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Men's Hair Products Guide: Everything You Need To Know

First beards, now hair. It's a full-time job staying handsome, isn't it? We know, we know. But men's hair matters, too, and that's why we're here. Men's hair products come in many flavors (though we don't recommend taste sampling). You need to know what type of hair you have, what you need and how to choose a product that doesn't make your hair feel or look like it's a solid.

Whatever your hair texture, however you like to style it, there's a product out there for you, and there are specific ways you should be taking care of it. What's men's hair spray? How about sea salt spray and hair pastes? And do you really need it? Let's get into the good stuff and cover everything you need to know.

Before we delve in, let's talk about two words you'll be seeing a lot: hold and shine. Hold is all about flexibility. It's how soft your hair feels after a product is applied. The stronger the hold, the stiffer the hair.

young man styling his hair

Shine is, you guessed it, what your hair looks like after the hair product is mixed in. Some shines are glossy, others are wet. It's all a matter of personal preference, and if you're a fan of the natural look, then you'll want a product with a matte shine.

Now, let's dive into our men's hair product guide! You'll get everything you need to know, from the best men's hair styling products for different hair types and styling tips for different textures and lengths.

Types Of Men's Hair Styling Products

There are a lot of hair care items on the market, and they aren't just shampoo and conditioners. Those are great, but you need more if you want to keep your hair looking styled and refined. Even the chaps who prefer the rough-and-tumble look need a little something extra to make their tousle keep its cool throughout the day.

These are the six main types of men's hair styling products you'll want to know about. You might use a combination of them or just pick one that does the job right. Knowing how to tell them a part in the first place will stop you from choosing a product that keeps your hair always looking its best.

Hair Pomade

Back in the day, pomade is what gave James Dean that cool, slicked-back look. Thankfully, hair pomade has come a long way and now you can achieve the same look with oil based pomades without feeling like you have an oil slick on top of your head. Pomades of today are about hold without stiffness and without stickiness. You only need about a dime-size dollop to keep your hair in place, Your hair shouldn't be stuck in place; you should be able to run your hands through your hair effortlessly. Also, the pomade you choose should also had shine, not weigh your hair down.

man holding a hair pomade

All pomades are not made equal. Some offer more hold while others like an oil based pomade work to tame the frizz and boost shine. That’s why important to choose pomade types suited for your specific hair type, not only your desired result. But before you do, you also need to determine how much hold you need.

At The Bearded Chap, we have a traditional hair pomade that's an oil-based pomade but water-soluble. No endless scrubbing for you. We've blended three types of Australian clay, nourishing essential oils and minerals and some cinnamon and vanilla to make a pomade that makes your hair look amazing, smell great and keeps its hold no matter what you're faced with.

Strong versus Light Hold Pomades

Like a medium-hold hairspray, light-hold pomade is for men who need just a bit more staying power. It works best on short to medium hair. It should keep hair in place all day and can be used to create a variety of hairstyles.

young man styling his hair

Strong- hold pomades usually work best on short or medium hair lengths. It can be used on straight or curly hair and to create a slick-back look, a fade or spiky look. Ultra-strong pomades are meant to last all day and usually need to be shampooed out.

Hair Clay

Hair clay has started to gain popularity, and it's a featured ingredient in our matte hair clay that smells of chocolate fudge brownie. It sounds delicious, it smells even better but unfortunately, you can't eat it. Sorry. But you can apply it to your hair and enjoy a smooth, lux finish that's got a matte shine and natural feel. It's your hair, but chocolate-scented and boosted by essential oils and minerals. Pampered af.

So, what exactly is hair clay? A styling product that combine natural ingredients for an authentic finish. Chaps who don't want anything over-the-top will love clay because it produces a natural effect. No one will look at you and wonder whether your hair has enough chemicals to negatively affect the ozone layer.

hair clay

Clay is great for drawing out any impurities and maintaining frizz for lads with curls or bushy hair. It can also help recover and repair hair that's been damaged in the past.

Hair Styling Powder

Powder... in your hair? Yeah, it sounds weird, we know. But listen: This stuff works. Texture powder offs a light hold that boosts volume and gives your hair a full-bodied texture. You only need a little applied for a big impact, and The Bearded Chap hair styling powder knows how to pack a punch in a pinch - say that five times fast.

Our product uses arrowroot powder to act as a dry shampoo and remove excess oil without drying out your hair. The travel-friendly size and intoxicating vanilla and tobacco scent will make it a staple in your toiletries bag.

man styling his hair with hair powder

Hair powder is best applied by first rubbing it between your palms. Never dump it directly on your head. Volume and texture are key here, so if you want to boost from the roots and give your hair a healthy, natural look, this is for you.

Hair Wax

Wax is often used interchangeably for a lot of hair styling items, including clays and styling cream. But authentic men's hair wax typically uses a beeswax or lanolin base to offer a high hold and pliability. It's softer and easier to style than gel, so if you sport a cut that requires a comb, hair wax styling product might be a good option.

Hair wax also works well for styles that require medium hold to high-level hold and touch-ups throughout the day. You'll be able to fine-tune your hair whenever you want in a matter of seconds.

Hair Gel

You'll get high shine and a firm hold with a quality hair gel. The most common product most men buy is a gel designed to give a firm hold and high shine. But there are plenty of variations on the market with varying intensity. Gel is malleable, so you can easily work it into towel-dried, damp hair to maximize its volume and texture.

man applying a hair product

The bulk of modern hair gels use alcohol as a primary ingredient, so they can be drying and even damaging to your hair if used in excess. Using an alcohol-based gel too often can cause your hair to break and become dry, brittle and split. Not a good look.

