8  Best Hair Waxes for Men

8 Best Hair Waxes for Men

25
Hours
Researched
43
Products
Evaluated

After 25 hours of research evaluating 43 products, we picked Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade as our top choice.

Not all hair products are created equally. Pomades, gels, hair creams... each one offers a different level of hold, manageability, and shine.

If you’ve thought about better all-day hold, you may want to consider mens hair wax. The best hair wax for men will work with a number of different styles ranging from classic to tousled -- perfect for styles that require a little extra texturing.

Now:

Whether your hair inspiration comes from Cristiano Ronaldo or features a classic side part, the best hair wax for men will help you create the most popular styles, as recommended by Men's Hairstyles Web. As long as you never add too much, it will offer a long-lasting, rugged look.

Here's the deal:

The thing about hair waxes, is that there are a lot of brands on the market. Which is why we researched and created a list of the best hair wax for men. We looked at hair waxes that work for real guys (and tested as many as we could). 

But, wait!

Don't forget about your skin! When you're done, check out our lists for the best moisturizer for men, best anti-aging cream, best face wash for men, and best acne treatment products.

 

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

Best Hair Wax for Men

  • 8. Schwarzkopf Osis Flexwax Cream
  • 7. KMS California Hair Play Dry Wax
  • 6. Paul Mitchell Dry Wax Firm Hold
  • 5. Jack Black Wax Pomade
  • 4. Redken Maneuver Working Wax
  • 3. Gatsby Moving Rubber Spiky Edge Hair Wax
  • 2. TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
  • 1. Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade

Best Extreme Hold Hair Wax for Men

#8

Schwarzkopf Osis Flexwax Cream

Best Extreme Hold Hair Wax for Men: Schwarzkopf Osis Flexwax Cream
86 % Editor Score
80 % User Score
996 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Extreme, reliable hold
  • Absolutely never looks greasy
  • Smells good and easy to apply

  • Offers superior hold and never looks greasy
  • Non-sticky, almost fragrance-free formula
  • Adds texture
  • Pricey

Waxes tend to offer a pliable hold, but sometimes you want that PLUS a firm hold that makes others cry over their own styling products. If that's what you're after, this is the wax you want.

And it's never ever greasy looking. No really, people love that it's matte, without being crunchy, and firm, yet flexible.

At the same time, it adds a fair amount of volume and texture (thanks to the ingredients in the mix).

Now we should let you know that it's better at keeping flat hair up than wild hair down. But you can't have everything all the time, can you?

Though the price is on the high side, we think this is worth it across the board - especially if you've been let down by other waxes in the past.

Notable ingredients: There's no drying alcohol in this foruma, but you will find parabens. On the plus side, all that good hold comes from the beeswax (which is also an antioxident). There's also cera caranauba to thicken and soften your hair.

Hold and control: We love, love, love the firm hold you're going to get with this - and it's one that's never greasy or sticky. It also doesn't harden; you get a pliable hold here.

Shine level: You'll get something between a totally matte finish to a natural gloss, depending on the water in your hair when applied.

Texture and fragrance: It's a very creamy wax - so much so that you might be concerned about its holding power. Don't be. And as for the scent, it's clean and subtle.

Application: Some users prefer putting it in dry hair to add a lot of texture. Others like it better in damp hair, followed by a hair dryer to add some volume. Either way, a little goes a long way and you will have the ability to restyle it during the day, without sacrificng the hold and volume.

Flakes and washability: For as firm as the hold is, you won't get any residue or flakes with this wax. It also washes out immediately, which always makes your life easier.

Sizes and pricing: You don't have a lot of options here; there's just a 1.7 oz container that sells for $14. That's not the cheapest and it also doesn't come with Prime, but at least the shipping is free.

Best Hair Wax for Men with Straight to Wavy Hair

#7

KMS California Hair Play Dry Wax

Best Hair Wax for Men with Straight to Wavy Hair: KMS California Hair Play Dry Wax
Features
9.5
Application
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
373 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Seriously great at adding volume and texture
  • Strong hold lasts all day
  • Natural looking and easy to apply

  • Great at getting straight to wavy hair to behave with a messy look
  • Adds volume and texture
  • Works across all lengths and cuts
  • Pricey
Expert Ratings

Features

9.5 / 10

It's easy to become confused by this product. Is it a hair spray? Is it a wax? The truth is that it's both.

