The internet has an abundance of styling articles and tutorials for women, but I have to show my dudes some love too. So I thought I’d help the men out there with an issue I’ve been asked by an acquaintance before: how to make hair stay in place (for guys).
Men love to look good, and having great hair stay put all day is a confidence boost.
Women are well-versed with styling products and accessories to keep their hair looking cute, fab, and tidy. But men can do it too – as long as they know what can and can’t help them.
Understanding your styling goals according to hair length
There are different strategies, tools, and techniques you can use to keep your hairstyle in place.
All of it depends on how long your hair is.
Guys with shorter hair will work on their hair differently than those with longer tresses and curls because of varying hair density and thickness.
Let’s start with short hair.
If you have a haircut such as a fringe cut, undercut, Ivy League, or pompadour, I’m talking to you.
Styling and setting shorter hair is a bit more tedious than longer hair because you can’t rely on accessories like hair ties.
The main challenge with shorter cuts is that it’s so easy for your hair to drop flat, especially if it’s weighed down either by overuse of products or the volume of hair on your head.
When you have a haircut that’s close to your head, the key to keeping your hairdo intact is making sure nothing on your hair is heavy.
We’ll get to the specifics of that in a bit.
Now, if you sport long, wavy layers or maybe curls that go up to your shoulders and beyond, the biggest challenge is taming frizz.
Hair with lots of frizz and no definition looks untidy and all over the place.
It gets all up in your face too.
For long hair, the trick is to use accessories and experiment with hairstyles that will let you keep the hair out of your face.
You can also use styling products that can tame frizz but won’t stiffen your hair, so your locks are held back and don’t get in the way.
We’ll talk about that in a sec.
How to make hair stay in place for guys
We’ll be looking at how you can rock a sleek and glamorous hairdo (and have it stay in place) depending on the length of your hair.
How to style short hair to make sure it stays in place
Short hair can be a bit tricky when it comes to keeping its shape and hold a few hours after styling.
The trick is to keep your styling process as lightweight as possible.
Don’t use any heavy products that might just sit on top of your head and weigh it down.
That’s the first thing that’s going to flatten your hairstyle and make it drop.
It’s just as important that your hair isn’t heavy, to begin with.
So it’s important that you sport a haircut that won’t make your hair so dense.
Get the right haircut
Hair that’s thick and long will probably end up being too heavy, making your hair susceptible to dropping faster.
Next time you’re at your barber’s, ask them to keep your length short at your crown, sides, and back of your head, keeping the length towards the front.
With this contrast technique, you get to keep elevation and volume without the thickness and weight of hair that’s the same length throughout.
If your hair is quite thick and you can’t seem to hold your hair in place even with awesome styling products, you can also ask your barber to thin it out a bit.
Prepping and pre-styling
Before you work your styling product into your hair, it’s crucial to prep and pre-style.
Hair that stays put always starts at pre-styling, which includes how you dry your hair.
Use a pre-styling product that can help add structure and a bit of volume to your hair before you lock it in with a styler.
To make sure your hair won’t drop, pick a lightweight styler.
I recommend using a hair mousse that can be activated by a blow dryer.
A mousse is light but gives a lot of volume, which is what you want at this early stage so that your hair has some body and styling comes easier.
If you have fine hair that doesn’t have much volume, you can use a thickening gel or spray to give it some fullness.
It can help give your hair more body and shape when we get to the next step.
Work your preferred pre-styler into your damp hair and start blow-drying, brushing or finger combing your hair upward or in the direction you want as you go.
If you can, blow-dry with heat.
The heat helps to lock in the direction you sweep or brush your hair.
Cold air, on the other hand, will make it drop to its natural state.
Styling your hair
Now we’re at the juicy part – styling the hair.
When your hair is dry from the blower, you can put in your styler of choice.
Now, because you don’t want to weigh your hair down, you have to avoid heavy products like thick wax or pomade.
Gel is a classic for strong hold and is amazing for spiking up the hair, but the gel cast will make your hair look unnatural.
And since your hair is short, you can’t scrunch out the gel cast like guys with long hair can.
So to make sure you keep the volume from your pre-styling, use a lighter styler.
Clays, light wax, and light styling creams are going to be your BFFs for this.
They allow you the flexibility of building your hairstyle the way you want.
And since they don’t offer an extremely strong hold, it won’t stiffen up your hair while you’re still working on it.
When you style your hair, make sure you layer the product instead of piling on a thick amount all at once.
If you do this, your hair will drop almost instantly.
Instead, take a pea-sized amount of your styler and work it into your hair and make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout.
