It’s all very well getting dressed up in your favourite men’s t-shirt and expensive designer jeans but your look isn’t complete unless you’ve taken at least a little time over your hairstyle. These days it’s not enough for the stylish guy to simply leap (or stumble) out of bed and throw on whatever clothes happen to be lying on the floor; if you want to make an impact and show the world that you care about your appearance you need to pay a little attention to your hair too.
The state of your hair can make or break your outfit- take a male fashion icon like David Beckham for an example. OK, you might not want to be rocking a sarong this season (sorry, Beckham but we will never forget…) and the Mohawk might not be your hairstyle of choice (unfortunately we still remember that too) but there’s no denying that the guy has got his hair care routine sorted.
But with a myriad of products lining the shelves of your local supermarket or pharmacy where does the discerning gent start? There’s a seemingly endless choice of hair products out there with new ‘wonder products’ flooding the market on an almost constant basis and if like me you’ve tried virtually every type of styling product known to man in the desperate bid for better hair – often with unfortunate results – you might be wondering where to start. Well, it’s time to stop wasting your hard earned cash and time to stop cluttering up your bathroom cabinets with half used pots of gunk and find out.
The key to finding the right hair care product for you is to understand what type of hair you have. Not all hair is created equal and hence not all styling products are suitable for your mop. It also depends on what type of look you’re going for too; are you hankering after the slicked back Mad Men look or is the tousled ‘just got out of bed’ look more your thing?
Products generally break down into three different types: those that give you a shiny or wet look finish, those that create a matte or dry look and those that add texture or hold. But which one is which? Read on as we break down the different product types so you can decide which is best for you.
First off the classic gel. Now wait a minute because I know for many of us (particularly those of a certain age) hair gel was our first foray into the world of hair care and it can bring back painful memories of being an awkward 14 year old in an ill-fitting school uniform whose hair was more of a hot (wet) mess than pop-star perfect. But hair gel has moved with the times and is no longer the electric blue, chemically scented slop in a see-thru pot of our youth, or my youth anyway. These days gel is actually a decent choice if you’re looking to add a touch of the wet look to short to medium length hair. However only those with thick hair should use gel as it’s too heavy on fine hair. It should also be used sparingly as too much will likely drip of the ends of your hair. (Trust me I know this.)
Next up, wax. Wax is also a product that’s been around for years but it is great for holding a slightly more ‘engineered’ hair style in place. It’s much more matte than gel and will add texture too. Like gel however it works best on thicker, medium length hair. Again use fairly sparingly and warm it up in your palms first before using on your hair.
If you want to add body to thin or fine hair, mousse is your savior. Again this is seen as a slightly dated hair care product but it can still be found – companies such as Toni and Guy still produce mousse – and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored if you’re trying to add a little oomph to a lifeless head of hair. Mousse works with any length of hair too.
While we’re talking old school it would be remiss not to mention pomade. The choice of dapper black and white films stars – and granddads – this is the key to getting that slick Don Draper look. Pomade works on thin and thick and wavy and curly hair so it’s a good choice for pretty much anyone who sees themselves as a 1960’s era ad exec.
If you’ve paid any attention to hair products lately you may have been slightly perturbed by the appearance on the shelves of things called ‘clay’, ‘mud’ or ‘putty’. These are this generation’s version of wax and are similarly used to add matte texture. They are a little more pliable than wax however which makes them perfect for crafting that “I spent 30 minutes in front of the mirror this morning but I look like I’ve just rolled out of bed” look. Clays and putties can be used on all hair lengths and types from thin to thick and from poker straight to wavy.
Hair creams are a lighter option if you want a slightly more subtle finish and you don’t want to look like you’ve used anything on your hair at all. They’re good for taming flyaway or wild locks and again work on all lengths and everything from thin to thick and from straight to very curly hair.
Finally, and stop laughing at the back, but hair spray is still knocking around and whilst you may or may not want anyone to know you have a can of your grandmother’s favourite beauty product sitting on your bathroom shelf it can’t be beaten for holding your style in place. After all you’ve gone to all that trouble, so don’t let a gust of wind destroy all your hard work the minute you step out the house!
This post was brought to you by the excellently-coiffured team at Ethereal Clothing. Check out our range of urban men’s t-shirts here and head on over to facebook to like our page and see more tips and words of (occasional) wisdom.