Hair Products For Men: Styling Gels and Creams

This is a men’s hair products tutorial covering hair gel, pomade, wax, hair mousse, styling cream, hair spray and natural oils for the styling of male hair.

Hair products for men – Learning about gels, creams and other styling products

In this tutorial, I will be covering the hair products that you use to style your hair, with such “hairstyling” products consisting of gooey substances such as gels and creams. There are plenty of brands for hairstyling products, and I’m sure many brands would ring a bell if I were to mention them; however, hairstyling products do actually fall into, as I call them, “types”, and these types serve as your starting point when it comes to buying hair products as well as ultimately using them. These are the 7 types of hairstyling products:

  • Hair gel
  • Hair pomade
  • Hair wax
  • Hair mousse
  • Styling cream
  • Hair spray
  • Natural oils

The above types of hairstyling products are used during your styling stage, as extensively covered in my developed hair equation in my book The Men’s Hair Book, and these hairstyling products are styling agents that will give the ultimate shape and look to your hair for the given day in which you use them. Must I say that you certainly don’t need to use hairstyling products to have great hair, especially if you follow my Sebum Coating method as extensively covered in either of my two hair-care books, but it is a reality that using hairstyling products opens a new door of men’s hairstyles for you.

What I will be doing in this tutorial is I’ll be going through each of the types of hairstyling products, providing a no-fluff and to-the-point description together with an Amazon link to a good branded product for that particular hairstyling product type. For what is worth, I highly recommend you to purchase your hair products from Amazon as not only is Amazon the most-trusted online retailer in existence but it also has a superb range of hair products that will satisfy even the most scrupulous of hair-product users like yours truly. Ergo, my goal in this tutorial will be to oversimplify the purchasing process for you so that all you have to do is read this tutorial, decide which product type you want to try and then click on its respective link to buy a product that will actually work, unlike most of the snake oil surrounding the hair-care field.

Let’s kick it!

A jar of hair wax for men.

Hair Products for Men: Hair gel

Hair gel is an excellent styling product to give shape to your hair and style it in cumbersome ways. Hair gels can be used with just about any hairstyle you may have in mind so as to fully customize the look of your hair.

Hair gels are actually categorized by “hold”, which refers to the strength-holding capacity of the gel, and hair gels can come in three holds: “light”, “firm” and “strong”. “Strong” also includes “extra strong”, although sometimes hair-product manufacturers will list “extra strong” as a fourth hold category.

Light hold

Light-hold hair gel is indicated for hairstyles that do not require the hair to be secured tightly in place. Light-hold hair gels give some freedom of movement to the hair while defining the locks.

Light-hold hair gel is suitable for all hair types and hair lengths although light-hold hair gel is the only type of hair gel I recommend for long hair (i.e. hair longer than six inches).

Firm hold

Firm-hold hair gel provides a tighter grip on the hair than the one from light-hold hair gel. Firm-hold hair gel defines the hair and is of special use for hairstyles that require some precise shaping.

Firm-hold gel is especially useful for straight and wavy hair of short and medium length.

Strong hold

Strong-hold hair gel offers the strongest grip on the hair and is ideal for gravity-defying hairstyles and/or hairstyles that need very-precise shaping and molding.

Strong-hold hair gel is recommended for straight and wavy hair of short to medium length. Men with curly hair that is on the tighter end of the curly hair type spectrum (Type IV and V) should preferably choose light-hold or firm-hold hair gel instead of strong-hold hair gel.

Hair products for men: Hair pomade

Hair pomade is an excellent hairstyling product to get sleek hair that is defined and shiny. Hair pomade suits hairstyles that require either slicking or having the hair loose. Hair pomade will also define your curly hair and can also give some good natural hold to your hair without looking greasy.

Hair pomade suits all hair types as well as short and medium-length hair.

Hair products for men: Hair wax

Hair wax provides more hold than pomade to your hair and is thus great for molding your hair; hair wax is an excellent choice for men who want to shape their hair while defining it. Hair wax also provides gloss to the hair and will make it sleeker, this being the main difference of hair wax from hair gel.

Hair wax is great for gravity-defying hairstyles and will greatly benefit men with straight and wavy hair. In terms of hair length, hair wax works best on short and medium-length hair.

