Getting your hair looking great every day can really boost your confidence. Plus, as we all know, first impressions count – so since what’s a-top your head is one of the first things you put out there, coiffing to perfection (whether that’s deliberately messy perfection or super slick) should be considered less of a bathroom basic and more of a secret superpower.
But achieving the style you desire can seem like mission impossible if you’re using the wrong products for the look you’re going for. So many of us fall into the rut of sticking to what we know, even if it’s never really worked, simply because trying something new just feels like too much.
The truth is, your choice of hairstyling products really do make or break a style. You simply can’t get a matte and effortlessly structured look with gel (you want clay for that), nor can you get surfer waves with a paste (it’s time to try salt sprays and mousse!). And it also all depends on the type of hair you’re working with. Using the wrong product is fighting a losing battle. With the right product, however, things will fall into place with an ease you’ve never known and bad hair days will be banished for good!
We love Hanz De Fuko Claymation for an easy-to-use, go-to, everyday product that suits most hair types. It provides a medium hold with minimum effort – for hair that looks fantastic without you having really tried. But beyond that, we found many excellent hair products to suit a variety of styling needs. Here are our top picks.
Hanz De Fuko Claymation
Natural clay-wax hybrid with a medium hold and effortless finish
Although sticky when first rubbing into our hands this clay, formulated with natural ingredients, soon melted into a great, workable product suitable for a variety of styles and hair types. While it’s not as a strong hold as the label suggests (we’d say it’s more of a medium), it’s certainly one of the most versatile products we tried.
With its ability to thicken and volumise fine hair, add structure to thick curls and generally tame unruly manes, Claymation is an excellent all-rounder if you like to play with your mid-length style.
One of our favourite things about this product was how nourished and hydrated it left our hair looking and feeling – not something we can say for many other hair-styling products.
We also really enjoyed the slightly unusual texture of the clay-wax hybrid, which was quite rough getting through the hair at first but quickly eased up into a more mouldable texture.
Kevin Murphy Night Rider Paste
A firm hold matte paste that’s perfect for shorter styles
When we tried this paste we weren’t expecting the hold it had to offer. We really put it to the test – wearing it from morning til night, at the gym and even hot yoga! And our style remained steadfast. What’s more, it remained matte too, which made a pleasant change from other products that ended up producing a slightly limp, greasy look.
This is indeed a strong-hold paste, but it sets fairly slowly which gave us enough time to work it through (no clumps here) and create the style we were after before it stuck that way for the day! It also seemed to plump up our roots a bit, which came as a welcome surprise for thinning hairlines.
Despite the firm all-day hold, this paste somehow managed to keep our hair well and truly in place while still looking pretty natural. However, we found we could layer it up (if we wanted to) for a more product-obvious finish. Some styles just call for that! Overall an outstanding product for choppy, shorter styles (both thick and fine).
Aveda Volumising Tonic
Botanical thickening hair tonic designed to boost volume from root to tip
Men’s hair styling products are so often limited to clays, pastes and gels – but there’s a whole world of other options out there, all of which work in unique ways. If you’re working with fine, limp hair you’re never going to get a full, healthy look by slapping on product. You’ve got to prep and this thickening tonic is a brilliant way to do that.
On first, liberal root-to-tip spritz we were won over by the unisex, botanical scent. Perhaps unsurprising considering that Aveda is known for its aromatherapy blend fragrances. It’s light, hardly discernible weight and texture lead us to believe that this product wasn’t doing much at first, but once dry (particularly when blow dried) there was a noticeable difference in thickness and root lift.
This isn’t a product for slicking back or moulding styles, but it does create the perfect base for that. And it stands up as an everyday essential for those with longer styles who prefer an effortlessly finessed finish.
Schwarzkopf Osis + Dust It
Instant matte texture and thickness in a travel-friendly bottle
Your perfect style might be as easy as dust and go with this salon favourite. If you’ve never used a powder before it might take some getting used to, but if you’re anything like us you’ll find the easy application, volume and workable hold a revelation.
We tried it on short styles and achieved a thick, messy look with a simple dust and a ruffle but the thing that really made us love this over some clays and pastes with a similar medium-strong hold was how dense it made even thinning hair appear.
We found this product really brought out the texture in choppy styles and was buildable in a way that heavier products aren’t. Don’t be fooled into thinking this won’t hold more structured styles – it may be a powder, but it’s got incredible grip. So much so, that we couldn’t even really run our fingers through our hair with it in.
Deva Curl SuperCream Coconut Styler
Defining, hydrating curl cream that tames frizz and revives natural bounce
Curly guys, you’re so often forgotten in men’s hair product roundups, but we know that getting your barnet looking just the way you want it can be the hardest task of all! If you’re seeking definition, step away from sticky pastes and clays and don’t be fooled into thinking gel can help – what you want is a curl cream.
We were really impressed by this popular Deva Curl product, which provided lightweight hold and amazing curl clarity throughout the day. Our hair remained soft and supple, while springing into a seriously great bounce – but the sort with control, not an unruly spiral mess.
We found that frizz was all but banished by running a sizeable dollop of this through towel-dried/air-dried hair and compliments came flooding in all day long. The only downside to this product is that we wanted to use it every day, but in doing so we discovered that it caused build up if we didn’t use a clarifying wash or rinse once in a while.