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Hold vs. Shine: A Men’s Hair Products Matrix

This article comes from Birchbox.

Have you ever wondered what product is perfect for your own hair type and hairstyle? Sure you want hold, but do you want shine?

Hold vs. Shine: A Men’s Hair Products Matrix

When choosing a hair product, it’s important to consider both your hair type and the style that will suit you best for a given occasion. But how do you distinguish among dozens of products that claim to do it all? This handy graphic distills men’s hair stylers down to two essential variables: hold and shine.


This quintessential styler now comes in every variation under the sun, but a classic formula should give you a generous helping of hold and shine.


It may have peaked 20 years ago, but gel’s still the surefire way to nail a shiny slick back and keep stray hairs on lock. To avoid looking like a #tbt, opt for a formula fortified with natural conditioners—they’ll keep hair from getting crispy.


On the matte side of the spectrum with a firm-yet-pliable hold, wax is great for a modern polished look.


Clay functions just like you would expect: It’s easy (and fun) to mold, but once you’re done styling, it stays in place and dries to a matte finish.

Texture Spray

Surfers and seafarers alike will appreciate the soft, tousled volume from a sea salt spray. Look for one that also contains mineral-rich algae, which will condition strands and enhance texture over time.


Offering slightly more hold and styling power than a spray, the paste is a tried-and-true texturizer. A good one will lift and separate strands without locking them in place, so you can restyle at will.

Styling Cream

By coaxing hair into submission, cream can support complex styles with a lighter hold and softer finish than gel or pomade.

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