’s hair product for you? To offer some assistance, we’ve researched the latest to find some of the best for every style, breaking them down accordingly. From gel and mousse to pomade and wax, there’s something here for every type of guy — and hair.

Best Hair Products For Men: Hair Gel

Hair gel is probably best remembered as the product that makes your locks look crispy and crunchy. That’s because most old-school gels featured alcohol as a main ingredient. This sucked moisture from hair; the rest of the ingredients held it in place and made spiked or slicked back locks seem less like hairstyles and more like evolutionary defense mechanisms. Today, however, the best men’s hair gels are lighter in weight, contain less alcohol, and provide stability and shine to hair without making it shell-like. They’re ideal for coarse or curly hair as well as for taming cow-licks and smoothing down strays.

This styling gel provides a flexible hold, works on all hair types, and has medium shine to it. It's formulated to stay flexible, so you never wind up looking like someone who really wanted to be a member of Smash Mouth.

This gel-cream is for anyone who wants the solid hold of hair gel without the candy-coated feel. It sets quickly, tames wild hair, and keeps everything stable-yet-soft. It’s made without parabens or sodium chloride and doesn’t flake, either. It’s an excellent product. Is it pricey? Yes. But considering you need to use no more than a dime-sized amount, it’ll last a long time.

With this men's hair gel, you get ultra-firm hold and a touch of shine with this powerful formula. It's designed to help you sculpt your hair the way you want, not be locked into a specific look. And make sure it stays that way all day.

While technically a wax, we're putting Gage's latest in the gel category because of its application. Dispensed via pump bottle like others here, it feels like a gel as it blends into your hair — that is, until it dries. Then, it provides a softer hold than others, making it a great transition for someone used to traditional liquid products and leery about solids.

Best Hair Products For Men: Hair Pomade

Pomade has been around since the early 20th century, and for good reason: The right one can take an average hairstyle and make it great by giving it hold and high-shine. Traditional pomade was made of natural waxes and oils. These are still around. But more modern men’s hair pomades made from cream and fiber are widely available, too. It depends on what you want. But if you only have one styling product, pomade is a great all-around option to have on hand.

This pomade, made from beeswax, clay, argan oil, and shea butter, gives you hold. Serious, no-joke hold. But it's also flexible enough that it looks totally natural. It gives you a matte finish, and a hold that's tough, but also easy to restyle if you need to give your look a quick upgrade.

This clay-based hair pomade creates a natural, matte finish. It also produces a subtle shine, which may feel more appropriate than a glossy pomade if you plan on using it before heading into the office. Good to note: The clay base is considerably drier and not as malleable as a basic pomade. You may find that it requires more patience to use.

This perennial favorite has high hold, low shine, and adds thickness, texture, and body to your hair. It's great for short hair.

If you hate scents of any sort, here's a stellar (mostly) fragrance-free option. It has medium to light hold, a matte finish, and is completely alcohol-free.

This water-based pomade is infused with hops, which creates a stronger hold and actually helps prevent dandruff. It has a subtle tonka-berry scent and provides a lasting hold without making hair feel stiff.

Softer and more pliable, this pomade gives you a high hold with a matte finish.

Best Hair Products For Men: Hair Mousse

Men’s hair mousse is a solid option for guys with longer hair who prefer to spend as little time on their hairstyle as possible. The foaming cream is easy to work through long locks and can be incorporated into the hair right out of the shower. Expect little hold, since mousse is mainly to smooth over longer styles while adding a bit of body.

A cool blend of mousse and pomade, this product is ideal for anyone with wavy or curly hair. It gives curls definition, and provides that classic second-day texture and separation.

Great for thin or thinning hair, this light foam thickens hair and adds body. It's great for guys who want a lot of control but without the gloss of a gel. It's also certified organic and made in the U.S.

Best Hair Products For Men: Hair Wax

Hair wax is a great option for guys who want to achieve a more easygoing look. It gives you a medium hold, but it still allows you to reshape your hair as the day goes on. Most hair waxes don’t contain any alcohol in the ingredient list, so your hair will stay soft and well-moisturized.

If you're someone who hates even a hint of shine, use this pomade. It provides tons of texture, with a matte finish. It's great for loose, relaxed looks.

Offering light hold and just a touch of light-catching shine, this adds dimension to both long and especially short hair. It also pulls double duty by being especially good in mountain-man beards to tamp down fly-aways.

V76 by Vaughn prides themselves on their natural ingredient list and the V Rated Natural Wax is no exception. It’s infused with soybean wax, which helps soften hair, as well as wild geranium extract, which helps balance oil on the scalp, provide nourishment, and protects the hair. Designed for guys who want a little natural movement in their style, this wax provides a light shine and medium hold. Note that it smells strongly of scotch, which might not appeal to some.

Like its pomade counterpart, Blind Barber 60 Proof Wax is infused with hops, which helps defend against dandruff while providing a great look. This is a very solid option.

Best Hair Products for Men: Hair Oil

Let’s be clear: Oil isn’t meant to style your hair. What it does is make it look shinier, glossier, healthier. Adding a drop or two to your regular styling product, will make your hair look thicker. Plus, it tames flyaways. Just don’t go overboard or we have one word for you: Crisco.

A drop or two of this highly hydrating oil adds shine and gloss to your hair, instantly giving it that run-your-hands-through-it appeal. It's especially ideal for textured hair.

This vegan hair oil has one main purpose: To make your hair look glossier. It achieves that goal by quite literally melting into your hair and making it look that much healthier.

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