Your hairstyles should be as versatile as your personality and interests. Many individuals feel trapped with the same few styles, but with the use of best hair gel, it can be easy to mix it up and try something new.
TOP 5 Best Hair Gels for Men (summary)Johnny B Mode (Check out on Amazon) (Our Pick) – Non Flaky
American Crew Classic (Check out on Amazon) – Firmest Hold
Style Sexy Hair (Check out on Amazon) – All Hair Types
Eco Styles (Check out on Amazon) – Big Size, Long Lasting Tin
Jack Black (Check out on Amazon) – Enhanced Volume and Shine
What Is Hair Gel for Men? The Benefits of Using It
Hair gel is sticky but doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. There are many products on the market designed to hold hair that’s easy to remove and reuse. A gel should be like the best pajamas for men: comfortable.
Whether it is for testing out a sleek new look for an evening out or taking your facial hair game to a new level, hair gel is the best way to give yourself the style upgrade you deserve.
Along with the best silk boxers, these hair styling products can be a great way to treat yourself to a new look, a new vibe, and a new you.
The Types of Hold You Need to Know
There are a lot of components to look at when determining which gel will be the best for your hair. The intense hold of some gels can help you achieve gravity-defying looks that you didn’t know were possible.
Men want a durable gel that can hold their style in place all day long while going to meeting or streaming in durable gaming chair.
The biggest consideration when deciding on a gel to enhance your look is the hold. There are three main classifications of holds.
These allow for three vastly different looks, feels, and abilities. Low hold, medium hold, and maximum hold gels can be bought in almost any brand or type.
Many individuals state that they would like to utilize gel to help them keep their look in place. However, they have trouble when they decide to restyle part-way through the day and are unable to manipulate their stiff locks.
In this case, the individual is most likely utilizing a gel with too strong of a hold.
Gels that often come in the form of light foam are perfect for a sturdy hold for short periods of time, allowing for restyling throughout the day.
This hold also allows for less intense side effects because the follicles won’t dry out as much with gel usage.
Low-hold gels work perfectly to achieve the messy, just rolled out of bed look, as well as more casual styles. It smoothens flyaways and lessens frizz without allowing the hair to get too stiff or tense.
Anyone who wants a bit of a style that will stay in place throughout the day, but who doesn’t need any heavy-duty control, should consider a medium-hold gel.
It is the perfect balance between maintaining smooth, natural looking locks and still receiving the support and hold you need to keep a more complicated style in place.
There are several intense looks that many people don’t consider possible until they get their hands on a gel with enough strength to pull it off.
Maximum strength gel is the perfect companion for those who want to try out some more creative beard care products.
With a maximum hold gel, hair can become stiffer and less easy to manipulate for a style change later in the day. However, whatever you want your locks to do will stay in place for the long haul.
For elegant or creative looks, maximum hold gel is the way to go.
Maximum gel is perfect for holding slicked-back at an elegant event, or with a flannel for the lumbersexual look. Many use it to achieve gravity-defying spikes or curls.
Some even try the pompadour style with this strong hold. Really, no style is off the table with a hold this maxed out.
Which Gel Is the Perfect Match for your Look?
There is not just one type of hair or one desired style, and for this reason, there is not just one type of gel to help you achieve the look you want.
Among the hundreds of available styling products for men, some of the most popular are in the category of gels.
We’ve outlined some of the other types of holding products out there on the market, and some of the benefits and detriments to each.
Gel vs Pomade
Pomade is perfect for the pompadour style or for side parted styles, slicked back looks, or a fade. It comes in two types, either water-based pomade or petroleum-based pomade.
These differing types allow for users to customize their look and select a product according to their hair type.
When deciding between gel and pomade, the most important factor to look at is hair type. Thicker or coarse hair that is curly or frizzy responds well to the use of pomade rather than gel.
Water Based Pomade:
- Water base allows for superior scalp health compared to other styling serums
- Can be applied to both wet and dry locks, depending on the look you want
- Less shine
- Stiffer finish
Petroleum Based Pomade:
- Higher shine
- Stronger hold than water-based pomade
- Less healthy for scalp care than the water-based pomade
- If pomade is applied to dry hair, it makes for a look that has less shine and a stronger hold. When applied on wet locks, the style appears with a higher level or shine and a weaker hold.
