What is the right hair product for men?

I've been sent what is known in the world of grooming as a "multi-use" product and it's a hard little worker. In fact it does the whole lot with one generous, though highly cost-effective, squirt.

Its maker calls it merely "shower gel" but then you read the fine print: it's for the body, face and hair. And so it is. It also makes a nice bubbly bath.

All in all, it's a great time saver and a definite no-brainer, but I'm wondering if it might be a retrograde step.

Like a lot of men, I've just got my head around taking two bottles into the shower with me and using conditioner after the shampoo.

And like most other male users, I haven't gone so far as to buy my own. I use the wife's. Which in itself is a retrograde step, according to the experts. But more on that later.

Why you should

What the experts say is that using a conditioner is a very good thing, even if you haven't got much on top to begin with.

"It helps seal the hair and makes it plump and shiny," says Nathan Armagnacq, who recently opened a luxury OscarOscar salon in Melbourne's St Kilda.

"Shampoo opens up the hair follicle and strips it of oil. You need to put back what it takes out."

Armagnacq says a conditioner used after shampoo or a leave-in conditioning spray (even quicker) can give hair more volume, "replacing what you're losing through ageing". But what if your hair is, um, negligible?

"Even if it's razored to the skin, it's still good to put something back in. Try a scalp oil," he says.

"If you've been to a salon, get them to recommend a conditioner. Your hair may be damaged, need hydration. There will be a particular product for a particular concern."

Which is why you shouldn't use the wife's. Could be a very bad idea. She won't like it, for starters.

"Men's scalps are three times thicker than women's, and have a lot more oil and sweat. Therefore men need a super lightweight conditioner," says Armagnacq.

"But many women use rich conditioners because they colour their hair. They're too heavy for men's hair and will weigh it down. So get your own. Prescription only."

What to use

There are very good haircare ranges designed with men in mind, including American Crew and Aveda Men. Highly recommend for men are Shu Uemura's Muroto Volume Pure Lightness Conditioner and Kérastase Densifique Masque Densité Absolue.

Whatever you choose, the method's the same. Shampoo twice. Then put a very small amount of conditioner through hair. Then rinse it all off. Simples.

Of course, this might be a step too far and you'll stick with shampoo or, the ultimate in laziness, go with the three-in-one or even a simple bar of soap. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

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