There’s no question that a man’s hair is an important part of his overall look. There’s so much to consider – style, length, when to cut it, what products to use – that it can be overwhelming at times.
We’re here to help, however, with our hair care tips for men. We’ll cover everything from how to take care of hair daily, to how to improve hair quality, and what to do (and not do) when you’re letting your hair grow out.
In the end, we think you’ll have enough knowledge to make your daily hair care routine more effective than ever.
THE BEST HAIR CARE TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
1. DRYING YOUR HAIR THE RIGHT WAY
If you’re like a lot of men, you step out of the shower after washing and/or conditioning your hair and rub it vigorously with a towel to help dry it. Don’t do it.
The fact is, your hair is very susceptible to damage when it’s wet, and rubbing wet hair with a towel causes some of the hair to become caught in the threads of the towel and stretches hairs past their breaking point. In turn, this causes damage to the outer layers of hair, as well as split ends and frizziness.
Instead, pat dry your hair after you shake out excess water while gently stroking it in the direction it grows.
You also need to take caution when blow drying your hair. Honestly, the best way to dry your hair is to air-dry it, but blow drying may be your best option on those days when you’re running short on time. Some important things to remember when using a hair dryer are to use the lowest heat settings possible, and to always leave your hair slightly damp to make sure you aren’t over-drying it.
2. GO EASY ON THE HEAT
We just talked about using a lower heat setting if you have to blow dry your hair, cutting down on any heat is a general rule for the typical men’s hair care routine.
There’s nothing like a hot shower, especially when the temperatures outside dip below freezing, but hot water wreaks havoc on your hair because it strips much of the essential oils from your hair and scalp, which leads to dryness.
Again, the best way to dry your hair is to let it air dry. If you use a hairdryer, cut back on the heat, and leave your hair slightly damp so you won’t be tempted to over dry it.
3. WEAR HATS SPARINGLY
Sometimes you just want to rock a hat or a cap but don’t overdo it. Tight hats can cause hair damage and loss because they pull too hard on the hair’s roots. Wear loose-fitting hats if possible.
4. DON’T DO A COMB-OVER – EVER
OK, so your hair is thinning on top while you still have a fair amount of it on the sides. Please don’t make the awful decision to cover the bare spots on top of your head with a comb-over. It’s never a good look and may remind people of the creepy uncle that keeps showing up at their family reunions. And most women will run – make that sprint – from a man with a comb-over. Do yourself a favor and get a haircut that suits your thinning style instead.
Hopefully these tips will help you achieve the look you want in a hairstyle but, most importantly, help you to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Like anything else, strong, healthy hair is achieved through consistent effort and the right knowledge.
5. DON’T OVERDO IT WITH PRODUCTS
There’s nothing wrong with using hair gels, waxes, and even hairspray for getting the style and look that you want. But, using too much product can make your hair look unnatural and heavy, so use only the amount that you really need instead of applying excess amounts.
Here’s a quick primer on products that can help you make the right choices for your hair type:
Gel – Gives you the wet look that stays in place. It’s a high-shine, high-hold product.
Putties – Putties are high-hold, low shine and aren’t as stiff as gels.
Wax – There’s no question that wax holds your hair in place. It is tougher to get out of your hair because it’s oil-based.
Pomade – Pomade is great for achieving retro looks and also have a high shine. Pomades tend to have a lesser hold than other products.
Paste – Paste is a good option for you if you have medium to long hair. They usually have medium shine and hold.
Muds & Clays – Because muds and clays are dryer than other products for men’s hair, they tend to have lower shine. Muds and clays range from low to high hold and everything in between.
6. WASH, BUT DON’T REPEAT
One of the great myths about washing your hair is that you need to shampoo it, rinse it, and then repeat the process once more. Not only is a double-wash unnecessary, but it may also dry out your hair.