And, while the packaging on this unisex product is hardly the best, we're prepared to move past that.

This wax is easy to apply and holds remarkably well.

Because it adds texture and volume, it's often recommended for men with fine and thin hair. But, we've found it works wonders for guys with straight to wavy hair that want that messy, bed head look, but can't seem to make their flat hair achieve it.

Seriously, you'll get the lift and it won't fall flat during the day.

On top of that, it's lightweight and non-sticky, so you'll enjoy working with it - and the way it looks in your hair.

Plus, it's matte finish all the way.

Notable ingredients: There's actually not much in the way of wax in this formula, but you'll find plenty of natural oils and peppermint leaf extract. We do like that.

Hold and control: The hold depends a little on the length of your hair; don't expect more than a medium hold if it's very long. But, it's great on the shorter side. Either way, it lasts all day.

Shine level: You shouldn't ask for anything more than a matte finish with this spray wax, because you're not going to get it.

Texture and fragrance: This is a spray wax and it's definitely easy to apply, but it does come out of the can a little tacky. As for the smell, it's indescribable - all you'll really get is a light, pleasant fragrance.

Flakes and washability: Expect zero flakes. Moreover, this spray wax is wildly easy to wash out of your hair. Like, really easy.

 

Application

9.5 / 10

As far as application goes, it would be difficult to ask for anything easier. All you need to do is shake the can and then spray (very sparingly) onto dray or dampish hair; towel-dried hair is just fine. Then, run your fingers through your hair to distribute and shape it into place. If you add a hair dryer to the mix, you can get as much volume as you want.

Value

9.0 / 10

Your option is a 4.6 oz spray can or, well, nothing. It's not cheap at $33 for that can, but it does come with Prime shipping and a can will last you for a very long time.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Hair Wax for Men with Curly Hair

#6

Paul Mitchell Dry Wax Firm Hold

Best Hair Wax for Men with Curly Hair: Paul Mitchell Dry Wax Firm Hold
Features
9.0
Application
9.0
Value
9.0
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
85 % User Score
3,444 Bought

Why People Love it

  • You don't need a lot to achieve an incredible hold
  • Create styles effortlessly
  • Holds up well in hot weather

  • Good for all hair types, especially curly, frizzy hair
  • Subtle scent
  • Vegan
  • Pricey
  • Easy to overapply (and that's not a good look)
Expert Ratings

Features

9.0 / 10

This is an interesting vegan product from the well-known Paul Mitchell brand - and certainly worth a closer look.

It's easy to apply, but more importantly, it's got a matte finish which ensures that you're never overpowered by shine. This dry wax creates a perfectly textured look and it deserves a place on every man's grooming shelf. (If you can pick it up for under $16.00, then make sure you do it.)

Here's what you need to know about this hair wax - you're going to love the hold. It's strong, but not too strong. It provides incredible texture for guys that need a little extra lift and you can expect to move it around as you need to do so.

The formula isn't greasy, and it's not that difficult to wash out, though you may need to do a little more than nothing. It's got a neutral scent so you can use it with all your other grooming products without any competing smells.

This product works and it works so well that you will have a difficult time buying anything else.

Also, you'd be surprised at the number of celebrity hair stylists that rely on this product. Artists like Sienree has used it on any number of clients and several photo shoots. She even used it to style celebs for the MTV Movie Awards. Now, who doesn't want a product that trustworthy?

Notable ingredients: This awesome hair wax is paraben-free and vegan. Its base is microcrystalline wax and you'll also find mineral oil, as well as algae, jojoba, aloe, henna and rosemary extracts.

Hold and control: The hold is excellent for curly hair; it's firm without being stiff. You've got to love that.

Shine level: It's got a matte finish to it, but it's a natural-looking matte.

Texture and fragrance: The non-greasy formula can feel a little sticky going in. But the neutral scent means you'll probably need to hide it from your girlfriend.

Flakes and washability: You may get a little bit of build-up on this, but it's not too bad - as long as you wash it frequently which you'll want to do, as this is one of the more difficult products to wash out.

