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Understanding Male Hairstyling Products

Understanding Male Hairstyling Products

I must admit that I am a newcomer to understanding and using male hairstyling products. I was sort of forced into it by the large number of younger clients who use every type of product out there. Some of the short, spiky hairstyles can only work if they use either a pomade or wax to help control it. But now I must admit that I am a big fan of the wide variety of different male hairstyling products that are available.

I would strongly suggest to those men who don’t use anything on their hair to consider trying out some lighter male hairstyling products to start with. I see men whose hair is blown and messy when they come into the shop. If they used either a light gel or a soft hair spray to give them a little hold, their hair would probably not blow away the way it does. The right male hairstyling products might also add a little more body to their hair which gives a fuller look of more hair.

A lot of men don’t realize that as they get older many of them experience a thinning of their hair. We have all heard that expression “thinning and balding” but some people don’t realize what that means. A man can look like his hair has fallen out, but in reality much of it is still there–it is just much, much thinner. Men who say they never had to use product don’t seem to realize that was thirty years ago. Their current thinner hair just might look and act a whole lot better if they understood male hairstyling products.

With men of today caring more about their appearance, there is a boom going on in male hairstyling products. Where there used to be just a few products out there, now there are so many choices that it is hard to keep current. Here are a few ideas to make things simpler.

There are two general categories of male hairstyling products: those which dry stiff or hard, and those which remain soft and flexible. Neither one is right or wrong–it just depends upon what you want them for.

Stiff or Hard Products

Gels These are normally water based and good for those who want that wet, sleek look. Some cheap supermarket gels have the tendency to break and flake off in the hair, so get the good stuff. Most professional gels sold at salons do not have this problem. You’ll usually find gels in firm or light hold. The key to choosing the right one is this: the finer the hair, the lighter the product.

Using a firm hold gel on fine hair will weigh it down, while light hold gels on thick, course hair will not offer enough control. Since most gels have a ‘memory’ after they are dry, combing through the hair will give you a dry look while maintaining the shape. A gel can be “reactivated” by wetting your hands and running them through the hair.

Hair Sprays As a finishing product, hair spray is used to lock a style in place. As with gel, choose the lightest product for your hair type. For fine hair, a light spray can be used to give hair a messy texture without weighing the hair down too much. As an added bonus, many hair sprays contain a sunscreen and will add shine to the hair.

Soft or Flexible Products

Pomades These products can be either water or wax based and are used to add shine while maintaining a pliable hold. A pomade will give a wet, shiny look and is a great option for a sleek, well groomed style. This product is also great for shorter, texturized styles where shine is desired and can also give shine and separation to long hair. Most pomades can be too aggressive for fine hair and can make it look greasy and limp.

To properly use a pomade, apply a small amount to the palm of your hand and rub them together until your hands get warm. Work the product through slightly damp to dry hair. I recommend washing this product out of your hair before bedtime as excessive accumulation of the product can clog pores and harm the scalp.

Waxes are similar to pomade, but are normally more aggressive and petroleum based. This product is great for lending shine and control to short cuts like flattops and buzz cuts. Waxes are also good for managing very thick hair. Application is the same as with a Pomade, except the product must be applied to hair that is completely dry (oil and water don’t mix). Remember to wash the product out at night and never use a wax on fine hair.

Muds & Fibers Similar in application to pomades and waxes, a mud (or fiber) is used when maximum control is needed. Many muds and fibers will give a more matte finish, so they are perfect for those “bed head” type styles. This product type is great for giving texture to short, disheveled styles and for adding separation to long styles.

Creams A styling cream has the consistency of a soft, opaque wax. These products are lighter and are great for controlling flyaway hair and for giving a bit of shine and control while leaving you looking like you don’t have anything in your hair. For fine hair, use a very small amount to avoid a greasy look. If your hair is curly, a cream is a great option to add shine and keep the curl together.

This information should take some of the guesswork out of selecting the right male hairstyling products for your hair type. Of course, maintaining a great head of hair starts with getting a great haircut, but the right male hairstyling products can take you look to a new level.

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