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Styling Products

Men's Hairstyling Products

So, you found the perfect hairstyle, got the perfect cut, but are unsure of how to keep it looking good.  It’s no wonder with all the different styling products men now have to choose from.  An industry that traditionally catered to women, and not so long ago gave men only a few options like VO5 and Brylcreem, has grown to mega status and can definitely confuse even the best of us.

Let’s take a look at the different types of products and how to use them, so you’ll be able to maintain that perfect look!

Pliables and Fixatives

These are the two categories that all styling products are classified.  Pliables, as the name implies, are products that are flexible and allow hair to move.  Fixatives are products that dry hard, and keep hair in place by making it stiff and unable to bend.  Your hairstyle and hair quality will determine which product best suits you.

Pliable Products

Pomades – Typically made of wax and/or petroleum products, pomades give the hair a glossy or wet look, and because it does not dry, allows hair to be styled and molded after applying.  It’s great for slicking down or holding hair in place for specific styles.  It’s greasy to the touch, and because it can weight hair down, should be used sparingly, especially on fine hair.  Course, thick and curly hair usually do well with pomade, but still use small amounts.  It’s best to apply to either slightly damp or dry hair, since it’s not effective on very wet hair.  To apply, put a small, dime size amount in the palm of your hand, and rub your hands together until the pomade is softened and disbursed evenly over your hands.  Then apply to roots and work it through your hair until your desired style is achieved.  Only use your hands to style; avoiding combs, brushes and blow dryers.  Pomades can be used on both short and long hair, for it styles, separates and adds lots of shine.  Because it’s thick and oily, it may take several washings to get it completely out of your hair.  Use of a strong, grease cutting shampoo works best.  Some wash it out daily to avoid excess buildup on the scalp, which can lead to acne, clogged pores and hair loss.

Waxes – Wax is very similar to pomade, but is petroleum based, and being a bit heavier, works especially well with maintaining short styles like flattops and buzz cuts.  It works well managing thick or unruly hair, but is not a good choice for fine hair.  This product adds shine to hair, and can be applied the same way pomade is applied with hands or fingers; however hair must be completely dry, since it does not mix with water.  Use waxes sparingly, as well, and washing out before bedtime is recommended.

Muds and Fibers – For extra added control of unmanageable hair, these products are a great choice.  They also add body and give the appearance of thicker hair, but must be used in small amounts, so not to weigh the hair down.  Apply with fingertips, starting from the back of the head moving forward towards the front.  The finish is matte and does not add shine to hair.  These give definition and texture to hairstyles that require a messy, unkempt look.

Creams – This is an excellent choice if you want a clean look that adds shine to hair.  Creams have the consitency of soft wax, but are much lighter than pomades, waxes and muds; yet still need to be used sparingly, especially on thin hair.  Creams are great at defining curls and getting frizzy or wispy hair under control; without looking like there is any product on your hair.

Fixative Products

Gels – Typically water based, gels give hair a wet, sleek and shiny look.  They come in varying holds – light to extra firm – with light offering the least amount of hold, while extra firm offers the most.  Fine hair requires a light gel, so not to be weighed down, and thick, curly or hard to manage hair does best with a firmer, heavier gel.  A small amount of gel should be applied to damp, but not sopping wet hair in the same way other products like pomades are applied.  After distributed, hair is normally combed into place and allowed to air dry.  Once dried, your style should remain in place if undisturbed.  Dried hair can be combed to eliminate some of the wet look, and should still retain much of the hold.  If you want to reset gel, wet your hands and run them through your hair.  Gel can also be used to add fullness to hair, in addition to maintaining style.  Once applied to wet hair, use a blow drier to dry, which lifts hair and adds volume.  Foams or mousse can be used in the same way as gels.  Inexpensive products can flake once dry, so use reputable brands to avoid this problem.

Hair Spray – This is typically the final step in maintaining your hairstyle by locking it in place.  Choose a spray based on your hair quality – fine or course – to avoid weighing the hair down.  Sprays come in spritz bottles and aerosol cans.  Hold the spray about six inches from hair and apply, avoiding the face and eyes.  Hair spray often adds shine to hair, but does make it stiff.  Avoid over spraying, so hair does not become heavy or too rigid.  Spray can be used with or without other products for an all-day hold.

I suggest experimenting with the various products until you find one that holds your style and works for you.  If you’re unsure, talk with your hairstylist, who will be able to make recommendations.  Invest the time to learn how to use these products.  A great hairstyle that’s properly groomed and maintained adds so much to our image and representation! Check out Pete and Pedro

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Hair Conditioners -
December 19, 2011
So many of us use a hair conditioner after shampooing to detangle, to restore moisture and shine, and to gain greater manageability of our hair. It’s a good idea. However, I wonder how many are actually using the right product, which should be based on our individual hair quality. “Hair conditioner” is a very vague term, for a very broad market. Many users don’t realize how many different Read More»
Hair Shampoos -
December 19, 2011
We love our hair! It’s such a part of our identity, and says so much about us – from the style we wear, to the condition it’s in. There’s not much we wouldn’t do to keep it healthy, full and shiny; however, knowing which products to use can be confusing and undermine our best attempts. It’s not easy choosing the right products if you don’t understand what they’re designed to do, soRead More»
Coloring Men's Hair | Covering Gray Hair -
July 23, 2010
Professional male image consultant and style expert, Aaron Marino, talks about the options to cover gray as well as how to dye hair to look great and natural. There are two reasons to color hair: cover gray hair or to have fun. Experimenting with Hair Color You can completely change you hair color, because you can always change the color back. What do you have to lose? You can also add highlights,Read More»

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