 

Application

9.0 / 10

Hair looks incredible and naturally lifted with this wax. All you need is a small amount and while you can apply it to damp or dry hair, men with curly hair tend to have a better experience when their hair is slightly damp, even if it's just a matter of running your hands under the faucet and then their hair.

Plus, you can expect to restyle this as needed, but it's not best for guys that always have their hands in their hair.

Value

9.0 / 10

The MSRP on this 1.8 oz tub is $27, which means it's dangerously close to $15 per oz. We're not going to lie, that's a little on the expensive side.

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Hair Wax for Men with Thick Hair

#5

Jack Black Wax Pomade

Best Hair Wax for Men with Thick Hair: Jack Black Wax Pomade
Features
9.0
Application
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
87 % User Score
710 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Nice hold plus refreshing smell
  • Offers a shine that's not overpowering
  • Textures well - even on beards

  • Good for thick hair as well as curly, frizzy hair
  • Adds a touch of natural-looking shine
  • Natural product with a great reputation
  • Slightly difficult to wash out
  • On the pricier side
Expert Ratings

Features

9.0 / 10

Everything from Jack Black seems to be a winning product, doesn't it? And, this wax is no different. The hold is neither too strong nor too weak; it depends on the length of the cut.

On the plus side, the scent is refreshing and masculine. However, there are some drawbacks, especially when it comes to washing out your do at the end of the day.

Looking at these few qualities alone would rate this hair wax as a solid "average" with the reputation of an incredible brand behind it. But, there are even more positive factors to consider.

For a start, you'll get a certain amount of restyling power. Better still is the awesome texture you can expect, even on short styles.

Add to that the brilliance of a natural shine, not something you'll get with every wax. Just be aware that applying it to damp hair can result in a wet look rather than a natural shine. But it's great at conditioning and controlling frizz.

Notable ingredients: Like all Jack Black products, this wax is packed with all-natural ingredients and doesn’t include parabens, artificial fragrances, or colorants. It's also cruelty-free and includes ingredients like tea tree leaf oil to reduce dryness, sage leaf oil, organic basil leaf, kelp, and green tea leaf extract.

Hold and control: This wax offers better-than-average, pliable, all-day hold, but it's hardly as strong as you'd need for longer styles.

Shine level: It's shinier than most waxes, but it still manages to look natural.

Texture and fragrance: It has a light citrusy, herbal fragrance to it. Your girlfriend might just buy this hair wax for you based on the way it smells. As expected, it has a somewhat thick and gummy texture, though it is surprisingly lightweight.

Flakes and washability: Sadly, some men don't find this to be the easiest to wash out, though others find it effortless. If shampooing is a real issue for you, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

Application

9.5 / 10

It's best to apply this to dry or only slightly damp hair for the best results. And, you can expect this wax to give you a lot of flexibility; it's truly one of the strong points of this product. Plus it adds texture without too much volume.

Value

9.5 / 10

Okay, the 2.75-oz tub is a little pricey as it works out to a little more than $7.30 per ounce, but it is worth every penny. Plus it does come with Prime shipping.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Hair Wax for Men with Fine Hair

#4

Redken Maneuver Working Wax

Best Hair Wax for Men with Fine Hair: Redken Maneuver Working Wax
Features
9.5
Application
9.0
Value
9.5
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
90 % User Score
1,480 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Great hold without that "wet look"
  • Has a scent that people freak for
  • Doesn't leave any residue

  • Medium hold; ideal for men with short or fine hair
  • Really easy to apply and wash out
  • Gorgeous finish
  • None, seriously.
Expert Ratings

Features

9.5 / 10

There's a lot of pluses to this hair wax from Redken.

Let's get the price out of the way first; it's more than reasonable. If you're on a budget and want a solid product, this should be on your list of products to try.

You can also look at the hold and ability to restyle your look throughout the day. Both aspects of this wax make it a strong choice for just about every guy.

And, yes, it also works on a variety of cuts and textures; you can make it work on a lot of different hair types as well. Put all those aspects together and you'd be tempted to buy it for the entire household to use.

But, that's not all. This wax has a matte finish (which you might expect), but it's also super easy to wash out (which you probably didn't count on).

It also adds texture to straight hair. And, it has an extremely light feel in your hair that provides a completely natural appeal when you're out and about.

