Best Hair Creams for Men - The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to men’s hair, it really is all about the product. Unlike women who typically have more options when it comes to cut, style, and the tools, men’s hair can be drastically altered by product and product alone.

With so many different options to choose from, it is important to do your research to assess which type of styling product is right for you and your needs.


TOP 5 Best Hair Creams for Men (summary)

Layrite Natural Matte (Check out on Amazon) (Our Pick) – All Day Hold
Challenger Matte (Check out on Amazon) – Matte Finish
Baxter of California (Check out on Amazon) – Lightweight
Smooth Viking Hair Care (Check out on Amazon) – Strongest Hold
Mitch Clean Cut (Check out on Amazon) – No Sticky or Greasy Residue


One of the tools that men should not forgo is hair cream. So what is it and how is it different from other styling products?

Hair cream may seem like a fairly self-explanatory product used primarily to hydrate and style your locks, but there’s more to it than that.

In this guide, we’ll give you the breakdown of different types of hair cream, the ingredients in the best products, and how to use it effectively.

The Benefits of Using Hair Cream vs Other Hair Products

The Benefits of Using Hair Cream vs Other Hair Products

Overall, hair cream comes with a variety of benefits, all of which depend on the particular brand that you use. Generally speaking, however, cream provides a low hold.

This means it is not accompanied by any stiffness or greasiness as you might find in gel or wax. The cream provides a level of flexibility while also maintaining the natural strength of your hair.

Here’s how hair cream stacks up against other styling products:

Hair Cream vs Gel

Hair gel is one of the most common, if not the most common, products for men. Like cream, a gel is best when applied to freshly damp hair and can be applied to various lengths and textures.

Unlike cream, a gel contains a lot of alcohol that strips the moisture from one’s hair and can leave follicles dry and even breaking off.

As with a gel, a cream is used to style and tousle hair into multiple looks. However, unlike a gel, it also retains moisture and keeps your follicles hydrated and healthy.

In addition to dryness, a gel used in excess can also cause dandruff and an itchy irritated scalp.

Hair Cream vs Pomade

Pomade is a product that looks to create that much more intense and slick appearance. The best pomade will provide a high shine while cream gives a more natural look.

A pomade is a good option for those with thick locks, but if you find you’re on the thinner side, a cream may be much more suited to your needs.

Hair Cream vs Wax

Like cream, wax gives a medium shine. However, wax has a medium hold as opposed to cream’s lower hold. Hair wax is a happy medium between pomade and cream.

Wax is particularly good for those with straighter and shorter hair, whereas cream works for longer and thicker locks.

Hair Cream vs. Sea Salt Spray

Like cream, sea salt spray is a product that men with medium to long hair prefer. Sea salt spray has a light to medium hold, still slightly more than cream.

However, if you use it every day, make sure to wash and condition to avoid drying out your locks.

Hair Cream vs Clay

Clay has one of the firmer holds of all styling products and is even stickier than pomade. Clay is an alternative for men who have longer/thicker hair but want more hold than cream.

However, it can sometimes have a more matte finish if you are looking for shine.

Hair Cream vs Paste

The paste is a good product for nearly every hairstyle. Paste also has a medium hold and a thicker consistency than pomade.  Like cream, it’s a very versatile product but gives a firmer hold and a slightly more styled look.

Hair Cream vs Mousse

Mousse is a classic product known for its uses in giving that fuller appearance. Mousse maximizes volume to give more body and is more suited for those willing to put the effort into their style.

Likewise, the cream is a bit more straightforward and offers a more natural looking result.

Hair Cream vs Hairspray

The main function of hairspray is the hold. Especially good for those in more hot and humid climates, if you are mainly concerned with hold, hairspray is the product for you.

Otherwise, the cream has more to offer in the way of style, low finish, and feel.

Hair Cream vs Balm

A balm is a particularly great product for those with frizzy hair. Apart from that, balm essentially works the same way as cream. However, you do not massage it down into the scalp.

Hair Cream vs Serum

Serum prevents tangles and frizz, which is why it is an excellent option for those with longer locks, not unlike cream. Serum offers a higher shine than cream and is especially good for those with dry and damaged hair.

What Features Should the Best Hair Cream for Men Have?

What Features Should the Best Hair Cream for Men Have?

When it comes to styling products including creams, there are three key elements to each kind: hold, shine, and scent.

Whether you choose to rock the long rock star tresses or your favorite crew cut hairstyle, here are the factors to keep in mind when purchasing the product that is right for you and your locks:

Hold

The hold of a product refers to how flexible your hair is after you have applied the product to your follicles.

