There was a time when hair take care of guys involved bit more than a fast suds-up with some Head & Shoulders, a furious towel dry and, on unique occasions, a slather of Dax or Brylcreem– you understand, if you were feeling fancy.
Now though, with freeze-hold gels, matte clays and volumising sprays crowding our restroom cabinets, the concept that we ever took pleasure in such a quaintly minimalist routine is laughable. Funny even, considering the reality that, according to Mintel, the guys’s hair care market is expected to reach ₤ 94m in value by 2020, and that’s simply the UK.
For better or even worse (let’s be truthful: better, we all look much better), as men’s interest in their appearance has grown, so too has the number of brand names and products promising to make our locks look their finest. Which is, great for the many part– who would not desire a wider selection of tools to finish the job? But it’s likewise quite overwhelming. Buy into every brand-new miracle-touting men’s hair product and your daily routine unexpectedly gets a) really pricey and b) so Patrick Bateman-esque in its time-consuming intricacy that only he could validate following it fastidiously.
This is why we’ve assembled this detailed guide to males’s hair products. From how to condition your hair to which combs are best, it’s the myth-busting, info-packed primer your barnet will thank you for bookmarking.
How To Look after Your Hair
Your hair is the one device you can’t take off when it’s not rather working, so it pays to make sure it constantly looks its best. And while that means you must release the right products, it’s probably more vital to care for your hair through your lifestyle choices.
“Among the most crucial nutrients for hair health, and the production of strong and robust strands, is protein– the compound hair is made from,” states Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at leading London hair center Philip Kingsley. “To ensure your hair is receiving an appropriate supply of protein, add a minimum of a palm-sized portion of protein– eggs, poultry, fish, beans, nuts and pulses are all good choices– to your breakfast and lunch.”
Unlike your individual fitness instructor throughout cutting season, Kingsley also recommends integrating a serving of complicated carbohydrates into every meal, “as they provide energy to form hair cells, which are in reality the second-fastest growing cells the body produces.” Drinking lots of water is necessary too, considering that the scalp, “like any part of the skin, can end up being dry if your body is dehydrated”, which can then cause flakiness and an uncomfortably ‘tight’ sensation.
On the other hand, know the foods which are more foe than good friend when it pertains to hair health. “If you deal with a scalp that is flaky and/or scratchy, be aware that full-fat dairy products, along with white wine, Champagne and really spicy or sweet foods can worsen the issue,” says Kingsley. “Trigger foods aren’t the same for everyone though, so I recommend exercising what yours are by procedure of elimination.”
Vitamins-wise, get to know ferritin, a stored iron, which Kingsley says assists produce hair cell protein. “Eat iron-rich foods a minimum of twice a week; although the best sources are red meat such as steak and liver, an iron supplement can also assist if you’re iron- or ferritin-deficient.”
You’ll likewise want to take your hair for a walk. Routine exercise not just assists enhance circulation to the hair and scalp (guaranteeing your hair gets all the nutrients it requires to thrive), however likewise minimizes stress, which if left untreated can result in breakable hair or, in major cases, loss of hair. You may wish to lose the cap, too: though damaging in excess, a little routine direct exposure to sunlight helps promote vitamin D production, which in turn helps sustain hair development. A little, mind.
She may’ve lied about Santa– and the reality that you were never fat (simply big-boned)– however your mom wasn’t having you on when she worried the importance of cleaning your hair with shampoo.
Shampooing is important. Not just does the procedure of cleaning your hair with shampoo eliminate dirt and particles that gathers on your scalp, but shampoo itself emulsifies excess sebum (an oil produced naturally by the skin) and item residue, leaving your hair fresh and devoid of gross microfauna.
What’s not essential though, is shampooing your hair every day. In reality, ‘pooing on the day-to-day could really remove your hair of a few of the natural oil it requires to keep it healthy. So, unless you work out and sweat excessively daily, have fine, oily hair or reside in an extremely damp environment, then you should shampoo less typically.
