How to Use Hair Styling Products for Men for Maximum Effect

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Joshua White
How to Use Hair Styling Products for Men for Maximum Effect

Indeed, a great hairstyle is nothing without the right product, and how you use it can really bring the style to life. It is easy when you know how. So, in this guide, we are going much further into the most popular kinds of men’s hair styling products, how to select the right products to match your specific type of hair and style, and what specialists advise with product implementation so that you can harness your style to its full potential. 

Whether you are a hair newbie or a seasoned pro, this piece is sure to help you up your hair game and get the look you want.

Types of Hair Styling Products for Men

Before we dive into application techniques, let’s review the main categories of men’s hair styling products and what they’re used for.

  • Pomade – Pomade is a classic, shiny hair product with a stronghold that is great for slick, polished styles such as pompadours, side parts, and quiffs. There is water-based pomade (easier to wash out) and oil-based pomade (higher hold, harder to wash out).
  • Wax – Men’s hair wax offers that matte finish and medium to strong hold. Wax is recommended for piecing out textures to get lots of definition and separation in short to medium hairstyles. Wax is commonly used to give separation and definition to the hair.
  • Clay – Hair clay is a drier, wax-like substance but with a more natural, matte finish. It gives a firm hold and is great for building volume in styles that need a lot of texture with a gritty, heavyweight look. Clays commonly result in shorter hairstyles than with other hair product types.
  • Cream – Light to medium hold; natural, low-shine finish. Perfect for taming frizz, defining and getting a soft feel. Creams are versatile and can be used on various hair lengths and textures.
  • Hair Gel – The biggest hold and highest-shine finish among all types of styling products. Hair gel is the most popular styling product, mainly used for spiking, slicking back, and obtaining a wet look. Since it dries out and often causes flakiness, very sparing amounts for use on short hair are suggested.
  • Hair Mousse – A light foam that gives volume, texture, and light to medium control. It is applied to damp hair before styling and is best used to get volume and add control to fine or thinning hair. Mousses can be used alone or as a foundation beneath other styling products.
  • Sea Salt Spray – It is usually sprayed on damp or dry hair and scrunched in to provide volume, definition, and a windswept texture. Sea salt sprays are recommended for medium to long hair lengths.

How to Choose the Best Men’s Hair Styling Products for Your Hair Type and Style

With so many different men’s hair styling products on the market, how do you know exactly which one is right for you? Take the following into account based on your hair type and what style you’re going for.

Fine or Thin Hair

Use lightweight products that don’t weigh the hair down. Some products that might work well include mousse, sea salt spray, light creams, or gels. Keep away from heavy pomades or washes, which can make your hair greasy and flat.

Thick or Coarse Hair

If you have thick or coarse hair, you will need something with a stronger hold to keep your desired look frozen in time. Clays, waxes, or pomades work wonders in controlling the thick hair and make for a good shape for your mane. Leave-in conditioner is a good idea to keep your hair deeply hydrated and manageable.

Curly or Wavy Hair

Curly and wavy hair needs separate products to fight frizz and define those kinky curls. Get yours in some cream, gel, or mousse that is well-suited for curly hair; it will keep your curls in moisture for the longest time and produce a remarkable definition. Avoid the use of alcohol in your product, which can be drying for your hair.

Straight Hair

For straight hair, many styling options can be considered. Use pomades, waxes, and clays to add sleek and texture, or use various options for volume styles to straight hair. If the hair is fine, apply lighter stylers like creams or mousses.

Short Hair

Use matte finishes and heavy-hold styling products on short haircuts to give good definition and shape to hair. Clays, waxes, and pomades work well to shape shorted hair. Additionally, tuck some expressive gel or mousse in short hair for a spiky or tousled edge.

Medium to Long Hair

Use sea salt sprays, creams, and lightweight pomades with medium to long hairstyles. They can also double as mousse or gel for extreme hold slick-backs and pompadours.