Like the style, this is a personal preference that ranges between individuals. A stronger hold leaves a stiffer look, while a lower hold leaves a more natural one.

Shine

The shine of a product is the appearance of your hair after applying the said product. A matte finish will leave your locks looking like they do not contain any product while a high shine can give a glossy or even wet appearance.

Scent

Like everything else, the scent of a product is an individual preference, and some may prefer their products to contain no scent at all. Other types may contain more natural scents due to the oils and ingredients in the product.

Durability

A cream isn’t as long-lasting as other alternatives, but you shouldn’t need to reapply more than one or two times.

Feel

The product should not leave you with a sticky or greasy feel to it throughout the day.

Appearance

A decent product shouldn’t leave white flakes or any other type of visible trace.

Wash Ability

The main ingredient should always be water, which makes it easy to wash out. If you have a hard time doing that, something is not right.

In addition to these qualities of different hair creams, there are varying categories for the types of hair cream.

Types of Hair Cream

Types of Hair Cream

Styling Cream

Styling cream is used to lift the roots to create a fuller appearance. It does not weigh down the hair and typically has the flexible hold of a gel.

Shaping Cream

Shaping cream has a medium hold with a smooth and natural finish.

Matte Cream

As its name suggests, matte cream does not produce any shine for those who want the most natural look. It has a lasting hold and is also easy to apply.

Grooming Cream

Lightweight and moisturizing, this can be used on any hair type and is light enough to even be used on beards to create the best beard styles you can.

Texture Cream

Texture cream is used to coax and tame tangles, frizz, and other problems that people with thick curly hair encounter.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid?

  • Fragrances are sometimes added to hair creams, but these are best to avoid as they are chemical-based.
  • Many creams contain alcohol but avoid those that include sulfates or parabens.
  • Petroleum should be avoided as it can lead to build-up and clog pores in the scalp.

Hair Types That Benefit from Hair Cream

Hair Types That Benefit from Hair Cream

Hair cream can be quite versatile. People with a variety of hair types can benefit from using this product including those who have hair that is:

Fine and/or Thinning

The cream is one of the best products when it comes to adding volume and definition to thin or fine locks. It will instantly create a fuller look, but be careful not to add too much. A little bit of product goes a long way.

Kinky

Cream can add both weight and, depending on the type, a little shine, and luster.

Curly/wavy

Cream adds definition and helps to separate curls from one another

Long hair

Cream adds much-needed moisture to long hair, especially at the ends. While it helps battle pesky flyaways, you may need to add an additional product such as a spray to help optimize the hold.

Hair That May Not Benefit from Hair Cream

Oily Hair

Hair cream can potentially make your follicles look even oilier. Known for moisturizing, this may be a product to sit out on.

Thick Hair

Thick locks typically require a product with a much stronger hold, such as a pomade or wax.

Hair Cream by Need

Hair Cream by Need

Choosing a hair product can be a very personal and individualized endeavor, more so than say choosing from the best beard dye.

There are different types of creams that focus on a specific achievement for the best style.

Typically when looking for a styling product, you have a specific need in mind for what problem you are trying to tackle.

Someone with reactions to chemicals should look for a natural face wash. Someone who cuts their skin while shaving frequently may look for the top safety razors. This is no less different when looking for styling products.

Long Hair

Grooming cream is especially great for those with longer locks. A lightweight formula that is also moisturizing, this type of product has a flexible hold that will also hydrate your locks to keep them in the best shape possible.

It is always important with longer tresses to avoid adding more weight, and with grooming cream’s lighter formula, this is an ideal match.

Coarse/Wavy Hair

Texture cream has a lighter hold, and it is particularly great for taming thick and curly locks. Very little is needed at once, so this particular kind is also cost-effective.

If you want a natural look but also need to maintain and manage your waves and curls, this is the product for you.

Thin Hair

With a lighter hold, styling cream does not weigh your hair down, and it is especially appropriate for those with thinner or finer locks.

In addition, this has a more flexible hold that also helps to lift hair from its roots to create height and add more volume.

Sensitive Scalps

A natural or organic cream is especially great for those with thicker or more stubborn locks.

For those who have more sensitive scalps or allergic reactions to hair and skin products, a product comprised of natural ingredients such as jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, or safflower oils may be more soothing on the scalp.

Familiarize yourself with the best ingredients to seek out and those you should avoid in order to prevent an irritation or an allergic reaction.

Is your hair prone to dandruff? Pair your hair cream with the best anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner. Curing dandruff will make your cream settle into your scalp more effectively.