7. GROWING LONG HAIR: A GUIDE
Deciding to let your hair grow long is not much different than deciding to grow a full beard, i.e., you need time, patience, and an idea of what you want. Let’s break it down and take a closer look; you’ll also want to check out our video to gain a better understanding of what we’re talking about.
HAVE A PLAN
Take an honest look at the reasons and your goals for growing long hair. It’s a commitment, as well as something that needs to fit in with your lifestyle. You also need to make sure you have the extra time for your grooming routine, because longer hair requires a bit more time to maintain than shorter hair.
One of the best things you can do while growing long hair is to own it. By that, we mean stay committed to the process, even when your hair looks bad when it’s growing out. There are going to be mornings when you wake up and, no matter what you do, it looks bad. It’s much easier to “train” shorter hair, but with longer hair you need to endure those moments of annoyance when your hair is at different lengths.
It’s a lot like growing a beard. There will be moments in the process when you want to shave it off because of how it looks, but staying on track through the tough times truly pays off in the end. How long should you let it grow? Ideally, if you truly want long hair, you should give your hair about a year’s worth of growth before deciding your next move. Your hair will go through a lot of phases along the way, so be patient.
When you’re growing your hair out it’s like a new look every month and the ability to train it completely vanishes, as we discuss in this video.
Not that it’s always a hassle, because one of the beauties of growing your hair out is that there a lot of things you can try out – like ponytails – and play around with during the process.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Investing in good tools is important whether you’re working on a car, doing a DIY project around the house, or when you’re taking care of your hair during the growing process. A wide-tooth comb is a good tool to have for hair care, as is a hairbrush with natural bristles. If you’re going the ponytail route, buy cloth-coated bands to hold things in place because they’re gentler on hair.
HAVE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
That $3 bottle of shampoo from your local drugstore is fine for when you have short hair, although, we still recommend using higher quality stuff. But any damage caused by cheaper shampoo when you have short hair is lessened by the fact that you’re going to cut your hair in a few weeks, anyway.
On the other hand, using shampoo of lesser quality, one that’s less gentle on the hair, isn’t the best idea if you have long hair or are in the process of growing it out. Cheaper shampoos will cause split ends, frizziness, and dry out your hair because they’ll strip it of sebum – the natural oils from your scalp.
It’s also important to find a shampoo that’s right for your type of hair, whether it’s oily, dry, or somewhere in between. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask your barber or stylist.
Another helpful tool for many men is hair oil, which helps prevent dryness. Just work a little bit into your hair at the roots and distribute it evenly over your scalp. A word of caution about oil, however. Make sure that you read the label carefully to see that it consists of all-natural ingredients. Some companies use non-natural ingredients such as silicone that may damage your hair. But, overall, hair oil is an excellent tool to have in your grooming kit if you have dry or frizzy hair.
After you’ve found the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, it’s time to wash your hair. It’s a good idea to use a wide-toothed comb to get rid of any tangles before you step in the shower and also when you hop out of the shower. Wet your hair with warm – not hot – water and then work the shampoo into your hair gently for a couple of minutes, then rinse. Next, apply your conditioner, which you also leave in for a couple of minutes before (ideally) rinsing it out with cool water.
There’s plenty of debate about how often you should wash your hair. One school of thought says daily washing will eventually dry out your hair, but you’ll want to wash your hair more frequently when you’re growing it out. In any case, you may want to scale back a bit regarding how often you wash your hair, and always use gentler shampoos.
We already touched a bit on drying your hair and the same basic rules apply to long hair as they do to all lengths and types of hair: 1) rubbing your hair with a towel to dry it makes it susceptible to damage; 2) pat dry or air dry your hair instead; 3) be careful of overdoing it with a hairdryer, so keep the heat lower and your hair should be slightly damp when you finish.
AVOID TOO MUCH SUN
We all know how excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can damage skin, but it can damage your hair, as well. The good news is that there’s a variety of hair products designed to protect your hair from the sun, including shampoos and conditioners.
