The Lowdown on Men's Hair Styling Products
Pomades, waxes, and gels. . . oh my! Getting your 'do ready for a big night out, but not sure which men's hair styling product to turn to? Whether you're looking to create a perfect rockabilly pompadour, a spiky faux hawk, a slicked back greaser look, or the perfect surfer shag, West Coast Shaving carries the right product for you. It's all about knowing what product you need, since each one serves a different purpose. Let us help you figure out what works best for your style and what product will get you the look you are aiming for.
What Hair Styling Products Deliver
Sheen simply describes the amount of shine (or lack of) that a product will produce on your hair. We carry men's hair styling products that provide a high, glossy shine to matte products that provide no shine -- and everything in between. The highest sheen styles will usually come from a gel. You can also get a glossy sheen from brilliantines and pomades. Waxes, clays, and creams usually give you a matte look with little to no shine, although your mileage may vary based on whether you are styling wet or dry hair.
Hold refers to how strong the product will keep your style. Extra firm, firm, and strong are going to be needed to your highest pomps, biggest waves, and spikest hawks. If you want to be able to run your fingers through your hair, then you will need to look for a light to medium hold product.
Most hair styling products today are water-based. These have the advantage of being easy to apply, easy to wash out, and easy to use. However, oil-based or wax-based products usually deliver the all-day, strong hold you want for certain hair styles. They are harder to wash out of your hair, however, and they can leave residue on pillows and hands.
Men's Hair Styling Product Options
Pomades give you a more flexible hold, as well as a wet 1950s/1960s look. Want your hair to look like James Dean, the Fonz, or Elvis Presley? A pomade will get you there. When applied to wet hair your look will be slick and neat. Because pomades remain pliable, you can re-style your 'do throughout the day if you need quick touch ups. They come in both water and petroleum based formulas.
The difference between a water-based and petroleum-based pomade is the main ingredients and what you will need to do to wash it out of your hair.
Water-based products rinse out easily with just water, whereas with a petroleum(or oil)-based product you will need to use shampoos, stronger detergents, or even an oil itself to remove it from your hair.
The original pomades were petroleum-based, and the grease used to make these is what gives your hairdo shine and hold.
Many modern pomades are now water-based and can offer just as much hold as the oil-based originals.
Every pomade is different in the amount of shine, hold, and texture it provides, and West Coast Shaving offers many Pomade options in both formulas.
For the 50s greaser look, a pomp, or a ducktail, a pomade will get the job done.
Try some of our most popular pomades:
- Medium Hold, Medium Shine, Water-based: Suavecito Pomade Original Hold
- Strong Hold, High Shine, Water-based: Grant's Golden Brand Pomade
- Meidum Hold, Medium Shine, Oil-based: Prospectors Crude Oil Pomade
A hair gel will usually give you more of a "wet" look and is great for anyone who wants maximum, all-day hold or a slick back look without any movement.
Hair gels have a much stronger hold than most other products and will leave your hair with a nice shine.
The downside is that your hair may look somewhat greasy, and when the product dries it can give the effect of "helmet head" - there's no running your fingers through your locks with this look.
But the upside of using hair gel is that you won't have to keep re-styling your hair all day to maintain your 'do. Hair gels also usually wash out easily with just a little water and are usually formulated to have a clear and thin consistency.
A lightweight hair gel is ideal for thin hair and for styles that you want to stay put all day.
Try some of our most popular hair gels:
- Extra Hold, Water-based: Suavecito Firme Hold Styling Hair Gel
- Firm Hold, Light Feel, Water-based: Taylor of Old Bond Street Herbal Hair Gel Tube
Brilliantines are meant to soften the hair and give it a nicely glossy appearance. They are great for a well-groomed style.
The term "brilliantines" comes from the French for "brilliant" and was created by Ed. Pinaud back in 1900 as a fragranced oily liquid. Brilliantines are more refined now and will definitely give you the shine you want for a slicker style.
(The movie "Grease" actually used the French title "Brilliantine" in Quebec when it first came out, to give you an idea of the style you can achieve here.)
For hair that looks neat and styled all day with enough shine to get you noticed, a brilliantine is for you.
Try some of our most popular brilliantines:
- Light Hold, Natural Shine, Non-greasy: Pinaud Clubman Greaseless Hair Tonic
- Light Hold, Medium Hold, Water-based: Suavecito Brilliantcreme
Hair Wax Options
Hair waxes are usually thicker hair styling products. They are used to hold the hair in place and are usually made using beeswax as a base, which sometimes give them a "tacky" feel. Because of this addition, hair wax gives a very firm hold and is typically harder to wash out. Hair wax also gives a more matte appearance, with little to no shine. Hair clays, pastes, and muds also fall into this category.
If you are going for a messy, dry look, hair wax should be your choice. Want some big spikes? Add it to wet hair instead.
Try some of our most popular hair waxes:
- Long-lasting hold, Good for Textured Styles: Hawkins & Brimble Molding Hair Wax Pomade, Elemi & Ginseng
- Long-lasting hold, Matte finish, Water-based: Layrite Cement Hair Clay
Hair Lotion & Hair Cream Options
The types of men's hair styling products in this category include hair creams, tonics, and hair lotions, which are perfect for taming flyaways and keeping your hair looking healthy and smooth.
In addition to offering varying levels of hold for your hairstyle, many hair creams and lotions also condition the scalp and add much needed moisture, making them perfect for dry, damaged hair.
Hair lotions and creams are generally not as thick as a pomade or wax and usually come in really nice scents.
To tame pesky flyaways and frizz or manage curls without weighing them down, a hair lotion or hair cream is what you want.
Try some of our most popular hair creams:
- Medium hold, Matte finish, Water-soluble: Layrite Natural Matte Hair Cream
- Medium hold, Non-greasy: D.R. Harris Crystal Hair Cream
In our product descriptions, we try our best to label every men's hair styling product with the amount of hold and sheen they provide and whether they are water or petroleum based. When in doubt, give our awesome customer service team a call. They are expert men's hair styling ninjas!
What are your go-to men's hair styling products? Do you have one you love? Let us know why in the comments below.