Best Hair Products For Men – For Styling and Hair Health

Last updated: March 20, 2022

The realm of hair care can feel like an intimidating one to traverse. You might find yourself overflowing with questions at the beginning: what is my hair type? What exactly does a “porous strand” mean? How do I figure out the right hair routine for me, without spending a bunch of money?

It can be hard to find all these answers in one spot. But today, we will hopefully make the journey a little easier for you by providing a comprehensive list of the different types of hair-care products and what they can do for you. By the end, maybe you’ll have a slightly better idea of where to start.

Before we begin, however, it’s important you have a basic idea of your hair type. Is your hair thick or thin, fine or coarse, oily or dry? Also, what is your curl pattern? Knowing your curl pattern is one of the most vital bits of information you’ll need in order to take proper care of your hair. Not only does this tell you how much your hair, well, curls, but also informs you about its porosity, moisture levels, humidity resistance, and many other factors.

Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s break things down.

Shampoos

Let’s talk shop about shampoos! After all, before you can do anything else with your hair, you have to make sure it’s clean first, right? Now, you may think you already know what there is to know.

Maybe, you’ve been using the same four-dollar bottle of shampoo for years without fail, and it’s never seemed like that big of a deal. And don’t worry, I’ve been there as well! And there’s nothing wrong with opting for the cheap or familiar option.

But, just using any old shampoo may be sabotaging the rest of your hair routine without you knowing it. Depending on your hair color, texture, or thickness, the shampoo you use can be a great way to set yourself up for success, as well as optimize the health of your hair.

Below, we will talk about four different kinds of shampoos: clarifying, moisturizing, and brightening (aka: purple shampoos), and dry shampoos.

Clarifying

Clarifying shampoos aren’t meant to explain something to you. They are actually designed to clear your scalp of grime, dandruff, or build-up from other hair products.

There are many affordable brands that are remarkably effective. Meant to be used in addition to your regular shampoo (and only once a week or so until you see results), a single bottle can last you a long time.

If you find yourself fearing a snowfall every time you wear a black shirt, a clarifying shampoo may be just what you’re looking for.

Moisturizing

While shampoos are intended to cleanse your hair, they can vary in terms of how much they actually strip your scalp of its natural oils, which are vital for hair health and naturally reducing frizz.

Moisturizing shampoos, such as the one above, are a great option for those who have naturally dry or textured hair. Moisture is especially important for African American heads, as it helps prevent frizz, protect the follicles from damage, and define hair texture.

Purple Shampoos

Many of us are afraid to go blonde for the first time, as we don’t want to deal with the maintenance. However, so much of the stress can be taken out of having icy strands by investing in a purple shampoo.

These shampoos have a violet tint that counteracts yellow/brassy tones in the hair to make sure your blonde continues to look fresh and bright. More and more store brands are coming out with their own purple shampoos as well, so you don’t have to break your wallet.

Dry Shampoos

In our opinion, dry shampoo is one of the best and most useful hair care products to keep in your bathroom cabinet. Dry shampoo (typically a spray) should be applied to the scalp as a way to absorb oil and volumize the hair.

Essentially, it performs the function of a regular shampoo, but without the need to get into the shower. This is the perfect product for busy dads, those on the go, or for when you’re just feeling lazy. A miracle product!

Conditioners

Now, men have become notorious online for the tendency to use 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner blends. However, trying to combine these products will ultimately make them both less effective, considering they do fairly opposite things. Having a separate conditioner from your shampoo is one of the simplest ways to make sure your hair care routine is on point.

Conditioners have a multitude of functions, not the least of which is to add shine. After you strip your hair of oils during the shampoo process, you have to add some moisture back in to make sure you don’t end up with a ton of frizz.

Conditioner sometimes gets a bad wrap for containing ingredients such as sulfate or parabens, which can be damaging to the hair (especially curls). However, more and more brands are making an effort to make sure their conditioners don’t contain these harmful chemicals.

Generally, conditioners have moisturizing ingredients such as aloe or oils, and often contain silicone to form a protective layer on the hair follicles and add shine (this is also what gives hair its titular softness after the conditioning process).

But they have other uses as well! Here, we will go over three different kinds of conditioners: volumizing, leave-in, and deep conditioners.

Volumizing

Using a volumizing conditioner before blow-drying your hair will give you the lift you crave. These conditioners are often lighter than their more moisture-rich cousins, so they may not be the best option for those with curly or textured hair.

However, if you have fine or straight hair that lacks body, this may be a great option for you. Ingredients such as propanediol help to give light-weight moisture without pulling your hair down.

If you’ve struggled with hair that lies flat and limp, look into volumizing conditioners such as these.

Deep Conditioners

If your hair tends to be dry as a bone, look into purchasing a deep conditioner to keep in your shower. Recommended use is once a week at most, as these babies pack a huge, moisturizing punch.

