Gone are the days of over-spiked hair pushed into faux-hawks. Today's styles are softer, more natural and require products designed for your specific hair type. Herewith, a no-nonsense guide to the tried and true styling products that are right for your particular kind of hair, along with some helpful tips to ensure your hair always looks its best.
Thicker hair can work with a range of products, but it benefits from creams and pastes which easily penetrate the mane. These work particularly well with textured styles—whether you're going for a neat or more natural, out-of-bed look.
Styling Tip: Ask your barber or stylist for a "textured" cut—code for losing the hair's heavy bulk.
Fine or thinning hair needs a boost. Look for products that add volume, texture and body without nasty build up that can make skimpy strands look even thinner. There should be enough hold to help control rogue flyaway hair.
Styling Tip: Get your hair cut regularly every three to four weeks—thin hair looks better when it's kept neat.
Smoothing Reflectives Defining pomade, $17 by Nioxin
You want to look for a product that can tame frizz and capture the hair's natural waves and body. These provide a soft, reworkable hold with a matte finish—curly hair shouldn't look too shiny or shellacked.
Styling Tip: Blot hair dry instead of vigorously rubbing it with a towel. Blotting absorbs the water and reactivates the curls naturally, preventing frizz.
For longer styles, you want natural-looking separation and shine. These non-sticky creams and sprays give just the right amount of shine and texture with a lightweight hold that doesn't weigh down hair.
Styling Tip: Once a week, wash your hair with beer instead of shampoo. Leave it on a few minutes and rinse. The hops coat hair giving it extra shine and volume.
If your hair is coarse and unruly or your scalp is dry or flaky, look for products that will soften hair, replenish moisture and add shine. These rich creams hydrate hair and offer a hold that isn't too crunchy.
Styling Tip: Stay clear of hot showers or shampooing too frequently. If you've got dandruff, get some sun as UV rays can be effective in resolving a flaky scalp.