Gel vs Creme vs Pomade vs Mud? (How To Find The Right Men's Hair Products For Men)

Finding the right natural hair product for men can be challenging and overwhelming.

The men's hair styling market is saturated with buzz words like "smooth finish" and "original hold".

It's difficult to know what means what. 

If you're like me, you just want to know which product makes your hair look good when you style it.

In this blog, I keep it simple.

I explain how to find the product which looks good on your hair.

Let's start from the top. 

Hold Vs. Shine

Hold and Shine are the 2 most important factors you need to consider before choosing a men's styling product.


Hold is the measurement of how well the hair product keeps your hair in place after application.

This is measured as:

  • Light Hold
  • Medium Hold
  • Max Hold

Low or Medium holds leave your hair more pliable whereas Max holds keep your hair stiffer.


Shine is how glossy (or "wet") your hair looks after application.

This is measured as:

  • Matte (no shine)
  • Medium Shine
  • Gloss / High Shine

Creme, Pomade, Gel or Mud?

Now you've got the basics, what men's hair styling product is best for you? 

Men's Hair Gel

  • Hair type: Fine, Medium, Thick (any)
  • Hold: Medium / Max
  • Shine: Gloss / High Shine

We've all used hair gel at some point our lives.

It's cheap, convenient and it gives your hair a glossy 'wet look' finish while providing maximum hold - meaning your hair won't budge all day long.

Cheaper hair gels contain alcohol because it makes the gel easier to apply and helps the it dry more quickly but this can also can strip your hair of its natural oils - leaving you with dry, brittle hair and an itchy, dry scalp.

Unlike cheaper hair gels, a good hair gel - made from natural ingredients - won't flake off during the day.

Men's Hair Creme

  • Hair type: Fine/Medium
  • Hold: Light
  • Shine: Medium Shine

Men's Hair Creme (also known as Hair Creme) is perfect for those with fine or thinning hair who don't need the strength of a max hold hair product.

A quality natural men's hair styling creme provides a light hold (if feels like you're not wearing any product at all) and gives your hair the flexibility you wouldn't get with Gel. It also gives your hair a subtle, natural shine. 

Men's Pomade

  • Hair type: Thick
  • Hold: Medium
  • Shine: High Shine

The best pomades for men give your hair a high shine, while providing medium hold. 

It won't make your hair hard or crunchy like a gel can and is great for men with thick or curly hair.

Men's pomades can be oil based or water based. Be careful with oil-based products - they're often difficult to wash out of hair and can strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils.

Water based options - such as those found in natural men's hair styling products -  are a safer option. 

Men's Hair Styling Clay / Mud

  • Hair type: Medium / Thick
  • Hold: Max
  • Shine: Matte

Men's Styling Clay (or Men's Hair Mud), as you may have guessed is made from natural clay or mud and gives maximum hold.

Clay or mud has a number of benefits over the other products mentioned in this blog. 

The clay or mud naturally draws out dirt and impurities in the hair, without stripping the hair of its natural oils. It's also great for repairing damaged hair so is ideal if your hair is on the dry side. 

Clay isn’t as easy to restyle as other products but it adds more texture to the hair but you also get more for your money - you don’t need a lot of it to get the style you want. 


The product you go for is down to your personal preference and your hair's length and texture.

Which ever you go for, always seek a natural men's hair styling product.

You should always avoid hair gels containing artificial ingredients and fragrances like grease and petroleum (often found at the cheaper end of the spectrum) because these can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry your scalp, leading to flakiness and itchiness.

You also always look for a natural men's hair product which is water soluble so it washes out easily at the end of the day. 

A final tip to leave you with - never slap the product straight onto your hair. Rub a small amount between your palms and then apply from the back of the head forward.

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