This allows users to not only customize their style with choice of the product but also customize it further through how the product is applied.
Pomade is a substance that allows for re-shaping throughout the day. It doesn’t get as stiff as a gel does and also doesn’t dry out, making for a healthy scalp and healthy hair.
This substance is in higher demand nowadays mostly because it acts as a holding agent without clumping like other similar products. Like any product, it has its strong suits.
The best hair types for wax use are normal to oily at a short or medium length.
This is not to say that it doesn’t work on other types, but that individuals with this type of hair might be better suited to this product over other products available on the market.
One of the defining factors of wax is the act that it appears matte when dry. After setting, rather than giving your locks a shiny, slick appearance, it stays matte for a more natural finish.
It adds texture and thickness to any style and holds your look in place while still remaining natural-looking.
- Easily re-applied throughout the day for a long-lasting hold
- Adds texture and thickness without getting clumpy
- Less long-lasting than pomade
- Cannot be applied to wet locks
In order to utilize wax, it must be applied to dry, or at least mostly dry hair. This is different from other substances like pomade and gel, which may be applied to wet or damp hair as well. It can fix frizz and smooth out flyaways while keeping the look natural.
If you are someone who wants a relaxed look without seeming messy or frizzy, the cream is a great styling agent. It works especially well on longer, curly hair.
The biggest downside to this product is that it doesn’t offer nearly the hold and control that gels offer, meaning that bold styles are off the table.
- Smooth locks
- Natural look
- Lower strength hold
The paste is a more natural-looking alternative to gel. Rather than drying on the hair to produce a stiff texture, paste keeps it feeling and looking natural while still achieving the slicked back or glossy look.
The paste is perfect for styling and restyling throughout the day, and it is wax-based rather than water-based like hair gel.
- Easy to restyle
- Natural appearance rather than stiff
- More difficult to wash out than gels
What Ingredients Should the Best Hair Gel for Men Have?
There aren’t too many strict standards for the ingredients that the best hair gel for men should have. However, one of the major components of any gel is alcohol.
While it can be a drying agent, there are also many factors that make it a helpful component of hair gel.
If you are not prone to a dry scalp or hair, you can enjoy the antibacterial properties of alcohol, or the use of fatty alcohol to help retain moisture on the skin of the scalp.
Possible Side Effects and Bad Ingredients to Avoid
The biggest complaint among individuals who are afraid to utilize gel regularly is that they worry it will dry out their hair. You may have tried out a new hair gel once and experienced drying factors.
The same can be said of effective face wash or lotion because of a few simple ingredients.
The right collection of ingredients and knowing which to avoid can make the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy scalp and hair.
Side effects from poorly made gels can be inconvenient, unattractive, and even uncomfortable. Itching, dry hair, and split ends are all possibilities when you choose the wrong gel.
The best way to avoid these maladies is to avoid gels with high alcohol content. If your largest concern is drying, then the alcohol in gels is not your friend.
While it can provide many benefits, if you are prone to dry hair or a dry scalp, its drying agents may exacerbate this issue.
How to Apply Hair Gel
Hair gel can seem complicated to apply, but it’s really fairly simple. How you apply it can also allow you to customize your style, as it changes the way it appears when it dries.
Below is a step-by-step guide to the best way to easily apply hair gel for the most high-quality results.
Begin by washing your hair thoroughly and drying with a towel. If the gel is applied to greasy or dirty hair, it is less likely to stay for as long or hold the style as well.
Work a dime-sized amount of gel into your hair and distribute evenly. For longer or thicker hair, apply slightly more gel to make sure it is proportional.
Begin application of the gel around the hairline and work the substance back toward the top of the head and nape of the neck. This should be done using your fingers.
After the gel is thoroughly worked through the hair and distributed evenly, utilize a comb to brush through it in the direction you have been working.
See TIPS below for what to do to encourage curls and add volume at this step.
Wait for the gel to set and the hair to dry. If the ingredients for the substance include alcohol, it should dry fairly quickly.