How often? That’s still up for dispute, however as a general guideline a few times a week should be sufficient. “Generally, it’s advisable to wash hair twice a week, or every second day if your hair and scalp are susceptible to oil build-up,” states Nick Campbell, barber at Ruffians, an award-winning hair salon with branches in London and Edinburgh. “On days you do not shampoo, washing your hair with warm water can help get rid of salts and residue from any water-soluble styling products.” It won’t however get rid of excess sebum, so if you’re prone to dandruff, you must err towards shampooing more often.
When it comes to strategy, Campbell advises wetting your hair thoroughly initially. Then squirt a coin-sized dollop (more if your hair is longer than a couple of inches) into your palm, rub your hands together and massage carefully, but completely through your scalp and roots for 30 seconds approximately before rinsing entirely.
Would you wash your face without using moisturiser later on? No, obviously you would not. That ‘d be ludicrous. Similar to moisturiser restores necessary wetness to skin, so too a conditioner brings back to your scalp the moisture a shampoo strips away.
“Conditioner smoothens your hair while including shine and minimizing fixed,” states trichologist Anabel Kingsley. Although frequently thought about the protect of those with long hair, the hair-softening, frizz-preventing advantages of conditioner can be gained by all men, no matter their hair length and type.
However what’s the best way to set about it? “You should aim to condition your hair whenever you wash it with hair shampoo,” says Kingsley. “Once you’ve washed your hair completely of shampoo, smooth a coin-sized amount of conditioner through your hair, making sure to use to your mid-lengths and ends only as this is where moisture is needed most, but also, rubbing conditioner into your roots can have an unfavorable result of leaving hair looking flat and greasy.”
For men with especially dry and/or coarse hair, leave-in conditioners (i.e. conditioners you do not rinse) are likewise worth an appearance. “Leave-in conditioners not just include wetness to hair, but they can be utilized as a styling aid too,” states Mark Maciver, AKA Slider Cuts, a London-based barber whose clients consist of Anthony Joshua and Stormzy. “This is particularly beneficial when attempting to achieve curlier designs with afro hair as the softer the hair is, the more easily it curls.”
What To Watch out For
According to Campbell, there are a few components you must attempt to prevent if you have a sensitive scalp or hair that’s susceptible to damage:
Sulphates (or Sulfates). Frequently utilized as foaming agents in cosmetics, sulphates– of which the most frequently utilized is salt lauryl sulphate– have been revealed to aggravate and exceedingly dry the scalp. Although formally classified as ‘low risk’, it’s best to prevent sulfates if your skin is on the delicate side.
Parabens. A class of preservatives frequently used in cosmetics, parabens are utilized to extend a product’s life span. While there’s no conclusive research to show that they’re dangerous, some research studies suggest parabens can interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormonal system, in addition to boost the sensitivity of your skin.
Silicones. Ending in ‘cone’ (eg dimethicone) and ‘siloxane’ (trisiloxane), silicones are used in items to coat hair in a water resistant film that makes it appear glossy and feel smooth. Nevertheless, if utilized regularly, silicone-based items can cause a build-up of silicone which has the negative impact of avoiding conditioner from permeating the hair shaft.
Adam Gore, creator of, and chief groomer at Birmingham barbershop Barberology likewise advises avoiding oil-based conditioners, “which do not work well on guys’s hair as they tend to weigh it down and make it more difficult to style.”
Remember to always read the label, too. Considering that not everyone’s meaning of “natural” or “organic” is the same, so too not every natural, organic shampoo is entirely devoid of possibly irritating and/or harmful ingredients.
Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of constructing a strong foundation for healthy hair, it’s time to speak about how to make the most of it.
But first, some hairstyling house cleaning:
Less is more. As one old Brylcreem advert put it: ‘Simply a little dab’ll do ya’. That is to say that, while you can always add more product, you can’t take excess away, except, you know, washing your hair and starting all over again. This applies to all styling products, no matter how light and soluble they are. Usage only enough to get your hair where you desire it to go.