On a Budget

If you are newer to hair care and don’t want to break the bank, try drugstore creams. These can be just as good if not better than some of the high-end products.

Set at great prices, drugstore items come in so many different varieties that there is a product for everyone.

By saving some money, you give yourself a little more wiggle room to try several different kinds to see which works best for you and your needs.

11 Best Hair Creams Reviewed

1. Layrite Natural Matte

Water-based, lightweight formula of Layrite Natural Cream is an ideal solution for keeping your hair in one place all day without the weigh down feeling.

Your hair will feel smooth and soft and you’ll notice that it has a better definition and shape.

Low to medium, flexible hold this item provides will make it appear really natural and not stiff or greasy like it can happen with some other products.

If you aim for a softer, more easy-going look, apply it on a wet hair. But if your goal is a more manageable hair with a matte finish, ensure that your hair is completely dry.

The application process is pretty straightforward as well as the process of removing the cream. You just need to rinse it out with water only.

Layrite Natural Matte

 

Pros

  • Flexible, medium hold that lasts all day
  • Doesn’t make hair appear stiff or greasy
  • Feels lightweight without weighing hair down
  • Makes hair soft and natural looking
Cons

  • Although nice, the scent is overwhelming
  • You need to apply more product to hold the hair in place

2. Kick Active

In case you’re searching for a hair cream that won’t make your hair stiff, greasy or flaky, you’ll want to try out Kick Active Cream.

This product has a really powerful, firm hold that keeps your hair under control the whole day and gives it a fuller appearance.

Additionally, it provides a light shine and semi-matte finish enhancing its look.

If your hair is damaged or just too dry, nourishing argan and coconut oils that make the blend of this product will take care of it and make it much healthier and stronger.

Fresh, citrusy fragrance appeals to many, but if you don’t like it, don’t worry too much. The smell will fade away really quickly leaving you only with a soft and smooth looking hair.

Kick Active

 

Pros

  • No flakes, stiffness and greasy feeling
  • Powerful, all day hold
  • Repairs hair and prevents dryness
  • Fresh, manly scent
Cons

  • Small size container
  • Slightly sticky texture

3. Krieger + Söhne Forming Cream

Whether you have a long or a short hair, Krieger + Söhne Cream will ensure that it stays in place and shape it in a style you desire.

The hold is medium, but with a little blow drying, you can achieve a natural, matte finish. Even if you’re sweating a lot through the day, the cream will keep your hair looking its best.

You won’t experience any flakes, white residue or greasy feeling, but you’ll notice an improvement in your hair’s texture.

The product has a mild scent and won’t irritate your scalp, no matter the type of your skin. With a large jar of 4 oz, it’s an excellent value for the money, mainly because a little goes a long way.

At the end of the day, you should just wash the cream out with running water for easy removal. The only thing you might find hard is the application, given its thick consistency.

Krieger + Söhne Forming Cream

 

Pros

  • Medium hold with a natural matte finish
  • Not flaky or greasy
  • Sweat resistant and easy to wash out from hair
  • Large 4 oz jar
Cons

  • Feels very sticky
  • Thick consistency, which makes it hard to get out of the jar and spread evenly across hair

4. Brylcreem Original

Enriched with proteins, the formula of Brylcreem Original works in making your hair stronger and your scalp healthier.

A little goes a long way and because it doesn’t have a thick consistency like some other products, it’s effortless to spread across the hair.

Giving you a decent hold, this cream makes your hair looking natural and doesn’t leave it stiff or wet looking.

If you wish for a stronger hold and more shine, apply it on a dry hair and use a comb to style it in the desired way.

Although the scent of this product is subtle, you might find it a bit unpleasant, but this is just the matter of personal preference.

Brylcreem Original

 

Pros

  • Natural look and decent hold
  • Doesn’t leave hair stiff or wet looking
  • A little goes a long way
  • Low, affordable price
Cons

  • Somewhat watery consistency
  • Not that pleasant smell

5. Challenger Matte

A medium strength hold that endures throughout the day and a matte, natural-looking finish that’ll keep you look great no matter the occasion is what you’ll get with Challenger Cream.

Water-based formula with a crisp, subtle scent that evaporates after some time makes it really easy to apply with no flakes and stiffness.

Since the product is water soluble, you’ll find it very easy to rinse out from your hair by using water only.

The fact that it comes in a 1.5 oz tin can be seen as a plus or as a downside. Being of this size means you can bring it on your travels because it doesn’t take a lot of space.

