9 Best Hair Clays

9 Best Hair Clays

Best Overall Hair Clay for Men
#1
Hanz de Fuko Claymation
  • The kind of serious hold you can rely on
  • Hold lasts as long as you want it to
  • You don’t need to use a lot to get the effect you’re after
Best Hair Clay for Fine Hair
#2
Pete and Pedro Clay
  • Lovely medium hold that doesn’t fail
  • Deliciously scented
  • Awesome for fine hair
Best Hair Clay for Strong Hold
#3
Baxter of California Hair Clay Pomade
  • Amazing natural, matte finish
  • Strong, superior hold
  • Long lasting hold with a product that lasts a ridiculously long time
Best Budget Clay for Men
#4
Admiral Men's Pliable Hair Styling Clay
  • Remarkably good hold
  • Amazing aroma that makes you feel good every time you use it
  • You don’t need a lot, making it even more cost-effective

After 38 hours of research evaluating 56 products, we picked Hanz de Fuko Claymation as our top choice.

Women take mud baths, so it shouldn’t surprise you that men turn to clay for a little hair support - and for darn good reason! The best hair clay styling products are the business. Imagine that pomade and putty had a product baby and you’ve got yourself hair clay.

Most have medium to strong hold, though some hold like gel – but without the shine. Hair clay offers a matte finish (with the odd exception here and there). And, most work into your hair much the way you would deal with a wax.

Despite the relatively small number of decent hair clay products on the market, there’s a wonderful diversity. You’ll be able to find the best hair clay for your hair whether it’s thin (to thinning) or thick and unwieldy.

Now, you may find yourself paying slightly higher prices for hair clay than for other styling products. But, don’t worry, we’ve found some affordable products that perform even better than the Claymation that David Beckham uses. You’re sure to find one that fits your budget and we guarantee that at least one of these bad boys will easily become your new favorite hair product.

Just take a look; there’s almost no way to be disappointed. Promise.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 9 Best Hair Clays
Smooth Viking Hair Clay
  • A little truly does go a long way
  • Perfect hold that allows for height and texturing
  • Natural-looking hair with a serious matte finish
Check on Amazon
K+S Styling Clay for Men
  • Smells amazing
  • Offers a good hold (we’d say solid, but we don’t want you to get the wrong idea)
  • Nice natural-looking finish
Check on Krieger + Söhne
Mandom Gatsby Technical Design Clay
  • Amazing, long-lasting hold
  • Natural matte finish
  • Great for short to medium-length hair
Check on Amazon
Layrite Cement Hair Clay
  • Amazing hold
  • Lovely, clean smell
  • Washes out easily
Check on Amazon
Jack Black Clay Pomade
  • Superior hold
  • Beautifully clean matte finish
  • Easy application
Check on Amazon
Admiral Men's Pliable Hair Styling Clay
  • Remarkably good hold
  • Amazing aroma that makes you feel good every time you use it
  • You don’t need a lot, making it even more cost-effective
Check on Amazon
Baxter of California Hair Clay Pomade
  • Amazing natural, matte finish
  • Strong, superior hold
  • Long lasting hold with a product that lasts a ridiculously long time
Check on Amazon
Pete and Pedro Clay
  • Lovely medium hold that doesn’t fail
  • Deliciously scented
  • Awesome for fine hair
Check on Amazon
Hanz de Fuko Claymation
  • The kind of serious hold you can rely on
  • Hold lasts as long as you want it to
  • You don’t need to use a lot to get the effect you’re after
Check on Amazon
9 Best Hair Clays

9 Best Hair Clays

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 38 hours of research evaluating 56 products, we picked Hanz de Fuko Claymation as our top choice.

Women take mud baths, so it shouldn’t surprise you that men turn to clay for a little hair support - and for darn good reason! The best hair clay styling products are the business. Imagine that pomade and putty had a product baby and you’ve got yourself hair clay.

Most have medium to strong hold, though some hold like gel – but without the shine. Hair clay offers a matte finish (with the odd exception here and there). And, most work into your hair much the way you would deal with a wax.

Despite the relatively small number of decent hair clay products on the market, there’s a wonderful diversity. You’ll be able to find the best hair clay for your hair whether it’s thin (to thinning) or thick and unwieldy.

Now, you may find yourself paying slightly higher prices for hair clay than for other styling products. But, don’t worry, we’ve found some affordable products that perform even better than the Claymation that David Beckham uses. You’re sure to find one that fits your budget and we guarantee that at least one of these bad boys will easily become your new favorite hair product.

Just take a look; there’s almost no way to be disappointed. Promise.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 9 Best Hair Clays
Smooth Viking Hair Clay
  • A little truly does go a long way
  • Perfect hold that allows for height and texturing
  • Natural-looking hair with a serious matte finish
Check on Amazon
K+S Styling Clay for Men
  • Smells amazing
  • Offers a good hold (we’d say solid, but we don’t want you to get the wrong idea)
  • Nice natural-looking finish
Check on Krieger + Söhne
Mandom Gatsby Technical Design Clay
  • Amazing, long-lasting hold
  • Natural matte finish
  • Great for short to medium-length hair
Check on Amazon
Layrite Cement Hair Clay
  • Amazing hold
  • Lovely, clean smell
  • Washes out easily
Check on Amazon
Jack Black Clay Pomade
  • Superior hold
  • Beautifully clean matte finish
  • Easy application
Check on Amazon
Admiral Men's Pliable Hair Styling Clay
  • Remarkably good hold
  • Amazing aroma that makes you feel good every time you use it
  • You don’t need a lot, making it even more cost-effective
Check on Amazon
Baxter of California Hair Clay Pomade
  • Amazing natural, matte finish
  • Strong, superior hold
  • Long lasting hold with a product that lasts a ridiculously long time
Check on Amazon
Pete and Pedro Clay
  • Lovely medium hold that doesn’t fail
  • Deliciously scented
  • Awesome for fine hair
Check on Amazon
Hanz de Fuko Claymation
  • The kind of serious hold you can rely on
  • Hold lasts as long as you want it to
  • You don’t need to use a lot to get the effect you’re after
Check on Amazon

