Best Hair Creams for Men (and How to Use Them!)

When it comes to hair, you might feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of product choices on the market. A fantastic to start out is with hair cream — it easy easy to apply, looks natural but can take your look to the next level.

So what exactly IS hair cream anyway?

Hair cream is a styling product that is cleaner than a pomade or oil, but not as stiff or inflexible as gel, wax, or hairspray. It's got a very pliable consistency and tames frizz and fly-aways effortlessly. Hair cream comes in many different holding strengths and is great for creating a natural and effortless look without all of the mess.

Pros of Hair Cream:

  • Provides lightweight medium hold 
  • Gives a good range of soft, touchable, motion to hair
  • Is easy to wash out
  • Comes in many formulas and consistencies
  • Comes available in many alluring scents
  • Tames frizz and split ends
  • Won't dry or damage hair
  • Provides protection and moisture

Cons of Hair Cream:

  • Do not work well for extreme looks like spikes or mohawks 
  • Not water resistant in most cases
  • Doesn't work as well on long hair
  • Some creams wear off quickly

What types of hair or haircuts is hair cream for? 

Hair cream works well for most hair lengths. The main difference is how much you will need to use. Most creams are extremely concentrated so start off with a very small amount and build from there. If you're going for more extreme styles, you will probably need to get into gel or hairspray. However if you're just looking for a light, natural hold and frizz reduction, creams are perfect. 


How is hair cream different than other styling products?

Hair cream is great because it does the job of hair oils or pomades, without the greasy mess. Some hair creams can even provide nourishment for your scalp and hair follicles! Gel and hairspray may give a firm hold but often lack the natural feel that cream provides. Hair cream gives you much more motion and flexibility so that your hair is still soft to the touch.

Tips on How to Use Hair Creams

1. First time you use a new product, apply it to clean, dry hair

If you have dirty hair, your own hair oils start to interact with the product and it's hard to know what's the product vs your oils. To really test a product, it's best to start with a clean slate of clean hair.

2. Don't apply the hair cream directly from the package to your hair.

Don't squeeze or dab out product and plop it directly into your hair. Instead take the product in your hands and rub in your hands together to emulsify the product first. Then you can apply it to the hair. This helps distribute the cream more evenly and prevents you from ending up with a stiff, sticky patch of hair.

3. Make sure you distribute the cream throughout your hair, including your roots.

Important for men with longer hair — make sure the cream is distributed the entire length of your hair. The roots are easy to forget but important if you want to maintain the look all day.

4. Start with less and add hair cream gradually.

It's a lot easier to add product than try to remove it once it's in your hair. If you're new to hair cream, start with a dime-size amount and add more gradually as you see the effect it's having. If you end up with a sticky mess, it's often a result of too much product.

5. Takes 10-30 minutes for the final effect.

Hair creams work with your natural hair so before you make a judgement, wait 10-30 minutes for the full effect. I find creams often feel slightly tacky or have a wet look when first applied but after 30 minutes, that disappears so be a bit patient and don't throw it out because you don't like the effect when you first apply it.


The Best Hair Creams for Men

BEST FOR BEGINNERS 

American Crew Forming Cream

Easy to use and great for all hair types, this cream provides light hold and natural softness and shine. Crew Forming Cream is perfect for attaining that fresh and uninhibited look, leaving hair pliable and touchable throughout the day. Because it never gets stiff, it's a great one for beginners who want to try a hair cream but are apprehensive on using it correctly.

BEST FOR CLASSIC STYLES 

Brylcreem Hair Cream, Original

Helping men look their best since 1928. Brylcreem is a true icon of men's grooming and great for retro-styling at a good price. It provides nourishment and hold while eliminating split ends. And the packaging is old-school amazing.

BEST FOR YOUNG GUYS 

AXE Natural Look Hair Cream, Understated

This subtle and understated cream gives a light and flexible hold that simultaneously provides a nice fresh scent to your hair. Especially good for young guys who want to look styled but natural, it's soft to the touch and will keep your hair in shape for hours. 

BEST FOR SPORTS 

Krieger + Söhne Premium Forming Cream For Men


Inspired by the warrior in all men (Krieger means warrior in German) , this product is one of the strongest get-the-job-done creams out there. It'll stick with you even throughout a rigorous workout session. Sweat, blood and tears. But your hair will still look good.

Naturally derived and with a matte finish, this cream is perfect for adding a bit of weightless volume and thickening your hair. Plus it's good for you with keratin and soy protein that work to fortify your hair.

BEST FOR CURLY HAIR 

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shaping Cream
Flexible styling cream is a must for many looks. Woody's is perfect for getting the texture and shape that you want, while still having a good range of motion and soft to the touch hair. Inspired by coastal surfers, this cream is a great choice for anyone wanting a young and fresh look with no hassle.

BEST FOR WORK 

Jack Black Sleek Finish Texture Cream
Vikings didn't mess around and neither does their hair cream. The fiber adds additional body and  volume so it's a good fit for those with thinning hair as well as men with coarse hair that needs a stronger hold.

BEST FOR STRONGER HOLD

D:fi D:struct Pliable Molding Cream

It probably won't give you a mohawk, but as far as hair creams go, you'll find that it provides a firmer than expected hold. This molding cream really lets you express your style and individuality. It has a matte finish, unlike many gels that would give you a similar effect but with a shiny finish. Plus it washed out well.

Still not sure what's the right one for your hair? In general, I recommend American Crew Forming Cream and use it as my go-to for days when I want a little style without over thinking it. Plus it's at a price that's hard to beat for the quality.