Best Hair Gel for Men

To help you determine the best hair gel for men, we have tried dozens of top products, preferring items with formulations that create strong holds and those that are water soluble, easily washing out with a shower. We also liked products that allow for easy combing and brushing of hair and those that contain natural and non-toxic ingredients.

The best item we tried was easily the Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold Pomade, which boasts a uniquely strong formulation that can easily be combed and shaped to suit a variety of different aesthetics. It is also completely water soluble, easily washing out with just water and without the need for shampoo or other cleaning agents, and contains no toxic chemicals of any kind. Keep reading to learn more about Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold Pomade and the other products on this list.

Top 7 Best Hair Gel for Men

 #1  Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold Pomade

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ultra-strong formulation that can easily shape hair and washes out with just water, without the use of additional cleaning agents, and is manufactured without the use of toxic ingredients.

Pros
  • Ultra-strong formulation
  • Water soluble
  • Safe ingredients
Cons
  • May be too strong for some users
  • Decent for thinning hair, but there are better products on list
  • Strong scent

This Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold Pomade is an extremely powerful product that is ideally suited for shaping even the most stubborn of hair follicles. The ingredients are safe and non-toxic and the solution is completely water soluble, meaning it can be washed out with just water and without the need for additional cleaning agents, such as shampoo. We also liked how easy it was to apply and to use.

This is an extremely strong formulation and may not be the best fit for some consumers who are looking for a mild gel. Additionally, it does leave a scent in its wake, though this was by no means a deal breaker, as we found that we actually liked the odor. This hair gel combined with a sexy shave from your electric shaver is going to have you looking very good indeed.

 #2  Johnny B Mode Styling Gel

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Strong formulation with a high viscosity that is ideally suited for those with medium or thick hair and is available in a wide variety of size options, all the way up to 96 ounces of product.

Pros
  • Best for medium/thick hair
  • Water soluble
  • High viscosity
Cons
  • Not ideal for those with thinning hair
  • Scent can be intense
  • Application is not as easy as some items on list

This Johnny B Mode Styling Gel is a fantastic product for those with medium or thick hair, thanks to a high viscosity rating that excels at shaping and creating a lush and thick end result. It is water soluble, like our top pick, and washes out without the need for additional cleaning agents, such as soap or shampoo. We also liked that it is available in a wide variety of size options, all the way up to 56 ounces of product.

Though this product excels with medium and thick hair, it may not be ideally suited for those with thinning hair. Also, it does leave behind a scent in its wake, which we found to be on the strong side. You can use all kinds of gadgets for men to groom, but if your hair doesn’t look good, the rest doesn’t really fall into place. This gel does the job.

 #3  American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-conscious formulation that is free of alcohol and filled with natural extracts, which help to create a thicker end result, making it the best hair gel for men’s thinning hair on this list.

Pros
  • Best hair gel for men’s thinning hair
  • Alcohol free
  • Firm holding power
Cons
  • Does not come with pump
  • Top picks create slightly firmer hold
  • Does not create a “wet look”

This American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel features a formulation that is completely free of alcohol, which is nice, and boasts the addition of a suite of natural extracts, which help to create a thick and lush end result, even with thin hair. The holding power is firm and nearly in line with our top picks and the product comes in a large 33.8 ounce container, while still remaining budget-friendly.

Though we loved that the item comes in such a large container, it does not arrive with a pump, so it may need an additional purchase for easy application. Also, this product does not excel with creating the kind of “wet look” some consumers are looking for, creating something far more natural. I would recommend using the best lighted makeup mirror so that you can see exactly how good your hair looks.

 #4  Sexyhair Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel

Award: Longest Lasting

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely strong formulation that lasts all day, allowing ultra-firm holds that do not fade over time, with an easy application process and a formula that does not flake.

Pros
  • Best strong hold hair gel
  • Non-flake formula
  • Easy application process
Cons
  • Does not wash out as easily as top picks
  • Not ideally suited for thinning hair
  • Excels with natural look, but not for spikes etc.

This Sexyhair Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel features an ultra-strong non-flake formulation that lasts all day, helping to maintain firm holds while at work or during social events. The application process is extremely easy, with the product arriving in a squeeze tube, and it can be applied to both wet and dry hair, which we found to be useful during busy mornings. We also liked that the gel does not have much of an odor, with only a mild aroma present after use.

Though this product excels with creating a natural look, it doesn’t do quite as well for spikes and other unique aesthetic options. Additionally, this does a great job with medium to thick hair, but does not excel with thinning hair. This gel will help your hair to look as good as your teeth do after you use the best toothbrush.

 #5  Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel

Award: Easiest to Apply

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely easy to apply hair gel that arrives in a pack of three containers, totaling 18 ounces of product, and absolutely excels with vertical hair styles, such as spikes and the like.

Pros
  • Best hair gel for spikes
  • Multipack with 3 containers
  • Extremely firm hold
Cons
  • Needs shampoo to wash out
  • Not for thinning hair
  • Semi-strong odor

This Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel boasts a uniquely strong formulation that excels with vertical hair styles, such as spikes and mohawks, creating an extremely firm hold in a matter of moments. It is also extremely easy to apply, thanks to a squeeze bottle design, and can be used on wet or dry hair. We also liked that it came in a multipack of three containers, totaling 18 ounces of product, which can help it to remain fresh.

