No two types of hair are identical. But two men with similar hair can look wildly different if one takes time to style it properly with the right hair product. That is to say, how a man styles his hair — and which gel, cream, pomade, mousse, oil, or wax he chooses — makes all the difference. That’s why it’s crucial, then, to know the best hair products for men: Find the right product for your particular hair and you’ll see a big difference.
Now, when it comes to styling products for men, there are a lot of choices out there. Creams. Waxes. Mousses. Sprays. Gels. Powders. Products that promise to give you perfectly tousled bed head. Products that promise to give you perfectly tousled beach hair. Products that promise to give you a pompadour so high you’ll whack it against doorways. It’s staggering. In order to find the best men’s hair products for your needs, there are the bigger questions you must answer: Do you want something for serious hold or that gives your hair some hold but also freedom? What kind of look do you want? What kind of product is best for your hair?
So, what are the best hair products for men, and which is the best for you? It all depends on your particular hair and what look you’re trying to achieve. To offer some assistance, we’ve researched the latest to find some of the best hair products for men. 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 hair 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 an evolutionary defense mechanism. 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.
No helmet hair here. 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.
Have fine hair? This brushable, non-flaking gel will add thickness and body to all hair types. It provides a strong, flexible hold without weighing hair down or making it feel like it was deep fried.
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.
Another good hair gel for taming stubborn hair. We love that it's alcohol-free and a bit thicker than similar products, the latter of which provides a bit more control. It's a great option for men with medium to thick hair.
This hair gel does the impossible: It provides stellar hold, without heavy weight. It also add a hint of shine and smells nice, too, with notes of spearmint, vetiver, and a hint of lavender. It's great for hair that's neither too thick or too thin.
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 give 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.
Those with longer hair, wanting a more relaxed hold, should opt for this product. It's has medium shine, a creamy texture, and works on all hair types and lengths.
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 worked 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 your curls definition, and provides second-day texture and separation.
This thickening gel mousse helps smooth and hydrate the hair while adding body and a slight shine. It provides a long-lasting hold without unsightly build up or flaking. It also washes out easily, so you don’t have to worry about scrubbing your locks for longer than you need to.
Ideal for fine hair, this lightweight mousse provides all-day volume without collapsing or becoming stiff and unwieldy. It helps otherwise flat hair feel as thick and bouncy as possible.
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.
Somewhere between wax and pomade is this styling cream. It's a fragrance-free, lightweight cream that gives you enough hold, but still lets you run your hands through your hair. It's ideal for anyone with wavy, coarse, or thick hair.
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.
This unique wax is great for those who want serious hold, without committing to the same style all day. Customers love it for its ability to create a more tamed style without the intense hold. This means you can re-work your style throughout the day. It can, however, be too dry and heavy for those with thicker hair.
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. Just add a drop or two to your regular styling product, and it 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.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.