However, this is a very small tin, which means it probably won’t last you for long. In addition, the price is slightly higher for the item of its size.

Challenger Matte

 

Pros

  • All day lasting, medium hold
  • Matte finish with no flakes at all
  • Subtle scent that doesn’t linger
  • Water-based for easy application and rinsing out
Cons

  • Very small tin
  • Expensive considering a small size tin

6. Baxter of California

Although it provides your hair with only a slight hold, Baxter of California Cream helps you control frizz allowing you to style it the way you prefer.

For an added control you should use more product, especially if you have a curly or slightly wavy hair. Giving you only a light hold means this product won’t weigh your hair down.

Also, it’ll create a natural finish without stiffness, greasy or sticky residue. It doesn’t have a strong smell that lingers the whole day.

Instead, the scent is rather subtle and mild and you’ll probably like it, although this is the matter of preference.

Made with natural ingredients only, this cream moisturizes and softens your hair, while at the same time providing you with a frizz-free definition and slight shine.

Baxter of California

 

Pros

  • Tames hair without weighing it down
  • Softens and smooths hair while controlling frizz
  • No stiffness and doesn’t make hair appear greasy
  • Not sticky and doesn’t leave a residue
Cons

  • Way overpriced for the size of the product
  • Only a light hold

7. American Crew Forming Cream

Versatility in styling and medium, flexible hold with natural shine make American Crew Forming Cream a great value for the money.

Besides that, you get 3 tins of product for the price, meaning you’ll be supplied for quite some time.

Helping your hair appear thicker and softer, the cream also hydrates and conditions it without making it stiff, greasy or sticky.

Easily applicable, with a decent hold and nice, subtle smell, it stays on your hair without the need to reapply it throughout the day.

Even though it’s suitable for all hair types and textures, make sure to test it on a small skin area to ensure you’re not allergic to one or more of its ingredients.

American Crew Forming Cream

 

Pros

  • Flexible hold and natural looking shine
  • Makes hair appear thicker and softer without a greasy residue
  • For all hair types, lengths and textures
  • Comes as a pack of three creams
Cons

  • Causes rash if you’re allergic to its ingredients
  • Consistency is more watery than expected

8. Smooth Viking Hair Care

Achieving the desired style effortlessly while making your hair stay in place the whole day is what Smooth Viking Hair Cream does the best.

With one of the strongest holds, this formula gives your hair the perfect shape with a matte finish, but with no flakes or greasy feeling whatsoever.

Infused with only the finest, natural ingredients, it nourishes your hair and makes it look strong and healthy. It also feels lightweight and spreads smoothly with no tugging at all.

Being water based means you can easily wash it out with water only, plus it’ll come out of the tin easily. Keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way, so no need to overapply the product.

Versatile as it is, it’ll work on all hair types, being it curly, wavy, straight, thin or thick. One of the rare things you might not be a fan of is the odd, slightly chemical scent.

Smooth Viking Hair Care

 

Pros

  • Has a very strong hold
  • Doesn’t make hair flaky or greasy
  • Easy to spread and is reasonably priced
  • Works on all hair types and textures
Cons

  • A bit odd, chemical smell
  • Very little to no shine at all

9. Bumble and Bumble

With a formula that includes only the best natural ingredients like sweet almond, jojoba, avocado and safflower oil, Bumble and Bumble Cream will improve your hair’s texture and make it softer and smoother.

There will also be a slight shine, but more importantly, your hair will stay in one place thanks to the incredibly flexible, natural hold it provides.

You’ll often run into a hair cream that’ll feel greasy or oily. That’s not the case with this one because it’ll give you more natural finish without the stiffness.

If you have curly or coarse hair, the cream will help you tame it and make it more manageable.

However, if your hair is straight, you might notice that the product feels a bit heavy and weighs it down. On a side note, although it comes in a big, 5 oz tube, its price is still way over the top.

Bumble and Bumble

 

Pros

  • Flexible, natural hold that lasts
  • Makes hair softer, smoother and adds a light shine
  • Doesn’t make hair feel oily, greasy or stiff
  • Comes in a big size tube
Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Feels a bit heavy on a straight hair

10. Tea Tree

A hair that’s easy to control, shape and style is something you can expect if you opt for Tea Tree Hair Cream. Just a little amount goes a long way in keeping your hair in one place for hours.

Even though the hold is flexible, pretty strong and lasts for long, your hair won’t feel greasy or oily. Instead, it’ll be left with enhanced texture and natural, matte look.

The fragrance isn’t that strong as with some other creams, but it’s also not that pleasant either.

