Your Complete Guide to Styling Men's Hair: Tips, Advice & Inspiration

Your Complete Guide to Styling Men's Hair: Tips, Advice & Inspiration

Written by: Piers Le Moignan



Time to read 12 min

If you don't typically spend much time styling your hair but want to start making a bit more of an effort, our guide has all the tips, tricks, and inspiration you need to go from drab to dapper in no time.

Styling your hair can have a massive effect on your overall appearance, and it can even change your face shape if you style it in a way that suits your features. But we know it can feel overwhelming with so many products and techniques out there.

So, with that in mind, we've put together a simple – but complete – guide on how to style men's hair, including styling for different lengths, face shapes, and hair types.

What to Consider Before Styling Men's Hair

Straight off the bat, there are a few things you need to think about before you even start styling your hair. We all have different hair textures, types, and lengths, each requiring altering techniques to get the style you want.

Every hair type works and responds differently to products and styling, so it's important to understand your hair type before you start...

What is Your Hair Type?

We have a whole guide on identifying your hair type, so we recommend checking that out for more in-depth information.

But, to give you a quick overview, there are four main hair types: straight, wavy, curly, and coily.

  • Straight hair (type 1a to 1c) – grows straight from the scalp and tends to be fine and smooth

  • Wavy hair (type 2a to 2c) – has a slight but noticeable wave to it

  • Curly hair (type 3a to 3c) – obvious curl pattern which can range from loose curls to coils

  • Coily hair (type 4a to 4c) – tightly coiled and typically much coarser

Knowing your hair type can help you choose products and styles that work best for your specific hair texture.

For example, if you have straight, fine hair, lightweight styling products will be important so as not to weigh down your fine strands. On the other hand, coily hair will benefit most from nourishing and hydrating products to help combat dryness and maintain moisture.

What is Your Face Shape?

Your face shape is actually a pretty important factor to consider when you're going for a new haircut or experimenting with a different hairstyle.

If you've ever gotten a trim that doesn't quite look how it did on the guy in your reference photo, it could be because your face shape is different from his.

Things like your jawline, cheekbones, and forehead can all play a role in how a certain haircut or style will look on you.

Styling your hair can either accentuate your face shape or downplay certain features, so it's important to know what works best for you. Here are some common face shapes and the hairstyles that suit them:

  • Round – longer on top and messy hairstyles

  • Diamond – long and layered

  • Heart – textured and side parted

  • Square – any hairstyle

What is Your Hairline Like?

We know it can be a bit of a sensitive subject for some since we're not all blessed with a full hairline, but thinking about your hairline and how it affects your hairstyle is another key factor to consider.

In other words, do you have a receding hairline you want to cover? Do you want to work with your widow's peak? Or are you pretty happy with your hairline and just want a style that complements it?

For those with a receding hairline or widow's peak, hairstyles with length and texture on top that's pushed forward can help to create the illusion of a fuller hairline. Avoid slicked-back styles, as they will only accentuate the receding areas.

On the other hand, if you have a strong, defined hairline, you may want to show it off with a clean style. This can include short crops or buzz cuts that highlight your natural hairline.

Essential Hair Styling Products for Men

Building a versatile collection of styling products that you can use for a multitude of hairstyles is essential. You don't need to have a bathroom cabinet jam-packed with bottles and sprays; just a few key products that'll help you achieve different looks.

It's a misconception, really, that you need to have a separate product for every hairstyle. In reality, you can create a variety of looks with just a few key items.

#1 Styling Compound or Pomade

A styling compound or pomade is a must-have for any man's hair care routine. It provides hold and control without weighing down your hair.

You can use it to create a slicked style and keep down any frizz and flyaways, but you can also use it to hold waves and curls in place.

#2 Sea Salt Spray

Sea salt spray is one of the most versatile products on the market, becoming popular in recent years due to its ease of use. It adds texture and volume to your hair without making it stiff or crunchy, even if you don't have naturally wavy hair.

You can use it by itself or alongside your styling compound for extra hold and texture.

#3 Good Quality Shampoo & Conditioner

Creating a good hairstyle really starts with healthy hair, so investing in a good quality shampoo and conditioner is essential.