Notable ingredients: This water-based formula also has castor oil which is packed with vitamins and minerals to repair damaged hair. The stearyl alcohol moisturizes while the wheat protein strengthens hair. All in, it's good for your hair and scalp.

Hold and control: You're going to get a decent amount of hold from this wax, but not so much that you should shape a pompadour with it. But, the medium hold will last all day.

Shine level: This has a matte finish all the way. And it's very, very attractive.

Texture and fragrance: You probably won't notice a scent with this wax; if you do, it's still unlikely to offend you or anyone else. Also, the unique, moldable texture looks and feels deceptively like a cream.

Flakes and washability: This is perhaps the easiest hair wax to wash out of all the products on the list.

 

Application

9.0 / 10

Apply to wet or dry hair, as you like. Be sure to use a small amount as it can look a little greasy when you have too much of it in your hair. It is lightweight, so you'll need to work with that. Luckily, you'll be able to restyle your hair whenever you want.

 

 

Value

9.5 / 10

The 3.4 oz tub doesn't come with Prime, but it does have free shipping. The price per ounce works out to $4.70 which is still on the inexpensive end of the spectrum.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Hair Wax for Men with Short Hair

#3

Gatsby Moving Rubber Spiky Edge Hair Wax

Best Hair Wax for Men with Short Hair: Gatsby Moving Rubber Spiky Edge Hair Wax
Features
9.5
Application
9.0
Value
9.5
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
92 % User Score
1,244 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Strong, long-lasting hold
  • Natural-looking matte finish
  • You don't need a lot to achieve great heights

  • Great for spikey, piecey, and high looks
  • Works across all hair types, but especially well with shorter cuts
  • Affordable
  • Doesn't hold up well under humidity or sweat
  • Not the easiest to wash out
Expert Ratings

Features

9.5 / 10

Now, we know that you'll take one look at the packaging on this hair wax and turn away. But, try to look past it because this maximum strength product is designed to work with the slick styles Japanese trend-setting men are known for.

It's easy to shape and restyle and yet, offers a strong hold. The manufacturers believe this product is suitable for extremely short to short hair, but many think it's perfect for short-medium length hair too.

What's interesting is that it works a little more like a gel than a wax, but without the crunchiness you expect - and, for some, that's a real bonus.

It's especially great for creating mohawks, shorter pompadours, strong parts, and spiky styles. In addition to being affordable, it leaves a lovely matte finish.

It doesn't smell pink (and, in any case, the scent dissipates quickly).

The only thing to watch out for is humidity; it's not the best for that.

Notable ingredients: The candelilla and microcrystalline waxes offer the terrific hold which lasts and lasts. The former is especially good for moisturising your scalp and hair. In addition, there's also a smoothing polymer to keep hair standing straight and soft at the same time.

Hold and control: This is super-duper extra strong - perhaps a bit too strong for some. Indeed, it could be comparable to a gel in many respects.

Shine level: It's a totally natural, matte finish - and it looks like there's nothing in your hair at all.

Texture and fragrance: You'll be surprised how much the smell is nothing like the pink packaging it comes in; it's more of a green apple scent and people love it. Also, it goes away as it dries. The texture is a little goopy but thick, like Greek yogurt.

Flakes and washability: While you won't find any flakes, this isn't the easiest wax to wash out. There are some guys that don't experience any issues, but we bet they're used to even more difficult products.

 

Application

9.0 / 10

You're not going to get a lot of reshapability with this product, so it's great for guys that want it to last for the whole day. But, it is lightweight and does tend to be easy to apply.

It's easier to apply if your hair is closer to dry than wet, as you'll take away the hold and add a little too much shine if it's on the plus side of damp.

If you do happen to go walking in the rain, you'll need to towel it dry to restyle it, but it will happen.

 

Value

9.5 / 10

There's only one tub size: 2.8-oz, but there are multi-packs available and they all come with Prime shipping.

For a single tub, it works out to roughly $3.50 per ounce, which is more than fair for hair wax, and you can make it even cheaper with a multi-pack, though one seems to last forever.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Wax for Long Hold

#2

TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax

Best Wax for Long Hold: TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax

This matte wax feels lightweight and looks natural and will add texture to thin hair without looking greasy. It will keep your hair in place all day, even in hot and humid conditions.

