In our recent article on washing out pomade, we briefly touched on some of the finer products available to the discerning gentleman.
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Truth is, buying hair products can be something of a mind-boggling experience.
Unless it’s something your barber or stylist has used on your hair, it’s hard to know what’s going to keep that quiff high and mighty and what’s going to quickly descend into a flat, greasy mess. So what are the best hair styling products for men?
Clay, paste, pomade, wax or gel? Matte or shine? Big name brands or plucky newcomers? It’s a jungle, but the monkeys are hurling little pucks of product instead of faeces.
Luckily, we’ve turned our follicles into figurative guinea pigs in order to bring you a list you can depend on.
But enough with the animal metaphors, here are our favorite products to keep your hair on point. And best of all, they’ll all come out with one wash.
Reader, we’ve bought many, many hair products in our time on this earth. This New Zealand brand, by way of Brooklyn, was recommended by our recent interviewee Josh Ritter and Mr. Ritter knows his stuff. It’s without a doubt the best pomades for men.
An incredibly pleasant-smelling concoction that spreads easily, holds brilliantly and never looks greasy. It’s more towards the matte end of the spectrum but less so than a clay. A deserved winner in a strong field.
Sachajuan is a top-notch Swedish haircare brand brought to our attention by our barbering friend Sam Nosworthy at Ruffians. Top dog in their range is this superb fibre paste, a very pleasant-smelling hair paste that holds brilliantly and offers a subtle sheen that isn’t totally matte but isn’t super shiny either. If your do of choice is quiff-esque or requires a strong hold, you can’t go wrong.
Sheffield has given the world many great things, from Ned Stark to Pulp. It’s also home to Dapper Dan, a brand that is at great pains to stress its lack of connection to the product favored by a certain Mr. Clooney in a certain Coen Brothers film. Dapper Dan make something of a holy grail for pomade devotees: an oil-based pomade that washes out easily.
A lot of water-based pomades dry and hold like a gel, whereas Dapper Dan’s offering feels much closer to the real deal, albeit without the necessity to rely on scorched earth tactics to remove it. The scent is also much milder than most of its contemporaries, making this an affordable and one of the best pomades for men that is easy to recommend.
Thankfully nothing to do with the star of School Of Rock, Jack Black is a men’s skincare brand whose range runs the gamut from deodorant to moisturizer and includes this excellent clay pomade. We’ve experimented with a few different uses for this and found it excels at adding a flexible, messed-up texture to shorter, choppier styles.
We’ve been so overwhelmingly impressed by Fatboy that they’ve made our top ten twice. The Perfect Putty doesn’t grip with the same vicelike hold of the Sea Salt Pomade, instead offering a bit more flexibility and ruffled scruff. If you tend to like your hair more the day after you’ve washed it, this putty will give that effect right out of the shower. Like its sea salt brethren, it smells amazing.
There’s a weird time machine thingy that happens when you open a tin of Uppercut Deluxe Matte Pomade. Instantly, the smell transports you back to that small barbershop where a much younger you got your locks shorn among black and white photos of high-cheekboned men with gravity-defying haircuts. At least, I was. Performance wise, this is a medium hold pomade that is true to its word, providing a great blend of movement, hold and texture.
What Aveda’s clay offers over the others on this list is an abundance of volume. So, if you like a bit of pomp in your pompadour, reach for this fragrant clay and watch it pump up the volume. It might be a bit much for gents whose hair is already quite thick, but it’s manna from heaven for anyone with finer locks.
Murdock deviates from the standard pomade smells with this fresh, citrusy, water-based pomade, a pleasingly gooey orange hair paste that looks and smells like it might taste of Starburst (it doesn’t). If your style of choice is a slicked back, glossy quiff then this is just the ticket. It spreads through the hair well, holds steady and doesn’t dry stiffly. It also works nicely when used sparingly to take the dullness of a more matte product.
Baxter have a range pomades, all of which can be used individually or combined to create the perfect look. Whether you prefer a matte, natural or high shine look, the Clay Pomade makes the perfect base to create the style with a firm hold. If you then want a bit more sheen, you can choose from the natural shine of the Cream Pomade or the super glossy Soft Water Pomade.
One for fans of watermelon flavor Jolly Ranchers and firmly fixed styles. Imperial’s water-based pomade keeps your hair exactly where you want it, although it dries a little stiff. It can be reactivated by just running a wet hand through your hair and it washes out without fuss.