Mistakes You’re Making With Hair Products (And What You Should Be Doing Instead)

You know that feeling when you’ve finally got the hang of your hairstyle (and the gruelling regime you go through to get it) and then someone comes over and tells you you’re doing it all wrong? Yeah? Well here we are to do just that! Fingers crossed you’ll forgive us, though – when you realise that in the long run these expert tips will keep your hair in even better condition, and better styled, than it ever was before.

You Use Too Much Product

Less is more here – remember, you can always add more product, but use too much initially and you’ll have to wash and start over. If your hair’s short, and you’re using a quality product, a little goes a long way. “Generally you just need to use the end of your fingernail and flick a bit out of the pot,” says Tommy Cunliffe, manager at Ruffians Shoreditch. The secret to knowing when enough’s enough? The product should be completely dispersed once you’ve rubbed it between your palms. “If there’s still visible residue on your hands, you’ve probably taken too much product out of the pot [and as a result] the hair will clump together and you’ll notice it feels way too thick,” says Cunliffe. Did we mention this is also a sure-fire way to make your products last longer?

You’re Overusing Your Products

You’re Not Making The Most Of Your Products

Just because there’s a marketing strategist somewhere that gets paid bank to convince you that you need enough hair products to collapse a bathroom shelf, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to believe them. Quality hair products – from pastes to oils – can be used in plenty of other ways than what’s detailed on their packaging. Cunliffe suggests using a paste “not only as a finishing product, but also as a pre-styler when mixed with water,” which, for the uninitiated, is something you put into wet hair before blow-drying to achieve added hold and structure. Alternatively, “mix a paste, a pomade and water together to achieve the glossy shine of a pomade, but the texture and bounce of a paste.” You could even use a beard oil to condition your hair if it’s feeling a little dry. Cunliffe recommends rinsing it out right after though, to avoid looking like you haven’t washed for the past five days.

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You’re Applying It Wrong

Just because you can see the front of your hair doesn’t mean that’s the only place you need product – don’t let it all clump in one place. For best (and more balanced) results from your product application, break it down. “Start with a small amount of product, and work from the root to the tips starting at your crown and finishing with the hair at the front of your head,” advises Joe Easton, barber at Man Made. If you have longer hair, don’t forget to pat down the sides with the residue left on your hands for a smooth finish.

You’re Applying It Wrong

You’re Not Using Water-Soluble Products

Though using water-soluble or petroleum-based products is something that polarises stylists, as a rule it’s thought that water-based products are the better of the two, says Easton. “Petroleum-based products take about three washes to get off your hands and out of your hair,” he says. This will give the impression of grease rather than gloss, which obviously isn’t ideal. You can now get a whole range of products – clays, pastes and pomades – which are aqueous and still offer a strong hold, so you don’t have to sacrifice your quiff for convenience.

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You’re Not Matching Your Product To Your Hair Colour

Different hair colours tend to have different densities, so it pays to know which products are best suited to your barnet. “Guys with blond or lighter brown hair would suit a dry/matte finish,” says Easton. Going for something sandier and drier is preferable, whereas dark-haired guys generally look better with a product that emphasises their hair’s natural shine.

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You Style Your Long Hair Like It’s Short

Yes, yes, we get it, you’ve grown your hair out. But that doesn’t mean you can let it all hang out. “The longer the hair gets, the more susceptible it is to looking limp and lifeless,” says Alex Glover, master barber at Murdock. To avoid all your hard work going to waste, remember to shampoo and condition your hair regularly – perhaps more regularly than you did when it was short. “If you have curly or frizzy hair, sometimes conditioner alone can suffice,” says Glover. This helps to replace any lost moisture. Other than that, remember to use soft and lightweight products to style your hair – crème waxes work well as they add a healthy finish to long hair without weighing it down.

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You’re Not Dealing With Your Thinning Hair Correctly

Sorry, gents – it’s going to happen to most of us one day, so better nip this in the bud and not make any faux(licle) pas. Thinning hair’s enemy number one? Heavy styling products. “Stick to lighter finishing products, and ask your barber to take your hair shorter – shorter styles will let the hair stick firmer and stronger,” says Glover. So, ditch the wax for moulding cream and chuck the paste for some sea salt spray – the latter of which “allows you to achieve more creative styles, with texture and a level of grittiness which helps to build natural volume.” Sold.

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