Features
9.5
Application
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
95 % User Score
5,182 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Amazingly natural matte finish
  • A little goes a long way
  • Strong, lasting hold that even withstands strong weather

  • Totally natural looking in your hair
  • Adds volume
  • Good for just about every hair type
  • Not a single one!
Expert Ratings

Features

9.5 / 10

Just about everything from the Bed Head line of products is exquisite.

This particular product is both lightweight and natural looking (which is code for matte finish).

But, this one also lasts for the entire day, even when it's hot and humid. Now, that's incredible.

You can also expect this wax to add some texture and volume to your hair - at the very least, you'll achieve a slightly more piecey look than you normally have. Wait, you'll always have that look because you won't be able to go a day without adding this to your hair. You won't have to either; it's more affordable than you would think.

When it comes to hold, it's simultaneously strong and flexible - and it has an almost seductive scent to it. It's also exceptional at controlling frizz.

Notable ingredients: Inside, you'll find beeswax which is an antioxidant that keeps your place and adds thickness to hair follicles. Cera caranauba also adds thickness and softens your hair.

Hold and control: You'll get a strong, all-day hold, but it's a little more balanced as opposed to just being firm.

Shine level: The matte finish is perfectly natural, without any crunch or grease.

Texture and fragrance: The texture is that of a sticky, pasty clay, and it's surprisingly non-sticky. As for the scent, it's super subtle and pleasing - sort of like a clean, masculine soap with hints of fruit and lemongrass.

Application

9.5 / 10

Wondering whether you can achieve a textured, piecey look in this lifetime? Stop wondering.

It's also easy to rework hours after application with just a touch of water.

This wax is best applied to freshly washed and towel-dried hair - and you really only want to use a tiny amount. Be sure to work it in your hands properly before running them through your hair.

Keep in mind it's a little more difficult to apply to dry hair.

Value

9.5 / 10

There are a number of options available - many with both Prime and Subscribe & Save. The 2.65-oz container sells for roughly $9 which works out to $3.40/oz - a very reasonable price for such a quality product.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Best Overall

#1

Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade

Best Overall: Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade
Hold and Control
9.7
Ingredients
9.9
Shine Level
9.6
Texture and Fragrance
9.7
Application
9.9
Base and Washability
9.5
Sizes and pricing
9.4
Overall
97%
97 % Editor Score
97 % User Score
2,687 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Great hold with a natural feel
  • Smells fantastic
  • Organic ingredients including organic beeswax

  • All-day hold
  • Shaping power is perfect
  • Nourishing ingredients & no harmful chemicals

Hair is slightly stiff without comb through. But will soften with comb through.

Expert Ratings

Hold and Control

9.7 / 10

This offers excellent control for your hair and reliable hold even for longer hair or fancier, elevated hairstyles.

Ingredients

9.9 / 10

The pomade is paraben-free and contains natural and organic ingredients rich in hair-nourishing antioxidants.

it is packed with a bunch of organic ingredients, incluing organic beeswax, organic jojoba seed oil, organic argan oil, organic coconut oil, and organic green tea extract. All of which help nourish the hair and give it a healthier shine. It also includes natural ingredients including lemon peel extract, horsetail extract, and burdock root extract.

Shine Level

9.6 / 10

You get a natural light finish with just enough shine to call attention to your hairstyle. But with a comb through you can remove the shine. So it's very flexible.

Texture and Fragrance

9.7 / 10

The texture is smooth and creamy. It just feels good on your finger and easy to scoop. The smell is a manly scent with just enough freshness. It's a smooth blend of jasmine and cedar with base notes of sandalwood and patchouli.

Application

9.9 / 10

For more shine, It works best when your hair is just a tad damp. For less to no shine apply on dry hair and comb through. We loved that you can achieve either look, which covers most preferences.

Base and Washability

9.5 / 10

It washes out easy and is water-soluble.

Sizes and pricing

9.4 / 10

At 2.5 ounces, the cost is $19.

