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It's been said that men are creatures of habit. ‘Such a sweeping statement,’ you may retort, but I do think there's still some truth there when it comes to grooming. For example, I'm always hesitant to stray from what I’m familiar with – because, you know, what if it looks terrible? However, for the purposes of this article, stray I have…
Men's hairspray

From matte clay to salt spray and everything in between, I've tested six hairstyling products to give you the lowdown without your hands getting all sticky. As an FYI, my hair is naturally straight, quite thick and hadn't been cut for about six weeks at the time of writing.


When you feature a suave-looking Frankenstein’s monster on your packaging, with coiffed hair Elvis Presley would be proud of, you better come through with a top-tier wax. While it isn't my favourite on this list, Uppercut Deluxe’s offering has plenty of positives: I only needed to use a small amount (meaning one pot will go a long way), it was very easy to work in and provided long-lasting hold in my sometimes-difficult-to-tame hair.

Uppercut Deluxe Monster Hold Wax, $34


Now, this paste definitely stood out. Firstly, it has a masculine, almost smokey, smell – which may not be for everyone, but at least makes a change from the salon-inspired scents that seem to be the go-to for most brands. Secondly, it gripped my hair intensely when I ran my hands through, somewhat like the tacky feel of hairspray, making it ideal for styles that require more height. Lastly, it didn't really set, so can be reworked throughout the day. Thumbs up.


Apothecary 87 Matte Paste, $30


Never judge a book product by its cover price. OK, that advice won’t always be sound, but some beauty and grooming brands – like ASOS bestseller The Ordinary – are now striving to offer quality without the premium price tag. This very affordable clay is another example of that ethos. It created a matte finish, which was probably the most natural on this list, and left my hair feeling as soft as before I styled it. That's 55 years of hairstyling experience put to good use – nice job, TONI&GUY.

TONI&GUY Styling Clay, $14

Salt Spray

The most expensive product on this list turned out to be my favourite – ‘champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget’ springs to mind – though I am biased as salt spray has been a permanent fixture in my routine for a while. This one from American English, which is vegan and enriched with vitamins, provided good volume and a very matte texture when dry, so will be ideal for more laid-back looks or as a primer before using another product. Also, it smelled great. Like a warm summer’s day by the sea… kinda.

American English Wind And Sea Mist, $46


For the sake of transparency, I must confess that I do not like hair gel. Stiff, wet-look styles just have no place in 2018. Thankfully, though, this one surprised me. It worked into my hands easily, did a very good job at managing annoying flyaways and created a more natural finish than I expected. It didn’t provide much staying power, though, so it’s probably better suited for styles that don’t need much lift or for guys with thinner hair.


men-ü Liquifflex, $32.95

Pictures: ASOS


With natural oils used to thicken and condition hair, a super-sweet scent and a firm hold, UpRoar ticks a lot of boxes with this pomade. It can also be applied to both dry and wet hair, the latter being a strong choice if you favour a slick style – it made my side parting sharper than Sweeney Todd’s razor, for example. 

UpRoar Clay Pomade, $30