Every guy wants his hair to look great, but it can hard to know which products to use to make your locks look their best. There are so many to choose from that if you are looking for a new style or even just new to using one of these products, the amount of information can be overwhelming. If you need some suggestions or help with which kind of product to use, check out this list of the best hair products for guys and what kind of look they can help you achieve:
Also known as: Just gel. Always gel.
What It Does: Unlike the fluorescent glue you may have used in the eighth grade, the updated, upscale version doesn’t have a sticky feel or leave your hair crisp as kindling. Today’s stuff is light but built to freeze a side part into place. Bonus: It washes out without scrubbing.
Who It’s For: Acolytes of Pat Riley, Clark Gable, and Gordon Gekko.
Also known as: Clay, mud, or fiber
What It Does: A dry, tacky product with some muscle that’ll make your hair seem less like it’s full of goop and more like you just took a day off from shampoo. If you can’t find Fatboy, get the same nice grit from Axe Messy Look Paste.
Who It’s For: Got short hair and want that intentionally tousled style? You’re a putty man.
Also known as: Hair dressing, pomade
What It Does: The old-school classic for a perma-wet finish and OCD control. The only catch: It’s damn impossible to wash out, so use it only if you’re committed to the look for a while and are okay with the buildup.
Who It’s For: White guys craving one of those ’50s-style pompadours or black guys who want some waves.
Also known as: Surf spray, beach mist, sea vapor… You get the point.
What It Does: Spray it on dry hair, work it in, and you’ll replicate the weird effect of ocean water: random waves that make your hair appear thicker. Just stay away if you’re prone to flakes—the spray has actual salt as an ingredient, so it’s dehydrating.
Who It’s For: Men with thinning hair and prepsters doing that windswept Nantucket thing.
Also known as: Glossing cream
What It Does: A lightweight cream like Malin+Goetz’s or Mitch’s Clean Cut spit-shines your hair. It doesn’t offer much support—it’s just made to fix straggly, messy strands.
Who It’s For: Frizzy guys who want to deflate their Seth Rogen ‘fro and add a bit of business-ready polish at the same time.
Also known as: Water wax
What It Does: A happy medium of shine and hold that fixes up most low-maintenance hairstyles. Translation: It’ll never lock in a foot-tall Mohawk, but it can give you wet-and-spiky. Plus, she can run her hands through your hair without getting a grease bath.
Who It’s For: Just about everyone, especially newbies who aren’t ready for ultra-specific hair products.