PROTECT YOUR HAIR FROM CHLORINE
The chlorine found in swimming pools can easily dry out your hair and cause it to become brittle. But you can protect your hair by wetting it first – with regular water, that is – and then apply a mild conditioner before you take a refreshing dip.
8. KNOW YOUR SCALP TYPE
It’s extremely important to know your scalp type before you buy hair products such as shampoo and conditioner.
Nothing too complicated here; if your hair often feels oily or greasy then you have an oily scalp. Chances are you’ve tried a variety of shampoos to cut down on the greasiness, but some things to keep in mind when you’re considering your purchase include avoiding shampoos that are labeled as moisturizing or hydrating while choosing those that are called “strengthening,” “balancing,” or “daily clarifying.” You should also make sure that you work your shampoo deeply into your scalp to help break up excess oils.
A dry scalp is the type that often feels dry and itchy, and plagued by dandruff. But there are varying degrees of a dry scalp and you should buy shampoos and conditioners accordingly. If you have minor dryness, a shampoo that promotes moisture and hydration will help.
If your scalp is extremely dry, then it’s a good idea to look for ingredients, such as tea tree oil, that have extensive moisturizing properties. Shampoos that you don’t want to purchase if you have a dry scalp are those called ‘strengthening’, ‘fortifying’, or ‘volumizing’ on their label.
Good for you if you have a normal scalp. That means your hair is generally easy to manage, has the right amount of oil, and that you don’t have to over-complicate things when shopping for products. Your primary mission is to find shampoo that has a balance between moisturizing and cleaning.
9. HAIR CARE TIPS FOR BLACK MEN
Many of our hair care tips apply to all men, regardless of race. But African-American men need to follow a slightly different routine to keep their hair healthy and looking its best. There is a breakdown here, as well as some tips to follow:
SHAMPOO LESS FREQUENTLY
Perhaps the biggest reason to shampoo less is because of a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) found in most off-the-shelf shampoos. SLS strips away your scalp’s natural oils – oils that help protect your hair. The result is hair that’s dry and brittle.
Many experts recommend shampooing only twice a week (with a shampoo that doesn’t contain SLS). Look for shampoos that contain natural oils and other ingredients that hydrate your scalp and hair.
While you may want to cut back on shampooing, you should moisturize your hair daily. Why? Because your hair tends to dry out during the day, whether it’s from indoor heating in the winter or from wearing hats in the spring and summer.
Whatever moisturizing product you choose, be sure to massage it evenly throughout the scalp and hair to get the best results.
A low-maintenance hairstyle often works best for a lot of reasons, including that it will save you time while still looking good. But, you never know when you might find a look that you really like.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCT
Avoid products that contain alcohol, mineral oil, or petrolatum – which work to hold your style in place but may dry out your hair. Look for products with natural ingredients.
USE THE RIGHT COMB
Always have the right tools on hand when taking care of your hand, not the least of which is using the right comb. So, invest in a good afro comb because it has specially designed teeth that can detangle clumps of curly hair much better than other combs or brushes.
10. GO EASY ON GREASY HAIR
It’s a natural reaction to want to scrub your greasy hair with the force of a MMA fighter to get all the oil it. Don’t do it. Over-scrubbing tends to stimulate the oil-producing sebaceous glands that are already active enough. Another tip for taking care of greasy hair – or for all types of hair, for that matter – is to avoid washing it with overly hot water.
BARBERSHOP & TRIMMING TIPS
11. TRIM YOUR HAIR REGULARLY
Unless your goal is to grow longer hair, it’s wise to keep your hair trimmed because it’s the best way to get rid of damaged hair such as split ends. You should trim your hair every six to eight weeks, even if it’s just a light trim. You’ll be amazed how healthy your hair looks after a modest cut. Whatever you do, however, don’t believe the old adage that your hair will come in stronger and fuller if you cut it. That’s an old wives’ tale that’s actually b.s., so don’t get a haircut because you think you’ll be able to grow thicker hair because of it.
