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Best Hair Gel for Men – Top 8 Picks + FAQs & Other Info

As a professional hair stylist, it is extremely important to use not only quality tools but also quality products as well.

Clients depend on your expertise as well as opinions when deciding what haircuts to choose as well as what products to buy. 

Therefore, this article will tackle and try to:

– Give you ideas on what to look for in a hair gel

– List the pros and Cons of various products

– Teach you how to use hair gel (check at the end of the article)

– Answer frequently asked questions (check at the end of the article)

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What to Look for in a Hair Gel

Of course, the type of product you choose will be based on your styling choice. However, there are still certain elements that a good styling product for men should possess:

1. Ingredients

The ingredients in your hair product are extremely important as this can not only make or break your style but, literally, your hair.

– Ingredients like parabens and alcohol are bad for the hair as they can dry it out and dry hair leads to breakage.

– Ingredients such as Vitamin B5 and aloe vera gel for hair health is essential. 

2. Scent

Having a hair gel that smells nice but isn’t overpowering is important since you will have to deal with the smell, in many cases, all day.

Of course, you want a scent that you personally like, but also, you don’t want it to be obtrusively loud.

3. Hold

The type of hold will greatly depend, without a doubt, on your styling intentions.

Regardless, you want a product that does what it says it will do. If you want a firm hold, then the product should deliver just that. 

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Best Hair Gel for Men Mini Reviews: A List

1. American Crew Hair Gel (Firm Hold)

American Crew Classic Firm Hold Styling Gel

This is a go-to whenever your hair, especially for mature men, needs a little extra hold.

You should apply this to your hair when it is wet. This way, you’ll get a finished look that appears thicker, shinier and has more body.

Since many older men have thinner hair, this product is the best gel for giving them a slicked back or defined look.

It is also full of nourishing ingredients, such as Vitamin B5. These help enrich the hair and give it a healthier appearance.

Also, because the pH levels are low and it doesn’t contain alcohol, it doesn’t leave the scalp itchy and dry like a lot of other products tend to do. 

It is water-based and does not dry out the scalp or hair. Nor does it leave those horrendous white flakes that everyone abhors. 

The hold is pretty firm, however, it doesn’t leave the hair feeling super hard and stiff like a helmet.

This product is on the thicker side. You will only need a little bit is all you need in order to achieve a long-lasting hold.

If you do need a touch-up, simply add a little water to your hair, restyle, and you’re good to go. 

The scent smells sort of like most men’s products; cologne. However, it isn’t extremely strong and as the day goes on, you hardly notice it at all. 

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Doesn’t leave the hair stiff
  • No flaking
  • Long-lasting hold
  • Nourishing ingredients

2. SEXYHAIR Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel

SEXYHAIR Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel

This hair gel works well no matter your hair type. You can use it to spike short hair, lay down long hair, and is the best hair gel for curly hair tame curly or frizzy hair.

It even works really well for people with a coarser and thicker hair type that needs a little extra hold. 

This product is water-based and can be used on the hair when it is wet.

We’d recommend doing this whenever you want more of a set style with maximum hold.

However, it can also be applied to the hair when it is dry, which works great if you want to achieve a more natural sort of bed-head look.

The shine that this product gives is awesome as it is more of a natural looking shine, as opposed to a wet-looking gel-like shine. It also lasts throughout the day.

The finish with this product is amazing as it doesn’t look like a gel. It still gives the same hold though, just without the stiffness.

This is the best hair gel for long hair as you can use just a pump of this stuff, apply it to damp hair, and just give it a scrunch. You’re all set now!

Even for hair that can be a bit unruly with lots of fly aways, cowlicks, et cetera, this product’s hold is more than sufficient enough.

A little bit is all it takes in order to achieve the desired look and style and it lasts all day long at that. 

This stuff smells delicious without being overpowering even for most people who are sensitive to certain scents.

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Natural looking shine
  • Lasts throughout the day
  • Smells awesome

3. Johnny B Mode Styling Gel

Johnny B Mode Styling Gel

Johnny B is the best hair gel for men who prefer more of a medium hold that still allows for movement and flexibility.

The hold is a 6/10 and the product is thick enough to help tame and manage hair that tends to get frizzy or have fly aways. 

This hair gel is free of alcohol, which is a definite plus as alcohol can dry out the hair and lead to breakage.

Instead, this product is water-based, which helps retain moisture, and works great on hair that tends to be dry like curly or thicker textures.

Depending on the look you’re going for, you can apply it on the hair while wet or dry and still achieve some pretty awesome results.