Hair products for men: Hair mousse

Hair mousse is a hairstyling product that is dispensed as foam, thus creating a mousse-like texture prior to its layering along your locks. Hair mousse is an excellent hairstyling product to define curly hair, including wavy, coiled and kinky curly hair; hair mousse also provides some securing in place for the hair, thus hair mousse can be used effectively to shape men’s hairstyles.

All hair types and hair lengths benefit from hair mousse although all the curly hair types (from Type I to Type V) as well as long hair benefit the most from the use of hair mousse. Furthermore, this particular hairstyling product can also be used with hair spray to provide the ultimate “wet look”: apply the hair mousse first, then spray the hair (this is one of the many neat tricks I give you in The Men’s Hair Book and all these tricks are easy to implement and also give great results!).

Hair products for men: Styling cream

Styling creams are great at taming frizz and flyaway hairs while providing great definition to the hair. Styling creams are also great to weight down the hair and thus have the hair hanging down at lengths in which it naturally doesn’t hang down; this particular trick I detail in The Men’s Hair Book is very useful for curly haired men who are tired of their hair constantly puffing out.

Styling creams can be used on all hair types and hair lengths although styling creams are of the greatest use for curly hair (as explained in the previous paragraph). Moreover, styling creams are also neat solutions for long hair as they work excellently to keep the long hair soft and lustrous.

A bottle of styling cream for men

Hair products for men: Hair spray

Hair spray provides the finishing touches to a hairstyle; hair spray “locks” the hairstyle in that the hair spray will hold the hair in place tightly, which means you will end up with a “what you see is what you get” hairstyle early in the morning; a feat curly haired tend to think is impossible! Hair spray should be sprayed from about one foot away, and hair spray can be used after applying hair mousse to create a “wet look”.

Overall, hair spray is useful for all hair types and hair lengths. Just make sure you don’t get the stuff in your eyes (I speak from experience!).

Hair products for men: Natural oils

Natural oils are great for hair as a hairstyling product and also as a conditioning product, believe it or not. In fact, I prefer to use my own mixes and blends of natural oils together with other ingredients of mine to fabricate my own hair products, which work infinitive better than 99% of the snake-oil baloney pitched by hair-care companies. Having said this, natural oils on their own, without any further mixing, are great hairstyling products themselves, and you can always add some natural oil as a finishing touch after applying to your hair any of the other hairstyling products.

To use natural oils on your hair, you simply coat the tips of your hair with a little bit of your chosen oil. Some of the most useful natural oils for hair include extra-virgin olive oil and argan oil.

Hairstyling products for men: Conclusion

The hairstyling products covered in this tutorial will take your hairstyles to a new level once you start using them right. From my experience, the vast majority of men just buy hairstyling product after hairstyling product hoping to strike luck and have a product work minimally OK; unfortunately, most of the time such luck doesn’t come by and one is, often time, left with less money and with piles of bottles and jars stocked in the bathroom.

So, make the most of this men’s hair products tutorial, buy a couple of hairstyling products and get trying so as to find which one of these products will be the one you like the most; there’s no cookie-cutter solution to finding the best hair product for you, but having the right information as you have in this tutorial will certainly speed up this endeavor and make things much easier.

If you have any questions, let them know below in the comments section.

All the best

Rogelio

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Rogelio

Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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15 comments for “Hair Products For Men: Styling Gels and Creams

  1. Al
    September 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Please help me… Today I used a Pantene hair mask and I usually put it and style it pushed back (and wash it after half an hour)… And I was surprised that it held my hair back and gave it a wet look like i used a strong hair gel… So my question is, are there products or categories of products out there that would hold and style my hair without having gel or mousse or wax in them? That I don’t have to wash or rinse it at the end of the day? Thanks a lot.

    • Rogelio
      September 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Hi,

      If you really want to avoid hairstyling products and yet still achieve a wet-hair effect, then use a regular rinse-out conditioner on your hair when you style it, nothing more. Use a good amount of conditioner (i.e. more than a few squirts) and make sure that your hair is coated with the conditioner. Then, you proceed with the styling of your hair.

      It’s imperative to have damp hair when you coat your hair with the rinse-out conditioner. The conditioner will lock in the moisture from the dampness of your hair and give it a naturally-slicked look without as much residue as that left by styling gels and styling creams.