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Best Pomade for Adding Volume and Texture

75
Score 75

Why People Love it

  • A little truly does go a long way
  • Perfect hold that allows for height and texturing
  • Natural-looking hair with a serious matte finish

This clay washes easily, and goes in just the same. It’s also in the affordable range and adds volume and texture to hair with its awesome blend of ingredients.

The smell isn’t fantastic.

Details

Overall, this clay is simply amazing, but it’s maybe not a bad idea to get the negatives out of the way first.

First, the smell is not something everyone can live with. It’s really earthy, but it can come across as a little chemically sometimes. Mostly, it’s just enough aroma to let you know that you’re working with a product, and it goes away quickly. But, if you’re super sensitive, you may want to move along.

Then there is the hold. If you’re after a super strong, super long hold, this is not the clay for you. It lasts reasonably long – and stands up to humidity and moisture (so you can feel secure at the gym), but it’s not a 24-hour hold. And, we can’t say it’s anything more than medium.

So what does this clay do really well?

It allows for a range of styles, usually on the messier side, though it’s also pretty good with short, tamed, combed styles. If you want a low pompadour without the glistening finish you get with gels or pomades, this is an excellent choice.

More importantly, it really does add some thickness to thin hair and allows guys with flat, straight hair to get a bit of texture without weighing down hair in either case. Almost surprisingly, it’s just as valuable to those with wavy hair.

The texture is a little strange for a clay, but given the smooth application and the ease of washing it out, we’re going to forgive it. Plus, the company selling it stands behind their products and seems to enjoy doing what they do; not everyone can make hair care that kind of fun.  

Hold: At best, we’d describe this hold as medium. It’s really not a strong hold, and if your hair is on the longer side, you may find this offers a little less than average. That said, it holds up well through some difficult elements, including sweat, which is a real plus.

Texture: This is a little more gelatinous than most clays, which can be a little off-putting at first. But it’s also, somehow, quite natural feeling and breaks down easily in your hands, making it rather easy to apply.

Application: When applied to slightly damp hair, you should expect a light sheen to it, making it behave a little like a pomade in that regard. But, overall, most guys find this product goes in easily with no need to alter application methods.

Duration: Many guys find that it lasts a good 14-18 hours. It doesn’t seem to ever last longer than that, but most men don’t expect more than 16 hours from a product. Just a quick word though, there are those that feel 12 hours is pushing it on this. So, you may need to take it with you if you’re planning an extended day out and about.

Washing ease: This washes out almost too easily. Some guys find they don’t even need a shampoo to get this water-based product out of their hair. We still recommend it, of course, if you’re trying to avoid build-up, but you can expect this to be an easy wash.

Scent: People have a lot to say about the smell of this clay. It’s not for everyone. It mostly smells of clay with, perhaps, another earthy smell like tobacco mixed in. Some feel that it’s really off-putting while others quite like it. Either way, it dissipates quickly and if everything else is in place for you on this product, you shouldn’t let the smell stop you from trying it.

Key ingredients: Inside, you’ll find petroleum mixed with bentonite clay. There’s also a fair amount of beeswax and lanolin waxes. We’re fans of the essential, carrot seed, and soybean oils.

Size: It’s 2 ounces. It does feel small when comparing it to other styling containers, but it’s average for most clays on the market.

Price: Expect to pay $14 on Amazon for a single container, with Prime shipping. Yep, that’s about $7 per ounce which is an average price for styling clay. But, it’s also available as a Subscribe & Save item which can make it even more affordable.  

Best Hair Clay for Men for Daily Use

78
Score 78

Why People Love it

  • Smells amazing
  • Offers a good hold (we’d say solid, but we don’t want you to get the wrong idea)
  • Nice natural-looking finish

This lightweight hair clay comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It offers some volume and is super easy to style.

Some guys can’t get over the texture of this hair clay and it doesn’t offer enough hold for guys with thick hair.

Details

Love the hold and natural appearance of a hair clay, but can’t stand the difficult to work with texture? You totally just found your game-changer product. Seriously. This doesn’t feel like a clay, but it sure works like a clay. It’s a little difficult to describe the texture until you try it, and we certainly advise that you do. With a satisfaction guarantee and good customer service, there’s little reason not to. 

And it manages to tame waves and curls without any hassle. You've got to love that!

Of course, there’s a lot more to a hair product than the texture and you’re likely to be concerned with the hold and appearance more than the way it feels in your hands. Here, you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised. Despite being lightweight, you should expect a strong hold – unless you have very thick hair (in which case, you’ll need something with a much stronger hold). And yet, you’ll have a gorgeous matte finish that looks so enticingly natural.

Once you’ve got it in your hair, which is wonderfully easy to do, you won’t experience any of that nasty stickiness on your hands – and it’s wonderfully easy to wash out too. That’s a plus for any product, but especially for a clay.

But, you will need to trade something for the combination of easy in and easy out hair clay – and that’s the length of the hold. You shouldn’t expect it to last for weeks; it won’t. It probably won’t even give you 24 hours. But, it will give you a solid 12-14 hours of sheer bliss. And, despite the not-so-masculine aroma, there’s something about it that many guys seem to love.