Deep conditioners are generally thick in consistency, meant to replenish the hair’s oils and help repair damage while reducing frizz.

Full of life-giving ingredients such as shea butter, essential oils, and aloe, deep conditioners are great for color-treated, bleached, or curly hair that needs a little extra TLC.

Leave-In Conditioners

Regular conditioners are meant to be applied to the hair in the shower and then subsequently rinsed away. Leave-in conditioners, however, are a great option if you are looking to prevent flyaways and frizz throughout the day.

Whether you have quite frizz-prone hair to begin with, or are simply enduring the humid months of late summer, a leave-in conditioner may be just right for you. These conditioners come in many forms, including butters, creams, and sprays.

Apply a small amount to damp hair after your shower, and watch the magic happen.

Heat Protectants

Heat protectants such as this Iron Guard by Chi are essential if you like to blow dry or use heat styling tools on your hair. They usually come in a spray, and can be applied to the hair either wet or dry.

Heat protectants create a sort of “shield” around the hair follicle that guards against damage from hot irons or blow dryers. They also add shine and help reduce the frizz that may develop during the blow-drying process.

There aren’t many variations to this product, as it really has one purpose, though some also act as leave-in conditioners, or can promote volume. Keep an eye out for one with good reviews, and set your worries about heat damage aside.

Pomades

If you find your hair flops to one side or the other without your say-so, or often behaves like an unruly child, you may need a pomade in your life. These styling creams, waxes, or clays are perfect for shaping and adding texture to otherwise slippery or uncontrollable hair.

You can basically use pomades as a precise styling tool, whether you’re slicking your hair back for a classic pompadour, just adding some texture, or sending it sky high in two points to resemble a certain X-Men character. Pomades differ in terms of their viscosity, their shine, and their “hold” power. As long as you read the label, you should be able to find the perfect one for your needs.

Luckily, most of them include this information on the front of the packaging, such as the Cremo pomade above, which is a matte finish, light hold pomade great for everyday use. Some pomades are meant to make you look like a leather jacket-donning high-schooler from the movie Grease, while others can be virtually undetectable. In either case, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding the one you need.

Oils

Now, a lot of people when they first venture into the world of hair care are intimidated by oils. After all, no one wants greasy hair, and that’s what the name sort of implies.

But in reality, when used correctly, oils are one of the best things you can put in your hair. They can improve hydration and texture, and even stimulate growth, without making your hair feel oily to the touch.

Of course, this always depends on your hair type. Those with thin or fine hair may find that raw oils weigh down their hair, and so may want to look into an oil blend that contains other ingredients that promote volume as well.

Below, we will touch on three different kinds of oils: rosemary oil, jojoba oil, and beard oil.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a great option if you are sick and tired of waiting for your hair to grow, or find your hair is breaking off in handfuls in the shower. Rosemary oil stimulates the scalp to revitalize and strengthen the hair, promoting hair growth and reducing breakage.

With regular use, this oil can help your hair become fuller, stronger, and longer. Be careful, though. While shopping, make sure the bottle actually contains pure rosemary oil, rather than a synthetic, rosemary-scented mimic.

Black Castor Oil

Black castor oil is widely used by the African American community to strengthen and moisturize hair, as well as repair split ends, but can be used for all hair types.

A tried and true remedy, look for a pure bottle or a leave-in conditioner that contains this oil if you’d like to start giving your hair some extra TLC. Damaged, high porosity hair will drink this stuff up without leaving a greasy film behind.

Beard Oil

Mostly, we’ve been talking about the hair that grows on top of your head, but your beard needs just as much care and attention, if not more. A great beard oil can be an absolute game changer, adding moisture to reduce frizz, softening your beard’s texturing, and stimulating growth to avoid patchiness.

Add a beard oil into your typical wash and shave routine, and you’ll find your beard looks fuller, shinier, and more well-groomed. Careful, though, you might also smell amazing, too.

Masks

You might have thought masks were just for moisturizing your face, or hiding your identity from supervillains to protect the ones you love. Well, think again! Hair masks exist, and they are amazing.

They have as many uses as there are pebbles on a beach, but the main idea is that they heal the hair. If you have tired, damaged, dry, brittle, or otherwise dramatic hair, then using a hair mask once a week may be just the ticket to restore your hair to a newborn silkiness.

Hair masks can be worn for up to thirty minutes, but should at least be on for five, so make sure you set aside some time in the shower. Alternatively, you can apply one in the shower, wrap your hair in seran wrap, and sit around playing video games for thirty minutes or so before rinsing it out.

Really, it’s a small price to pay for soft, healthy, color-protected hair.

Gels

Let’s think of gels as the pomade’s more modern, eclectic cousin. The basic concept of gels is that they apply wet with a sort of goopy texture, but when they dry, your hair is now encased in a sort of shield, perfectly styled and unlikely to go anywhere.