If you use poor formulas, your hair will be more prone to dryness and frizziness, making it harder to achieve your desired style. Instead, choose a shampoo and conditioner that'll hydrate your hair, nourish your scalp, and add volume and shine.

#4 Styling Tools

As well as products, having the right tools on hand will make a huge difference in creating your ideal hairstyle. A blowdryer, diffuser, and set of straighteners are all key items to have in your styling arsenal.

When blowdrying, use a round brush to add volume and shape. A diffuser attachment can also be helpful for defining curls and adding texture.

For straightening, invest in a high-quality flat iron with adjustable temperature settings to prevent damage to your hair. And don't forget to use a heat protectant spray or serum before using any hot tools.

Tips for Styling Men's Hair

Once you're equipped with an arsenal of great haircare products and styling tools, it's time to focus on the actual styling process.

We've broken it down into short, medium, and long hairstyles so you can find the advice that best suits your specific hair length.

How to Style Men's Short Hair

Credit: @britishgq

Despite the limited length, there are still plenty of ways you can style your shorter trim depending on the aesthetic you're going for.

  1. Crew cut – This classic and easy-to-maintain style involves keeping the hair short on the sides and slightly longer on top.

  2. Buzz cut – This style involves cutting the hair to a uniform length all around, typically with clippers. The length can vary depending on personal preference.

  3. Fade – A fade haircut involves gradually blending shorter hair at the back and sides into longer hair on top. There are different types of fades, including high fade, low fade, and undercut fade.

  4. Pompadour – This style is achieved by keeping the hair short on the sides and longer on top, then slicking back the longer hair to create a voluminous look.

Crew cuts and buzz cuts are two popular short hair styles, and a lot of men opt for them because they’re low maintenance.

To style a crew or buzz, you can use a styling compound, like Hybrid Hair, on the length you do have on top. Running it through your hair from front to back will create a textured and undone look.

Or, for crew cuts with a bit more length, you can use the compound to keep your hair combed forward and add a ‘piecey’ texture. Warm up the product in your hands and tousle it through your dry hair. You can apply concentrated amounts to small pieces of hair to get a bit more definition in certain areas.

For a pompadour, you’ll need more length on top, but this is still classed as a short hairstyle.

Again, a styling compound will help you achieve the look – warm it up between your palms and then slick it back through your hair. You can also use a comb to create a sleeker finish.

You can also use a blow dryer to dry your hair upside down, close to the roots. This will help lift the hair and create more volume.

How to Style Men's Medium Hair

For those with medium-length hair, you have a lot of styling versatility. Our favourite medium-length hairstyles include:

  1. Surfer-inspired waves – Beachy, textured waves are perfect for a laid-back yet stylish look. Apply a sea salt spray to damp hair and scrunch it with your hands while blow drying for an effortless tousled effect.

  2. Slicked back – A classic look that never goes out of style. Use a styling compound to slick back your hair for a sleek and polished appearance.

  3. Messy bedhead – For a more edgy and carefree look, embrace the messy bedhead style. Work in a texturising product and tousle your hair with your fingers for a dishevelled but intentional look.

  4. Modern mullet – This popular '80s trend has made a comeback in recent years. Ask your stylist for a modern take on the mullet, with shorter layers in the front and longer layers in the back for a trendy and versatile look. You can then use a texturising compound to create a piecey and lived-in texture.

  5. Braids – Braided hairstyles are a great way to protect your coily or curly hair while still looking stylish. Cornrows, box braids, and stitch braids are all popular.

Adding messy texture is one of the easiest ways to style medium-length hair, like the surfer waves or messy bedhead curls we’ve mentioned, and you only really need a sea salt spray to do that.

After washing your hair (using our Thickening Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner for best results), lightly towel dry your hair to stop it from dripping. Then, spritz a sea salt spray, like Marine Mist, directly onto your hair and scrunch it in with your hands.

You can also twist small sections of hair to create more defined waves or use a styling compound in addition to the sea salt spray for added texture and hold – this will help you achieve the bedhead look.

At this point, you can let your hair naturally air dry or use a diffuser to help speed up the process and hold the shape of your waves.

