From pomades to gels, waxes to creams, men’s hairstyling products may seem a bit daunting at first. But with the right knowledge and application for your hair type, the proper product will take your hairstyle to the next level.
“Men should look for a product that aligns with their needs, which could be hold or flexibility, shape or separation, shine or matte finish,” says Anna Bernabe, a Los Angeles-based groomer with clients including Shawn Mendes, Billy Porter and Evan Mock. “Every hair product is designed for those different needs.”
“Rather than try to make a heavy pomade work on thin hair, research or even ask friends before purchasing,” explains Los Angeles-based celebrity groomer Darcy Gilmore, who has worked with the likes of Adam Levine, Jimmy Fallon, John Legend and more. “Also using the correct shampoos and conditioners for your hair type is a game changer.”
For curly hair, experts recommend products that are packed with oils like argan and coconut, while straight hair works best with lightweight formulas rich in proteins and protectants. And when it comes to styling the hair, damp or lightly towel-dried hair is optimal, as it allows for the product to be manipulated easily. “I like to distribute styling cream, pomade and mousse on damp to wet hair so it can absorb evenly,” notes Bernabe. “If I’m pressed for time, I work in products like matte pomades or texturizer spray into dry hair.”
Ahead, find the best suited styling products for curly hair, straight hair and those who want to boost hair growth.
Styling products for curly hair
Perfect for frizzy or curly hair, the JVN Complete Air Dry Cream brings a natural texture to curls while also reducing frizz by over 97%. We tested the bestselling product and loved the smoothness and softness it brings to all hair types. “If I’m trying to get curly hair to have defined curls and less frizz, the hair needs to be wet before working in the product,” Bernabe says.
$46 at Balmain Hair Couture or $47 at Net-a-Porter
For curly hair, Gilmore suggests the Balmain Hair Couture Curl Cream. The lightweight cream contains UV protection and is infused with silk protein to help activate, define and control curls throughout the day.
$26 at Innersense or $29 at Amazon
Innersense’s curl control styling cream is one of Bernabe’s favorites. The blend of shea butter, rooibos tea and honey extract is designed to hydrate and define curls while also eliminating frizz and unwanted texture.
$28 at Sephora
When it comes to curly hair, argan oil is a secret weapon that will naturally reduce frizz while also providing a desirable sheen. Bread’s hair cream is infused with argan oil along with hydrolyzed quinoa protein, mango butter and caprylic/capric triglyceride to enhance the shape of wavy, curly and coily hair types while adding moisture and shine.
$42 at Oribe
When styling frizzy hair or curls, Bernabe utilizes this silk-like cream crafted with avocado, coconut and apricot oils that gives curls instant definition.
Styling products for straight hair
$8.49 at Amazon
“A nice grooming trick for straight hair is to use a ‘grippy’ product to create weight and control for specific styles,” Gilmore says. “I love Osis+ Dust It to create a thicker appearance in the hair and to hold straight hair styles in place longer. It also makes the hair look temporarily thicker.”
$29 at Amazon
This nongreasy product is perfect for maintaining and holding straight hair while also providing a desirable sheen. The everyday cream can be applied on dry or damp hair for anytime styling.
With more than 5,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray is a certified bestseller for styling straight hair, as its buildable formula allows for instant texture and a touchable hold that is certain to last.
$24 at Bloomingdale’s
Malin + Goetz’s durable styling cream, used on damp or towel-dried hair, is perfect for straight hair, as its moisturizing formula helps to tame flyaways and any unwanted frizz. For times in between wash days, Gilmore says you can apply the product to dry hair as “second-day hair is great for the messy lived-in look or an unfinished look.”
While the styling market is mainly composed of creams, gels and pomades, a durable styling oil is equally as useful. Olaplex’s bonding hair oil is ideal for all hair types, especially straight, as it helps to increase shine and softness while also providing buildable texture that can be styled in various ways.
Styling products for hair growth
For an everyday product, Bernabe recommends Oribe’s Serene Scalp Thickening Spray. The vegan-friendly product is ideal for all hair types and textures and helps to provide thickness, volume and overall health to thinning hair.
$34 at Aveda
Aveda’s Thickening Tonic is crafted with a botanical blend of organic amla, an ingredient that promotes hair growth. The tonic is meant to be used on towel-dried hair and will provide an instantly thickened appearance.
$72 at Credo
Bernabe also swears by Maya Chia’s scalp and hair treatment, a lightweight solution that helps to regrow the hair while also thickening and styling. The product is fast-absorbing and features a blend of amino acids, peptides and collagen.
$25 at Amazon
Crafted with science-backed ingredients like biotin, caffeine, green tea and saw palmetto, Keeps’ thickening pomade is an everyday product meant to thicken the hair while also providing growth with continued use.
$75 at Sephora
“I have been really enjoying [the] K18 Leave-In Mask lately,” Gilmore explains. “It is a leave-in conditioner used after shampooing that is a new cult favorite for a reason.” The leave-in hair mask is designed for all hair types and is proven to reverse damage caused by bleach, heat and color through a unique blend of K18 peptides. The treatment makes hair more manageable and easy to style while also promoting follicle health and growth.