Take a break. While styling items are excellent for achieving looks you couldn’t otherwise accomplish, overuse can actually negatively impact the condition of your hair. “Give your hair rest days when possible,” states barber Nick Campbell. “If you wash, dry and utilize styling item on your hair daily, you must aim to offer your hair a couple of days rest each week so that it has a possibility to ‘breathe’ free from items.”
The Very Best Hairstyling Products
Necessary for slick, high-shine hairstyles that require cement-level hold, pomade is a thick, thick product ideal for developing quiffs, pompadours and sharp, and Don Draper-esque side partings.
Pomades can be split into 2 primary types: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based pomades offer supreme hold, however can require a number of hair shampoos to wash out, while lighter water-based pomades sacrifice some of that strength for ease of removal. Both are the hairstyling equivalent of superglue, and best used on medium to thick hair to create enthusiastic styles with a lot of height.
N.B. Do not utilize pomade on incredibly great and/or thinning hair. It tends to clump hair together, which– coupled with its shine– can highlight sparse or bald locations of the scalp.
For males who like a light-touch surface, styling cream includes a subtle shine to your locks while guaranteeing a low to– at best– medium hold.
Of all men’s hairstyling products, cream is the one that a lot of carefully resembles sebum (which, if you recall from earlier, is your hair and scalp’s natural moisturiser), so it’s best for males who want to duplicate that softened, frizz-free appearance you receive from not washing your hair for a day or two.
Certainly not one for shaping skyscraper designs, the majority of styling creams won’t support even an upswept fringe. Because of this lightness, they’re a must for guys with really great and/or thinning hair whose thatch requires an item that will not weigh it down.
A jelly-like substance utilized to hold and dress hair, gel is probably the most popular males’s hairstyling product on the marketplace. It’s likewise, sadly, the most often abused.
Despite its ubiquity, gel really isn’t the daily styling product lots of men think it to be. In reality, unless you select a mohawk or manga-inspired spiky mound on a daily basis, a strong-hold, high-shine hair gel is probably among the worst products you could (mis)usage. Sure, it gives great hold and an eye-catching wet-look surface, however when utilized as a method to lightly form hair or sweep up a fringe– which is what many males born in the 1980s were led by advertisements to think gel was intended for– it leaves your head in a mess of leaden, lifeless and frozen-solid hairs.
For fans of the aforementioned designs, gel still has a location in your wash bag, though you ought to keep in mind to constantly use sparingly. For everyone else, there’s literally anything else.
Like a cross in between styling cream and pomade, hair paste is a thick, yet highly flexible styling item that lends your hair a textured look, while likewise using a medium-to-strong hold.
A real all-rounder, paste is versatile enough to be used on short, medium and long hair (of all thicknesses) to develop a multitude of different styles varying from a lightly shaped fringe to– when used in combination with a hair clothes dryer– more abundant styles such as a loose quiff.
A lot of pastes leave hair with a matte finish (though there are somewhat shinier choices on offer, too) and, being water-based, they tend to rinse pretty quickly too.
Somewhere in between a gel and a pomade, wax uses much better hold than the former, however is more workable (and washes out more quickly) than the latter.
Wax is maybe best thought of as a pomade, but weaker. So it’s a shoo-in for slick and/or vertiginous designs typically just attainable with pomade, although it uses a less soldered, more versatile surface. If you prefer a quiff, pompadour, side parting or slick-back, but desire a more textured, less beautiful take on your picked style, then wax is one to contribute to your shopping list.
Remember that although wax is not as thick and heavy as pomade, it still isn’t a terrific option for thinning or curly hair that hasn’t currently been heat-styled.
A drier, duller and less glue-like alternative to pomade and wax, hair clay is the ideal item for creating medium- to strong-hold designs with a matte surface– think loose quiffs and bed-head styles with an extremely textured appearance.
Like paste and wax, clay can be remodelled a little hours after application, however not quite to the same level as its more pliable equivalents; hold-wise it operates more like a natural-looking pomade.