To tame flyaways and frizz, you can add the product to your wet hands before working it through the hair. 

One of the things clients like about this product is that they don’t have a problem rinsing it out and it doesn’t leave a greasy, filmy residue behind.

Being that this product is free of drying ingredients like alcohol, it doesn’t leave any white flakes in the hair or dry out the scalp.

Also, if the hair is on the thinner side, this product can even help it appear thicker if you apply it from the roots to the ends and use a blow dryer to set it. 

The hold is about a medium without feeling super stiff and typically lasts all day.

However, if you need a re-touch, it can be reactivated by just adding a little water to your hair and then just restyle it.

It smells like men’s cologne (for the most part), but most of the smell wears off once the hair has dried. 

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Alcohol-free
  • Works great on thicker textures
  • Doesn’t leave a residue behind

4. Pinaud Clubman Hair Styling Gel, Original

Pinaud Clubman Hair Styling Gel

Pinaud Clubman is definitely a product that is an oldie but goodie. Though new to a lot of people, this product has been a staple at old-school barbershops forever. 

It maintains the hairs shape while taming flyaways and frizz.

This is the best hair gel for curly hair to achieve a groomed look that can last throughout the day.

This product is on the creamier side and helps condition the hair without making it look and feel greasy.

The hold is a moderate one and it leaves the hair looking very natural, as if you don’t have any product in it at all! 

This is awesome for using on pompadours or any style that requires the hair to be uniform yet not stiff.

It does not leave any white flakes in the hair, and it also rinses out very easy as well. 

The smell on this reminds one of a barbershop and is one that clients, especially older men, find very pleasant and masculine. 

Even on thicker, coarser hair textures, this product seems to work really well.

It doesn’t require much in order to achieve a nice look because the consistency of it blends very well.

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Helps condition the hair
  • Leaves the hair looking natural
  • Blends very well
  • Does not leave any flakes

5. TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel

TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel

Let us start by pointing out how user-friendly this product is. In other words, you don’t need to be a stylist or take a lot of time to get a nice look.

Since it is water-based, you can just add a small amount to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and then work the product through your hair. 

You can wear your hair slick down, spike it, scrunch it, or go for a tousled messy look.

There is so much this product can do style wise, while actually hydrating and conditioning the hair as well.

It does not contain alcohol in it, which is awesome, and it does not flake or leave a heavy residue. 

There are even antioxidants in this product which help add a natural shine and protect the hair.

It also smells great, but if you aren’t fond of scented products, the smell does wear off rather quickly. 

This is the best for long hair and great for maintaining the hair in between hair cuts. 

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • User-friendly
  • Does not flake
  • Does not leave residue
  • Protects the hair
  • Smells amazing

6. Redken Brews For Men Stand Tough Extreme Gel

Redken Brews For Men Stand Tough Extreme Gel

Extreme hold definitely has the right name as the hold is very strong. A little bit of this product is all you need to make your styles last all day.

Redken usually produces very high-quality products that do exactly what they claim they do; and this product isn’t any different.

This hair gel for men is very versatile and can even be used by people who just want to keep their style in place and lasting throughout the day. 

It adds a really nice shine to the hair and defines the style without leaving it looking super greasy, sticky, or flaky.

Older clients love this hair gel as it slicks back their hair without them having to worry about cowlicks sticking up.

This is the best hair gel for long hair and hair that gets frizzy after a while. 

Since it is water-based, the product rinses away completely with no problem, has a nice matte finish, and a very nice fragrance.

The only issue with this product is that it doesn’t seem to hold up very well in super humid weather. But, I guess with any water-based product, that can be expected.

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Versatile
  • Nice matte finish
  • Nice fragrance

7. Old Spice Hair Gel for Men

Old Spice, Hair Gel for Men

This is a great hair gel for men who want to achieve a super defined style with a matte type of finish.

This is awesome for creating a slicked-back look on shorter hair. With only a small amount, you can shape and style with your fingers in no time.

If you prefer to use it on your hair when it’s dry, that’s fine too, but this product does a better job on damp hair. 

This hair gel is water-based and doesn’t dry the hair out. It leaves a nice finish with a minimal shine that looks very natural, yet has an amazing hold. 

This is the best hair gel for straight as well as curly hair. It also doesn’t require much product in order to do it.

It smells really nice, very clean and fresh, yet manly without being overpowering. 

When applying, be sure to warm the product in your hands first so that you can get an even distribution and avoid having white spots in your hair.

After it dries, there are no flakes to deal with, and the hold is moderate yet not too stiff. 

