Men’s Styling Products 101: Know What Each Product Does On Your Hair

Style up the right way with this simple and straightforward men's styling products 101!

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and with all the different styling tools designed and invented, it’s crystal clear that style is a necessity of life. But just like you, sometimes we get a bit confused about which one to use for that dapper look. How do you choose which to use among the long list of men’s styling products?

With this question in mind, we’ve gathered all the deets we need to know about men’s styling products to settle the real score on wax vs. pomade vs. gel vs, clay vs. putty for each hair type.

 1. Wax

Men's styling products: Asian man with hair styled in wax wearing a denim jacket
Sculpt your hair and maintain its shape with the help of hair wax. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Styling wax has been around for years but gotten on a rage in the most recent years, especially among teenagers. This is one of the most often used men’s styling products. Usually made out of beeswax, it offers moderate to strong hold and gives your hair a matte finish without making your locks stiff. It is best known for its thick volume that adds texture without being sticky.

Wax is best for oily hair types as it absorbs oil from your hair strands.

Editor’s tip: Try the VO5 Styling Wax to achieve long-lasting controlled hold for any hairstyle without the crunchy feel. 

2. Pomade

Men's styling products: Asian man with a pompadour wearing a polo and neck tie
Nail a pompadour hairstyle with a reliable pomade. Credit: Hariono Halim

If you want strong yet flexible holds with either matte or high shine finish, pomade is the holy grail for you. You can choose between water-based and oil-based pomades, with the water-based ones perfect for your everyday look, and the oil-based best for glammed up looks. But generally, this styling product will give you neat hairstyles from comb over, side part, slicked back, to quiff and pompadour. And as if it’s not great enough yet, you can switch up your style any time of the day, thanks to its flexible hold!

Pomade is best for any hair type, especially if you want something lightweight.

3. Gel

Men's styling products: Man with short black hair wearing eyeglasses and smiling
If you want a bit of gloss on your hair, style it with gel. Credit: Shutterstock

Remember those colored sachets your tito asked you to buy at the sari-sari store when you were little? Yup, those yellow and pink sticky stuff are one of the early go-to gel products of Pinoys. Gel is the classic hair product for men that gives a strong hold and on-point “wet” look. Even with a little amount, you can style your hair and tame it neatly. The only catch is your hair will stay like that for the entire day, and might even give you a hard time showering the product off.

Gel is best for thicker, unruly hair types that demand stronger hold.

Editor’s tip: If you need 24-hour long of extra hold, the VO5 Mega Hold Styling Gel is for you. This is ideal for creating indestructible looks, even under highly humid conditions.

4. Clay

Men's styling products: Asian man with short thick hair wearing eyeglasses and black shirt outdoors
Clay can help keep your hair from looking flat. Credit: Shutterstock

Clay, to simply put it, is clay. It is relatively new but has been well-received by people for its matte, natural looking finish that’s great for messy hairstyles. It works like a pomade but with a lighter hold, and well, with clay as its composition.

Clay is best for any hair type, especially if you’re after natural looking styles.

Editor’s tip: Give your hair achoppy matte finish by using the VO5 Matt Clay. This product is a practical hairstyling product because even a little amount of clay goes a long way!

5. Putty

Men's styling products: Asian woman with a textured bowl cut hairstyle wearing a cream-colored suit
Add texture to any haircut by styling it with putty. Credit: Natasha Estelle

One of the most underrated men’s styling products is the putty. It’s similar to clay with its matte, messy look but it adds moisture into the equation. Putty is best for dry hair that needs control and extra moisture.

Editor’s tip: Add more oomph to your casual look with TONI&GUY Mattifying Putty for Men. This product will give your hair texture that lasts all day long!

Whoever thought styling can also get confusing? With this info on men’s styling products, we hope we’ve answered some of your questions. Now, you can use this as a guide when you’re out shopping for hairstyling and grooming products.

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