All in, that makes it an almost perfect clay for guys that use it day in and day out. Give it a shot, you’re likely to find the same.

Hold: The hold is remarkably strong, given the somewhat unorthodox texture of this clay. It’s better than medium, but it’s far from the strongest.

Texture: The texture is a little unusual for a hair clay. It’s more like a liquid paste or a cream. Still, it’s quite thick in consistency. Strange, right? And totally worth the try.

Application: This goes on super easy – both on your hands and your hair. And, it doesn’t leave any greasy or waxy residue on your hands the way some products do. It’s easy to style in any direction you want, though if you’re looking for something with a lot of height, you’ll need to add in a wax or a hairspray. If you want a little more volume, use a hair dryer on the cool setting.

Duration: Don’t expect miracles here. You’ll only achieve about 12 to 14 hours of control with this hair clay. That should get you through the day though, right?

Washing ease: This is surprisingly easy to wash out. With plenty of beeswax, it’s almost amazing how easily it works out.

Scent: Some users find the scent to be way too strong. And, let’s be honest, it’s not the most masculine. Some think it smells a little like jasmine, others peg it closer to coconut or pineapple. Either way, it doesn’t have the earthy smell you would associate with a good clay.

Key ingredients: Inside the confusing list of ingredients, you’ll find bentonite clay and beeswax (as you should expect). It’s also paraben free.

Size: The 2 ounces is a smaller size package, but it’s not the smallest out there.

Price: You’ll pay a little less than $15 for the 2 ounces which – works out to a little more than $7 per ounce. That’s middle of the road as far as price goes.

Best Clay for Short Hair

81
Score 81

Why People Love it

  • Amazing, long-lasting hold
  • Natural matte finish
  • Great for short to medium-length hair

This has an incredible hold (up to 2 days) and does a great job with short hairstyles, even spikes and the like. It has a pleasant smell and goes on rather easily.

It’s definitely not the easiest styling product to wash out of your hair. We suggest a strong shampoo and a little patience.

Details

Japanese hair products for men always seem to have a fruity aroma to them. This one isn’t an exception. It smells like apples. That said, it’s quite pleasant to most people. And, it’s hardly the most contentious issue for this hair clay.

The biggest drawback is the difficulty you should expect when washing this out of your hair. It’s tough to say the least. Really. If you don’t have the time to shampoo, you should stay away. But, as the hold lasts for days (literally), you may actually save yourself some time.

We’re fans of the ability to create some great hairstyles with this goop (yes, it’s a little more gooey than clay). You can achieve short spikes, even if your hair is stick straight and flat. It’s definitely great at putting texture where there is none.

And, it’s a tiny container, you can definitely take it with you in your carry-on. But, the price can be prohibitive – and it’s not available as a Subscribe & Save option. So, once you’re hooked, we suggest stocking up from the start because this is one of those products that men with short to medium-length hair probably won’t be able to live without.

Hold: It’s a medium hold that allows for flexibility throughout the day. But, at the same it lasts a really long time. If you’re looking for a stronger hold, we would suggest applying it to dry hair – and there are a few other clays from this brand that offer just a bit more.

Texture: It’s a little gooey, but it’s not so far away from a clay that we can complain about it.

Application: Most guys suggest applying this to slightly damp, warm hair. Warm hair? Yes, that’s right. The heat will help the product to spread and set. If you apply it to dry hair, you’ll definitely need a little time to experiment with your do.

Duration: This is a seriously long-lasting hold. You can expect 36-48 hours out of a single application, with perhaps a touch up here and there. That’s great since it’s no fun to wash this out of your hair.

Washing ease: If you’re looking for a clay that you can wash out easily, you’re in the wrong place. This is perhaps the most difficult of all clays to wash out and you’ll definitely need shampoo to do it.

Scent: It smells like apple, green apple to be specific. And, while you may not feel that’s terribly manly, most guys seem to appreciate the smell.

Key ingredients: The clay inside is hectorite, and there isn’t a lot of it. This is more of a microcrystalline wax with castor and mineral oils. It works like clay, but it doesn’t wash out like one.

Size: Wow this is a small container, a mere 1.1 ounces! On the plus side, it’s great for travelling light – and you can treat the first one as a tester without feeling too bad about it. After that though, you might feel that you’re constantly ordering more.

Price: It’s not cheap. That tiny package costs nearly $13 on Amazon. And, while it does qualify for Prime shipping, you’re going to have a difficult time swallowing the cost of more than $12 per ounce. That said, it works for guys that have run out of other options and are willing to pay more for the privilege of manageable hair.

Best Hair Clay for Men with Longer Hair

83
Score 83

Why People Love it

  • Amazing hold
  • Lovely, clean smell
  • Washes out easily

Not only does this hold and hold all day, it’s easy to wash out and comes at a reasonable price.

Some users find this to be a little on the greasy side. But it’s difficult to find many other serious complaints.

Details

There’s a lot of reasons to recommend this product and not much going against it. Indeed, the list of positives is long and the drawbacks are limited. Okay, if you have short, thinning hair, this is going to be too strong for your needs. But if you have any length and you want real volume, you may not have another choice. Okay, that’s not strictly true – there are other styling products that will help you, but they will also add a dose of shine that you may not want.

We do want to warn you about the thickness of this product; it does take some work. And, if you’re working with dry hair, you may have a more difficult time spreading it the way you want. Most men find that towel-dried hair is the way to go – with or without a hair dryer. Either way, you’ll probably need a comb to tame it into place.