      Lastly, check out my guide on conditioners for men’s hair that I’ve published on this site. That guide has everything that you need to know about conditioners; alternatively, you can buy my book, “The Men’s Hair Book”, which has everything on men’s hair, including conditioners and using the rest of men’s hair products.

      Hope that is of help!

      Best,

      Rogelio

  2. kenneth cabu
    February 26, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I have light and scanty hair. Please, which of the hair style and cream should i try? Thanks.

  3. zak
    February 4, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I need help,i have thick frizzy hair and i believe my hair is wavy but very clumped together so its not free moving. i use a serum (garnier fructis serum) but it doesnt do the best in getting rid of frizz. i have never used a styling product. i was thinking of the mousse or styling cream but i dont know if we wash the product out of my hair or if its ok to leave in product. i am an ethnic somali by the way.

  4. kotesh
    January 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Actually my hair is curling hair. So I want to straight my hair with gells only

  5. James Richards
    November 10, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Hey Rogelio,

    I don’t have curly hair myself, so I’m just wondering for some of the guys that I know who do – would they get any success with these kinds of hair styles? I feel like for a lot of them they’d probably have to blow dry and then use product, which I don’t think a lot of ’em would be up for.

    thanks!

  6. Stipe Pavić
    July 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    HeI just bought Nivea Creme Gel, styling cream for flexibile structure without a sticky feeling. What do you think about it?
    Cheers

  7. Ali
    June 10, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Hi, I was in the shower the other day and when applied the conditioner and checked my hair in the mirror before rinsing it they looked amazing! curls were defined, shiny and bouncy, I have tried 3 styling products so far and they are:
    1. Boots Curly Hair Mousse /2. Coconut & Almond Leave-In Conditioner/ 3.Brylcreem Gel, None of them helped my hair achieving the look that conditioner gave in the shower.

    Now i wanted to ask you what styling product has the most similar characteristics of a conditioner ? My curls are Type III and it’s medium.
    Thanks, This website is the bible of curly hairs LOL

  8. Morgan
    May 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I am in some desperate need of styling advice. I have thick type I hair that’s about 6 inches on top right now. I work in an executive environment and can’t have hair all over the place during work hours. I style my hair in a semi-part, side swept (think Christian Bale from American Psycho or Matt Bomer). What can I use (from shampoo all the way to styling product) so that it: 1) has some movement/isn’t hard and crusty, 2) tames stray hair, 3) doesn’t gain volume, 4) matte/semi-matte finish I can actually touch without irreversible messiness. I haven’t found a way to avoid a brush to keep my hair from poofing and separating too much, and I think a blow-dryer would make it even worse. Seems like any styling product applied when my hair is dry does nothing, and wet/damp it looks… well… wet.

    Routine and product information would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for all the information you put out.

  9. Morgan
    May 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I am in some desperate need of styling advice. I have thick type I hair that’s about 6 inches on top right now. I work in an executive environment and can’t have hair all over the place during work hours. I style my hair in a semi-part, side swept (think Christian Bale from American Psycho or Matt Bomer). What can I use (from shampoo all the way to styling product) so that it: 1) has some movement/isn’t hard and crusty, 2) tames stray hair, 3) doesn’t gain volume, 4) matte/semi-matte finish I can actually touch without irreversible messiness. I haven’t found a way to avoid a brush to keep my hair from poofing and separating too much, and I think a blow-dryer would make it even worse. Seems like any styling product applied when my hair is dry does nothing, and wet/damp it looks… well… wet.

    Routine and product information would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for all the information you put out.

  10. Chase
    March 28, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Hey Rogelio,

    What can a man do with more flat curls on top and more poofy curls on the sides? I’m looking to eventually turn it into a samurai, but until I get to that 6-8 inches, I’m looking for something to do. I’m lost as far as products & how to style it.

    Thank you!
    Chase

  11. Geoff
    January 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Can I ask your opinion on this product?
    Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream

    Would you still recommend the Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream over the other? I’m looking for a curl defining, non-stiff styling product for dry curly hair.

    Also does it make sense to use a hair oil like Argan oil before a styling cream?

    thanks!

  12. steven luna
    January 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Can you use all of theese products in one time. Like after you come out the shower.

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