Holding Steady: Getting A Handle On Styling Your Hair

  • Michael Denmon
  • Refined
Holding Steady: Getting A Handle On Styling Your Hair

Men tend to deal with their hairstyles in different ways throughout their lives. There are times when their hairstyle represents their identity, and it is taken care of and styled accordingly. There are also times when a cheap pair of electric clippers is seen as a better investment than the products and time required to keep a haircut styled. This is when men prefer to shave it all off instead of trying to maintain it.

The majority of men live most of their lives somewhere between the desire to care for their hair and not care for their hair. These periods are usually times when men want to have a hairstyle that is representative of themselves and feels well-groomed, but they may lack the understanding of how to care for their hair and get it to do what they want it to be and look like. 

The good news for this latter category of men is that choosing the product they need for shaping their hairstyle can be simplified into three categories. Hold, shine, and hair-thickness. So how does a man decide which product to use to achieve their desired look?

Strong Enough For A Man

Some men want the assurance that once their hair is styled into place, it will remain there until it is no longer needed. For these men, pomades are usually the product of choice.  When we think of pomades today, we think of characters with a slick hairstyle, teased upward to form the crest of a wave that defies follicular physics. Classic bikers from the 50s evoke imagery that pairs with pomades, the typical rebel without a cause carrying a round tin of pomade and a trusty fine-toothed comb in his leather jacket’s pocket. The idea is that the biker uses pomade to keep his hair from becoming disheveled while he rockets his bike down the streets of small-town America, with no particular place to go, but in a hurry to get there all the same. 

Some men like to have their hair look carefree and low-maintenance, even though they may spend time and effort getting it to look that way. For them, they don’t want their hair to appear motionless like a helmet on the top of their head. They want the hair to be settled but not restrained. A grooming cream typically works better for this style, as it provides a medium hold that is more natural in its effect, and also nourishes the hair while avoiding a look of industrial-grade adhesion.

Shine Bright. Or Not-So-Bright.

The next thing to consider when deciding on a product to use for your hair is what kind of brilliance or shine is desired. Many men like a more low-key look and use a matte finish for their hair. Other men like to shine amongst the crowd and prefer a product that gives a sheen when viewed beneath the lights of the theatre, office, or pool hall. While the matte finish may give a more dried look to hair, the wet-style pomades give a slick appeal to the hairstyle and call back to the lone motorcycle man, on the edges of society. 

The type of shine desired often comes down to individual choice, but the work environment can also play a role. Most accounting firms tend to frown on shiny pompadours, for example. However, the versatility of varying bright and matte finish pomades or creams means that you can downplay your hair’s luster in the office while shining it up and slicking it back on the weekends. 

Adding Body or Getting Rid of The Body

Another common concern for men when it comes to styling their hair is what sort of body their hair may have. Many men with fine hair may feel that, while their hair is thick, it lacks the necessary volume for a more stylish look. Others may feel that their hair has too much volume, and each strand tends to fight against the others. Men with curly hair that gets recked by atmospheric conditions such as humidity, typically resign themselves to having no control over their hair, and thus it must be cut short to remain manageable.

For curly hair that may suffer from frizziness, a grooming cream can be beneficial. The cream acts as a moisturizing agent to help tame the stragglers of hair that just won’t cooperate with a hair brush. Ideally, those who would use this product would do so as a means to soften the hair into submission, while then following up with a stronger hold pomade which can also help those men with fine hair concerns.

Ultimately, the hairstyle should be seen as a feature of men and not everything they are about. It is a way for them to make a statement but not be the statement. Knowing the correct type of product to use to help make those statements is worth the time and effort to put into being themselves.

Especially, if they are 50s-era biker fans. 

Photo by Minh Tri.