It’s likewise worth noting that hair clay is formulated with actual clay (usually bentonite or kaolin, which are both naturally taking place substances), which swells to dial up your hair’s volume, giving a welcome boost to its total body and shape.
There’s likewise some proof to recommend that clay’s active ingredient detoxifies your hair and scalp, helping to extract metals and toxic substances, while also providing much required minerals such as salt, potassium and calcium.
Sea Salt Spray
While it may sound like something that belongs in your fridge’s dressing drawer rather than your bathroom cabinet, sea salt spray is in reality a relatively new males’s hairstyling necessary.
Created with, you guessed it, salt, this recognized texture-booster is utilized to recreate that gently tousled look your hair gets after a day spent relaxing on the beach. The spray’s salt takes in oil, volumising your locks and boosting their natural kinks and curls. Simply spritz onto your hair, work through with your fingers to form and you’re great to go.
Especially helpful for fine and/or thinning hair, salt spray makes your hair appear thicker and more richly textured. As it’s light, it makes a great styling base for larger designs too, so you may want to try using it prior to releasing something much heavier like a pomade or wax for additional assistance and volume. Don’t overdo it though: like anything salty it tends to dehydrate, so extreme usage can trigger your hair to become dry and fragile.
Not simply for your gran, hairspray is a need to for styles that need some severe hold. Made from a blend of polymers, hairsprays offer structural assistance for hair, assisting it to maintain its shape while likewise adding a healthy dosage of shine.
Unlike its listmates here, hairspray is more supporting act than centerpiece. Instead of a styling product in and of itself, it’s designed to be utilized at the end of styling to strengthen whatever shape you have actually developed, helping ‘set’ the style so that it will not wither away within a couple of hours.
Hairspray is available in a variety of strengths, from versatile- to medium- to strong-hold, but unless you’re aiming to add beauty pageant-level shine to your hair, it’s meaningless using anything aside from the strong things.
Leading idea: use just when your design requires cementing, and spray liberally, making sure not to drop dead from fumes before the world gets to see your ‘do.
While many males manage completely well without one, a hair dryer will come in convenient when: drying hair that’s not short i.e. more than a couple of inches long; if you wish to lend your hair some long lasting shape and volume; or if you want to develop greatly structured designs such as quiffs and pompadours.
When it comes to acquiring a great one, there are three crucial things to keep an eye out for: a wattage of 1800 or more (a higher wattage suggests a more powerful clothes dryer, which implies quicker drying, which in turn indicates less damage done to hair); ceramic and tourmaline technologies (the former adds shine while preventing hair from frizzing; the latter generates unfavorable ions to minimize drying time and static); and additional functions such as attachments for styling and a ‘cool shot’ button, which can be utilized at the end of styling to blast hair with cool air to assist set it in location.
Invaluable, whatever your hair type, an excellent comb not only acts as a reliable styling tool, but also exfoliates the scalp, stimulates the production of sebum and increases blood flow to the location to assist flow nutrients essential for hair health.
Prevent metal combs (which have edges so sharp that they can lacerate hair strands), and instead look for saw-cut horn or plastic ones which have teeth that are individually cut-in– rather than moulded for a smoother, less abrasive impact.
Make sure too, to discover a comb that’s produced your hair type. Remember: the thicker the hair, the larger the tooth. If you have thin, straight hair, a fine-tooth comb works well, but you’ll require a wide-tooth one to tame thick, wavy or curly hair.
If you have medium-length or long hair, it’s finest to utilize a brush, rather than a comb, to groom your hair. The primary reason for this is that sebum produced by the scalp requires assistance in reaching the full hair shaft by being brushed from the root right down to the idea.
Now, while you could technically do that with a comb, it makes a lot more sense to reserve your comb for spot-detangling and use the brush for the bulk of the work instead. Plus, if you pick the ideal one, you’ll also have a powerful styling tool available.
To that end, a paddle or vent brush is your best choice. Both of these brush types are easy to use when dry brushing or when styling the hair in combination with product and/or a hair clothes dryer (though the vent does have the small advantage of being somewhat more slim and manoeuvrable).