How the right mens hair product selection can make the most of your hairstyle
As a hairdresser, my work isn’t just limited to cutting hair, even though the public seems to think of us hairdressers, barbers and hairstylists. My job is, in a nicely summarized phrase, is to “make your hair look great”. Cutting hair is one of the means to reach the final destination, but so is shaping the hair, styling it and choosing the right product for the hair; it is with this latter mean that I would like to focus this article on.
What are the hair products for men?
Traditionally, women have driven the sales of hair products in just about every market, including here in India. However, some 15 years ago in the late 90s, the male hair care field took off and this sub-set of the global hair care industry began to be inundated with product after product, of which some made shady or bogus claims. Some of these hair products are for the most part recognized by men anywhere in the world (e.g. hair gel) while other products such as hair wax or hair spray have yet to gain the styling appeal of the more traditional hair products. Let me quickly introduce you to each
Even though the name itself may suggest so, hair wax isn’t a product made out of regular wax (as found in candles). Hair wax is a pasty textured product that almost miraculously improves the manageability of hair and allows for some otherwise impossible mens hairstyles. While there are plenty of low quality hair waxes, there are also great hair waxes in the market and for which choosing the best hair wax for a guy as per the mens hairstyling website in the link should not pose a problem. Personally I like the Gatsby range of waxes but the high street retailers here in Mumbai don’t tend to carry the waxes available for this line of mens hair products. The good news though is that the Internet has developed itself immensely when it comes to online commerce, and buying hair products for yourself online is ever so easy (just search in Amazon for male hair waxes and prepare yourself to be astonished with the huge range of products that are stocked at Amazon!).
Hair gel is the most known mens product out there, and this is simply due to the versatile nature of hair gel. With this product, one can shape his hair or wear it natural; tousle his locks for the perfect out-of-bed look or style some spikes or mohawk crests. The possibilities with hair gel are endless and more varied than those styling possibilities for hair wax. The only inconvenient of hair gel is that it is usually a hassle to wash off the hair, requiring a strong shampoo (like a clarifying shampoo) to fully remove the sticky gel that remains stuck and even crusted on the hair if the hair isn’t washed within 24 hours of using it.
On the other hand, hair wax is more much forgiving and one can even wake up the next day without having removed the hair wax the night prior, and then proceed to easily shampoo the wax off his hair.
Pomade is actually a classic product that was made exclusively for men in the late 19th century. To this day, pomade largely remains a mens product but its popularity has never taken off, in part due to the poor quality of most pomades in the market. Here in India, there are still some major concerns for the actual safety of this product since pomade can be made of mineral oil and, over the last 3 years, there have been several cases of pomades being manufactured with engine oil made of mineral oil, which is very dangerous and risks mortal burns as has already been documented! These pontetially lethal pomades are usually counterfeit products that resort to cheap and dangerous products to increase the profit margin of the sale of these counterfeit hair products.
It should be said though that the situation has improved dramatically from what it used to be 10 to 15 years ago, when I remember that just about any product that was branded as international (and thus perceived as luxurious or high quality) was fake and was being made in kitchen sinks and bathtubs!
Hair spray is another hair product that has been traditionally used by women but which is slowly being used by more men. I always recommend to my clients to always have at home a can of hair spray handy as the spray can be a true lifesaver when in a rush. Hair spray allows one to securely fix the hairstyle in place so that one can go about his day without fearing that his hair morphs into a new shape in a couple of hours (an issue which is specially serious for curly men).
Hair spray is easy to use and it can make a huge difference in one’s hairstyle so for those men who like to always look sharp, hair spray should be a mens hair product to seriously consider.
Which hair product to choose?
After all, one can’t simply end this article with the list of available hair products for men, some form of consensus must be reached to give you a better understanding of how these hair products play into your own hair grooming needs.
I am advocate for experimentation, which simply means having a product for each of the 4 categories listed above. By having a hair wax, hair gel, pomade and hair spray, you can then test each product against a hairstyle of your preference and then arrive to a conclusion of which of the 4 products best suits that particular hairstyle you tested the products on. You repeat this same testing procedure on other hairstyles that you like to wear or plan on wearing and eventually, in a matter of a couple of weeks, you will have garnered enough hair product knowledge and be able to reach your own consensus on each of the products.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, as hairdressers, we are here to help you maximize your hairstyle with all the tools available, and hair products should certainly be a part of your weaponry when it comes to your goal of great hair.