Though this gel is easy to apply, it does require cleaning agents in order to wash out, such as shampoo, whereas our top picks just need water. Also, this item excels with medium to thick hair but does not do as well with thin hair, though it is still serviceable.

 #6  Smooth Viking Hair Care Pomade

Award: Best for Shine

WHY WE LIKE IT: Unique formulation that creates an extremely shiny end result, when applied to damp hair, that is water soluble, so it can be washed out without the need of additional cleaning agents, such as shampoo.

Pros
  • Water soluble & matte finish
  • Cruelty free
  • Natural ingredient list
Cons
  • Semi-strong odor
  • Small 2 ounce container
  • Does not excel with thin hair

This Smooth Viking Hair Care Pomade boasts a unique formulation that excels with creating a shiny end result when applied to damp hair, in addition to doing a decent job with creating a natural look when applied to dry hair. The product is water soluble and can be washed out without the need for shampoo and the ingredients on offer are natural and completely free of toxins. We also liked that the product is certified to be cruelty free, having not been tested on animals.

The container that the product arrives in is on the smaller side, at just two ounces, but we found that a little does go a long way with this item. Additionally, it does leave an odor in its wake, though that scent can be mitigated by simply using less product.

 #7  Old Spice Sculpting Pomade for Men

We're sorry, this product is temporarily out of stock

Award: Best Moderate Hold

WHY WE LIKE IT: Formulation that creates a moderate hold that is suitable for nearly all hair styles and thicknesses and is particularly effective at creating a natural look that is free of too much shine.

Pros
  • Easy to apply & matte finish
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Effective at creating natural look
Cons
  • Semi-strong odor
  • Contains alcohol
  • Not effective with very curly hair

This Old Spice Sculpting Pomade for Men boasts a unique formulation that excels with creating a moderate hold that is suitable for nearly all hair styles and is effective with an array of hair thickness options, including thinning hair. The product is easy to apply, which is in line with our top pick, and is free of toxic ingredients, with an ingredient list filled with a variety of essential oils and the like.

Though the ingredient list is free of toxic ingredients, it does contain alcohol, which may not suit the needs of all consumers. Additionally, the odor left in its wake on the stronger side, though it can be lessened by simply using a smaller amount of product.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we first tested products for hold capabilities, preferring items that easily produced a firm and long-lasting hold that can easily adapt to a wide variety of hair styles. We made sure to populate the list with an array of products that are suited to different hair thickness options, from thinning hair to the thickest possible amount of follicles.

We were also interested with the application process, favoring products that were easy to apply, usually by just squeezing or rubbing a small amount onto the hand and spreading throughout the hair. For wash out, we liked items that were water soluble and could be removed without the use of additional cleaning agents, such as shampoo, though if a product needed shampoo in order to be removed we made sure the process was as efficient as possible.

We populated the list with a nice mix of standard hair gels and pomade products, to suit a variety of tastes, being sure to choose items that allowed consumers to create natural looks, wet looks, with plenty of shine, and even unique styles, such as spikes and mohawks. Finally, we preferred products that were budget-conscious and those that did not leave too much of a pronounced odor in their wake, though pomades usually come with some type of scent.

Hair Gel Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Gels and Pomades
    There are some key differences between hair gels and pomades. Pomades are typically water or oil-based and are usually more effective with men who prefer pompadour or fade hairstyles, thanks to the strength on offer. Pomades also typically create more of a shine, or sheen, and less of a natural look. Gels, on the other hand, excel at creating a natural, yet still firm, hold that can pass as untreated hair. Gels can be tough to restyle later on in the day, becoming tangled in combs, so are often recommended for shorter periods of use.
  2. Hair Thickness and Style
    These gels and pomades excel with a wide variety of hair thicknesses, but some work better with medium to thick hair while others work best with thinning hair. We have items that suit each of the aforementioned options, but if you have thinning hair we recommend reading the fine print before purchasing. Additionally, not all of these products excel with creating unique hair styles, such as spikes and mohawks, though some, such as our number five pick, do a great job with this task.
  3. Application Process and Removal
    You are going to want to pick a product that is both easy to apply and easy to remove once the day is done. To the former, look for something that comes in a squeeze bottle or a small pomade container, the latter of which can be easily applied by hand. When it comes time to remove, water soluble products can be washed away with just water and do not need shampoo or additional cleaning agents to get the job done. Even the products that necessitate shampoo use, however, still offer a relatively frustration free removal process.

Hair Gel FAQs

Can women use these hair gels and pomades?

Sure! Hair is hair. While the formulations on offer with the above products may not suit some typically feminine hair styles, such as long and curly hair, they are absolutely suitable for a woman to use in any way she fancies.

Does hair gel have side effects?

Sometimes, though results may vary depending on the ingredients that make up the particular gel or pomade. Products that are manufactured using suspect ingredients can, eventually, cause hair discoloration, split ends and various other forms of hair damage. Each of the products on our list are as safe as possible.

How long can I leave gel in without washing it out?

Experts suggest to leave hair gel or pomade in no longer than 48 hours before washing it out with shampoo or just with water. Keep an eye on it and wash it out when it starts to feel dry.

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Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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