Because of its consistency, it doesn’t rinse out as easily as some other products and will require a shampoo.

However, when it comes to thin hair, this product is excellent for adding fullness and body.

Be mindful on the amount of product you use as too much can weigh the hair down as well as leave residue. 

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • Minimal shine
  • Amazing hold
  • Smells very clean and fresh

8. MAJESTIC PURE Hair Gel for Men

MAJESTIC PURE Hair Gel for Men

First of all, can we just appreciate how this product is practically all natural, cruelty-free, free from parabens and nourishing?

With ingredients like Pro-Vitamin B5 and argan oil you are also enrichening your hair.

Natural ingredients like argan oil or aloe vera are of utmost importance for the health of your hair.

A little product in the palm of your hand is all you’ll need for a lasting look.

Whether on dry or damp hair, this product blends and works really well.

It doesn’t leave the hair feeling very sticky nor do you end up with a bunch of white flakes once it dries. 

This product leaves the hair with a nice sheen rather than a wet look and doesn’t dry stiff. Yet it still has an incredible hold that lasts.

You can use this product for almost any hairstyle and it will return good results. 

Feels very light on the hair and the scent is very nice. It smells rather subtle and clean: not too strong and musky or too flowery. 

The hold and the consistency of this product make it ideal for a variety of styling options, as it is easy to blend as well as rinse off. 

With the moderate price and the fact that it works really well on so many different hair textures, you should really consider keeping this on your shelf. 

*I’m not sure if this has been dermatologically tested so you may want to do a patch test first if you suffer from allergies.*

Recap:

  • All natural
  • Cruelty-free
  • Nice sheen
  • Feels very light

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How to Apply Hair Gel: Tips & Tricks

First, determine what look you’re going for so that you may know what type of product to use.

For example, if you want a tousled sort of bedhead type of look, then a lighter product will help you achieve this style. 

However, if you want to style a pompadour or maybe even spike your hair, then a product that is much denser is necessary.

For maximum results, knowing how to use hair gel will help you achieve your desired look. 

  1. Whether you are applying on dry, wet or damp hair, start with a small amount and work it in your hands.
    • This way, the heat from your palms emulsifies the product.
    • Doing this helps the product become pliable allowing you to work it into the hair easier.
  2. Work the product into the hair in the direction of the style you are going for or how you want your hair to lay.
  3. If you want to wear your hair slicked back, then you would apply the gel in a backward motion.
  4. Continue until the product is evenly distributed throughout the entire head or area to be styled.
  5. Using a styling brush, manipulate the hair in the direction of the desired finished style.
    • This will help to ensure that the product is thoroughly distributed.
    • It will help set the hairstyle in place as well.
  6. And finally, for the ultimate finish, I suggest reapplying the product, this time using the tips of your fingers.
    • Using the tips of your fingers, you can go in and define and reinforce the style as well as catch flyaways.
    • If you are applying hair gel to wet hair, you can use a blow dryer at this point or let the hair dry on its own.

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Hair Gel vs. Pomade

The type of gel you use is determined by the finished look you are trying to achieve.

However, knowing what each type of gel does and what it is best used for can greatly help you choose the best styling agent for you.

GEL

–  A water-based product that is used to style and in most cases, hardens the hair so that it stays in place for a significant period of time.
– Usually, these types of styling products often leave the hair with a wet look even once dry (although there are some that dry with a matte finish). 
POMADE
–  Can be waxy, greasy, and even water-based product that is used for more of a slick and shiny look.
– Sort of the way male movie stars of old wore their hair.
– This look isn’t as shiny and wet looking as a gel, but has more of a dry yet greasy look if you will.  
WAX–  This can either be a very hard and waxy texture or even a bit creamier.
– Either way, hair wax can hold the hair in place but without leaving it looking wet or greasy.
– While this does, in fact, add some shine to the hair, it is more of a natural sheen. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Hair Gel

1. What Is The Best Hair Gel For Men?

This depends on the type of hold desired as well as on the hair’s thickness.

Overall, a product that is free of alcohol has a good hold, and a nice finish would work for most men.

2. Is Hair Gel Bad For Your Hair?

As long as it doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like alcohol (which can dry out the hair), then no.

3. Which Hair Gel Is Best For a Wet Look?

One that is water-based and has a really good hold.

4. Is Leaving Gel In Your Hair Bad?

Because the hair is in a hardened state, sleeping with the product in your hair may result in breakage. 

5. How Do You Remove Gel From Hair?

For the most part, rinsing with water will remove it while a light shampoo will thoroughly remove all remnants.

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