There are plenty of hair clays for men out there, all formulated specifically for us guys, but what’s the best one for you? If you’re trying to get the most out of your slick-back hairstyles but don’t know where to look, then don’t panic. We gathered 15 of the best hair clay products for men, with all different needs and types of men’s haircuts in mind so you don’t need to do all that research yourself.
Want your thin hair to look full? Poof. Done. Want your thick hair looking more matte than damp? We’ve got you covered. Just read on to check out our list, choose the best hair clay for you (with help from our subsequent guide), then make sure you’re applying clay correctly with our how-to help (at the bottom of the article). When you’re done, you’ll be looking better than ever, guaranteed.
In a hurry? Check out our top hair clay choices:
Best Hair Clay Products For Men
Now that you’ve seen the top three choices, check out the full list of the best hair clay for men on the market.
1. Layrite Deluxe Cement Clay
Best Hair Clay Overall
As much as it sounds like it, this cement clay is not used for construction. This brand is also more budget-friendly than a lot of the other highly sought-after hair clays for men, it’s perfect for guys who just want to take this look for a test drive. The mild scent of cream soda, easily washed out, and firm all-day hold rounds out the best overall hair clay for men on the market.
2. Smooth Viking Styling Clay
Best Budget Pick
You don’t need to spend big money to get some of the best hair clays for men around. We chose Smooth Viking’s offering for our best budget pick because it’s cheap but doesn’t skimp on features. The best part? They use their own blend of natural ingredients that, not only, hold your hair firmly in place and give it a matte finish, but work to rejuvenate your hair to keep it healthy. Not all hair clays for men can claim that (especially budget brands).
3. Reuzel Extreme Hold Matte Pomade
Best Hair Clay for a Firm Hold
Don’t let the word pomade hold you back, focus on the matte aspect of the product. This product has the best hold you’ll get from any of the hair clays on the list. Just because it holds well doesn’t mean it creates a stiff-to-the-touch feeling either. The product is water-soluble meaning it won’t take 30 minutes of scrubbing in the shower either. If you have thin hair, this product is especially effective at delivering volume and fullness. No stickiness, no overly-greasy look, just the best hold you can get with a handsome, clean finish.
4. 18.21 Man Made Hair Clay
Best for a Medium Hold
Even if you’re planning on slicking your hair back (or any other style you need hair clay for), you don’t always want the strongest hold you can get your hands on. Sometimes it’s nice to mess around with your hair mid-day and change it up. For the best result, you’ll need a medium-hold clay instead of a strong-hold. You’ll get all the benefits of other hair clays, but your locks won’t be held as tightly in place for a more laid-back style.
5. Victory Barber & Brand Claymore Men’s Hair Clay
Best Semi-Matte Finish
If you’re trying to find a balance somewhere between slick/wet and relaxed/natural, Claymore Men’s Hair Clay by Victory Barber & Brand is the best men’s hair clay for you. While it doesn’t deliver the extreme slickness of pomades, it also doesn’t tread too far into the relaxed feel like some of the other leading hair clays. It’s also great for any type of hair, and versatility is always a huge plus. This clay is also made in the US, with guaranteed high-quality ingredients to ensure your hair is at its best.
6. Moroccanoil Texture Clay
Best for Thick Hair
Most of the hair clays on this list are fine to use on all hair types and thickness levels, but some of the best hair clays are made specifically for thick hair. Moroccanoil Texture Clay is at the top of the list, and we recommend this brand if you have particularly thick hair. Sometimes when you have uber-thick heaps of hair you can have a rough time keeping it slicked back and the frizz in check, but luckily this hair clay will not let you down.
7. Pete & Pedro Clay
Best for Thin Hair
Just like with thick hair, sometimes those of us with particularly thin or thinning hair need something a little more specialized. Enter Pete & Pedro Clay with the solution, time to kiss those problems goodbye. You’ll get the same natural, textured look like men with the thickest heads of hair, AND it will look just as full with added volume.
8. Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Molding Hair Clay
Best for Dandruff
Don’t let your dandruff hold you back from that dream hairstyle, invest in some anti-dandruff hair clay from head and shoulders and nip that problem in the bud. It still delivers a firm but relaxed hold smells great, and will wash out easily, so don’t worry about your dander blocking you from the joys of hair clay.
9. Paul Mitchell MITCH Matterial Styling Clay
Best for Long Hair
Paul Mitchell’s creation in the hair clay scene is still one of the best you get your hands on. It very nearly edged out the Layrite Deluxe for best hair clay for men on our list. It provides one of the firmest holds on the list, so it’s perfect for long hair that’s hard to keep tame. This clay is paraben-free, gluten-free, and full of frizz-fighting nutrients that many hair clays for men are lacking. On top of all that, the universally loved scents of lemon and aloe are perfect to take to the office or the bar. What’s not to love?
10. Sebastian Craft Clay Matte Texturizer
Best for Short Hair
If your hair is on the short side, Sebastian Craft makes an excellent product that is sure to keep you satisfied. Rub a little bit of this miracle clay into your dry hair and get that extra poof of texture and volume you want. This remoldable clay is as adaptable as the modern man, easily changing your hair from work mode to after-hours drinks mode with just a quick visit to the mirror.
11. Apestomen Volcanic Clay
Best Volcanic Hair Clay
Most of these hair clays for men can accomplish wonders on any hair type and this offering from Apestomen is no different; the only difference is that these ingredients were pulled straight from a volcano.
This hair clay provides an extreme hold but is still water-based so it washes out easily. If you’re a busy man and are interested in the best volcanic hair clays, this is a great low-effort clay that is easy to maintain and just as easy to style.
12. Detroit Grooming Co. Matte Mud Hair Clay
Best Scented Hair Clay
Most of the hair clays on this list are an olfactory experience (we wouldn’t list products that leave you smelly), however, some people are looking for a scent that is head-turning.
The delicious layers of coconut and citrus will make passers-by notice you anywhere (for all the right reasons). The approachable yet professional hairstyle that this hair clay maintains will leave even you stunned.
13.Hair Dough Styling Clay
Best Unscented Hair Clay
If you’re looking for a superb hair clay but don’t want the smells, it’s best to get something unscented. Hair Dough Styling Clay for men is the best when it comes to looking good without the scent footprint some hair clays leave behind. It’s also a great option if you already have a signature scent with cologne or other products.
This clay is also all-natural and is known to hold firm, even during tough days on the job or throughout long, sweaty workouts (because awesome hair always has a place at work and the gym).
14. Anchors Aweigh Courage Clay Vegan Hair Clay
Best Vegan Hair Clay
If you’re all in for the vegan lifestyle, we recommend you check out this hair clay. Like the best vegan restaurants, it manages to be totally vegan friendly while maintaining the same standard set by other non-vegan options.
Courage Clay definitely deserves its spot among the best hair clays, and even if you aren’t vegan we could confidently recommend this clay. Anchors Aweigh also claims it’s climate-change friendly, but still delivers with a stronghold, beautiful matte finish, and a delicious but mild vanilla tobacco scent.
15. Suavecita X The Mummy Firm Clay Pomade
Another hair clay that uses the word pomade in the name, don’t worry this will still provide a handsome matte finish. This one has a special mummy-themed container, appropriate since it will wrap your hair up and hold it firm while keeping up with the natural look provided by the best hair clays for men.
A package that is a perfect addition for fans of the horror ascetic, and also perfect for people shopping for horror lovers. Even without the awesome packaging, this is still a hair clay worth recommending.
How To Choose The Right Hair Clay
Think About Your Hair Type:
Fine hair is easy to control with hair clay and it will be no trouble to add some volume and texture. Any hair clay will work fine for you, it just depends on how firm you want your style.