Now for the strange part, this isn’t really a clay as much as it is a wax that behaves like a clay, with all the gorgeousness of the matte finish that you’re after. There are plant and animal based waxes in here (you know what lanolin is, right?), but we’re not rushing to take this out of the clay category.

Surprisingly, it washes out easier than most clays – especially given the mix of ingredients. You won’t battle to get it off your hands or out of your hair. And, it offers a surprising ability to restyle if you want to, though you will need to put a little effort into that.

Need another plus? It’s surprisingly affordable. So why isn’t it higher on the list? Well, besides the tough competition in this group of styling products, it’s really not for everyone. We’d bet it packs more punch than most men really need.

Hold: Wow, this is strong. Not, perhaps as strong as the Uppercut, but it is easier to work with and that means you can actually achieve some serious volume if you want it.

Texture: This is one of the thicker, denser clays on the market. It may take a little work to get it out of the container. Hint: heat helps; if it’s still sealed, run it under hot water for a bit. Otherwise, never let it get cold.

Application: You can use this on dry hair or damp hair; you’ll get a little more shine with the latter, but not that much, it really is quite matte. It’s more difficult to spread in dry hair, but if you’ve just used the hair dryer, you’ll find the product behaves nicely with the heat. Also, you’ll know you have the right amount when it starts to feel a little sticky.

Duration: All day and all night – as long as you’re not dancing till dawn.

Washing ease: Given the mix of ingredients, we’re a little surprised at how easily it washes out. Now, the directions say rinse, but we think that’s a bit of a stretch.

Scent: Expect a strange vanilla-playdoh smelling hair clay. Doesn’t seem like it should be masculine, and we certainly aren't saying it is, but many men find themselves enjoying the scent.

Key ingredients: It’s a strange combination of ozokerite (earth wax), beeswax, lanolin, and petrolatum. It doesn’t have any parabens and it certainly seems to get the job done, but it’s a little difficult to figure out why it washes out so well.

Size: It’s a massive 4.25 ounce container; there’s no way to hide it on your bathroom counter or your airline carry-on.

Price: Wow – what an amazing price. You’ll get a lot of product for somewhere between $16.50 and $19. The average price works out to less than $4 per ounce for a hair clay, that’s actually one heck of a deal.

Best Natural Hair Clay for Men

86
Score 86

Why People Love it

  • Superior hold
  • Beautifully clean matte finish
  • Easy application

This isn’t only a vegan product that smells delicious; it’s a great value for money, easy to wash out, and offers a matte finish despite the pomade in the name.

Some users find this doesn’t offer the level of hold – or the length of hold – they expected. Otherwise, negatives are few.

Details

If you’re after a vegan styling clay for men, this is the one you want. Besides the natural ingredients and its animal-friendly status, the smell of this clay is simply divine.

It also offers a medium to strong hold that should get you through the day without any hassles. Afterwards, you can wash it out super easily. Indeed, you may be able to get away without using a shampoo. (But, unless you’re a strict no-poo guy, we recommend using shampoo at least once a week to ensure there’s no residue left behind.)

Now, on to the big question, with pomade in the product name, should you expect some shine? No.

That said, you shouldn’t expect this to mattify greasy locks. It’s formulated like a pomade, with the finish of a clay. Whether you add it to damp or dry hair, you should expect a natural finish on your hair – that’s somewhere between matte and glisten. But, it definitely isn’t shiny. (If you’re looking for a natural/vegan product with some shine to it, we suggest other Jack Black products.)

All in, this is a clay we’d consider even if the natural aspects weren’t important. If you’ve got hair that you describe as average all the way around (or just a little in one direction or another), give it a go.

Hold: It’s got a medium to strong hold, depending on the amount and length of hair that you’re starting with. We can’t say that we’re supremely blown away when working with hair that needs a high hold, but this product also wasn’t designed for that.

Texture: It’s got a creamier texture than other clays, but it’s actually a pomade blend.

Application: Men are split on this front, and it may have to do with their expectations of straightforward clays or pomades. Overall, it’s fairly easy if you’re working with damp hair and you take the time to work it in your hands properly before placing on your hair. And, it’s definitely clump-free.

Duration: Don’t expect more than a day’s use out of this. Indeed, we’d probably cap it at 14-16 hours. That’s, of course, usually more than enough for most men on most days.

Washing ease: It’s rather easy to wash this product out; no complaints here.

Scent: The clean, natural smell comes from the essential oils in the mix and it goes away quickly. For as nice as it smells, we wouldn’t mind it lasting longer, but hey, we’re all about the natural with this product.

Key ingredients: Let’s just point out that this is marketed as a clay pomade before you start to lament the overwhelming lack of clay ingredients here. It’s also more important to note that there are a lot of good things in this vegan product, the essential oils list is stunning (tea tree, sage, lavender, basil, just to start). And, it’s paraben, alcohol, added fragrance and colorant – free. Plus, these products aren’t tested on animals.

Size: The container is a somewhat unusual size of 2.75 ounces. That’s a little more than the 2-ounce average. But, hey, we’re not complaining about that.

Price: You can get the 2.75-ounce container for $22 on Amazon, with Prime shipping. That’s $8 per ounce which, while it’s on the higher side, is actually fairly reasonable for a clay product. When we factor in the brilliant ingredients, we’re definitely prepared to move it into the value-for-money category.

Best Budget Clay for Men

89
Score 89

Why People Love it

  • Remarkably good hold
  • Amazing aroma that makes you feel good every time you use it
  • You don’t need a lot, making it even more cost-effective

In addition to the great price, this smells amazing, and it’s easy to apply across a variety of styles. It’s even easier to wash out.

