How to choose the right product for your hair type

Let's not beat around the bush – men are just as vain when it comes to their hair as the next Instagram model. Maybe more-so because we face the constant possibility of losing it.

So it's no wonder then that the grooming industry targeting hair products for men is booming, cashing in on our desire to maintain the perfect coiffe.

Nathan Jancauskas, founder of grooming destination Men's Biz, has seen first hand how Aussie men are increasingly taking a vested interest in their grooming routines.

An invested interest

Since launching in 2006, Men's Biz has grown from an online platform to include several bricks-and-mortar barbers in Sydney and Melbourne.

"Guys are regularly coming in and asking more questions about haircare and products," he says.

"What works for thinning hair, or dry hair. And their choices on what they use are becoming a lot more sophisticated. We've always attracted the kind of customer who is engaged in these topics and not just content with letting their girlfriends or partners choose for them, but this number is increasing."

Spoilt for choice

Look online, or even in your local hair salon, and you'll find countless products to fit any possible need you could imagine. And some you didn't realise you had.

But the flipside of this is some genuine confusion as to what product out of hundreds is the best one suited to you and your unruly locks.

Know thyself

First of all, get to know your hair type. This means having an honest chat with your barber who can offer some insights you may not realise, such as a slight thinning in the back or dry scalp.

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Then, take into consideration how you want the finished effect to look like.

"Men should consider if they prefer a matte or shiny finish and what strength of hold they need their products to be in order to keep their desired look in place," suggests Renée Baltov, owner of men's salon The Barberhood.

"This will help with  choosing the correct texture, hold and shine for your look."

Pomade, for example, tends to be thicker, heavier and with a shiny finish – not great for fine or oily hair. Clays add texture and hold, but can be pointless on curly hair unless it's really short and can sometimes end up making it look worse than you started.

Thinning hair

It happens to the best of us, and unless you're ready to shave it off or get the $10,000 treatment, you'll need something that will give volume and the appearance of thickness.

"American Crew Boost Powder is great for thin hair to give volume day to day," says Baltov.

"It's a power that is sprinkled into the hair in the areas that need the most volume. It's really easy to use and doesn't have a sticky texture. If your hair is thinning then Aveda Invati Scalp Revitaliser for men (leave in treatment) is a fantastic product to encourage hair health and growth. It's 98% naturally derived and has and ingredient called Alma which instantly thickens your hair when applied at the root."

Thick hair

Thick hair can also have it's issues, including being dry or coarse, making it hard to manage and keep in place. For this hair type, Jancauskas recommends water-based products that add softness and conditioning: "Layrite Super Hold Pomade can be used to tame and sculpt coarse, thick hair. It's also water-based so you can restyle using a bit of water and it will also rinse out easily at the end of the day."

Longer hair

You've ditched the manbun but kept the length, so now you actually need something to keep it in check. Triumph and Disaster's KareKare is a natural sea salt spray packed with natural ingredients that helps keep your hair healthy. It will add just the right amount of volume and texture without weighing your hair down and keep it manageable.

If your hair tends to get a little dry, try argan oils such as Moroccan Oil.

Short hair

If you're sporting a fade or high-and-tight and just after something that helps prevent bedhead then a good all-rounder such as Uppercut's Matte Clay or Kevin Murphy's Easy Rider for pliable hold without being too heavy.

For something more moisturising, virgin coconut oil is cheap, smells great and a small (very small) amount goes a long way.

Fine hair

Fine hair, like thinning hair, works well with products that lift the hair up, giving it more volume.

"Jack Black's Sleek Finish Texture Cream gives a light flexible hold and adds volume," says Jancauskas. It also adds the illusion of thickness without creating stiffness or clumping, and leaves hair natural and soft."

Alternatively, Kevin Murphy's Hair Resort can be worked through with the fingers to add gravity-defying lift.

Curly hair

Work with it, don't fight it. You'll only lose.

"Layrite Natural Matte Cream defines and holds the hair without being crackly and crunchy," says Baltov.

"This paste keeps a great hold but leaves natural feel to the hair. It's also water soluble it so washes out easily. We use this product a lot in the barbershops."

Mix and match

Lastly, don't be afraid to play the alchemist when it comes to treating different issues. Short and dry hair can benefit from using a few drops of leave-in treatment to your styling cream. Or add a little bit of texturising powder to tone down the shininess of your clay.

But most importantly, don't forget to actually work the product in. Start with less than you actually need, then build from there.

"It's important to remember that the thicker the product the more energy or heat you need to make it my pliable," explains Baltov.

"When applying thick products warm it up in your hands by rubbing them together a few times first and apply evenly over the scalp in most cases."

Check out the gallery above to see a selection of the best hair products for men.