Fiber is better for short to medium styles. If you need a more comb-able product for long, thick hair, we suggest switching from fiber to clay, and applying it towel-dried.
The best hair fiber for men:
What cream is for: Light hold, light shine when applied to clean, dry hair; both increase to a light-medium level when applied to clean, damp hair.
If your hair is a few inches or longer, then keep a cream (or crème, if you’re fancy) for the days you want feather-light, flowy style. Cream is a big upgrade from wearing nothing—it coaches everything into a specific direction, while providing a natural look without leaving excessive buildup.
Hair cream is effective at taming strays on longer styles, too. You can massage a small dab of cream in your fingers and then dust it over any flyaways. It can also keep your hair from ballooning, and prevent frizz. For longer hair, it’s often comparable to hair oil, but provides less shine.
The best hair cream for men:
What hair paste is for: Medium hold, light shine when applied dry; High hold and medium shine when applied damp.
Paste is an essential product for your bathroom vanity, even if it’s not your daily go-to. It adds texture and definition to short and medium styles, when applied dry. It also gives you “touchable”, controlled hair when applied to towel-dried hair, meaning your style won’t feel suffocated despite the paste’s all-day staying power. It’s extremely re-workable, too, in that a simple splash of water on your hands or a comb can reactivate the product and help restyle it into a post-work muss, versus the more corporate style you wore all day.
Paste is also one of the best men’s products for thinning hair: Apply a small amount to dry hair for a lightweight lift that doesn’t suffocate the follicles. It gives a nice impression of fullness.
The best hair paste for men:
What curl cream is for: Definition and control of curls and waves, plus extra moisture and buoyancy. Apply to damp hair.
To keep waves and curls defined, you need moisture, moisture, moisture. But most people want it in a lightweight formula that allows hair to stay buoyant while also defining each hair’s geometry. Some curl creams are also targeted as leave-in conditioners or leave-in masks, since their density of nutrients is comparable to ultra-hydrating treatments. Nomenclature aside, make sure the product you use is loaded with the right proteins, oils, and extracts that promise to nourish and define your curls and waves (making up for the fact that your scalp’s natural oils can’t easily wind their way down each strand in order to do the job themselves).
Creams will also give you control over your curls and any frizzing, but only enough to make it feel effortless (and sometimes feel barely there). If you want something with more weight and shape control—better for shorter styles—then consider a hair balm instead.
The best curl cream for men:
What hair balm is for: Similar to curl cream, it delivers extra moisture and control to curls and waves, with a heavier hold and higher shine. Also provides nourishing hold and healthy shine in straight, dry hair. Apply damp.