How to Choose a Hair Product

If you find yourself staring at the hair product shelf at your local drug store wondering what the difference is between a forming cream and styling gel, we can help.

With the wide variety of hair products being offered by many different brands, it’s impossible to say that if you buy a specific type of product you will get a specific type of finish and hold every time.

The key is to not look at the type of product (gel, pomade, cream, etc.) but the characteristics of the product (hold, finish, etc.)

Start by determining some basic characteristics you’re looking for:


What kind of Finish?

There is matte, shiny and just about everything in between.

A matte finish pomade is going to give you a dry look. Matte works well for most guys because it gives a very natural look. It’s a great everyday product.

Shiny pomade will give your hair more of a wet effect. Shiny pomades are great for special occasions or if you have very dark or gray hair. It will give black or gray hair more definition that you may not find with a matte pomade.

How Much Hold?

You’ll find most hair product lines still at least partly subscribe to the standard Light, Medium and Strong hold specifications.

Light Hold: Just enough to feel like there’s something in your hair while still very malleable and soft. Very little style hold.

Medium Hold: Will hold your hair in a style well but still light enough you can run your fingers through to refresh it if you need it.

Strong Hold: Don’t expect to be messing with your hair if you lock your style in with a strong hold product. But you can count on some style safety on a gusty day.

Water or Oil/Wax based?

Water based (or water soluble) will rinse out of your hair using only water, wax or oil (non-water soluble) based products will not.

Most hair products you will find are water based. They’re easy to wash out and easy to work with during applications.

Oil or waxed based products are less common but get the job done when you need it. Because they don’t rinse out with water, removing the product is a more involved process usually taking several shampoos. Still, if you like to roll out of bed and feel like there’s some hold in your hair or if you like your hold very strong, an oil or waxed product may work well for you.

Last but not least: Application!

Another important aspect of product use is application. You can have the perfect product but without proper application it won’t do for you what you want.

Less is more: Start with a small amount (pea sized) and rub it together between your hands to soften the product.

Start in the back: Start to work the product in towards your crown, making sure to run your fingers close to your scalp to make sure the product is distributed evenly throughout your hair.

Comb: Work towards the front of your head finishing at the hairline. You can then use a comb, or your hands to push everything exactly where you want it to sit.

The important thing to remember is to avoid taking a large amount of product and placing it right at the front of your hair. This will weigh it down and won’t do anything to hold the rest of it in place.

A great hairstyle starts with a great haircut but the proper product can add the finishing touches to give you just what you you’re looking for. If you still find yourself stumped at the store, you can always find help with a professional. Your barber knows your hair and can advise you on the best hair products for you. Stop in at Nic Grooming anytime for help, even if you aren’t getting a haircut! We’ll help you find what’s the best hair product for you.