There’s no question that a man’s hair is an important part of his overall look. There’s so much to consider – style, length, when to cut it, what products to use – that it can be overwhelming at times. We’re here to help, however, with our hair care tips for men.
We’ll cover everything from how to take care of hair daily, to how to improve hair quality, and what to do (and not do) when you’re letting your hair grow out.
In the end, we think you’ll have enough knowledge to make your daily hair care routine more effective than ever.
THE BEST HAIR CARE TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
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DRYING YOUR HAIR THE RIGHT WAY
If you’re like a lot of men, you step out of the shower after washing and/or conditioning your hair and rub it vigorously with a towel to help dry it. Don’t do it. The fact is, your hair is very susceptible to damage when it’s wet, and rubbing wet hair with a towel causes some of the hair to become caught in the threads of the towel and stretches hairs past their breaking point.
In turn, this causes damage to the outer layers of hair, as well as split ends and frizziness. Instead, pat dries your hair after you shake out excess water while gently stroking it in the direction it grows. You also need to take caution when blow-drying your hair.
Honestly, the best way to dry your hair is to air-dry it, but blow drying maybe your best option on those days when you’re running short on time. Some important things to remember when using a hairdryer are to use the lowest heat settings possible and to always leave your hair slightly damp to make sure you aren’t over-drying it.
GO EASY ON THE HEAT
We just talked about using a lower heat setting if you have to blow dry your hair, cutting down on any heat is a general rule for the typical men’s hair care routine. There’s nothing like a hot shower, especially when the temperatures outside dip below freezing, but hot water wreaks havoc on your hair because it strips much of the essential oils from your hair and scalp, which leads to dryness. Again, the best way to dry your hair is to let it air dry. If you use a hairdryer, cut back on the heat, and leave your hair slightly damp so you won’t be tempted to over-dry it.
WEAR HATS SPARINGLY
Sometimes you just want to rock a hat or a cap but don’t overdo it. Tight hats can cause hair damage and loss because they pull too hard on the hair’s roots. Wear loose-fitting hats if possible.
DON’T DO A COMB-OVER – EVER
OK, so your hair is thinning on top while you still have a fair amount of it on the sides. Please don’t make the awful decision to cover the bare spots on top of your head with a comb-over. It’s never a good look and may remind people of the creepy uncle that keeps showing up at their family reunions. And most women will run – make that sprint – from a man with a comb-over. Do yourself a favor and get a haircut that suits your thinning style instead. Hopefully, these tips will help you achieve the look you want in a hairstyle but, most importantly, help you to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Like anything else, strong, healthy hair is achieved through consistent effort and the right knowledge.
DON’T OVERDO IT WITH PRODUCTS
There’s nothing wrong with using hair gels, waxes, and even hairspray for getting the style and look that you want. But, using too much product can make your hair look unnatural and heavy, so use only the amount that you really need instead of applying excess amounts.
Here’s a quick primer on products that can help you make the right choices for your hair type:
Gel – Gives you the wet look that stays in place. It’s a high-shine, high-hold product.
Putties – Putties are high-hold, low shine and aren’t as stiff as gels.
Wax – There’s no question that wax holds your hair in place. It is tougher to get out of your hair because it’s oil-based.
Pomade – Pomade is great for achieving retro looks and also has a high shine. Pomades tend to have a lesser hold than other products.
Paste – Paste is a good option for you if you have medium to long hair. They usually have a medium shine and hold.
Muds & Clays – Because muds and clays are dryers than other products for men’s hair, they tend to have lower shine. Muds and clays range from low to high hold and everything in between.
WASH, BUT DON’T REPEAT
One of the great myths about washing your hair is that you need to shampoo it, rinse it, and then repeat the process once more. Not only is a double-wash unnecessary, but it may also dry out your hair.
