It’s not that we men don’t care about our looks, or lack the desire to have a well groomed hairstyle - I think we can all agree that at some point, for our own reasons, we have all wished we were Ryan Gosling at least once - we just prefer things to be easy. With so many great varieties of products available, just the decision to enter the realm of styling can be daunting. “How can there be this many different types of stuff to put in my hair?!” So, we created a guide to help breakdown the various types of common men’s products, and more simply, what they’ll do for your hair.
“Not so fast, is my hair supposed to be wet or dry when I use product?” Great question. Ultimately, its up to you, but to start out a helpful rule is: wet products go on wet hair (these are your gels, styling creams, and foams) while finishers (pastes, waxes, pomades, clays etc) go on dry hair. Once you get a feel for the product, you can (and should) start experimenting with the dampness of your hair to find the style/method you are happiest with. I have a few pastes that I’ve found work best for me when my hair is at that perfect stage between damp and dry. Now, on to the fun stuff…
Hair by Savills Barbers
Gels: This product is all about hold. There are varying degrees of hold (you remember those neon tubs from middle school that made gratuitous use of words like EXTREME or ULTIMATE and turned your hair into a helmet…) but the purpose of a gel is to give you a stiff hold and maintain your style. Oftentimes, gels will also provide a wet and shiny look.
Foam: Mousses and other foams are designed to give volume to your hair. These are great for making your hair appear thicker and fuller while providing a bit of hold. Just make sure you use a blowdryer after (I know, I know, extra work!) but otherwise your head will be a big greasy mess.
Hair by Eric St-Jean
Creams: While still in the “wet” family alongside Gel and Foam, Creams provide a flexible hold, making them ideal for styling. Styling Creams allow for a workable look that you can easily mold and shape to your desire without hardening into a set form.
Paste: Great for styling, pastes are a “dryer” product that provides a range of hold from flexible to strong. Perfect for piecing out chunks and shaping hair into desired styles. Depending on the paste, you can get a nice matte finish or a bit of shine.
Pomade: Similar in function to pastes, however pomades usually run “wetter” and are therefore more common for a slicker styles like the iconic “Greaser” look.
Hair by Paul Pereira
Clay: Typically made from real clay, these products are fantastic for building texture. They are similar in composition to pastes, but often with a slightly firmer hold and a matte (or dry) finish.
Wax: A great product for molding styles. Wax is very malleable, especially when it’s warm, but it’s also possible to get a firmer hold. Unlike the matte finishes from clays or pastes, wax will give you a nice high shine.
Chat with your stylists about your desired look and they’ll be able to point you in the direction of the best product for you. Be sure to have them show you some tips on achieving the style you want.