You won’t get a super strong or super long hold with this clay.

Details

Clays are almost ridiculously expensive. And, while there are other products that offer a matte finish, there aren’t any that add texture and volume as well as a decent hold. Clays really take the cake for that combination.

If you want to pay a little less for a clay than the average (which is about $8/ounce), you will need to compromise. You’ll need to do the same here, but nowhere near as much as with other “budget” options.

Sure, the hold is a little weaker than other clays, and the expected duration is definitely shorter, but most guys find the hold is more than enough, especially if their hair is on the thinner side. Guys with really thick hair will probably do better to look for a product expressly designed for a stronger hold. 

One thing we really like about this clay is the smooth, workable texture of the product. It’s a little softer than you might expect and that means it’s easier to apply to dry and almost dry hair. It washes out even easier than that. And it smells incredible. Truly. You could ask for a lot less at this price, but with this clay, you don’t have to.

Hold: Don't opt for this product if you’re after a strong, all day hold. It’s not that type of clay. But if you want a light to medium hold that gets you through the day, this is brilliant.

Texture: This product definitely has more of a clay consistency, but at the same time, it’s also a bit creamier than other clays. Somehow that makes it feel more luxurious than the price would suggest.

Application: You’ll need a dime-sized amount for most styles and lengths and it does tend to work best with mostly dry hair (though between dry and damp is often a matter of preference). You can use your fingers (and no hairdryer) to get a loose pomp, which is rather impressive.

Duration: It’s definitely not going to make it from sun-up to sun-down. You’ll get between 6-8 hours with it. But, you can reactivate it with water, so you’ll make it through the work day without hassle.

Washing ease: It’s wonderfully easily to wash this out. Mostly it will come out with just water. But, it probably demands a shampoo every couple of days as it does ask for some soap to come off hands.

Scent: The manufacturer says it smells like tobacco – and this appears to be one case where they’re not lying. The scent is natural, hardly overpowering, and just about everyone loves it.

Key ingredients: Inside is a mix of microcrystalline and carnauba waxes as well as kaolin clay. In addition, there aren’t any parabens inside and these products aren’t tested on animals. (But, it’s not what you’d call a natural product.

Size: The 4-ounce container is twice the size as many clays on the market. That alone should make you feel like you’re saving a packet of cash.

Price: You’ll pay about $15.50 on Amazon for a single 4-ounce container. With the Prime shipping, that works out to $3.88 per ounce which is actually an amazing price for such a highly-regarded clay. More, you can add it to your Subscribe & Save list, bringing the price down by as much as 15%. If you’re on a budget, you’ll definitely want to think about that.

Best Hair Clay for Strong Hold

92
Score 92

Why People Love it

  • Amazing natural, matte finish
  • Strong, superior hold
  • Long lasting hold with a product that lasts a ridiculously long time

Very little of this hair clay is necessary to achieve a strong, lasting hold. It adds plenty of texture and garners rave reviews from guys with all hair types.

It can be a little difficult to work out of the container and it doesn’t always wash out as nicely as we would like. The hold sometimes breaks if you work up a sweat.

Details

Despite the relatively small number of hair clays on the market, the competition is fierce. And yet, this Baxter of California Clay Pomade easily made its way to the top of our list. Okay, it is a hybrid clay, but it performs so stunningly well that we had no choice but to give it serious honors.

As with most clays, this provides a natural, matte finish to your do. More than that, it adds serious texture and definition. No really, expect to add some volume if you apply this to damp hair and style with a hair dryer. At the same time, it’s absolutely perfect for a slicked back look. Your hair will feel and appear smooth and frizz-free, whatever your actual hair is like.

We’d like to add that there are many reports of users moving from brands like American Crew over to Baxter of California with great success. Their glowing reviews are echoed in the awards given by reputable sources such as Men’s Health and Details magazines. You’ll find similar raves from sources such as Ask Men and Huffington Post.

There are very few drawbacks which are almost negligible. For example, the price is high – but the product lasts a truly long time. The biggest setback is the trouble that some users have in washing it out. However, we still think it’s worth it.

Hold: The hold on this is surprisingly strong and tends to last the entire day. Hair remains pliable enough to move and bend while still popping back into place. It's little wonder we've given it the strong hold accolades,  right?

Texture: The beeswax in this product provides a slightly sticky feeling. This is a rather thick and non-greasy clay.

Application: There are a few users that find this is a little too thick for what they’re looking for; they have a little difficulty with the application. However, most users rave about the ease of application (not to mention the desired result), which is made easier by the fact that you really only need a small amount (as little as a fingernail-sized blob). When applied to wet hair, you’ll maintain a little of the wet look. Application to dry and damp hair results in a smooth and natural appearance.

Duration: You can expect this to last the whole day. That’s really not bad for a clay.

Washing ease: If there’s one point where this hair clay falls down, it’s with the ease of washing it out. The petroleum base mixed with beeswax makes it a little more difficult than we would like for a clay. Don’t skip the shampoo or you’ll get a few crunchy flakes after toweling off.

Scent: Like most styling products, the aroma of this hair clay is a little difficult to peg. It’s definitely earthy with hints of lemon, sage, and something like tobacco.

Key ingredients: Inside, you’ll find bentonite clay and beeswax (no surprise there), and plenty of natural ingredients like lemon peel, fennel, and sage oils. It’s also paraben-free.

Size: You’ll get 2 ounces of product here and although that feels like it’s on the low side, a little goes a long way. Users manage to stretch a single container (with daily use) anywhere from one month to six. That’s impressive.

