Even if most guys don’t have shoulder-length hair, they still want it to look a particular way — slick, tousled, unkempt, dapper — and often with just a dime-size dollop worked into just a few inches of actual hair. To find out what’s best for guys of varying hair types and lengths, we talked to a range of well-groomed men to find out their preferred styling products.
Short, wavy hair
“I have really thick hair (half-Jewish, half-Asian wiry hair) that I don’t ‘style’ as much as I just try to contain. A little dab of this helps me to mold it without it looking and feeling greasy, and most importantly, it doesn’t get flaky or oily by the end of the day, which, surprisingly, a lot of waxes do.” — Max Berlinger, writer
Short, straight hair
“My Asian hair’s not long, but it’s long enough that I can’t just throw anything in it. I know you’re not supposed to wash your hair every day, but I really can’t help it, and the Fatboy is the only hair putty that gives my hair that almost-dirty, very styleable gritty texture, though, as with any hair product, I just have to make sure to use it on almost-dry hair. It’s a cinch to wash out, too. Every time I try something else — waxier, pastier, or (most often) cheaper — I regret it.” — Jason Chen, deputy editor, Strategist
“I love beach spray because it doesn’t leave a sticky, salty, crunchy feeling like the other salt sprays. It’s lightweight and will last all day. All you need is a spritz.” — Chris Legaspi, menswear editor, Vanity Fair
Mid-length, wavy hair
“It was created by Vaughn, who actually cuts my hair, but I don’t use it just because he’s my hairstylist. I’m very particular about what I put in my hair. I’ve tried every clay and molding paste, but this is the best. I’ll come out of the shower, dry my hair, and throw in this paste, and it doesn’t give my hair a wet look or crunchiness, but makes it perfectly tousled and touchable. I’ll run my hands through my hair throughout the day, and it always goes back to where it should go with this paste.” — Adam Glassman, creative director, O, the Oprah magazine
“I actually rarely use hair products, but I like how this makes my hair shine and how it supports my almost-curly texture.” — Raffi Salbashian, lawyer
“I have a constant rotation depending on the event, but my old standby is Byrd. It’s ‘cheap’ and easy to find; it has a firm hold. It looks like you put no effort in, but you’ve got something in there.” — Paul Alkaly, IT manager
“I’ve been using the pomade from Baxter Finley. It keeps my Jew-fro in place, but the matte finish also maintains the natural texture. I like the fact that people can’t usually tell that I’m wearing any product.” — Alex Gorosh, filmmaker
Short, curly hair
“I use Byrd Matte Pomade after jumping out of the shower for that fresh all-day feeling without feeling like cement. I’ll shake my head dry in a towel, throw a slab on my palm, rub ‘em together, and put my hands through my hair. Out the door in 15 minutes.” — Connor Stanley, associate director of brand strategy, Vanity Fair
“I pretty much swear by Moroccanoil Treatment. I discovered it a few years ago and have been using it religiously ever since, along with their hydrating shampoo and conditioner. My hair tends to be on the drier side pretty much year-round, but a pump or two of this oil and I’m usually good to go. It’s a little pricey, but definitely worth it.” — Adrian Brinkley, social-media manager, SoundCloud
“Well, as someone with super-frizzy, curly hair, I find that this product is a great starting point. I run a couple of pumps through my hair when I get out of the shower, and it helps smooth and de-frizz.” — Adam Douglas, PR manager, Vince
Long, straight hair
“I have straight, thick, Asian hair, so most products are either too weak to give it hold, or too sticky that it makes my scalp feel as if it were doused in vegetable oil. This is exactly why Baxter of California’s Hard Water Pomade is perfect. First of all, it has a really fresh, beautiful smell, which I can appreciate in the mornings. It’s water-based, so it washes out completely at night. It also goes in your hair smoothly, can be styled in every which way, and holds with a shiny finish for an entire day.” — David Yi, founder and editor, Very Good Light
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