12. GO EASY ON CHEMICAL TREATMENTS
Whether it’s coloring your hair or getting a perm, chemical treatments can leave your hair dry, damaged, and dull. So, first, don’t overdo it with those treatments, but also avoid home treatments and seek the services of a good stylist instead. A knowledgeable barber or stylist will know how to prepare your hair and what products are best for your hair type. Plus, the results you’ll get from a professional will almost always look better than the results you’ll get doing it yourself.
13. GET A HAIRCUT AT THE RIGHT TIME
By the “right time” we don’t mean a mythical exact day when you should get your hair trimmed, but rather what time of the day you schedule the appointment with your barber or stylist. Most salons and shops are quieter at the beginning and end of each day, which increases your chances of having the full attention of your barber.
14. GET TO KNOW YOUR BARBER
Professional barbers and stylists abound, but when you find one you like make him or her a valuable resource for everything hair. One way you know that you have a good barber is that they’ll take the time to talk about what you want while offering suggestions based on your goals and hair type. You want your barber to recommend products and styling tips that help you achieve the look you get from their craft. But you also want to come armed with information, whether it’s pictures from your phone or from magazines of what styles you like, etc.
15. DON’T FORGET ABOUT HAIRSPRAY
It wasn’t that long ago that hairspray was considered something that only women used, at least regularly. But hairspray is a vastly underrated and effective grooming tool for men, too, and it’s something you should consider using in much the same way as waxes, pomades, gels, clays, etc.
The good news is that many of today’s hairsprays include ingredients that are good for your hair, unlike the chemical-laden sprays of the past. Additionally, sprays aren’t as heavy as waxes and gels and many men prefer their lightweight feel. If you’re a man with thin hair, using hairspray is an excellent way to add volume, while men with thick hair who may face styling challenges appreciate the hold that hairspray provides.
16. USE A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO
The products that you apply to your hair over time may build up and cause your hair to look dull and lifeless. But a good clarifying shampoo will get rid of the build-up and make your hair look shinier. You can even use white vinegar as a hair rinse because it helps in balancing the pH level.
17. USE AN EGG CONDITIONER
Say what? Yes, an egg conditioner. Why? Because eggs are loaded with protein and essential minerals that your hair absolutely needs. So, give your hair an egg wash/conditioning treatment once a month. Let the egg wash penetrate deeply into your scalp because it will strengthen hair follicles from the inside out.
18. HERE’S ONE WAY TO REMOVE WAX
If you’re someone who regularly uses hair wax, chances are that you like the way it makes your hair look, but it can be a pain in the ass to wash out of your hair. That said, apply shampoo to dry hair and then rinse it off; doing so will break down the wax and make it easier to get out. Repeat the process if necessary.
19. KEEP A COMB WITH YOU
Even if you’re using products with the strongest hold known to mankind, it’s hard to keep your hair looking exactly the way you want out throughout the day. While it’s hard to always have your favorite hair products with you at all time, a comb is your next best friend. Wetting a comb and touching up your hairstyle not only keeps your hair looking neat, but also reactivates most styling products.
20. FOCUS LESS ON SHAMPOO AND MORE ON CONDITIONER
As mentioned, there’s plenty of debate about whether guys should shampoo every day. From reading the views of many experts, you get the feeling that less is more because excess shampooing may cause your hair to become dry and brittle. That’s especially true of shampoos that contain high levels of detergents and sulfates that strip your scalp and hair of natural oils.
If you have hair that’s naturally oily and may look greasy, you may be resistant to only occasional shampooing. In many cases, however, it’s not that big of a deal and the natural oil is good for your hair. But it’s up to each person to decide how often they need to shampoo. As a general rule, however, try not to shampoo your hair every day.
On the flip side, it’s OK to use a good conditioner every day because it minimizes split ends, tangles, breakage, and it doesn’t strip your hair of all of its natural oils; in fact, it replaces the oils that are washed away and keeps your hair moist. When you buy a conditioner, look for those that don’t contain waxes because they can make your hair look thin.