Price: Yikes, okay, this is definitely one of the pricier hair clays on the market with a MSRP of $22. You’ll usually pay a little less than that (though not much) for a per ounce price of a little less than $11. Just remember how long it lasts though.

Best Hair Clay for Fine Hair

94
Score 94

Why People Love it

  • Lovely medium hold that doesn’t fail
  • Deliciously scented
  • Awesome for fine hair

This will definitely make your hair appear denser and it’s also got a medium hold that is certainly stronger for guys with fine hair. Plus, it smells so. very. good.

It’s on the expensive side and it’s not going to work wonders for guys with longer hair, or thicker hair either.

Details

If your hair is naturally fine or you’re beginning to experience thinning, you need to take a serious look at this product. Like right now. It’s amazing.

For a start, it will definitely make your hair look, well, fatter. You’ll be able to work with it in ways you didn’t expect, as you can achieve some piecing, without exposing your scalp in that horrifying way you may be experiencing with other products.

It’s a medium to strong, all day hold and it smells exactly like you want your men’s hair products to smell. Basically, it’s all things that are good, with a matte finish that doesn’t frighten you or anyone else.

While it is on the pricier side, it’s absolutely the right clay for this hair type, and therefore, usually worth it. More than that, it goes in easily and comes out in a snap.

Hold: Considering this is especially for guys with fine and thinning hair, you shouldn’t expect it to be super strong. That said, it’s definitely more than a medium, and you still get plenty of flexibility with it. If you are working with truly fine hair, then expect a strong hold, but not a weighted one.

Texture: It’s a light, non-gritty clay-like texture.

Application: The formula makes it really easy to apply a dime-sized amount to damp or dry hair. You won’t get any clumps, even if you don’t work it too hard in your hands beforehand. Nice, right?

Duration: It’s really difficult to say, when used by guys with fine and thinning hair, you’ll get a full 18 hours out of it. For the guys with denser or thicker hair, you shouldn’t expect more than 12-14, which is still more than enough for most guys.

Washing ease: Easy peasy, you shouldn’t expect it to take any effort at all.

Scent: The smell is a little difficult to put your finger on, the manufacturers say it smells like a “freshly bathed TIGER.” What we can say is that it mostly smells clean and manly – and darn good at that.

Key ingredients: The primary clay in here is bentonite. There’s also mineral oil, beeswax, and lanolin. Sadly, you will find a little alcohol in here, but it is paraben-free.

Size: There’s a 2-ounce container available. It’s also not available as a Subscribe & Save option, so you’ll need to remember to reorder it.

Price: It’s $19 on Amazon, but, since it's not Prime eligible, you’ll also need to factor in shipping. Without the shipping, it works out to $9.50 per ounce which puts this on the higher side of the clay spectrum, but it’s not the most wild either.

Best Overall Hair Clay for Men

97
Score 97

Why People Love it

  • The kind of serious hold you can rely on
  • Hold lasts as long as you want it to
  • You don’t need to use a lot to get the effect you’re after

It’s a strong, long hold with a perfect matte finish. There’s almost no smell and it washes out easily.

It’s rather on the expensive side. Otherwise, there’s hardly anything here to take away from this product.

Details

There is almost no reason not to give this product full marks; it’s a rather amazing hair clay. Yes, it does have some beeswax in the mix, but there are also plenty of ingredients that you would find in any real hair clay.

So, it’s authentic, which is always a good start…but it gets even better. The hold is strong to super strong. We kind of love that, because you actually want a clay with some hold otherwise it just thickens your hair. After all, clays – this one included – have a matte finish. It more or less should look like you have nothing in your hair, and this one is exemplary.

The smell, if you notice it at all, is pleasant and earthy (like wax and clay should be). But, most people don’t even notice it. That’s probably a great thing for most guys as you want something that’s not going to interfere with your other products.

It washes out easily, though you will need shampoo to get this clay out of your hair (it does an amazing job of really clinging to the hair to make it appear thicker). And, for the most part, it also goes on smoothly, though you will need to work with it in your hands first.

If they could bring the price down on this, it would be 100% perfect. But, considering it has everything else in exactly the right place, we had to give it the top spot on our list.

Hold: Expect a strong hold. They’re not messing about here. It could be a little too much for fine hair, but most other men are going to fall head over heels for this clay.

Texture: It’s a thick whitish-grayish putty. And, we do mean thick, but it is pliable.

Application: You will definitely need to work this clay in your hands before you place it in your hair. If you try to shortcut here, you will be disappointed in the results. Once you’ve worked it in your hands, however, it’s super easy to apply.

Duration: All day. No really, you shouldn’t worry that your hair is going to flop when you make a last minute decision to go out dancing (after the drinks or dinner you also didn’t think you’d say yes to).

Washing ease: It’s on the easy side, but you can’t expect to get it out of your hair without shampoo. It’s a little too strong for just water.

Scent: Most users won’t even notice the smell. There, kind of, isn’t one. But, it smells like a mix of wax and clay; you know, sort of like you’d imagine this product to smell like.

Key ingredients: It’s a mix of beeswax, as well as bentonite and kaolin clays. You will find nourishing castor oil inside, but you won’t find any parabens. Basically, it’s an amazing formulation (though not an all-natural one).

Size: This styling product is available in a 2-ounce container; you won’t find it in bigger or smaller sizes. That said, Amazon does have multi-packs available (though not all of them are included with Prime).