Nevertheless, you might be willing to overlook this considering the other benefits you get from this product. It’s also worthwhile mentioning that it won’t feel heavy or weigh your hair down.

Considering the tin of 3 oz, it’s of a decent size. However, a lot of customers state they’ve received way smaller tin, which makes this item pretty overpriced.

Tea Tree

 

Pros

  • Flexible hold that lasts for pretty long
  • No greasy and oily look
  • Doesn’t weigh hair down
  • Clean, matte finish
Cons

  • Way too expensive for the jar size
  • Odd, unpleasant smell

11. Mitch Clean Cut

Keeping your hair soft and providing a medium, flexible hold with long lasting control, Mitch Clean Cut works on all hair types with the same effectiveness.

There’s almost no scent in it and no sticky, greasy or oily feeling. The styling cream actually does a great job in holding your hair in place all day long and making it look natural.

It’s even better that you don’t need a lot of product. Only a fingernail-size is enough if you have a shorter hair and a bit more if it’s longer.

For the best results, apply it after the shower because that way it’ll keep the hold for longer. Also, this makes the process of spreading it across your hair way easier.

Both the application and removal of the cream are straightforward. The result is the desired hairstyle with a semi-matte finish that stays at its best the whole day.

Mitch Clean Cut

 

Pros

  • Medium and flexible hold all day long
  • Not sticky or greasy at all
  • Makes hair soft and more manageable
  • Suitable and works on all hair types
Cons

  • Too liquidy
  • The price is high for the container size

How to Apply Hair Cream for Men

For maximum use, the cream works best when applied to freshly washed hair that has been towel-dried.

Here’s how to apply it for the best look:

Step 1

Take a small amount of your product (start with a pea-sized amount) and rub it throughout your hands to create an even amount.

Step 2

Run your fingers throughout your locks from the roots to the ends.

Step 3

Work the product from the back forward for the best results. Be sure to evenly distribute the product on every part of your scalp or it will be readily apparent that you are using a product.

This would defeat the purpose of the natural look that creams are known for.

Step 4

If desired, run a hair dryer over to achieve a more styled look. Use either a comb or fingers as needed for the look you wish to create.

A cream yields its best results when used on moderately dampened hair. While you can apply cream to wet locks, it will not achieve maximum volume and will not be as long-lasting.

Those with curls, however, may prefer to apply cream to wet locks as it helps to tame the curls.

In addition, hair cream CAN be added to dry hair for a stronger hold. However, it will not look as natural.

 

Styling Tips

  • Always check the label on your product, as it may offer you tips or tricks depending on the specific product in question.
  • Add any additional products to your look as needed. If you have multiple areas you wish to address, adjust your regimen to cover all your bases.
  • Turn to YouTube or your stylist for more tricks and tips to change up your look or to work with your specific texture. Next time you take a seat in one of those fancy barber chairs, you may want to ask what they think about the best products or style for you.
  • Factor in your climate and environment always. Depending on how humid or wet your environment is, you may need to combine cream with hairspray to ensure your look isn’t affected.

 

Bonus Tip

Consider investing in durable hair clippers. A nice pair of clippers allows you to brush up your look from your home. While you’re already looking in the mirror, you may want to just do a quick touch up to keep you looking your best.

How to Wash Off Cream from Your Hair

Hair cream is easy and simple when it comes to removing it. Like leave-in conditioner, it washes out with ease as water is its main component.

Be sure to rinse all the way to your scalp thoroughly, and this should avoid any buildup problems.

The Takeaway

Hair cream for men has several facets, all of which come down to personal preference.

With so many nuances and different needs to address, shopping for styling products is a bit more intricate than being on the hunt for a new towel or the best silk men’s pajamas.

With so many different products available, there will always be a perfect solution for both your type and needs.

Before you start to look for the best hair cream, really analyze the quality of your locks and the areas which you’d like to improve. If you aren’t familiar with how hydrated, frizzy, or tangled your hair can become, start to pay attention.

Notice how it reacts in different climates and to other products as well. Also, take into consideration how much time and effort you will realistically spend on your styling.

When it comes to grooming, it’s all about experimentation.

Try a hair cream on its own, or with other products until you achieve that perfect look you’ve been searching for. Self-care helps both the body and the mind and is a good exercise in consistency. It’s never too late to try!

Photos from: matusciac / depositphotos.com, photo_oles / depositphotos.com, Tommoh21 / depositphotos.com, Sonulkaster / depositphotos.com, [email protected] / depositphotos.com.

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