HAIR TIPS FOR DIFFERENT HAIR TYPES & STYLES
GROWING LONG HAIR: A GUIDE
Deciding to let your hair grow long is not much different than deciding to grow a full beard, i.e., you need time, patience, and an idea of what you want. Let’s break it down and take a closer look; you’ll also want to check out our video to gain a better understanding of what we’re talking about.
KNOW YOUR SCALP TYPE
It’s extremely important to know your scalp type before you buy hair products such as shampoo and conditioner.
Nothing too complicated here; if your hair often feels oily or greasy then you have an oily scalp. Chances are you’ve tried a variety of shampoos to cut down on the greasiness, but some things to keep in mind when you’re considering your purchase include avoiding shampoos that are labeled as moisturizing or hydrating while choosing those that are called “strengthening,” “balancing,” or “daily clarifying.” You should also make sure that you work your shampoo deeply into your scalp to help break up excess oils.
A dry scalp is a type that often feels dry and itchy and plagued by dandruff. But there are varying degrees of a dry scalp and you should buy shampoos and conditioners accordingly. If you have minor dryness, a shampoo that promotes moisture and hydration will help. If your scalp is extremely dry, then it’s a good idea to look for ingredients, such as tea tree oil, that have extensive moisturizing properties. Shampoos that you don’t want to purchase if you have a dry scalp are those called ‘strengthening’, ‘fortifying’, or ‘volumizing’ on their label.
Good for you if you have a normal scalp. That means your hair is generally easy to manage, has the right amount of oil, and that you don’t have to over-complicate things when shopping for products. Your primary mission is to find a shampoo that has a balance between moisturizing and cleaning.
HAIR CARE TIPS FOR BLACK MEN
Many of our hair care tips apply to all men, regardless of race. But African-American men need to follow a slightly different routine to keep their hair healthy and looking its best.
SHAMPOO LESS FREQUENTLY
Perhaps the biggest reason to shampoo less is because of a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) found in most off-the-shelf shampoos.
SLS strips away your scalp’s natural oils – oils that help protect your hair. The result is hair that’s dry and brittle. Many experts recommend shampooing only twice a week (with a shampoo that doesn’t contain SLS). Look for shampoos that contain natural oils and other ingredients that hydrate your scalp and hair.
While you may want to cut back on shampooing, you should moisturize your hair daily. Why? Because your hair tends to dry out during the day, whether it’s from indoor heating in the winter or from wearing hats in the spring and summer. Whatever moisturizing product you choose, be sure to massage it evenly throughout the scalp and hair to get the best results.
A low-maintenance hairstyle often works best for a lot of reasons, including that it will save you time while still looking good. But, you never know when you might find a look that you really like.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCT
Avoid products that contain alcohol, mineral oil, or petrolatum – which work to hold your style in place but may dry out your hair. Look for products with natural ingredients.
USE THE RIGHT COMB
Always have the right tools on hand when taking care of your hand, not the least of which is using the right comb. So, invest in a good afro comb because it has specially designed teeth that can detangle clumps of curly hair much better than other combs or brushes.
GO EASY ON GREASY HAIR
It’s a natural reaction to want to scrub your greasy hair with the force of an MMA fighter to get all the oil it. Don’t do it. Over-scrubbing tends to stimulate the oil-producing sebaceous glands that are already active enough. Another tip for taking care of greasy hair – or for all types of hair, for that matter – is to avoid washing it with overly hot water.
BARBERSHOP & TRIMMING TIPS
TRIM YOUR HAIR REGULARLY
Unless your goal is to grow longer hair, it’s wise to keep your hair trimmed because it’s the best way to get rid of damaged hair such as split ends. You should trim your hair every six to eight weeks, even if it’s just a light trim. You’ll be amazed how healthy your hair looks after a modest cut. Whatever you do, however, don’t believe the old adage that your hair will come in stronger and fuller if you cut it. That’s an old wives’ tale that’s actually b.s., so don’t get a haircut because you think you’ll be able to grow thicker hair because of it.