21. A HEALTHIER YOU MEANS HEALTHIER HAIR
Your hair is no different from your beard in that maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help it to reach its full potential. Taking care of yourself is obviously great for your health for a lot of reasons – including that you’ll lessen your risk of suffering from serious issues such as heart disease and obesity – and your hair will also appreciate your positive habits.
For example, there’s a strong correlation between excess stress and premature graying, although that’s not true in every case. Meanwhile, you’ve certainly heard the expression that “this job (or child or significant other) is causing my hair to fall out!” There’s some truth to that, too, because stress restricts proper circulation to your scalp’s blood cells.
A lack of protein has a definite impact on hair growth. After all, hair is made of protein and protein creates the building blocks for repairing and replacing bones, skin, muscles – and hair. People who don’t get enough protein in their diet will have slower new hair growth.
What you eat also affects the overall health of your beard. It’s always important to maintain a healthy diet, of course, but a diet that’s particularly good for your hair should include the following:
Your scalp can become dry – just like your skin – so it’s important to drink plenty of water daily. Make sure you’re staying hydrated if you exercise frequently or live in a warmer climate.
Biotin is essential for keeping the fatty membranes of your hair cells healthy which, in turn, grow and multiply. Biotin represents the “right kind” of fat in your diet and you’ll find it in foods such as salmon, avocados, and nuts.
VITAMIN C AND E
Vitamins E and C also aid hair growth. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that improves blood flow, which promotes a healthier scalp, while vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, a key building block for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Many medications and supplements may lead to hair loss, as well. The list of medications includes antidepressants, blood pressure meds, excessive doses of vitamin A, and anticoagulants.
22. HOW TO HELP YOUR HAIR GROW FASTER
Patience is a virtue but sometimes you just want to, well, speed things up; including when it comes to growing your hair. While your DNA is the most important factor in how fast your hair grows, you can help your hair grow faster. Here are some tips:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, a balanced diet, and less stress.
Take vitamins and minerals, especially biotin. You’ll find biotin in many supplements and it’s great for hair growth.
23. BABY YOUR SCALP FOR BETTER HAIR
It only makes sense that a healthy scalp ensures healthy-looking hair because your hair is an extension of your scalp. Also, your scalp has reparative properties that your hair doesn’t. Keep in mind the following tips when taking care of your scalp:
You should exfoliate your scalp once, or even twice, a week to remove dead skin cells and dirt that aren’t removed by your shampoo. You can find exfoliating scrubs at your favorite pharmacy or supermarket and many of those that are meant for your face are gentle enough for use on the scalp.
Give your scalp a self-massage once a week because it has many benefits: it promotes good blood flow to the scalp, it soothes nerves and relaxes muscles, and helps keep the scalp pliant. Using your fingertips, apply firm – but not too firm – pressure on your scalp and move them in a circular motion. Avoid any pulling of the hair. Do this massage for three or four minutes.
One of the biggest causes of a dry scalp is shampooing and rinsing your hair with water that’s too hot. The hot water strips essential oils from the scalp and skin and lead to excessive dryness. Wash your hair with lukewarm water instead because you’ll retain those essential oils. Also, excessive hair drying can also cause a dry scalp.
24. GET YOUR SLEEP
Your sleeping habits have an impact on your overall hair health and growth because your body is in repair mode when you’re asleep. Growth hormones kick into gear when you’re snoozing and speed up cell reproduction, including scalp cells. Sleeping also increases blood circulation around the hair follicles. It’s recommended that you get seven to eight hours of sleep a night to reap the benefits of repair and reproduction.
25. WORK WITH YOUR HAIR, NOT AGAINST IT
Maintaining your preferred hairstyle is much easier if you don’t try to force it. In other words, if you wear a side part, do it on the side of your head where your crown lies because that’s where you’ll find your natural part.
This Article First Published on beardbrand.com