When using gel, choose a high-quality product that won't leave your scalp itchy and laden with dandruff. We personally suggest a natural product that uses organic ingredients that are just as good for the Earth as they are for your hair.

Types Of Men's Hair Care Products

Be specific and avoid synthetic chemicals at all costs.

Styling products need to be accompanied by a decent shampoo and conditioner. These serve a two-fold purpose; they prep your hair by removing excess oil to give maximum hold and shine, but they also remove products thoroughly to prevent irritation and hair damage.

hair products

No one wants a scalp that's caked with the leftover remains of yesterday's pomade. That's why you need products that are designed to support men's hair growth and nourish their natural texture.


Shampoo is a type of soap specifically designed to remove sebum, the oil produced by your scalp, and dirt from your hair. It's not body wash, so don't even think about trying to save money by using one of those all-in-one combo washes. Shampoo should leave your hair soft, not dry, and it definitely shouldn't produce any greasy or oily effect.

First and foremost, avoid any men's shampoos that contain harmful chemicals. We're talking parabens, silicone and sulfates to start. All of these ingredients are synthetic and damaging; they strip your hair of the natural oil it needs to maintain a healthy appearance while also starving your scalp of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

man washing his hair with shampoo

If you have an itchy scalp or a lot of dandruff, your shampoo may be the culprit. Look for natural products that are designed for your hair type. Get specific in your search. Shampoo for oily hair, for example, is different then shampoo for dry hair or even curly hair.


You don't absolutely need a conditioner to clean your hair, but you're missing out by not using one. Conditioner acts as a seal, locking in moisture and ensuring that the essential oils, nutrients and minerals that keep your hair healthy stay where they belong. Conditioner also tames hair that may be difficult to style otherwise. Here's looking at you, curls.

In addition to improving your hair's health and texture, a good conditioner also protects against damage. Any chap who likes to spend time outside, be it basking in the sun or surfing, needs a good conditioner that will protect his hair from drying out and breaking off.

What To Use For Every Hair Type

man applying a hair product

Depending on your hair length, texture and thickness, the best men's hair products will vary. You'll have to take your style into account, of course, but you'll also need to consider what you're working with from the start.

The final part of our men's hair product guide will cover the best types of hair products for different hair types and hairstyles.

Hair Products For Thick Hair

For thick hair, you'll need styling gel or texture powder with at least a medium hold. You can have less shine or matte shine if you prefer a natural look, but you could also go for max hold and shine if that's your thing. Keep in mind, however, that high shine can also equal high stiffness, so your chair might run into helmet territory depending on the length and how much product you lather into your hair.

man with beard and thick hair

Oil-based product are great for men with mid-length or long hair. Thick hair, especially curls, are more prone to matting and breakage, so you'll need to keep it moisturized and nourished. You can apply some hair oil to towel dried hair or rub it onto the roots for a mini scalp massage. Use the pads of your fingertips to work in the oil. Always start with less, though, to ensure it gets properly absorbed. You want glossy, not greasy.

Hair Products For Thin Hair

Styling thin hair means you want to focus on maximizing volume and texture as well as low shine with a matte finish. It might not be easy if you're going bald or have noticeable patches, but you can use wax, clay and pomades to get the most out of your hair. Hair powder is a win because it can be applied lightly and won't weigh down your hair too much. Gel and styling cream or hair cream isn't recommended for thin-haired men as it is heavy and can make your hair look flatter rather than fuller.

ma with beard checking his thin hair

Hair spray might be able to give you a good hold, but it can also make your hair extremely stiff. Make sure that you're choosing a product that is either for thin hair. There are also lots of hair product options for men experiencing hair loss.

Hair Products For Curly Hair

Curls can be all Prince Charming on their own, but they can also border on frizzy and even unruly depending on your texture. Pomade, clay and even some mousse will help keep your natural curls full, voluminous and soft without weighing them down or making them appear oily.

man with curly hair

If you have afro-textured hair, then you'll need to use products designed to moisturize. A good conditioner and products with essential oils will be your best mates. You might also benefit from a detangler to avoid knots and matting.

Hair Products For Short Hair

If you keep your hair close-cropped, then you won't get much utility out of products that are thick or designed to provide volume. Instead, look for a hair styling product that emphasizes texture and possibly shine. If you have frizzy hair, look for products that tame loose strands and provide a matte finish to medium shine.

man with short hair

In the case of buzz cuts, fades and shaves, you'll do best with a texture powder and possibly wax or clay. If you have several inches of hair to work with, then these products will give you good hold with a matte finish or low shine finish.

Hair Products For Wavy Hair

Wavy hair needs to stay smooth to look its best, so pomades, creams and oils are all ideal. High moisture will be essential to maintaining a healthy appearance, and the longer your hair is, the more you'll want to focus on hold, medium shine and texture. Wavy hair, especially if it's kept long on top or shoulder-length, can look great with a medium or high shine.

man with wavy hair

Hair Products For Straight Hair

Straight hair could go frizzy or fall flat, so think about shine and hold depending on your taste and cut. Clay, wax and powder will create a matte or semi-matte low shine while gel, pomades and creams will produce a wet texture or high shine. It's up to you, and experimenting with different products to find your personal equilibrium and signature hair style is recommended.

man with straight hair

Go Forth and Look Good

Healthy hair should be your top priority, and the right products will give your hair a natural glow and flexibility when it comes to styling options. With so many hair types and hair styles, there are just as many choices when it comes to products. Keep hold, shine and texture in mind as you choose the right ones for you.

Now that you've learned all the basics, you can browse our full collection of men's grooming products at The Bearded Chap if you're interested in leveling up your game. Also check out our epic Hair Styling Trilogy Kit for the most options and best deal.

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