Personal grooming is a big part of putting your best foot forward in both social and professional situations.
Having a neat, well-styled head of hair is a point that can’t be overstated, and gels are one way of maintaining a polished look.
If you’re still thinking of gel as a hallmark of the 1980s, rest assured that hair gels have come a long way in the intervening years.
Here are twelve of the top and best hair gels for men with which to craft a whole new look.
Best Hair Gels For Men
1. Get a Hold on Sexy
Sexy Hair Hard Up Gel is a product that’s received rave reviews and customer loyalty for years. It can be used on longer hair, but is often preferred by those who have shorter styles. It’s also not for the faint of heart. This gel provides a hard hold without flaking for hours, and will even stay in place after sleep in some cases. For the guys with coarse, curled, or otherwise unruly hair, Hard Up gel can offer a means of control needed for the most regimented styles, such as spikes, Mohawks, or even “faux” hawks.
2. Bed Head’s Power Play
If you were a long-time fan of the older version of Power Play, the strong hold formula now being marketed under that name may not be enough hold for you. However, the new version does offer excellent hold for all-day styles and won’t flake on you. It also won’t dry out or damage your hair at the follicle, as some gels have been known to do. It doesn’t contain alcohol and does include several botanicals the older version did not, which are intended to offer a conditioning experience while providing an all-day styling hold.
3. Join The Crew
American Crew Gel for Men is a great product for all-day, natural-looking hold without the mess of mousse. You should know that less is more with this product, since using too much can gunk up your (un)flowing tresses with a sticky residue. However, the fact that its enriched with natural botanicals specifically sourced for their ability to make less look like more, makes this an excellent product if you’re self-conscious about thinning hair. Panama bark, sage, ginseng, and vitamin B5 actually make your hair shaft healthier, shinier, and softer. Hence, while you’re styling, you’re also nourishing your scalp and hair follicles.
4. Mega Man
Woody’s is back for a second round on our best of the best list. Their mega firm gel, like their Wood Glue is a customizable gel. Use it on its own or thin it a bit with a few drops of water. It has a good reputation for standing up to whatever the day brings, and offers a firm, uplifting hold to most hair lengths. Again, it’s recommended for “normal” hair—not too fine or coarse. One feature that you may love or hate is Mega’s subtle fragrance. It’s been likened to a pleasant shower gel, but if you like to splash on cologne, the scents may clash. However, if you’re a naturally fresh kind of guy, Woody’s offers just a hint of pleasing fragrance that will gently suggest a recent shower.
5. Bon Homme
L’Oreal wraps up our list with their Homme strong hold gel. Homme translates simply as man from French, and this product is as simple. However, it performs admirably. While it can be used for dry styles, it’s also a superlative product if you’re going for the wet look. Homme provides supple, flexible hair that won’t budge for much. It’s also a trooper when it comes to keeping the flakes at bay. It’ll stay strong all day without the oppressive, itchy helmet hair effect. And if you want to refresh the wet look, simply dampen your hands and run them through your hair.
6. L’Oreal Paris Studio Line
L’Oreal offers you a superb product in their Melting Gel. While some gels do perform best when applied to wet or damp hair, with this, you can go for a softer, dry look without the crunchy texture wet applications often have. Simply smooth it between your hands and finger comb it evenly into damp or dry hair. It’s great for a little frizz control if you’ve got untamed locks, but won’t give you the feeling that your hair is carved in stone. Melting Gel leaves your hair looking touchable, clean, and natural.
7. Krieger For Men
It’s a part of an entire line of hair products designed especially to evoke an unfettered masculinity. Even looking beyond the hype and the jargon, this gel delivers excellent results. With just a small amount—about the size of a nickel for shorter hair—you’ll be assured of an all-day hold without the dryness or the unhealthy, stiff feeling that comes with some other hair products. While we won’t judge you if you work on a “professional battlefield” or have drinks in a “social jungle” as the ad lingo states, this is a fantastic product for ordinary mortals as well. It offers a great look for a decent price to all who want to project a confident, well-groomed image in both professional and social situations without fussing with their hair.
8. Redken Stand Tough
This is a gel developed by Redken, a company that has made its name developing superior products for both men’s and women’s hair styles for decades. It offers a superior hold that won’t flake or give up in the course of the day. As well, the polymers used in Redken’s formula are specifically designed to offer a shiny, healthy, natural look. As with many of the gels on this list, a little goes a long way. Just a nickel-sized dollop applied to damp or dry hair will provide the styling and staying power you need, and will help check off one item on your to-do list: great hair.
9. Rock Steady
Paul Mitchell is known as a design house, but the guy himself always had a fantastic head of hair. The latest offering, Mitch, isn’t a product that will offer unwavering hold for 72 hours, during which a mosh pit, a night out with the boys, and a romantic interlude are interspersed with full-contact office hockey. It’s a high-quality medium hold gel that provides a natural, flexible look that won’t leave hair dry or damaged. This is a product for those who aren’t seeking the super-firm spiked look, but prefer using a gel that allows them to tame their hair without restraining it.
10. Wood Working
Woody’s Wood Glue is a bit different from traditional gels. It offers a nice, firm hold without flaking or giving up the ghost by noon, and doesn’t require a great deal to achieve great results. One feature that makes this product better for some consumers is that it can be thinned in consistency with a bit of water to offer a different styling experience. However, it’s recommended for “normal” hair, which translates to hair that isn’t too fine or coarse, wavy or thin. It is an excellent product, but if you need curl control, another gel may be your best bet.
11. Jet Set
Jet FX from Rusk brings superior shaping ability a with soft, textured appearance that is unparalleled with many gel products. Like many of the best gels, Rusk doesn’t use animal testing. Rather, they’ve perfected their product based on the needs, demands, and impressions of their clientele—you. This product is excellent for all hair types, but brings an added bonus of a full, thick appearance to fine hair, which can be difficult to style. Best of all, it has the staying power of a thick gel without the gunk or flaking that can sometimes occur with bulkier products. You can use it on wet or dry hair, and it styles easily with fingers, comb, or brush.
12. The Casual Man
The design house of Kerastase offers an excellent line of styling products for men. Their Capital Force gel is one among many, and offers a suitably soft, yet firm hold for hair that will last all day long. In keeping with their fashion icon status, they recommend it for “casual” hair. Translated, that means, don’t try to go all Gordon Gekko with it, unless Gordon is going sailing for the weekend. It isn’t a crunchy, high-density gel product or a styling wax. Rather, it offers firm styling for a relaxed, natural look that will turn heads wherever you go. Unless, of course, you need a gel that offers the super-firm, wet-all-day styles, this product is professional grade for a reasonable price.