Overall Editor Score

9.7 / 10

This is probably the best pomade we've ever tested. It is ideally balanced. The hold is strong and flexible, giving enough power to do just about anything you want. Yet with a soft with, elegant look. It's really the best of both worlds. Having a great hold but with a natural look is one of the most difficult balancing acts a hair styling product can achieve.

You can have a bit of a shine with minimal comb through. Or you can have a more natural look with a comb through. The flexibility is nice.

The smell is amazing—a manly scent with just enough freshness. Plus it is packed with a bunch of organic ingredients

The cost is reasonable at $19. When comparing it to Hanz de Fuko Heavy Made, it's less expensive and the jar has 20% more product. It's more expensive than a lower cost brand like Suavecito, but you get so much more value both with the organic and natural ingredients as well as a nicer look.

The pomade is suitable for most hair types (thin to thick), and it works great to keep longer hair styled. If you want an elevated hairstyle (updo, tightly-controlled man bun, spiked tips, or even a Mohawk), the pomade gives you the hold you want.

Yet it doesn’t leave your hair looking greasy or shiny like a lot of gels or pomades. Instead, you get a natural look with just enough of a light shine to make people sit up and take notice.

Watch: Weekly Video Review with DESH

Faveable Ratings: 8 Best Hair Waxes for Men

8 Best Hair Waxes for MenFeaturesApplicationValueOverall
Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade Thumbnail
Best Overall
#1Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade
 
9.9
  99
TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax Thumbnail
Best Wax for Long Hold
#2TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Gatsby Moving Rubber Spiky Edge Hair Wax Thumbnail
Best Hair Wax for Men with Short Hair
#3Gatsby Moving Rubber Spiky Edge Hair Wax
9.5
9.0
9.5
93
Redken Maneuver Working Wax Thumbnail
Best Hair Wax for Men with Fine Hair
#4Redken Maneuver Working Wax
9.5
9.0
9.5
93
Jack Black Wax Pomade Thumbnail
Best Hair Wax for Men with Thick Hair
#5Jack Black Wax Pomade
9.0
9.5
9.5
93
Paul Mitchell Dry Wax Firm Hold Thumbnail
Best Hair Wax for Men with Curly Hair
#6Paul Mitchell Dry Wax Firm Hold
9.0
9.0
9.0
90
KMS California Hair Play Dry Wax Thumbnail
Best Hair Wax for Men with Straight to Wavy Hair
#7KMS California Hair Play Dry Wax
9.5
9.5
9.0
93
Schwarzkopf Osis Flexwax Cream Thumbnail
Best Extreme Hold Hair Wax for Men
#8Schwarzkopf Osis Flexwax Cream
   

Faveable Expert Tips

Hair wax is one of the most versatile styling products for men - but only for guys with certain hair types. Named for it’s appearance (not it’s actual content), you might also find hair wax under the names glue, paste, or, the totally awful, molding gum. Most guys, however, and their stylists will stick to wax as it is the simplest.

What kind of hold do hair waxes offer?

The short answer is that you’ll get a medium to strong hold with a hair wax. The stronger ones will hold more like gel, but will still remain pliable enough for reshaping during the day. The weaker hair waxes will not hold as well as pomades.

Realistically, waxes offer firm but flexible styling that can appear naturally styled in the end. Since they don’t dry hard, you can move your hair around all day. And, a tiny amount on your finger tips will help you renew the shape after the gym or before heading to the bar.

What kind of shine do hair waxes offer?

Hair waxes add a medium shine to your hair. It’s difficult to be more specific than that as there are those with a lot of shine and those that are on the matte side of the spectrum. To make it a little more complex, you should know that the moisture level of your hair during application also affects the shine. If you add the wax while your hair is still wet, expect a shinier finish. The converse is true if you’re styling totally dry hair (you know, after deciding to skip the hair washing part of the shower… please don’t pass on the shower itself).

If you want a hold that’s approaching gel or is similar to clay, but you need some natural shine, wax is probably the right choice for you.

What types of styles benefit from hair waxes?

If you have the right hair for it, you can use wax for a lot of different styles ranging from the college boy that just rolled out of bed to a super formal, black tie look. It will add some volume and it will keep your hair up as long as it’s not too long. (If you need a serious gravity-defying do with long hair, go directly to gel - without passing go.)

