Your Stylist: Products to help style men's hair
Men may not have the same endless stream of hair products marketed and available to them as women do, but for many guys, the pool of pomades, hair wax and light-hold gel can be overwhelming.
“Most guys are very set in the way they think they look good,” says celebrity groomer Kim Verbeck, who counts Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake and John Hamm as longtime clients. “They’re not as willing as women to experiment or trust a new look.”
So, unless you follow the same grooming routine as the guys in the cast of “Jersey Shore,” hair products may be a foreign subject. Here, we break it down to the basics, with recommenations on what works best for different types of hair.
Angel Gonzales, master barber at the Art of Shaving in Beverly Hills, says basic light-hold hair gel is the one product that works on all hair types. He recommends the Art of Shaving’s bergamot hair gel ($20), for its light and moldable hold. He advises looking for a gel without alcohol or sulfates, since those ingredients are drying and can cause flaking and dandruff.
Verbeck’s favorite product for all types of hair is Sebastian’s Microweb fiber ($19.95, find stores at Sebastian's website), something she is never without while on a photo shoot set or prepping a star for the red carpet. “It’s good for putting texture and separation in the hair,” she says of the product. “I’d use this for most hair styles as well as for the guy who’s a novice when it comes to doing his hair. It’s a product that you don’t have to fight, it just works with the hair and makes you look like you have natural, cool hair.”
“The most important thing with thin hair is finding the right product,” Verbeck says. For clients with thin, flat hair, she uses Shape Paste from Shu Uemura Art of Hair ($38), because it gives hair a workable hold and adds volume without weighing it down. She advises starting with a small amount and building up if needed. Fine hair can easily look weighed down with too much product.
When it comes to curly hair, Verbeck says that the most important thing is to add moisture, which, somewhat counterintuitively, can help prevent unwanted frizz. “You want to give the hair a little definition, but soften it so the curl can work itself out,” she says. “Putting moisture into the hair helps settle it down.” She likes Bumble and Bumble Grooming Cream ($27) because it conditions as well as helps to define the curl.
Dry hair or scalp
Verbeck begins every styling session by prepping the hair with Bumble and Bumble Tonic spray ($20) to condition and freshen hair before coiffing. She adds that besides being great on hair, it works to condition the scalp, which is a good thing for guys who tend to skip the conditioner in the shower and suffer from occasional flakiness.
When faced with a head of thick hair that just won’t cooperate, Verbeck turns to a product called Osmo Essence clay wax ($20). “It’s got a strong hold and matte finish that gives hair a very textured, dirtied-up quality,” she says. “I use it a lot when I have someone’s hair that won’t do what I need it to. It’s great for thick hair.”
No matter what hair type or styling skills a guy has, Verbeck adds that there’s one thing everyone should watch out for. “It drives me crazy when guys only put product in the front of their hair,” she says. “Your whole head should have an even amount of product, not just the front. Work the product into your hands, let it heat up and first run it into the sides of the head, the back, then the front. Effortless hair happens when you don’t see one spot of product.”
Top, left, Art of Shaving hair gel, courtesy of Art of Shaving
Top, right, Sebastian Professionals Microweb Fiber, courtesy of Sebastian
Bottom, Osmo Clay Wax, courtesy of Osmo