If your hair has recently been washed and you would like to apply a gel to damp hair, try using a spray bottle or dampening it in the sink to save time!
For curls, scrunch and twist the hair at this point. This will allow the hair to naturally waver from staying straight, especially with the application of the gel, which is now drying.
For increased volume, flip your hair over your head so that it dangles upside down, and scrunch from this angle.
How to Choose the Best Hair Gel for Men
There are several crucial factors to consider when selecting a gel for your styling purposes.
These factors include:
- Hair type
- Style goals
- Hold strength
Shopping online for options is a great way to be able to read reviews for the products. Find users with similar hair types or style goals so that you can know how the product works for the situation you are in.
11 Best Hair Gels Reviewed
A perfect solution for men with medium to thick hair, Johnny B Mode Gel tames unmanageable and unruly hair by holding it in one place, but also allowing some flexibility in styling.
It gives a strong hold that lasts all day long. If you need to restyle your hair, just add a little water and shape it the way you want to.
With this product, you won’t notice any flakes that usually happen when you use some other gels. Thick, alcohol-free formula preserves moisture in your hair and rinses out quickly in the shower.
Although you might prefer fragrance-free gels, give this one a chance because its manly scent might surprise you.
Don’t put too much of the product and use it on a wet hair to allow the smell to fade away by the time your hair gets dry. Also, don’t worry about its vibrant blue color because it’ll clear up when applied.
- Medium, yet flexible hold
- No flakes, has a great scent and shine
- Fairly priced
- Doesn’t contain alcohol, has a thick consistency and rinses out well
- Feels slightly sticky
- Although advertised, it doesn’t come with the pump
Flakes and alcohol-free formula of American Crew Classic is famous for its ultimate holding power and a high shine it provides.
Your hair will be just the right stiffness and it won’t look sparse. The gel doesn’t dry out the scalp and once applied in the morning it’ll prevent hair from moving the whole day.
There is a slight, manly smell which doesn’t linger and evaporates after some time. Because of its thick consistency, you need only a small amount that’ll go a long way.
The product works amazingly well on both long and short hair and washes out easily. One bottle usually lasts a few months, given that its size is 33.8 oz.
The only flaw is that the gel comes without the pump, which you’ll have to buy separately to distribute the product easier.
- Provides a very firm hold with added shine
- Doesn’t dry out the scalp or cause flakes
- Completely alcohol-free with a subtle, manly scent
- Big bottle that lasts a few months
- Sticky and overly thick consistency
- Pump has to be purchased separately
Quick drying formula that has an extremely strong, glue-like hold of Got2b Hair Gel is designed to keep your hair in one place throughout the day.
Unlike some similar products, this gel doesn’t make your hair feel sticky and it doesn’t cause flakes. In fact, it’ll add volume to the hair, making it look thicker than it is.
To remove it, simply wash it out with a little water and shampoo. Included in the pack are two tubes both of 6 oz, which you get at a very low price.
The product has shown excellent results for all hair types, but note that it can make your scalp itchy and cause you a burning sensation if you have sensitive skin.
Also, if you’re sweating a lot, it’s possible that the gel will lose its hold. This is something buyers who use wigs noticed because it stopped holding their wigs when they sweated too much.
- Strong, glue-like hold
- No flakes or sticky feeling
- Washes out easily
- Comes as a pack of two tubes at a very affordable price
- May cause itchiness and burning sensation if your skin is sensitive
- Loses its hold if you sweat a lot
One of the hair gels with the strongest holds on the market, Style Sexy Hair delivers an all-day shine and maximum hold throughout the day.
Suitable for all hair types, the product has a great, non-chemical scent that wears off after a while. The hold will be even stronger if you apply it on a wet or slightly damp hair.
You might spot some flakes here and there, but nothing noticeable. Coming in a bottle of a decent size, the item will last you about a year, even if used every day.
Even though the seller states the gel is water soluble and that you can remove it with shampoo, it’s still very challenging to get it out of your hair.
It’s plausible that the pump will get clogged if you don’t use it for a while, however, there’s an easy trick to solve this problem. Put a flat toothpick on the nozzle and it’ll keep the pump nice and clear.