You should be able to pull off a messy bed head style like Ewan McGregor often sports. Wax is also fantastic for the spiky look that Brad Pitt occasionally has. If you have shorter hair, you can also use hair wax for a little extra volume (think Matt Damon). While these are all on the more natural side of the style spectrum, you should never rule out wax for duck tails and pompadours. Men with straight hair often find wax is the best product for a classic side part that retains a bit of sheen (if you prefer matte, you should consider working with a clay product).

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

Typically speaking, guys with straight or wavy hair do better with hair wax. It’s not that you can’t use it with curly hair, but you may find it clumping when you don’t want it. Still, no guy has textbook hair, so you’ll probably want to look at all of the hair types that describe yours before you make up your mind.

  • Straight hair. Hair wax is perfect for straight hair (though, you can probably make the most of any styling product out there - lucky devils). The risk you generally run is a do that looks flat, so the natural appearance of hair wax, which adds a touch of volume and shine, is perfect - depending, of course, on the final style you’re after.
  • Wavy hair. Again, you’ll probably be very happy with hair wax - as long as your hair is closer to straight than it is to tight curls. It’s one of the few products that should work for you when your hair is too short for waves (usually less than an inch and a half) and will do reasonably well as those curls start to grow in. You may, however find it’s a little too drying if your locks are on the wiry side.
  • Short hair. Don’t think twice about it, you need a wax on your bathroom counter at all times. You’ll find they add good volume, a healthy shine, and allow you a lot of play with your style.
  • Thick hair. Rejoice! A hair wax offers the hold that you need for a smooth or piecey style. If you have a longer style, you may find yourself in need of a pomade or a clay (depending on the finish you want), but you should start with a wax first. Remember, a touch of hairspray can add a little more hold, though you will lose some of the reworkability of your hair wax.

What types of hair may find a hair wax does not work for them?

Hair wax isn’t for everyone - especially guys with kinky or curly hair. Sorry guys, you may do better with a styling cream; this is why.

  • Kinky hair. Not only will wax be a little too drying, but it’s likely to create clumps and it’s not going to do anything about controlling the frizz. Your tight curls probably won’t hold with hair wax.
  • Curly hair. A pomade is probably a better choice for you as wax is likely to dry out your hair. Worse, you’ll find clumps of product that you’ll fight like crazy to hide.
  • Long hair. If your hair is really long, you can’t expect a wax to provide enough strength to create a mohawk. Instead, you’ll find a look that’s a little too floppy with hold in all the wrong places. That said, if your hair is on the long side of a short cut, you’ll probably do alright with a wax.
  • Thin hair. Not only do you not need this level of hold, but you may find it clumps a little in your hair. If you really like working with a wax, choose one with a lighter than average hold.

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

Hair wax looks like… well, melty candle wax. Be grateful that it’s not. Hair wax isn’t wax at all; it just looks that way and the feeling of it isn’t too far off either. It’s definitely thicker than gel, you’ll need to scrape it with your fingernail when you open a new container. There are some variations on texture, but we’re pretty sure that anyone reading this understands what candle wax looks and feels like.

What’s the deal with hybrid hair waxes?

You may notice there are some wax hybrids on the market - such as wax pomades. These tend to have the hold of waxes with the creamier texture of pomades. That makes them a better option for guys with curlier hair. They’re also not as drying, though you may find yourself with a little more shine than you typically achieve with a wax.

The spray wax from Toni & Guy is also an interesting concept as are the waxes specifically for adding volume or texture. In general, you can expect all of them to behave like a wax, whether or not they have the same feeling or application. And, that’s important to note with hybrids; pay attention to the instructions on the first use; you may find a few unique surprises.

How much hair wax do you need?

The most important thing you need to know about applying hair wax is that you should use as little as possible. We’re going to repeat that in case you believe your hair is too thick or that a little more will help you keep your coif longer - use as little hair wax as possible. It’s way too easy to use too much. And, when you do, you will notice that your hair is greasy and gross in a matter of hours.

It’s almost impossible to over-stress how little you need. A little dime-sized, finger tip worth of product is likely to be the max - even if you have thicker or longer hair. You can (and probably will) add another layer of wax if you have a more complex style, but you don’t want to make the mistake of too much at first (which will demand that you wash it out of your hair, condition it, dry it and start from scratch).

