Haircare basics

Anti-ageing tip: use conditioner. It makes your hair look fuller and healthier.

Hair is one area where men can really make an impression, set themselves apart and improve their looks. Here's a quick guide to the basics:

Three common male hair-washing mistakes to avoid:

Using soap: A minority of men still do this, but it will dull your hair, and make it dry and possibly flaky. Instead ask your hairdresser to recommend a shampoo that suits you hair type.

Infrequent washing: Some men try to treat a dry and itchy scalp by skipping the suds altogether but a good shampoo can actually improve things. With this problem, the culprit is often a yeast infection, which actually thrives, in an oily environment.

Skipping conditioner: Shampoo (especially the cheaper, more foamy ones) strip your hair of its natural oil. Conditioner replaces this and makes hair easier to manage and healthier looking. It's worth using even if you don't have much hair. Conditioner moisturises your scalp which can dry out - especially with all that extra sun exposure.

If you don't like lugging lots of grooming products around, there's nothing wrong with occasional use of an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner, say at the gym, says Jon Miller of HQ Male Grooming in Brisbane.

There are lots of great new products that offer some subtle style and flair. The type you choose depends on the length of your hair, its texture and the look you are aiming for. Ask your hairdresser which type suits your style. Here's a quick guide:

Paste: a water-based product that doesn't build up washes out easily and creates a matt and natural finish. It comes in different strengths - the shorter your hair is, the firmer the paste should be. Apply it to dry hair for the best result.

Clay or mud: an extremely matt dry product that suits really short textured hair. It's a little less pliable and has a heavier finish than paste

Texturising cream: suits curly hair because it smooths your hair follicles down

Wax or gum: experts no longer recommend these old school products. They are oil-based and tend to gunk your hair up. Go for something more modern.

Pomade: a very traditional product for that Madmen-style look.

Leave-in conditioner: this is the best option for long hair. Choose one designed to tame frizz.