GO EASY ON CHEMICAL TREATMENTS
Whether it’s coloring your hair or getting a perm, chemical treatments can leave your hair dry, damaged, and dull. So, first, don’t overdo it with those treatments, but also avoid home treatments and seek the services of a good stylist instead. A knowledgeable barber or stylist will know how to prepare your hair and what products are best for your hair type. Plus, the results you’ll get from a professional will almost always look better than the results you’ll get doing it yourself.
GET A HAIRCUT AT THE RIGHT MET
By the “right time” we don’t mean a mythical exact day when you should get your hair trimmed, but rather what time of the day you schedule the appointment with your barber or stylist. Most salons and shops are quieter at the beginning and end of each day, which increases your chances of having the full attention of your barber.
GET TO KNOW YOUR BARBER
Professional barbers and stylists abound, but when you find one you like to make him or her a valuable resource for everything hair. One way you know that you have a good barber is that they’ll take the time to talk about what you want while offering suggestions based on your goals and hair type. You want your barber to recommend products and styling tips that help you achieve the look you get from their craft. But you also want to come armed with information, whether it’s pictures from your phone or from magazines of what styles you like, etc.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT HAIRSPRAY
It wasn’t that long ago that hairspray was considered something that only women used, at least regularly. But hairspray is a vastly underrated and effective grooming tool for men, too, and it’s something you should consider using in much the same way as waxes, pomades, gels, clays, etc. The good news is that many of today’s hairsprays include ingredients that are good for your hair, unlike the chemical-laden sprays of the past. Additionally, sprays aren’t as heavy as waxes and gels and many men prefer their lightweight feel. If you’re a man with thin hair, using hairspray is an excellent way to add volume, while men with thick hair who may face styling challenges appreciate the hold that hairspray provides.
USE A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO
The products that you apply to your hair over time may build up and cause your hair to look dull and lifeless. But a good clarifying shampoo will get rid of the build-up and make your hair look shinier. You can even use white vinegar as a hair rinse because it helps in balancing the pH level.
USE AN EGG CONDITIONER
Say what? Yes, an egg conditioner. Why? Because eggs are loaded with protein and essential minerals that your hair absolutely needs. So, give your hair an egg wash/conditioning treatment once a month. Let the egg wash penetrate deeply into your scalp because it will strengthen hair follicles from the inside out.
HERE’S ONE WAY TO REMOVE WAX
If you’re someone who regularly uses hair wax, chances are that you like the way it makes your hair look, but it can be a pain in the ass to wash out of your hair. That said, apply shampoo to dry hair and then rinse it off; doing so will break down the wax and make it easier to get out. Repeat the process if necessary.
KEEP A COMB WITH YOU
Even if you’re using products with the strongest hold known to mankind, it’s hard to keep your hair looking exactly the way you want out throughout the day. While it’s hard to always have your favorite hair products with you at all times, a comb is your next best friend. Wetting a comb and touching up your hairstyle not only keeps your hair looking neat, but also reactivates most styling products.
FOCUS LESS ON SHAMPOO AND MORE ON CONDITIONER
As mentioned, there’s plenty of debate about whether guys should shampoo every day. From reading the views of many experts, you get the feeling that less is more because excess shampooing may cause your hair to become dry and brittle. That’s especially true of shampoos that contain high levels of detergents and sulfates that strip your scalp and hair of natural oils. If you have hair that’s naturally oily and may look greasy, you may be resistant to only occasional shampooing. In many cases, however, it’s not that big of a deal and the natural oil is good for your hair. But it’s up to each person to decide how often they need to shampoo. As a general rule, however, try not to shampoo your hair every day. On the flip side, it’s OK to use a good conditioner every day because it minimizes split ends, tangles, breakage, and it doesn’t strip your hair of all of its natural oils; in fact, it replaces the oils that are washed away and keeps your hair moist. When you buy a conditioner, look for those that don’t contain waxes because they can make your hair look thin.