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

Let’s talk first about the moisture level of your hair before we even deal with hair wax preparation.

Hair wax doesn’t work well with wet hair; it just doesn’t adhere as nicely as you will want it to. That said, if your hair is on the wetter side of damp, you can probably get it to work. The end result will be a little shinier than you’d find when applying hair wax to dry or slightly damp hair.

Hair wax really does work best with lightly damp or dry hair. And, remember, the more moisture in your hair when you apply hair wax, the shinier it will be. If you only want a slight glean, work with dry hair only. (And, if even that’s too much, opt for a hair clay instead of a hair wax.)

How is hair wax applied?

Remembering that you only need a tiny amount of hair wax to style your hair, scrape a finger nail sized amount out of the tub and work it between your hands. You want to keep as much of the product on your fingers as you can, but don’t be afraid of it getting on your palms. It can’t hurt and you can always transfer it to your fingertips before working it into your hair.

It’s more important that you loosen the hard wax by heating it - so rub vigorously to soften the product. Work until it’s almost invisible and there isn’t a single lump or bump left. It’s much easier to deal with now than it will be when it’s in your hair.

Run your hands over the entire surface of your hair without working your fingers through your hair. This will apply a slight layer of wax.

Once your hair has this “base”, you can start working with pieces to work it into the style you want. Most hair wax styles tend to work best when you work it into sections of your hair, one at a time. Work from the roots to the ends, but do not let the hair wax touch your scalp. Hair wax and scalp are not a good combination; your hair will look greasy and it’s horrifyingly difficult to wash off skin.

Hair wax is best applied and styled without a comb or brush; just use your fingers. And yes, you can achieve a side part without a comb, though it may take a bit of practice to get it right. Work a section using one hand and then use the next hand for the next piece as this will help you to apply the product evenly. As you approach the ends of your hair, you may find it’s easier to close your hands (so your fingertips are pointing at your wrist) to distribute the product at the ends.

Once you’ve worked in the tiny amount of product that you started with, you can focus on your style. It’s better to see if you can get it right before turning back to the tub for more hair wax; you can always layer the product, so hold off until you absolutely know you need it. Finally, use whatever product is left on your fingers to smooth back fly aways.

Want a little extra help figuring out how to style your do with hair wax? This video should clear it all up.

Is it difficult to wash out a hair wax?

Sadly, yes. We don’t want to lead you astray - waxes aren’t water-based so you will need to spend time washing them out of your hair. A deep cleansing shampoo is likely to be your best bet - though there are some products that will be easier than others. Additionally, we would suggest adding a conditioner into your routine if you habitually use hair waxes; they can be a little drying and your locks will benefit from a little extra moisture with your cleansing routine.

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

Even the best hair waxes are a trade off - you’ll need to look for the right balance of shine, hold, and the residue that all waxes leave on your hair. You may want to start with a middle of the road product and work your way towards more hold or less shine in future purchases. Generally speaking though, you can expect hair waxes to range in the following ways:

  • Hold. Medium to strong holds that are something less than a gel or a pomade, though you will find strong holds that come pretty close to those.
  • Duration. Hair wax will typically last all day, but it’s not a hard hold like gel, so you may want to check yourself in the mirror every now and again. If you’re going out straight after work, it’s not a bad idea to rub a fraction of wax between your palms to buff the outer edges of your hair for a little more hold. You can totally do this with wax; it doesn’t mind being layered.
  • Reshapeable. Yes, you should get this out of every hair wax on the market. If you can’t reshape your hair with a wax, it’s probably not what you’re looking for.
  • Shine. Wax doesn’t appear very greasy, but it will give you some shine. It will range from low shine to medium shine; the extremes are generally found in hybrid waxes.
  • Flakes. You may experience a little of this as waxes leave some residue in your hair. Generally, flakes won’t be visible until the second day without washing your hair, however, so it’s usually bearable. If you find extreme flaking, your hair probably doesn’t like wax and you may need to move onto a pomade or clay to get the style you want.
  • Washability. You will find some hair waxes that wash out easier than others (especially water-based pomade hybrids), but mostly, you should plan to give your hair a good wash every day or two. And, you’ll need to spend some time doing that.

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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.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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