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Best men’s hair products 2023: Shampoos, gels and creams for all hair types

Tame your tresses with the best men’s hair products

With so many men’s hair-care and styling options out there these days, it can be tricky to know what to invest in. From pastes, shampoos and creams to powders, clays and gels, the best men’s hair products will help you to create the perfect style. But what’s the difference between a gel, a powder and a paste, and which shampoo should you be using?

When styling your hair, what product to buy depends on your desired finish. Whether it’s lightweight control, long glossy locks, a matte look or an extra strong hold, there’s a styling product for all scenarios. Equally, if you’re struggling with issues such as an itchy scalp, there’s an abundance of men’s shampoos available for specific needs.

We’ve pulled together our favourite men’s hair products and broken down the difference between formulations so that you can find your perfect match.

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Best men’s hair products: At a glance

How to choose the best men’s hair products

What’s the difference between the formulations available?

Pastes and clays are the most popular choice for medium to firm hold on all hair types. The main difference is that clays leave a matte finish, while pastes are glossier. However, you can also buy matte pastes; warm them up in your hands first to give them more versatility.

Gels are more watery in their formulation and ultimately provide a stronger hold, but you can easily restyle your hair using wet hands. A little goes a long way with gels – we recommend using a pea-sized blob.

Powders are a great mess-free way to add volume and give the illusion of thicker hair. They’re not the best for hold, as they can weigh down your roots, but they work wonders for texturising and leaving a matte finish.

Styling creams are a great alternative to slightly heavier, stickier waxes and pomades. They add shine, so are brilliant for longer hair, but they’re also great at creating shape.

How do I know which shampoo is right for me?

Think about how your scalp and hair behave and judge it from there. For example, if you have a dry, flaky scalp, choose a shampoo that soothes and relieves irritation and contains ingredients such as tea tree and aloe vera. For very thin or thinning hair, opt for a fortifying shampoo containing ingredients such as menthol and caffeine to help stimulate the hair follicles. For dry, frizz-prone hair, choose shampoos containing keratin or argan oil.

How much should I spend?

It depends on the product’s size and quantity of use. A hair powder usually comes in a small shaker, but there’s no need to use anything more than a small sprinkling per use, so it will last and last. Anything under £10 would be ideal here, which makes it a bargain considering how little you need to use. A paste, clay, gel or cream will cost you anything between £10 and £30, but we say stick to under £25, as you can get some decent products for that price.

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The best men’s hair products you can buy in 2023

1. Hair by Sam McKnight Self Control Styling Gel: Best hair gel

Price: £22 | Buy now from Space NK

Sam McKnight is one of the best-known hair experts in the beauty industry, having worked at numerous backstage shows in Milan, Paris, New York and London, and with some of the most prestigious publications and celebrities. So it’s no wonder he has launched his line of hair products for men and women.

This styling gel comes in a sleek bottle with an easy-to-use pump and has a sophisticated unisex fragrance. The formula can be used on wet and dry hair for a slicked-back look, to control edges, to create a polished finish or build a spiky style that lasts. Say goodbye to that crispy, crunchy finish often associated with gel formulas; this product will make you no longer scared of using one.

Key details – Recyclable packaging: Yes; Vegan: Yes; Shelf life: 12 months

Buy now from Space NK

2. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shaping Cream: Best styling cream

Price: £25 | Buy now from Sally Beauty

When you open the pot, you can smell the fresh scent almost immediately, making you want to press your fingers into it, rub them together, and run them through your hair. But as much as you want to go all in, start small, as a little goes a long way.

This cream is ultra-light, more so than many other styling creams, but it gives a medium-to-strong hold in the process, drying to a matte finish. Ensure you run it all through your hair before you finish styling, as sometimes you can see traces of white from the cream if you don’t dispense it properly. If you want a styling cream that works on all hair types and lengths and smells divine, this is the buy for you.

Key details – Vegan: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Gluten-free: Yes; Shelf life: 18 months

3. The Shave Factory Hair Styling Powder: Best powder

Price: £6.64 | Buy now from Amazon

Powders are particularly brilliant for mess-free application on the go, and this one is no exception. The little shaker is the perfect size for slipping into your pocket or keeping in your briefcase or rucksack, and you can sprinkle some on effortlessly wherever you are. The scent is potent but inoffensive.

This styling powder is also effective for giving the illusion of fuller, thicker hair, especially on shorter styles. While the formulation initially feels quite wet and claggy, it dries with a matte finish. Remember, powders aren’t the answer to root lift (or any kind of gravity defiance, for that matter). But for texture, thickness and ease, this one’s got our vote.

Key details – Mattifying: Yes; Volume control: Yes; Hair type: Normal

4. Green People For Men No. 10 Itch Away Shampoo: Best targeted shampoo for men

Price: £16 | Buy now from Green People

If your scalp is itchy or irritated, the solution to keeping it healthy is to use a shampoo that’s free of silicones and sulphates. This shampoo is void of any nasties and formulated for men to stop the build-up of dead skin cells.

You can tell as soon as you open the bottle that it will be a positive shampooing experience thanks to its spa-like, masculine scent, and itching and soreness are relieved after a few days of use. Owing to the lack of sulphates, this product doesn’t lather, so it might be easier and more enjoyable to use on shorter hair. However, if you don’t mind minimal froth and want to reduce itchiness, this shampoo is perfect for use as a daily treat for the scalp.

Key details – Sulphate-free: Yes; Silicone-free: Yes; Gluten-free: Yes; Shelf life: 12 months

5. Fudge Styling Matte Hed Clay: Best styling paste

Price: £14 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for texture, hold, lift, a matte finish and a good smell, this paste-clay formula ticks all the boxes. First of all, we have to mention the packaging – it’s like one of those ‘fancy’ tubes of toothpaste where you press the lever and the product squeezes out slowly. No wastage here! It goes through hair smoothly and consistently and leaves you time to re-adjust your style before drying and leaving a natural, matte finish. There’s no need to re-apply during the day – your style happily stays put – and it washes out just as easily as it went in. A great all-rounder for those with shorter styles who just want the job done.

Key benefits – Against animal testing: Yes; Paraben-free: Yes; Shelf life: 12 months

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