Curly hair can be triumphed against just as easily as fair hair, you just need to go about things a little differently. Instead of dry hair, apply clay when your hair is wet for a proper hold. Choose your clay based on the desired hold and remember that brands like Paul Mitchell MITCH and Moroccanoil Texture Clay are perfect to battle any frizz you’re dealing with.
Wavy hair is one of the easier types to control, so unless your hair is crazy thick, you’ll be fine with any clay. Like curly and fine hair, choose your favorite hair clay for men based on the desired hold level you want.
Straight hair is a bit harder to keep slicked back than wavy hair can be, so get a stronger hold if you want to make sure it stays in place throughout the day.
Thick hair can be tough to conquer, but hair clay is no joke. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a brand that tames your thick mop (we have a few options on this list). Go for the medium to extreme holds, depending on how straight your hair is.
Short to Medium
If you have short to medium-length hair, you’ll be shopping for the same hair clays for men. Most hair clays are made with slicked-back styles this length in mind, so any hair clay on the list will work just fine for these lengths. Just keep in mind that the more firm the hold, the longer it will last and the harder it will be to adjust throughout the day.
Longer hair will be a little harder to hold in place, so it’s best for guys with long hair to go with a firm or extreme hold to make sure those long locks hold the way you want them to.
Hair Clay Holding Strength
A light hold is all you need if you have an easily moldable top and just want a little texture and volume. Guys with thin or wavy hair might be just fine with a light hold, and it will be possible to rearrange or layer more clay into your style throughout the day.
Medium hold clays are perfect if you want to be able to bring your style to the gym or on a run, but don’t need it to stay firm in a windstorm. Medium holds are the best all-arounders and great for most men.
When there is no room for compromise, go for a firm to extreme level hold. If you’re doing things like riding roller coasters, driving convertibles, and chasing storms, there’s no room for compromise in your hair product. Firm to Extreme holds will keep your style going strong in any hurricane.
Hair Clay Finish
If you’re buying hair clay, then you’re usually going to find clays offering a natural, matte texture. The matte look avoids looking shiny or wet like a pomade or gel, so if matte is the look you want, hair clays are the best way to get it.
Most hair clays focus on the relaxed matte look, but there are some clays on the market that deliver a medium shine as well. If you want all the ingredients of a hair clay but still want a little bit of gloss in your do, medium shine hair clays are the best route to take.
How To Use Hair Clay
You’ve found the best hair clay for you (go back and peruse our top hair clays if you still haven’t decided), but now you need to know how to use it. Thankfully, this is a pretty simple process with only a few steps that we’ll walk you through. Just a few minutes in front of the mirror and you should be good to go.
1. A little goes a long way
It doesn’t take much product to get this clay working as it should. You only need a dab about the size of your pinky nail to get started, so plop that in the palm of your hand to begin.
2. Add heat
Get your blood going and heat that dollop of clay with some good old-fashioned friction. Rub it firmly between your palms for 10-15 seconds for a soft, well-distributed, and properly warmed product.
3. Apply to dry or wet hair (depending on the desired style)
Most hair clays hold best when applied to blow-dried hair. Using a hairdryer, get those strands ready by fluffing them up a bit, then apply the hand-warmed clay evenly.
Just remember, the drier your hair is, the stronger the hold will be, so plan accordingly. If you have curly hair, make sure you apply hair clay when your hair is wet to get that same level of hold while avoiding frizz.
4. Shape the hair
Once it’s applied, just run your fingers through and shape exactly how you’d like. With all but the firmest clays, you can restyle throughout the day as you see fit, you don’t need any water. Just repeat this step.
5. Rinse and repeat
At the end of the day, all of the hair clays on this list will wash out easily with water without buildup.
Go Forth and Reach Your Hair Clay Goals
Hair clays are an amazing product for guys trying to maintain a slicked-back style while looking a little more modern-man than greased-lighting. No matter your hair type or desired hold, there’s a hair clay for you. Choose your favorite clay, get that style right with our guide, then show off your perfect hairdo to the world.