Gels are usually how you achieve the slicked-back, wet look. It can be perceived as somewhat outdated, but worn by those with enough confidence, and it turns into a bold fashion statement.

Gels are great for those who like to experiment with their hair, or hate frizz more than anything. Of course, how it works depends on how much you use. A little bit of gel applied to wet hair will give it some texture and hold without making it stiff or too shiny.

A lot will make your hair crunch enough you could start an ASMR channel. It’s up to you, and the fun is endless.

Of course, there are curl gels as well, but we will talk about that in the curl section.

Mousse

Mousses fell out of style for a long time, considered an outdated product to style one’s hair with, but they have recently regained popularity, and for good reason!

Mousses are great for adding volume and hold to the hair without making it stiff. If you use your mousse right, you should be able to run your fingers through your hair easily after it is dry.

Mousses are also great for people with curls or waves in their hair to reduce frizz and protect against humidity. Mousses don’t really vary in their purpose, only in their intensity.

Look at the front of the packaging to see how strong the hold is. Run some mousse from your scalp to your ends while your hair is damp, then blow dry with a roller, and you should have fluffy, smooth, and shiny hair.

Hairspray

Hairspray has been around for a long time now. If you’ve ever seen the iconic musical of the same name, you know that its popularity rose with the increasing number of tall, stiff hairstyles.

However, despite its fall in glory through the decades, hairspray has remained a hair care staple and isn’t likely to leave our shelves anytime soon. Depending on the strength of its hold, hairspray can be used to lightly touch up a style to reduce flyaways and add a bit of protection against the wind, or it can hold the tall, proud spikes of a mohawk aloft for hours on end.

The formula for hairspray hasn’t changed much throughout the years, so simply look for the right strength for your needs, and you should be good to go. This one will come in handy more times than you think.

Sea Salt Sprays

One of the lesser known hair products out there, but nonetheless a great option for many, sea salt sprays have the very particular effect of making your hair look like it does during a day at the beach.

Salt and other active ingredients give your hair soft, natural waves that look like you just spent an hour drying off on your towel after a dip in the sea. These sprays add subtle texture without making your hair greasy, and they often smell amazing to boot. Don’t let this one slip past your notice!

Curl Products

Curl-enhancing products have their own section here, as they are widely variable and come in all different forms: sprays, creams, gels, mousses, conditioners, and more.

Whether you have loose waves or tight coils, it’s essential that you have some products that are designed specifically for curly hair. Regular leave-in conditioners and gels simply aren’t going to cut it.

Below, we will highlight the difference between to major curl contenders: creams and gels.

Curl Cream

Leave-in curl creams are a wonderful option if you have dry, coarse, curly hair that craves moisture and needs defining. A curl enhancing cream, such as the one above, should be applied to wet or damp hair, and allowed to dry either without the use of a blowdryer, or with a dryer that has a diffuser attachment.

Leave-in curl creams are great for defining curls, reducing frizz, and adding bounce without making your hair too stiff. You may need to experiment for awhile to figure out the perfect amount for you, but always start with less.

Too much product will weigh down the hair and make your curls droop. If in doubt, there are tons of online forums about how to care for your curls nowadays! No longer must you suffer blindly through the trial and error of pre-internet generations.

Curl Gels

Curl gels are a slightly more heavy duty option if you’re looking for extra protection and hold for your curls to last throughout the day. Gels create a cast around the hair that helps the curls tighten and dry into perfectly defined ringlets.

However, the key is to “break” the cast after it has dried by gentle scrunching, and shaking of the hair, especially near the root. This will leave your hair touchable, soft and voluminous.

The key with curly hair is to always be gentle! If not, you’ll end up with unwanted frizz. Look for a gel if you have somewhat unruly hair that doesn’t take to more lightweight products.

Serums

And finally, we arrive at the end with serums. To the hair-care uninitiated, this may seem like the most unfamiliar or intimidating product in our line-up. However, serums don’t have to be complicated.

Think of them as medicine for the hair. If you’re having a particular hair struggle (dryness, split ends, brittle strands), then chances are there is a serum out there that will suit your needs. This may seem like the sort of product to buy after you’ve become a hair-care expert, but fear not. You can’t go wrong with giving your hair a little extra care and attention, so don’t be afraid to venture into this part of the aisle and grab something that looks like it will feel good and smell nice. Treat yourself.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! What a journey we’ve been on together. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what is out there in the wilds of the hair care aisle.

Spending more time on yourself is never a mistake. Having a hair care routine that makes you feel confident will certainly bleed into every aspect of your life.

The main thing is, don’t be afraid to experiment! Try out products that interest you and see how they work. Most people need a little time to figure out exactly what works for them, so be patient with yourself. And good luck!