How to Apply Hair Styling Products for Men

Now that you know what kinds of products are available and how to pick out the right one for your hair, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to apply them to get the best effect.

Start with Clean, Damp Hair

Most styling products work best when applied to clean, towel-dried hair that is still a little damp. If your hair is too wet, the product is going to get diluted and be less effective. If it is too dry, then the product won’t be distributed evenly. Except for sea salt spray, which can be applied to dry hair for a more textured, matte look. 

One of the most common mistakes guys make when using hair styling products is the amount they are using. Begin by using a small amount, usually a dime to nickel-sized dollop, and add more as needed. Using too much product will make your hair look greasy, crunchy, or weighed down.

Warm Up the Product

To break the product down, you want to rub the product between your palms until it is warm. This will also ensure the product is evenly distributed through your hair. If you are using a spray product, such as sea salt spray, you can skip this step.

Use the Right Amount

Apply the hair product to the head, starting from the roots and working to the tips. Be sure to apply it evenly and throughout the hair, front to back. Pay close attention to places where you want more hold or definition, such as the front of your hair for a quiff or the ends for a textured look.

Style as Desired

Once that product is in your hair, style to your liking with your fingers or a comb, brush. Using a dryer, you get more volume and hold or let it dry to be a touch more casual.

Finishing Hairspray (Optional)

Really need the hold or want those flyaways to go away. A light mist of hairspray at the end can often do the trick. When using hairspray, you should hold the can about 6 inches away from your head and spray in short bursts. Do not coat your hair with hairspray. Too much will leave your hair looking stiff and not natural.

Expert Tips for Using Hair Styling Products for MenExpert Tips

To get the most out of your hair styling products, keep these pro tips in mind:

  1. Experiment with different products and techniques. It usually takes a little bit of trial and error to come up with the perfect style. Do not be afraid to mix and match a few products to get an individual look.
  2. For a more natural look, avoid the roots, and apply the product through the middle lengths and ends. This way, you will get movement and definition without it appearing too ‘done.
  3. Slightly longer hair can benefit from the product application when 80% dry, which will give you more control and reduce frizz.
  4. For strong hold, layer products—for instance, use a mousse as a foundation, then apply a finishing pomade.
  5. For hair that tends to get greasy quickly, look for styling products that say “matte” or “dry finish” on the label. These contain less oil and wax.
  6. Wash your hair often. Oftentimes, using a large amount of product on your hair can leave a residue and cause your hair to look lackluster and dull. Use a clarifying shampoo once a week.
  7. Purchase good-quality, reputable brands. Cheaper products from lesser-known names tend to have harsh ingredients. Without even knowing it, you may be damaging your hair.
  8. Try not to fiddle with your hair throughout the day; this will break down the product and leave you with a flat style. If you feel you must touch up throughout the day, use a dab of product and lightly restyle.
  9. Test a new product out for a few days. Sometimes, it takes a little playing around to get the application and styling technique just right.
  10. Remember, less is usually more with hair-styling products. Begin with a little and build as necessary. You can add more, but it’s hard to take it away.


Picking up the right styling product for your hair can be the difference between looking average and looking incredible. Knowing the various kinds of products out there, choosing formulas that work for your hair type and style, and learning tips for applying them can help you achieve the same results you would from a session at the salon right at home. 

The key is in trying and being patient, not to fear, you’ll become an expert in no time. With a little bit of practice under your belt, some patience, and the right products in your bathroom, you’ll be on your way to possessing confident, stylish hair. So pile on that clay, pomade, and sea salt spray—your hair will thank you. Here’s to good hair days ahead!

Joshua White is a passionate and experienced website article writer with a keen eye for detail and a knack for crafting engaging content. With a background in journalism and digital marketing, Joshua brings a unique perspective to his writing, ensuring that each piece resonates with readers. His dedication to delivering high-quality, informative, and captivating articles has earned him a reputation for excellence in the industry. When he’s not writing, Joshua enjoys exploring new topics and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in content creation.