The Grooming Manual
Proudly rocking the right hairstyle does wonders for your personal confidence and leaves a lasting impression in others. But it’s not easy to get right. And you might not always feel like taking time to style your hair just right.
- Why you should skip the harsh chemicals
- Is washing less often the answer?
- How essential oils can help
- Hydrating your scalp is critical
- How to get rid of oil and product buildup
- Understanding hair types and textures
- How to get the right shampoo or conditioner for your hair
- Dealing with a bad hair day
- Getting along with your hair
- For Spring/Summer
- For Fall/Winter
The first step to a great look? Proper scalp care. Though you don’t often see your scalp (and therefore may ignore it), it’s the soil from which your hair grows - and a healthy scalp is crucial for healthy, flowing hair. More specifically, a healthy scalp promotes good cell turnover and stronger hair follicles.
But most guys don’t even think about their scalp care - and external factors like pollution, drying products, and UV exposure can cause some major damage. Here are eight easy ways to take better care of your scalp.
Scalp Care 101: Skip the Harsh Chemicals
Harsh surfactants, intense detergents, washing too frequently, increased levels of sun exposure in the summer months, air pollutants -- they can all damage the scalp and disrupt its:
Moisture levels and natural oils
This is especially true since the scalp is more delicate than the rest of your skin. It also has a higher number of sebaceous oil glands, more sweat glands, lots of hair follicles and a lower barrier function. That means more oil, less protection, and more sensitivity to possible irritants. And it’s why any mistreatment will quickly lead to discomfort, itching, dull or brittle hair, and hair loss. To fix this, start by skipping the harsh chemicals including sulfates and phthalates found in cheap hair care products.
Why? These can strip your scalp of its natural oils, damage the hair follicle, and even suffocate the hair by coating it in harsh chemicals.
Scalp Care 101: Wash Less Often
You can have too much of a good thing. Like when you eat the whole tub of ice cream. Or when you binge watch your favorite show until 3am. Or when you wash your hair everyday without any thought as to why.
That’s right - you might be washing your hair too often. Here’s why:
Your hair should always have some oil on it. This keeps your hair strands moisturized and protects them from becoming dull, dry, and damaged. Zero oil isn’t what you want - some oil is good for your hair, giving it a healthy shine and texture.
So who should wash their hair daily?
Guys with fine hair
Guys who work out frequently
- Guys who live in areas with hot, humid weather
Also, if you have dandruff, washing more often can be helpful. But be sure you’re choosing the right product - like our Relieving Dandruff Shampoo. While you’re washing, turn down the water temperature a bit. Hot water dries out the scalp and can exacerbate flakes.
If you have thicker, drier hair you probably don’t need to wash it daily. Instead, wash your hair every 1-3 days, as needed. How can you tell that it’s time to use shampoo?
Your hair is visibly greasy or feels oily
Your scalp feels dry or itchy
- You’ve got sweaty, salty buildup in your hair
If you don’t struggle with flakes and need an everyday shampoo to help keep your hair and scalp clean, go with our Daily Strengthening Shampoo. It’s made with gentle ingredients that promote scalp and hair hydration. Even so, you only have to use it as often as needed, not necessarily every day.
Scalp Care 101: Incorporate Essential Oils
Certain oils are super healthy for the hair and scalp, helping to penetrate and nourish the hair, rebalance the scalp, and deliver targeted solutions like anti-dandruff and anti-itching.
The top two on our list? Tea tree oil and peppermint oil - which is why you’ll find them in both of our shampoos.
- Tea tree oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. So it can help banish dandruff-causing bacteria, eliminate irritation, and deal with any other overgrowths or imbalances happening on your scalp.
- Peppermint oil is antimicrobial, anesthetic, vasodilating, vasoconstricting, and anti-inflammatory. Because of these properties, it reduces itching, dryness, and other scalp concerns.
Scalp Care 101: Hydrate and Strengthen
Essential oils can’t effectively hydrate on their own - they need other moisturizing ingredients to seal in moisture and work their magic.
Our hair care products - like our Revitalizing Hair Conditioner - are formulated with organic aloe, which provides a rush of moisture to your hair, plumping and volumizing hair strands almost instantly.
There are other oils (not just essential oils) that can provide major hydrating benefits. Borage oil, in particular, encourages hair growth and retention while reducing dandruff and inflammation. Avocado oil moisturizes and strengthens individual hair shafts. (They’re also critical ingredients in our expert-praised hair conditioner.)
Amino acids also help rebuild your hair follicles and fortify them. How?
Hair is made up of keratin, a protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. That’s why applying amino acids topically increases shine and fortifies hair follicles, leading to stronger, healthier hair over time.
Scalp Care 101: Get Rid of Scalp Build-Up
Next, you’ll want to work on getting rid of scalp build-up caused by improper washing, bad hair care products, and poor circulation.