Price: Yikes, you’ll pay $26 for just 2 ounces of product, making this quite an expensive styling option. Now, most guys don’t need a lot of it, so the $13 per ounce isn’t so bad, but…

It’s the new guy on the block, but hair clay is soon going to be the hair product of choice for many men. It offers hold, volume, and a matte finish. When you’ve been jealous of the natural good style of celebs that clearly don’t have any product in their hair, you’ve actually been coveting their little tub of hair clay. It creates perfectly messy styles with ease… and did we mention the volume?

Is it really clay?

Yes, it really is clay. Well, most products are made with actual clay - usually bentonite, kaolin, or a combination of the two. But, there are a few that make the most of ground wax ingredients. These behave like clay, but don’t offer the benefits of working with an ingredient like bentonite which is derived from volcanic ash. Bentonite swells with water, making your hair appear fuller when it binds to the hair shaft. And, it does this without drying your hair or scalp.

What kind of hold do hair clays offer?

As with many men’s styling products, hair clays offer a range of holds. There are those that provide a high hold similar to strong pomades and approaching gels.

But, it’s more common to find hair clays that have a medium hold - it’s enough to get your hair into place, but guys in windy cities won’t find it holds up throughout the day.

And, there are also a few clays that are so light that you may need to use a hairspray to keep your do in place. These clays are more often used as a pre-styler that thickens your hair while adding a fair amount of texture. Good, right?

What kind of shine do hair clays offer?

You’re not going to find any discussion regarding the finish of styling clays - they’re totally matte. No, really. If you want to make it look like there is nothing in your hair whatsoever, this is the product to turn to. That said, you can add a little water into the mix when applying it to your hair for a slight shine, but if you end up with a serious sheen, there’s something wrong with the product.

What types of styles benefit from hair clays?

If you want a slick, sleek look, you’re in the wrong place. You would never use a hair clay for a formal style. For a start, it doesn’t have the shine you would want. More importantly, it adds volume to your hair as the clay attaches to the hair shaft and expands. You will get volume whether you want it or not. Even guys with thinning hair will agree that makes it difficult to work into a suitable style for a traditional black tie event. (May we suggest a wax for these types of styles?)

But, hair clay is a champion when it comes to everyday, messy styles. If you want to make it look like you’re naturally blessed with amazing hair, you need this product. We’re serious about the volume it adds - and it usually does it without weighing down your hair, which makes it an appropriate choice for guys with long or thick hair.

In general, you would reach for your clay when you want a messy bed head style or a brush-up style. It doesn’t do bad with low pompadours (though you may not find the level of hold or shine you want - at least not one that lasts throughout the day). Waxes are better for serious pompadours if that’s what you want.

Guys with slightly longer hair will achieve amazing shaggy styles with a hair clay. They’re not bad at controlling the frizz, which makes it a great choice for men that fight that battle every day.

You’ve definitely seen hair clays at work on Daniel Radcliffe in recent days (and perhaps his informal style should define the clay ideal), but it’s also a George Clooney sort of a look and we’ve seen Colin Farrell make the most of hair clays as well. Basically - the go-to when you want to appear approachable and carefree.

What types of hair can make the most of hair clay?

There are a lot of men that really will benefit from working with a hair clay. Though it dries to a matte finish, it’s really not a drying product (which is more or less opposite of hair gel).

  • Straight hair. What can’t you use? No really. Of course, it’s more a matter of whether you have thin or thick hair and whether you wear it short or long. But, if you were desperate to make the most of hair clay, you probably can. The clay will add some texture and volume to your do without making it look as though you have any product in it.
  • Wavy hair. There are those that say you should pass the hair clay by - simply because waves and curls tend to look their healthiest when they have a sheen to them. The matte finish of clay isn’t going to give you that - but it generally looks fantastic on guys pursuing the bed head look with medium-length waves.
  • Short hair. Go to town with hair clay. Okay - don’t add too much; that never looks good, even with a matt finish product. But, short to medium hair styles can usually make the most of hair clay’s natural finish with the good lift it provides.
  • Thick hair. We’re going to place a little caveat here - if your hair is really, really thick, please stay away from clay as you’ll get clown-sized dos when the product binds to your hair. But, if you’re more likely to say, “Well, my hair isn’t thin,” then you’ve come to the right place. Double that if your hair often appears a little too greasy when applying a pomade or wax.
  • Thin hair. For the most part, hair clay will work for you - as it adds volume and it’s generally lightweight enough that it won’t weigh your hair down. But, if you find it starts making your hair appear flat and lifeless, you may want to move towards a gel.
  • Damaged hair. If you’ve already done a number on your hair, but you don’t want to shave it off or leave it flat, a clay is your best bet. Don’t expect an extreme style, but you won’t be doing any further damage either.

What types of hair may not find a hair clay works for them?

Take the below with a grain of salt; because it can be quite moisturizing, most men should experiment with clay before moving onto products that can actually damage hair.

  • Kinky hair. You don’t need any help adding volume as your tight curls do it for you. And, you’ve probably noticed that your hair appears a little on the dry side naturally - so you don’t want the matte finish you’ll get from a clay. If you really need the hold, opt for a pomade, but a styling cream is likely to be your best bet.
  • Curly hair. Again, you probably don’t need the texture and volume that hair clay offers and you do want some shine. Pomade is likely to be your best bet. If you really want to try a clay, you can…but you really need to be aware of the volume you’ll get. That said, it’s not bad at keeping frizzies under control.
  • Long hair. If you’re rocking a super long look - especially if your hair is stick straight, hair clay isn’t for you. Your hair will probably look too dry and you’re unlikely to need the typically strong hold that you’ll find with this product.

What sort of texture should you expect from a hair clay?