If you feel you need a bit more, add another pea-sized amount.
Do this repeatedly until you’re happy with the amount of product and the overall look of your hairstyle.
And with each “layer” of product, build the style you want to set your hair in. It seems tedious, but be patient with this.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Finishing it off
Fixing or finishing isn’t exactly the most popular step in the average man’s styling process, but a light hairspray makes a world of difference when it comes to keeping your hair in place.
I recommend one with a flexible hold, just so your hair can still have natural movement.
Use your hairspray of choice to spritz product on your freshly styled hair, holding out the aerosol can about 10 inches away from your head.
Make sure it comes out as a mist instead of drenching your hair – this will weigh down your hair and make it look fake.
Alternatively, you can spray product on your hand and lightly spread it across the surface of your hair.
Don’t run your fingers through it – this destroys all your hard work in the styling stage.
Don’t touch your hair until your finisher is dry.
Meticulously styled hair with thoughtfully planned, lightweight products that will keep it in place all day.
If these steps don’t hold your hairstyle until dawn, I don’t know what will.
How to keep long hair tame and in place
Long hair is a bit easier to work with.
Because of its length, you have more control over what to do with the hair to make sure it sits in place and stays out of your face.
I have three essential tips when it comes to letting long hair stay put:
Tame your locks with oils and gels
The first step to keeping hair looking tidy and keeping it in place is fighting frizz.
It’s important to note that for longer hair worn down, the goal isn’t to stiffen up the hair but to make sure the hair stays tame and curls and waves are set.
Try to avoid waxes and pomades that are too thick and waxy, making the hair stiff.
Even if you want to keep your hair in place, you still want to keep the lusciousness of your length.
Hair gels do a great job taming frizz and keeping hair locked in place the way you want it to look.
It’s better to use from root to tip for long hair instead of thicker styling products.
They’re especially suitable for curly men because they define curls as well.
Just remember to scrunch out the gel cast, and your hair will be frizz-free all day.
If you’re looking for an organic alternative, you can try using aloe vera gel.
It doesn’t have the same strong hold as store-bought gels, but can moisturize the hair, give it a more natural hold and shine, and keep flyaways at bay.
Lightweight natural oils can also fight frizz and make the hair more manageable.
Plus, they add a lot of shine.
While they don’t necessarily lock your hair in place, they’re great for making sure everything is smoothed down before you explore hairstyles and accessories.
My favorite oils for all over the hair are sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil.
These are lighter oils that won’t create product buildup or leave a greasy residue on your hair.
Instead, they’ll moisturize and tame frizz.
Experiment with hairstyles
Once your hair is smooth, defined, and frizz-free, you can explore different hairstyles that allow you to keep your hair in place.
One striking, classic look is to have your hair slicked back with some product.
It gives a bit of a bad boy effect while making sure your hair is locked in place.
For this hairstyle, you can use styling products like hair wax, pomade, or gel.
Unlike short hair, you don’t have to be as cautious about heavy products.
If you want more of a statement look that also protects your hair, especially if you have coily curls, you can look into getting dreadlocks.
It’s a great way to keep your hair in place without them going to frizz town and looking poofy all the time.
Use hair accessories
The third and easiest way to keep your hair in place and not bustling in the wind and in your face is to use hair accessories.
Now, there’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to hair accessories.
Many men still believe that these accessories are exclusively for women.
But when used the right way, you can look very gallant.
The first accessory I recommend for men with long hair is a trusty ponytail, otherwise known as an elastic or scrunchie.
They allow for many quick hairstyles and are very affordable.
Tying your hair in a ponytail, man bun, or braid keeps your hair out of your face.
They’re convenient and fantastic to have when you don’t have time to think about what you’re going to do with your messy hair.
Just tie the hair up and go.
It makes sure your hair stays put so that you can look neat and tidy (and also have that hipster look that is all the rage in men’s urban street fashion).
A headband is also very chic and stylish nowadays for men, especially in the realm of sports.
We see football champs like Lionel Messi and tennis legends like Roger Federer sport these all the time.
Headbands are great to pull back hair close to the hairline to frame your face and keep those locks in place.
They’re especially useful for men with curly hair, which can be stubborn and get in the way.
And there you have it – all my tips to keep your hair locked and loaded until your next wash day, whether you love to sport a pompadour or long, luscious waves and curls.
Hopefully, everything you’ve learned today gives you a boost of confidence and inspires you to embrace your hair without succumbing to the stigma of hair care being too feminine.
So try out these tips the next time you feel like going above and beyond to make your careful and stringent styling last all day – and maybe a couple of days after that!