This requires that you exfoliate and work on increasing your hair circulation. Exfoliation will get rid of product buildup and dead cells, while increased circulation can help deliver vital nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
Try using a tiny bit of an exfoliating product - like our Renewing Face Scrub - on your hair just once a week. Take it easy and don’t use too much product. If your scalp is especially sensitive, skip the scrub and just take a few extra moments to massage your scalp as you shampoo and condition normally. In either case, the goal is to remove dead cells from around your hair follicles and reveal more youthful, healthy hair.
Scalp Care 101: Balance pH
According to one 2014 study that analyzed the effects of different shampoos on hair and scalp pH, the pH of the hair is around 3.6 while “the scalp, however, is around 5.5 like the rest of the skin, which is more alkaline than the hair shaft pH.”
The researchers determined that “any product applied on hair that has pH higher than 3.67 causes an increase in the negativity of the electric network of the hair, that is, an increase of static electricity and the repulsion between strands.”
After analyzing 123 different professional and commercial shampoos, what did they find?
62% of all the shampoos they tested had a high pH level (equal or greater than 5.5) and considered potentially harmful to the hair and scalp
Of just the anti-dandruff shampoos, 26 in total, 80% had a high pH level.
“It is of notice that a pH higher than 5.5 may cause irritation of the scalp.”
“It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizzing for generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface.”
Clearly, there are confirmed benefits to using safe, natural hair care products for men with a pH below 5.5 - like our Daily Strengthening Shampoo.
Scalp Care 101: Protect Against Damaging Elements
To maintain hair and scalp health, you have to protect it against free radicals, environmental pollutants, and UV rays. In some cases, that means physical protection - like wearing a hat in the strong, direct sunlight.
Even if your hair and scalp have been affected by some damaging elements, repair is possible. Antioxidants like vitamin E work to scavenge free radicals and encourage healthy cells and hair. Make sure you’re using shampoo and conditioner that leverage antioxidants for the best results.
Speaking of damaging elements… color treating your hair is not a great choice if you want to keep your scalp as healthy as possible. Some hair dyes contain harsh, dehydrating ingredients that can lead to severe hair damage.
If you do color your hair, do it as infrequently as possible and make an effort to use more natural solutions.
Scalp Care 101: Take Care of Your Roots
You may unintentionally be hurting your scalp by yanking and tugging at your poor hair strands. That's no good since it can damage and weaken your hair and irritate your scalp.
There are two big changes you can make to treat your hair roots better:
- Avoid wearing tight hats as they can cause "traction alopecia," a condition where hair is pulled out of the scalp. Once a hair root has been permanently ripped out of a follicle, it will never grow another hair strand again.
- Take it easy when drying your hair. When your hair is wet, it is highly susceptible to breaking and having the root pulled out of the scalp. So avoid drying your hair vigorously with a towel. It’s best to let hair air dry as much as possible. If towel drying is necessary, do it gently.
When it comes to a hair care routine, you may be thinking, “I’ve got this under control. Shampoo, bam, I’m done. That’s it.” Sounds nice and simple. But it’s far less effective than it could be.
Yes, using shampoo alone will remove grime and grease from your hair. But harsh detergents in most shampoos can also strip essential oils from your hair, leaving you with a dehydrated, dull mess. To keep this from happening, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Hair Types vs. Hair Textures
There are four hair types that guys fall into. They are:
- Straight: No matter how long it grows, your hair keeps going straight, never curling.
- Wavy: At a few inches of length, your hair starts to curl.
- Curly: Your hair grows in loose yet defined curls.
- Coiled: Hair grows in close, tight curls that cannot be easily separated.
Apart from your hair type, you should also consider your hair texture:
- Fine: Hair strands are fine, with little volume.
- Thick: Hair strands are wide and plentiful. No scalp is visible through your hair.
- Normal: Hair is right in the middle, neither fine nor thick.
- Thinning: Hair loss is causing a receding hairline and making visible sections of scalp.
There may be slight variations on each of these styles and textures, but most guys can easily identify which category they fall into.
Developing Your Hair Care Routine
Regardless of its type, taking good care of your hair ought to be a priority. That means using two essential products each week: shampoo and conditioner.
Choose a natural shampoo that doesn't contain harsh chemical detergents. Gentle, natural cleansers will keep your hair free of unwanted debris without killing its natural shine or leaving it stripped of all moisture.
If you have fine or thinning hair, our Daily Strengthening Shampoo is designed for you. It will nourish your hair strands, keeping them full and wide. It also helps keep hair roots stiff and lifted up and away from the scalp. This gives you hair a fuller, thicker texture - even if you are already starting to lose some of it.
If you have coiled hair, beware of shampoos with harsh ingredients. These products can dehydrate your hair, leading to frizz and damage.
- Fine/Thin Hair: Use conditioner about 3 times each week to add volume and keep your hair properly hydrated.
- Thick Hair: Depending on the type and texture of your thick hair, your ideal conditioner use will be 1-3 times each week. Experiment to find the ideal level of hydration and shine.
