Hair wax is one of the most versatile hair products a man can have in his arsenal. The all-in-one styling tool enhances volume and texture, adds shine, and provides all-day hold— all while nourishing and conditioning your hair. So if you aren't already using it, now's the time to start!
In this guide to hair waxes, we're breaking down how to apply the multi-purpose product and rounding up the best hair wax, paste, and pomade products on the market. But first thing first, let's start by clarifying what exactly hair wax is.
What Is Hair Wax?
As the name suggests, hair wax is a thick hair styling product that contains wax and other control-providing ingredients. The all-in-one hair styler does it all! It boosts volume, adds texture, enhances curls, creates shape, tames frizz, controls flyaways, provides high shine, and even lays edges, regardless of your hair type.
Unlike hair gel or mousse, hair wax won't feel stiff or crunchy, making it easy to refresh your hairstyle throughout the day. Most products are made with a paste, balm, or pomade-like consistency that helps create texture and hold the hair in place without weighing it down.
How to Use Hair Wax
One of the many advantages of hair wax is that it's incredibly easy to apply. It can be used on almost all hair types and lengths. Here's a quick step-by-step guide to using hair wax:
- Start with the right amount— Less is more, so begin with a pea-sized amount for short to medium hair and a dime-sized amount for longer hair. You can always add a bit more later to tame flyaways and touch-up your 'do throughout the day.
- Warm the wax-up before application— Wax is naturally hard at cold temperatures, so you'll want to warm the hair wax-up by rubbing it between your hands before application.
- Start with the surface— Before you apply hair wax by running your hands through your hair, you'll want to coat the surface of your hair with a thin layer of the product.
- Style your hair— Now that you've evenly distributed the wax, it's time to get in there and style your hair. Use your fingers to shape your strands into your desired finished style.
- Tame unruly strands— Once you've achieved your desired hairstyle, use your fingertips to apply a bit more wax to stubborn hair strands that won't stay in place. You may need to finish with a bit of hairspray if you have particularly unmanageable hair.
- Re-style as needed— Throughout the day, you may need to rework your hair a bit to tame frizz, control flyaways, and reshape.
Like any hair product, it may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect amount of hair wax and the right application method for your unique hair texture, length, and style. The more familiar you become with a product and the more practice you get applying it, the easier it will become.
Should You Apply Wax To Wet Hair Or Dry Hair?
The most common question men ask their hair stylists about hair wax is if they should apply it to wet or dry hair. While recommended application varies from product to product, most hair waxes should not be applied to wet hair. Due to the nature of the product, it won't hold as well on wet hair as hair gel or mousse. To ensure even product distribution and maximum control, apply it to damp hair or fully dry.
The Best Hair Waxes, Pastes, And Pomades For The Ultimate Hold
Best 2-in 1 Hair and Beard Balm
This versatile Jack Black Wax Pomade can do it all! The all-in-one men's hairstyling product can be used to style both your hair and beard. The lightweight balm provides a pliable hold and natural-looking finish while taming flyaway hairs and conditioning coarse facial hair. Natural ingredients like sage leaves and green tea extracts, grapefruit peel and tea tree leaf oil, basil, and sea kelp help soothe, hydrate, and boost shine.
Best for Short Hair
This Matte Separation Workable Wax from TIGI Bed Head for Men is a medium-weight wax that creates texture and adds natural volume without artificial shine. Key ingredients like beeswax, cera carnauba, and a polymer blend provide superior definition, separation, and humidity resistance. But unlike hair gel or mousse, this TIGI Bed Head Wax won't leave behind a greasy finish or sticky residue. While the men's hair wax can be used on all hair lengths, it works particularly well on short hair.
Best Fragrance-Free Hair Wax
Struggling to find fragrance-free styling products that actually work? Insert Kristen Ess Hair's Fragrance-Free Texturizing Paste. Unlike most hair waxes, it's made without added fragrance, making it the perfect choice for those with sensitive noses. The versatile hair wax offers a lightweight feel and medium hold with maximum texture enhancement and flyaway control. It's water-based and paraben-, sulfate-, and silicone-free, so it'll rinse clean with shampoo without leaving build-up behind.
Best for Thin Hair
This Gritty Hair Wax Paste from Authentic Beauty Concept adds just the right amount of body and texture to create an effortless, tousled look. Just rub a small amount of wax between your palms and work through dry hair for easy shaping, all-day control, and a semi-matte finish.
The clean formula is cruelty-free, vegan, and made without artificial waxes and harsh chemicals that damage hair and lead to build-up. Its texture-enhancing medium hold is great for thin hair and flat, straight hair that needs an extra volume boost with a long-lasting hold.
Best for curly, frizzy hair
Pacifica's Pineapple Curls Pomade helps to control flyaway hairs, define curls, enhance texture, and tame edges. The vegan, cruelty-free formula is made with moisturizing ingredients like pineapple enzymes, plant oils, Vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid— and without parabens, phthalates, and plastic packaging.
While the styling pomade can be used on all hair types, it works particularly well on curly hair. It offers a firm hold that allows for natural movement and never looks stiff, greasy, or frizzy.
Most natural finish
Looking for an everyday-use product with a natural hold and a non-greasy finish? This Natural Beeswax Paste from Mister Pompadour is exactly what you're searching for and is considered one of the best men's hairs waxes! The best-selling hair wax for men is made with purified beeswax, soy protein, and lanolin wax for a natural matte finish and all-day hold. Plus, it's made without alcohol or parabens that dry out hair and leave behind dandruff-causing build-up. It offers all the benefits of a traditional wax but with natural ingredients.
Best hair wax for long hair
This Pacifica Beauty Salty Waves Beach Hair Styling Balm makes it easy to create an effortless beachy texture that doesn't feel dry, sticky, or weighed down. And unlike most waxes, it'll keep your hair looking great all day long.
The vegan, cruelty-free formula features all-natural ingredients like sea algae, banana, and chia to nourish, moisturize, and hydrate as it holds strands securely in place. Plus, it's free from harsh chemicals, parabens, and phthalates. The versatile product works on all hair lengths, types, and styles— especially textured hair and long hairstyles.
Best hair wax for Braids and Edges
Murray's 100% Pure Australian Beeswax is the perfect product for taming your edges and keeping your braids looking their best. It's made with all-natural Australian beeswax for an extra-strong hold and a low-shine finish. The versatile styling wax also seals ends and conditions as it keeps your hair perfectly in place. While it can be used on many different types of hair, it's a particularly great hair wax for Black hair.
Best for Controlling Frizz
Everyday is a good hair day with Ouai Haircare's Matte Pomade. The traditional pomade helps to smooth unruly strands and create a smooth texture for an effortlessly tousled look. It's ideal for shorter hairstyles, taming stray strands in your updos, and adding beachy texture to longer styles.
A little goes a long way, so start with a small, dime-sized amount and add more as needed to create a frizz-free finish with the piecey texture and lived-in appearance you're looking for. Finish with hairspray for the ultimate frizz control.
Best for Dry Hair
Looking for an all-natural wax that can still get the job done? Add this Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade from Qhemet Biologics to your cart ASAP! On top of taming frizz, providing texture, and ensuring a solid hold, the moisture-boosting formula softens hair, nourishes damaged strands, and supports healthy hair growth.
Qhemet Biologics Nourishing Pomade is formulated with 100% vegan ingredients like castor oil, sesame oil, and amla that strengthen hair follicles, reduce shedding, and keeps your hair feeling soft and healthy. The lightweight hold is perfect for those looking to add just a bit of structure and texture without weighing down their curls.