Men’s hair styling products are a fickle creature. The wrong product can make your hair look like crispy ramen noodles (we forgive you J.T.), or make your hair look lame and limp. So I allowed my hair to become a test subject and put four different products to the test.
It’s important to know what hair products will work best with your hair, and the style you are trying to accomplish. I prefer something in-between a modern pomp and a slicked back undercut, so I went with the products most likely to give me the desired results.
I decided to rate these products based on cost, ease of use, hold, and how easy they are to get out of your hair.
American Crew Fiber
American Crew Fiber came recommended to me from multiple people with glowing reviews, so I gave it a shot. The product has an interesting texture; somewhere between a cream and a wax. You have to knead the product in your fingers for a bit in order to use it, or else you’re stuck with clumps of product throughout your hair. Fiber goes in easily enough, and gives immediate texture to the hair, making it very easy to use and style. The product is heavily scented, smelling like a mix of citrus, vanilla, and a gentle musk. Typical American Crew fare. The lasting hold of Fiber leaves a little to be desired, but it remains pliable throughout the day and is easily reset. If you want to add texture and definition to your hair, while having a matte finish and medium hold, you can’t go wrong with this stuff.
Mitch by Paul Mitchell Hardwired Spiking Glue
I was recommended this product because of its staying power. It holds your hair and keeps it (generally) where you want it to be. The scent is nice, noticeably masculine but not overwhelming, and the consistency is very much like a firm white glue. Your hands will be sticky after using the product, so make sure you wash them! It works easily into the hair, but dries so fast and so hard that styling can be an issue. This product also causes the dreaded crispy hair syndrome, which is extremely difficult to remedy, outside of washing your hair completely. This product may work well for those going for large spikes or who want an extremely firm hold, but it doesn’t work so well for me.
Murray’s Original Pomade
Yes, you read that right. $3.00. The tin can this product comes in is such a loud shade of orange that you can’t miss it. The artwork on the tin also looks like it hasn’t changed in at least 60 years. Despite the ugh-inducing packaging, the product is something else. If you have curls like myself and want a nearly wave-less style, this is the product to use. You won’t even need a flat iron. However, the product is a beast. It is super thick, super heavy, and next to impossible to completely get out of your hair in a single wash. When applying the product the best tactic is to use a comb and try not to cry as you comb the product in (seriously, it is incredibly thick). The hold it offers is not a crispy hard hold, but a hold that keeps your hair in place by sheer intimidation. The product smells like straight up petroleum jelly and baby powder. Nothing fancy at all. Despite the struggle of applying and removing the product I really like the look it gives and will use it again; however this product is not for everyone.
American Crew Grooming Cream
Oh where to begin with this one. The first time I used this product I coined the, now office infamous, saying of “Black Spaghetti”. My hair was completely saturated with the product, but completely limp and loose. I kid you not; my hair looked like oily black spaghetti tossed haphazardly on a human head. No matter how I tried to fix my hair style this product would not hold anything. The second time I tried this product was much better, but still not great. The key is in the amount. Too much turns your hair into an oily mistake, and too little does absolutely nothing. There is a fine line in-between “black spaghetti” and “dry poof” with this product, but if you can find the perfect amount it actually works well. The smell is something else though. I believe my original thought was “Oh. This smells like burn ointment”. The product smells like a citronella candle and furniture polish had a smelly baby. I won’t be using this again. Ever.
It seems like every men’s hair product varies from person to person. What works for my hair may not do anything for yours. So before you grab the first thing off the shelf next time you’re buying remember: nobody likes hair spaghetti.