How to Style Men's Long Hair

Credit: @tombusson

You have lots of styling options with long hair, so you might as well make the most of it. Classic long hairstyles for men include:

  1. Man bun – This trendy style involves tying your hair into a bun at the back of your head. You can choose to keep it sleek and polished or go for a more relaxed, messy look.

  2. Ponytail – Similar to the man bun, a ponytail is a simple but versatile style. You can wear it high or low, slicked back, or with some loose strands for a more casual look.

  3. Slicked back – This style is perfect for formal events or a day at the office. Use some pomade or compound to slick your hair back behind your ears, then leave your hair down and pushed back behind your shoulders.

  4. Loose waves – If you have naturally wavy hair, embrace it. Use a sea salt spray or some mousse to enhance your natural texture and create effortless, beachy waves.

  5. Afro – This iconic style is perfect for those with natural, textured hair. Embrace your curls and volume by using a leave-in conditioner or styling cream to define and shape your afro.

For tied-back and tied-up hairstyles, using a styling compound or pomade will help to keep flyaways in place and give a more polished look. Just warm up a little of the product between your palms and run your hands along your hair, focusing on the areas that tend to frizz or stick out.

Another tip for slicked-back styles is to wet your hair slightly before applying the product. This will help it to distribute more evenly and create a sleeker look.

For a more relaxed look, try adding some beachy waves to your hair with a sea salt spray. Scrunch the product into damp hair after washing, then let it air dry or use a diffuser on low heat.

Getting layers cut in will also help to prevent flyaways and add more dimension to your hair. Plus, it makes styling a lot easier as the different lengths will add more texture and movement.

Ask your barber on the best cut for your hair type and face shape – they’ll be able to give you personalised advice on what will suit you most.

Summary: Unlock Your Hairstyling Potential With Salt Grooming

Whether you're after the best styling products or you're looking for some hairstyling inspiration, we've got you covered.

We've created a core collection of top-quality styling products that are versatile and easy to use, allowing you to achieve a variety of looks. You can shop our recommended products above or head over to our full hair care collection to see all we have to offer.


How Do I Find My Perfect Hairstyle?

You should think about your natural hair texture and face shape when choosing a hairstyle. Some hairstyles will complement certain face shapes more than others, so it's important to consider this when making your decision.

Also, you will find that some textures work better with different products and styling techniques. Experimenting is key, so don't be afraid to try out new styles and products until you find the perfect fit for you.

What is the Best Product to Use for Styling Men's Hair?

Our Hybrid Hair is our customers’ favourite for styling men's hair. It provides a strong hold and matte finish without making your hair look greasy throughout the day, which we know many other products do. You can also use it to create texture and volume, making it a versatile choice for all hair types.

Plus, our Hybrid Hair is made with natural ingredients such as Organic British Beeswax and Icelandic Bentonite Clay, which nourish and strengthen at the same time as styling.

How Do I Style My Hair So It's Not Flat?

Blowdrying or diffusing your hair upside down after washing it will go a long way in adding volume to your hair. Then, use a product like our Hybrid Hair to add texture and hold. You can also try using a round brush while blow-drying to create lift at the roots.

How Do I Make My Hair Scruffy?

A sea salt spray, like our Marine Mist, will do wonders in creating a scruffy, beachy look. Just spray it onto damp or dry hair and scrunch with your hands to add texture and separation. You can also use a small amount of our Hybrid Hair to define and shape specific pieces for a more deliberate, tousled look.

Piers Le Moignan

Piers Le Moignan is the founder and CEO of Salt Grooming, an award-winning British luxury men’s haircare and styling brand. 

Founded in 2018, Piers has quickly grown the company into a global brand that has distributed to 43 countries and counting.

Headquartered in London, Piers leads an agile workforce of 10 employees and consultants, including the company’s formulation team which features some of the UK’s leading cosmetic scientists. Piers is responsible for overseeing logistics, supply chain, and performance marketing, and is the driving force behind Salt’s product innovation and brand/creative direction. 

Previous to foundership, Piers spent a decade at some of London’s leading creative agencies, developing global brands and communications for the likes of Adidas, Jaguar Land Rover, British Airways, and more.

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