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A good hair gel is a haircare necessity, and these are our faves

Our top picks for that perfect style

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel
Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel
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American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
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Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold
Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold
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Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel
Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel
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Old Spice Hair Gel
Old Spice Hair Gel
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Johnny B Mode Styling Gel
Johnny B Mode Styling Gel
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Kiehl's Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel
Kiehl's Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel
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Harry's Sculpting Gel
Harry's Sculpting Gel
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summer hairstyles for men best hair gel 2021
Mladen Mitrinovic / Shutterstock

Men's grooming and styling products have been significantly growing in the health and beauty market for the past decade, all to benefit you and your unique style; a wonderful thing. There are various types of products that you can use nowadays to help to style your hair. A classic that has been gaining in popularity lately just so happens to be hair gel. That’s right — you’d do very well to pick up some of the best styling gel as you refresh your hairstyle these days, and there are options for both wet and dry hair. No matter your budget, you're sure to find the best option for you in our handy list.

Here are some of the best hair gel options available today that you can add to your grooming rotation. Once you find the one that’s right for you, you'll be looking well-groomed heading to the office or on your monitor if you are still lucky enough to work from home. These are our picks for the best men's hair gel products out there.

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel image.
Baxter of California

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel

One of the best all-around styling gels, the thickening gel from Baxter of California is your best bet for those who love the slicked-back or side-part do's without the ever-dreadful flaking others brands seem to leave behind. The formula, which contains ginger and birch juice, helps to thicken and tame that wild frizz with a nice subtle scent. It can also be used with other styling products if you want to change up your look.

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel
Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel
American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
American Crew

American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

Invest in one of the best hair gels for men and reap the benefits when it comes to a sharply coiffed ‘do. American Crew's Firm Hold Styling Gel contains Vitamin B5, which gives your hair shine while also helping it to look thicker. Apply this product to towel-dried hair for a thicker, natural-but-strong look. It doesn't contain any alcohol, so it helps prevent flaking. It also doesn't dry out your hair or scalp thanks to its low pH.

American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel
Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold image.
Oribe

Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold

Oribe chose to use the word magic in the name of the gel for a reason, describing it as a "magical, gold-flecked potion." Splurge on yourself a little bit and get this styling gel serum for an undeniable product that not only delivers much-needed moisture to your luscious locks but it also provides heat protection and has a sophisticated hold without a stiff look. Top it off with a designer-smelling scent, and you have the total package.

Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold
Oribe Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold
Aveda hair styling gel
Aveda

Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel

This innovative Aveda liquid gel is designed to provide a more natural medium-level hold to damp hair. Even better, it’s fortifies hair with additional protein, too. Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel is mainly designed for fine to medium hair and creates definition, especially on curly hair. You can also use this gel in good conscience as it is made responsibly from all vegan ingredients as well as 100% wind and solar-powered manufacturing and is certified cruelty-free.

Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel
Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel
Old Spice Hair Gel
Old Spice

Old Spice Hair Gel

This is not your father's Old Spice. This gel is made for tyo be used to tame either damp or dry hair, Old Spice’s Swagger Hair Gel works best for those who want an edgier, spikier look with a matte finish and high hold. All it takes is just a small amount on your hands, run it through your hair for an instant spiked-up look that will make you look like a rock star even if you can't play a note.

Old Spice Hair Gel
Old Spice Hair Gel
Johnny B. Mode Styling Gel
Johnny B.

Johnny B Mode Styling Gel

With a solid hold and relatively high shine, this old-school styling gel works on wet or dry hair to provide control and all-day versatility. We like the idea of using it to tame your hair into a classic side part for dressy occasions and outfits. Johnny B's Mode Gel is water-soluble, it won't flake in your hair, and can be reactivated with water and it's easy to work with. It's best for medium to thick hair.

Johnny B Mode Styling Gel
Johnny B Mode Styling Gel
best hair gels for men kiehl s grooming solutions clean hold styling gel
Kiehl's

Kiehl's Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel

The problem with so many hair gels is that they exhibit too much shine, making your hair look weighted down and overly greasy. Not this formula from Kiehl's; in fact, almost the opposite of that. The perfect firm-holding gel with a natural-looking shine, whether you comb your hair up or slick it back, this one by Kiehl's is a favorite of ours. It contains pracaxi oil, which is high in behenic acid, which smooths and conditions your hair.

Kiehl's Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel
Kiehl's Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel
Harry's Sculpting Gel
Harry's

Harry's Sculpting Gel

A noble sculpting gel for all-day hold without the worry of late-day flaking, this hair Gel from Harry's is super versatile for a great price point. It's alcohol-free, so it won't dry out your hair and it's easy to rise out at the end of the day. Also, if you order direct from Harry's you can choose a subscription option where you get a discount on the purchase price and you get product shipped to you every three months so you don't run out.

Harry's Sculpting Gel
Harry's Sculpting Gel

Frequently Asked Questions

How much hair gel should I use?

We always recommend that you follow the instructions provided with the gel. But if they are unclear for whatever reason, a good rule of thumb is to use a penny-size to a quarter-size amount in your hand. You can always add a little more gel if you need it, but if you use too much, your hair could look greasy and you'll have to wash it out and start all over.

What's the best way to apply hair gel?

Always apply the product evenly, starting from the roots and working up, making sure the gel gets all through your hair. Don't use too much on your scalp, as that might cause irratation.

What should I use to style gelled hair?

You have the best tool at the end of your arm! You can use your fingers (or a comb) to get your hair just how you want and then leave it to set.

Can I sleep with gel in my hair?

That's generally not a good idea. You should always wash gel out of your hair so it can let your hair and scalp relax overnight. Leaving it in while you sleep could lead to damaged hair.

Hair products such as hair gels and hairspray work differently for every type of hair texture. Hair gels tend to work best if you’ve already got naturally thick, straight hair (picture David Beckham in a suit), but hair gel can also offer a boost to thinner or coarser hair. Some hair gels help to straighten curls or even naturally enhance a curly head of hair, too. 

If you want a higher, longer-lasting hold and more shine, you’re going to want to reach for a hair gel that works well with wet hair (think a slicked-back, retro look). For more texture or a natural finish, opt for a hair gel made for dry hair.

Depending on your hair type, a styling alternative to gels could be hair oils. Hair oils are a lighter styling substitute for heavy hair gels.

Lastly, be sure to pick up a hairbrush to help you get the perfect hairstyle to suit you.

Jeff Turbett
Former Digital Trends Contributor

Jeff Turbett is a health and wellness coach with over three years of experience transforming clients lives and physical health. He now resides outside of Miami, Fl, and before that, spent his life in Wisconsin - he knows the overwhelming benefits the outdoors can have on overall wellness.  Having been an athlete his whole life, he understands the importance of cross-training and the numerous benefits it can correlate to overall well-being. Jeff is also a contributor to other fitness publications.

 

For all editorial inquiries, email HERE.

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