- Provides exceptionally strong hold and shine
- Works on all hair types
- Decent bottle size that lasts for a few months
- Pleasant, not overwhelming scent
- Hard to get out of the hair
- Pump can get clogged
Doing a pretty good job at holding your hair in place all day without turning it white, Eco Styles Gel is made with olive oil that doesn’t only provide hold, but also conditions your scalp.
It won’t make your hair look greasy or cause you itchiness. Furthermore, there won’t be any need for washing your hair the next day because you can easily remove the gel from it with water only.
Don’t let the low price confuse you and make you believe that the product isn’t good. Quite the contrary, it’s of great quality, comes in a decent size tin and smells fantastic.
You might notice some flakes here and there, but these will be minimal. Scrap just a little amount because it’ll go a long way and you might not even get flakes at all.
The gel works on all hair types and doesn’t contain alcohol. However, it does contain some chemicals that might not work for your skin type, so check this before purchasing it.
- Holds hair in one place all day
- Minimal flakes, doesn’t turn white or cause itchiness
- Doesn’t make a hair appear greasy
- Good tin size and inexpensive
- Contains some chemicals that might be bad for some men’s skin
- Not appropriately sealed, so the product seems used when you get it
While the seller recommends Pinaud Clubman Gel to men with normal hair, this item has shown great results on all other hair types too.
Especially effective if you have a short to medium length hair, it won’t make your hair feel sticky, heavy, greasy nor your scalp itchy.
On the other hand, if you have longer hair, this product might not hold it in the desired shape for too long. About a fingertip amount is enough per application because a little goes a long way.
At the end of the day just use a little soap and water to remove the gel out of your hair. The smell reminds of the old, 20s deodorants, but it’s enjoyable and not too strong.
If used sparingly as it should be, the jar of 16 ounces will last you for a long while. When you run out of it, you can always get a new one at a very affordable price.
- Not greasy, sticky or flaky
- Excellent hold that remains throughout the day if you have a short or medium length hair
- Washes off easily with water only
- Pretty cheap
- Some might not like the scent
- Can’t really control longer hair
Guys who are in search of a hair gel that provides a strong, yet flexible and natural looking hold will find Jack Black Gel to be one of their favorite.
While keeping your hair under control, this product will also add more volume and shine to it.
There will be no those annoying flakes, crunch and white residue that make your hair appear like it has dandruff in it. The formula is entirely alcohol and fragrance-free, without colorants or parabens.
To remove it at the end of the day, just rinse it out from your hair. Unlike other gels, this one doesn’t leave a sticky residue or weigh your hair down.
The price can be considered somewhat high, given that the tube is only 3.4 oz, which means you’ll run out of gel fairly quickly.
- Strong, flexible hold that looks naturally
- No flaking, crunching or white residue
- Strengthens and thickens hair without weighing it down
- Adds volume and shine
- Really small tube
- Expensive compared to the size of the product
If your definition of a great hair gel implies a product that offers a strong, long-lasting hold and makes your hair look shiny and thick then Mitch Steady Grip will tick all the boxes.
Even though it gives your hair an added shine, this gel won’t make it look wet or greasy. The shine you get is actually more on the natural looking side.
Whether you have a straight, wavy or curly hair, this product will work for you. It doesn’t contain parabens, so it’s also pretty safe for your skin.
Of course, make sure to test it on a small area first to ensure that you’re not allergic to one or more of its ingredients.
In the bottom line, this gel won’t make your hair and hands sticky. It also has a very pleasant smell, which isn’t the case with most other hair gels.
- Long lasting strong hold
- Makes hair appear and feel thicker
- Doesn’t make hair sticky, greasy or looking wet
- Adds a natural looking shine
- Strong, slightly unpleasant smell
- Comes in a small tube that doesn’t last long
With maximum holding power and increased shine, Redken Stand Tough holds hair firmly in the desired shape all day.
The product works on all hair types without leaving the white residue after the application. Use only a small amount of gel because a little goes a long way.
Although it holds well, it doesn’t make your hair appear greasy or sticky. If the nice smell is something you care about, you’ll appreciate the pleasant fragrance of this product.