There are some hair clays that are almost as hard as wax - a little like the modeling clay you played with as a child. But, there is a lot of variation and thick pastes are perhaps a little more normal. And, yes, there are some that are creamier.

Generally speaking, clays are a little stickier than pomades, but it won’t stick to your hands or create little globs in your hair (as long as you apply it appropriately); you shouldn’t see any residue on your hair or scalp.

What’s the deal with hybrid hair clays?

Hair clays are still a new entrant in men’s styling products. As such, you’re probably not going to find that many hybrids on the market yet. But, when blended with pomades, you get a little more shine and a little more hold while still getting all the volume you want from a clay.

And, there are some hair clays that aren’t actually made with bentonite or kaolin which many would say disqualify them from being actual clays - forcing them into a pseudo-clay category. But, when it behaves like a clay - and provides that matte finish while increasing volume, we’re happy enough to keep them in the clay category.

How much hair clay do you need?

You don’t need much at all. Most men are going to get the look they want with a pea or dime-sized amount of product. A little does go a long way and you don’t want to end up with super poofy hair. (Okay, if you want super poofy hair, and we’re not judging, we would suggest an actual volumizer - they exist.)

As with any styling product, it’s much easier to add a little more if you need it to complete your look than it is to claw it out of your hair.

Does hair clay work best with dry, damp, or wet hair?

Damp hair is usually the best starting point. We’re talking towel-dried so there’s still a little moisture to help you spread the product through your hair. But, you can work with hair that’s nearly dry if you add a little water to the product in your hand when applying it.

We’d advise you to stay away from totally wet or totally dry hair because you’ll end up with zero hold or nasty clumps in your hair. Whether you work with clean hair or you add a little more product to yesterday’s clay style, you’re alright. But, don’t try to layer clay on top of another product you used yesterday; you’ll get no benefit from it - if you can work it into a style at all.

How is hair clay applied?

If you’ve worked with pomade before, you shouldn’t experience any difficulty working with clay. As with most product, it’s more about the quantity and patience you exercise than there being an actual trick to it. Plus, clay works the way you would expect it to, which makes it rather intuitive to use.

Take the tiny amount indicated and rub between your palms and fingers to heat it. If you prefer, you can add a smattering of water to your hands before mixing it together. This will take away some of the matte finish - though you shouldn’t expect the results to be shiny. Depending on the composition of the product, it may slightly reduce the hold, however - which helps achieve the messy, natural style you’re after with this product.

Work until it’s evenly distributed and there aren’t any chunky bits. (If you start with clumps, you will end with clumps.) Work product through your hair from roots to tips, trying to disperse it evenly. Then, all you need to do is push it into the style you prefer.

If you want a side part, grab your comb instead of using your fingers. But, you may need to use your palms to push flyaways into place. The same goes for pompadours.

Remember that finishing or styling with a hair dryer will increase the volume you get using a clay - and it will increase the hold slightly.

For guys that love the volume clay provides but want a stronger hold or a shine, use clay as a pre-style product, smoothing over a pomade or spraying with hairspray when you’re happy with the style.

Is it difficult to wash out hair clay?

Nope. Not at all. Indeed, we think you’ll appreciate how effortless it is to get hair clay off your hands and out of your hair.

And, one of the nice things about hair clay is that it doesn’t damage your hair. As long as you’ve chosen a product with bentonite or kaolin clay, the natural ingredients will actually provide your hair with some vitamins and minerals. And, because it doesn’t strip the natural oils, you can actually leave it in for a few days. If you’re anti-shampoo, you can get by with a conditioner only - though the number of days you can go between washes reduces the damage shampoos do.

What counts in a hair clay? When should you turn away?

We’re not going to lie about the price of most clays. And, typically, the better products are going to cost more. Luckily, you don’t need that much product, so you can expect a small tub to last for some time.

  • Hold. You’ll usually get a medium hold, though it does range from low to high, depending on the product you choose. Generally speaking, your hair won’t be able to withstand a day in a hat or strong winds.
  • Duration. Hair clay holds for anywhere between 16 and 24 hours, though typically on the shorter end. But, because it’s non-damaging, you can apply a little more if you find you need it.
  • Reshapeable. Yes. It’s a little like a pomade in that respect. You can certainly rework your hair throughout the day or after the gym. Remember, it’s best for messy styles.
  • Greasiness. The product itself isn’t greasy at all. But, the clay does draw out the natural oils (as well as impurities). If your hair is naturally on the oily side, we suggest looking for a product that doesn’t include bentonite, kaolin, or another clay. Try one that isn’t a true clay, though it behaves like one.
  • Flakes. None. Hair clays bind to the hair shaft rather than sitting on top of it, so you shouldn’t experience the snowfall you would get from a gel.
  • Smell. Most hair clays have a natural, earthy aroma. You wouldn’t really expect anything less from something called clay, would you?
  • Washability. It’s super easy to get clays out of your hair - and you shouldn’t need to wash it every day either. That’s a bonus for those early mornings, isn’t it?

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Editor: Fashion & Grooming, Home & Office, Food & Drink

Katie’s Cleveland proud; but she’s also lived in Australia, Switzerland and now stays in South Africa. That’s a roundabout way of saying she can’t sit still; she’s always moving, always busy.

She has a BA in International Relations from Kent State University and work towards a Masters in Human Rights. She speaks French, is learning German and used to dream in Spanish. For years, Katie worked as a producer on fashion and advertising shoots before she realized her passion was the written word.

Katie’s far more interested in guy’s gear than women’s, except she has a wardrobe brimming with little black dresses. She drinks her beer out of the bottle and is raising her two boys to be better men.

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