Men’s Grooming: What styling product is best for my hair?

With so many styling products out there all promising perfect results, its kinda hard to for guys to figure which ones you need. You saw a commercial u you like, your bro swears by some other particular product but you always buy whatever’s cheapest and you aren’t even sure If you like it or not. Maybe u never use products and aren’t sure if you need one. Its confusing right? But if you aren’t rocking a buzz cut, then you probably should invest in at least one QUALITY styling product.

OK, but how do you know which one? The first thing you need to understand is what will work for your hair type? Next, what look are you trying to achieve, How much time are you willing to put into your hair? Determine your lifestyle – casual,conservative or a mishmosh of both? First of all make sure you have a great haircut. This is the foundation and determines what looks are possible and what products you need to maximize the styling options.  I am going to break down different attributes of products out there and the terms you might see listed on product labels. You the consumer can use this information to determine what works best for you! Just remember when using products start with very little then build you can always add a bit more. Getting a recommendation form your stylist is always a good way to determine what products may be the best for you.

Hold: Hmmm…Light, Medium or  Strong hold ? Do you have a very active lifestyle? Are you looking for a product that will hold up to challenging climate conditions like rain or humidity? Do you have hair  that just does what it wants? Maybe you find a strong growth pattern with stubborn cowlicks that just do what they please. Sounds like you need a strong hold product. If you are looking with a product that has some hold but very flexible, there are no real hair issues and your hair is pretty cooperative then medium hold will do. If you really just want to coerce the hair into shape and you don’t mind it being blown by wind or want to keep it very natural but add some polish to your low maintenance cut then a light hold would be a perfect choice.

Finish: Shine or Matte? Products like creams and some wax pomades can give the hair some shine. While pastes and putty tend to have more hold but medium to no shine. Depending on the alcohol content gels can look a dry, even flaky, look wet or shiny. An alcohol free product is much better for your hair. I personally think a little shine is great because it just makes the hair look healthier. But truly this is a personal choice.

Texture: Gel, Wax, Paste, Putty, Cream: For thick dense hair heavier products such as a wax pomade can be great to control unruly hair while also enhancing shine bringing a feeling of depth and fullness to wave patterns. Gels are good for medium to full density hair. For a spiky style gel is a go to product but when the hair is on the fine side you will notice some separation which can tend to make your hair look sparse. Creams I find are great for almost any hair type but will not provide any significant hold. Paste, Putty and wax can almost rival each other in what they promise in end result however wasted tend to be oily again for fine hair this can be way too heavy.


Apani Smith is a professional licensed cosmetologist, avid beauty junkie, also a revered Indie Hip-Hop Icon, sleep deprived mom and foodie extraordinaire.  Get social with  @apaniclassic on Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest  to book a hair or makeup consultation/appointment, see more original work and life imitating art. 


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