Strong holding properties bring some downsides as well. One flaw of this item is that it’s pretty hard to get it out from your hair, sometimes even after two washes.
Another one is that it costs more than some other alternatives with similar characteristics. It’s good to weigh down all this before making a buying decision.
- Firm hold and enhanced shine
- No sticky or greasy feeling
- A little goes a long way
- Has a subtle, pleasant smell
- Hard to wash it out from hair
- More on the pricier side
Somewhat medium power hold without the feeling of stiffness, smooth hair and added shine are what you can hope to achieve with L’Oreal Paris Studio Line Gel.
This doesn’t mean the product won’t hold your hair in place because it will. However, the hold won’t be that firm and it probably won’t last the whole day.
Instead, it’ll melt into your hair giving it a natural look without weighing it down. The product works the best on short to medium length hair.
In case you’re worrying about flakes, know that this gel won’t make your hair flaky. Also, it’s entirely without a scent, which is something most men will appreciate.
On a side note, you might notice that your hair and fingers feel a bit sticky after the application, but this is easily solved with some soap and water.
- Holds hair in one place without the feeling of stiffness
- Makes hair look natural and doesn’t cause flakes
- Flexible holding properties with added shine
- Doesn’t weigh your hair down
- Not that strong hold
- Feels sticky
If you want a hair gel without alcohol and with a great smell that’s not overbearing, Tigi Bed Head might be the right choice for you.
You’ll often find it hard to run into a gel that doesn’t leave a flaky residue or make your hair appear greasy. This gel, however, manages to do both.
As the most important thing, a hold this product provides is pretty strong, especially on a mid-length hair. It’s possible you’ll find it hard to style a longer hair though.
As a downside, it’s worthwhile mentioning that this item isn’t made solely with organic ingredients. In fact, it contains a lot of chemicals, some of which may cause itchiness to your scalp.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, check if you’re allergic to the ingredients on a small skin area before using it for the first time.
- Strong hold without making hair too stiff
- Doesn’t make hair appear greasy
- No flaking and alcohol-free formula
- Subtle, pleasant scent
- Can make your scalp itchy
- Has a lot of chemicals and isn’t entirely organic
How to Wash Gel from Your Hair for Silky Smooth Texture
When you have applied a substance to your hair in order to keep it in place for long periods of time, you can imagine it might be fairly difficult to remove the product when washing your hair in the shower.
Like when you invest brushing your teeth with toothpaste against bad breath, you need to know how to thoroughly remove a gel from your hair regularly so as not to allow your hair to experience side effects like dryness or split ends.
In order to remove a gel easily and quickly, begin by wetting the hair thoroughly. This won’t remove the product in any significant way, but it will soften it.
At this point, apply shampoo and rinse thoroughly. The product should be removed with the use of shampoo.
If the product is not coming out, it is for one of two reasons.
If there are still hard portions in the hair, it simply didn’t get wet enough initially for the shampoo to do its job. If it feels slimy or filmy, it means that it may need a second wash with the shampoo to remove the residue.
In order to assist with the dryness that may occur after using gel or other products, try a moisturizing shampoo when you wash your hair to add moisture back for a healthy look.
Articles you may also like:
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- 11 Best Hair Dryers for Men Who Want Quicker Drying and Styling
- 11 Best Hair Creams for Men Who Want To Keep The Natural Look
- 7 Best Hair Dyes & Colors for Men With Comprehensive DIY Guide and Tips
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Photos from: nelka7812 / depositphotos.com, Dmyrto_Z / depositphotos.com. brulove / depositphotos.com, photo_oles / depositphotos.com, Wavebreakmedia / depositphotos.com, YBoychenko / depositphotos.com.
- TOP 5 Best Hair Gels for Men (summary)
- What Is Hair Gel for Men? The Benefits of Using It
- The Types of Hold You Need to Know
- Which Gel Is the Perfect Match for your Look?
- What Ingredients Should the Best Hair Gel for Men Have?
- Possible Side Effects and Bad Ingredients to Avoid
- How to Apply Hair Gel
- How to Choose the Best Hair Gel for Men
- 11 Best Hair Gels Reviewed
- How to Wash Gel from Your Hair for Silky Smooth Texture