- Coiled Hair: Condition frequently to avoid over-drying and excessive frizz.
Bedhead. Mop. Cowlick. Mess.
Do these words ever describe your hair? If so, no worries. Everybody has a bad hair day from time to time. No matter how messy your hair might look first thing in the morning, you can get it under control with a smart plan.
Dealing with the Mess
Prevention is a major part of the bad hair battle. But no matter how hard you try, some days are just gonna be ugly. Luckily, there are a few things you can do:
- Wet your hair: You can do it in the shower or at the sink - it doesn’t much matter. Just be sure that it’s totally wet. Dry it with a towel, but not too aggressively. Leave it damp enough to move and shape easily.
- Apply product: If your hair is unruly, you need to get it under control with your product of choice, like one of our natural pomades. Each formula has its own level of hold and shine - but all have the goal of keeping your style in place without making it crunchy or dehydrated.
For high shine and a strong hold, our Classic Firm Hold Gel Pomade is best.
- Our Flexible Hold Wax Pomade offers high shine but a more flexible hold that can be easily adjusted throughout the day.
- For a matte finish that keeps your hair in place without adding any shine, choose our Shaping Paste Pomade.
- Shape and style: Brush, comb, tease, and tweak until everything’s in place.
- Deal with the unruly and rebellious: On the worst of the bad hair days, you might need to do some touch ups even after the whole process. Try slightly wetting your cowlicks and brushing again. Or re-apply a touch of pomade to the hairs that just won’t cooperate.
Add Texture and Waves with Minimal Hold
Want to tame your hair but with more subtle look? You can add texture and natural, beach-day inspired waves to your hair with our Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. It's made with sea salt, vitamin E, and hydrolyzed proteins.
What makes sea salt spray different from pomades and other hair styling products? What are the benefits of sea salt spray?
- Adds minimal hold with a no-shine, matte finish
- Builds volume, adds texture, and enhances natural curls
- Liquid formula sprays on and adds zero weight to your hair
Getting Along with Your Hair
Want more good hair days than bad ones? Learn to get along with your hair.
- Take good care of your hair by washing at the right frequency for you. Don’t be pressured into a shampoo habit by style gurus. Instead, find the haircare routine that’s best for you.
- Keep your hair hydrated and healthy by using hair conditioner regularly. It’s just as important as shampooing - especially if you find that your hair tends to be flat and dry.
Use a quality styling product - skip anything with ingredients that dry and damage your hair (like alcohol). Our collection of styling pomades are each designed for a specific level of shine and hold - so you can choose what’s right for your style.
For Spring/Summer: Protect Your Hair From the Sun
Can the sun damage your hair? Yes - and you probably don’t even realize it’s happening. Your hair gets damaged just like your skin but -- since it doesn’t turn bright red, get inflamed and painful, or peel off -- it doesn’t tend to be your major concern.
Still, much like your skin, taking care of your hair will keep it looking better and prevent unnecessary problems.
What Is Sun Damaged Hair?
Excessive sun exposure leads to brittle, weak, dehydrated hair. It can also cause discoloration. Have you ever noticed that your hair turns a shade lighter in the summer? Did you think it was a good thing? Actually, that’s sun damage in action.
This is a lot like your skin. Many light-skinned men think of a summer tan as a badge of honor. You have a “healthy glow” - that’s really not so healthy. The same thing happens to your hair. It’s not much different from bleaching or dyeing your hair. Not great if you’re hoping to strengthen and thicken your thinning hair.
How to Treat Sun Damaged Hair
If you’ve noticed signs of sun damage to your hair, your main goal should be to rehydrate both your hair and scalp. That means using conditioner more often - daily at first. This will help replace moisture and nutrients that your hair is lacking due to sun damage.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about long term damage. The hair follicles themselves are deep enough below the skin to not be permanently altered by sun exposure. Just the strands themselves are affected. With proper care and time, your hair will regrow in all its natural luster.
In the meantime, shampoo less and condition more often. Make sure your shampoo is sulfate-free - like our Relieving Dandruff Shampoo. Harsh shampoos strip your hair of moisture during the cleaning process - bad news if it’s already dehydrated from the sun. You may want to shampoo only every other day - or less - especially for the first week after you notice sun damage.
Save Your Hair, Wear a Hat
Prevention is better than treatment after the fact. So wear a wide brimmed hat when you know you’re going to spend all day in the sun. And remember, even cool and cloudy days expose you to damaging UV rays.
Struggling with thinning hair? Keep it strong and healthy with our Daily Strengthening Shampoo. It’s made with hydrolyzed wheat protein to promote hair growth, increase strand thickness, and build volume.
For Fall/Winter: Protect Your Hair From the Cold
Guys - what are your skincare concerns during the winter? Maybe they include:
Avoiding dry, flaky skin on your face
Preventing dry, cracked hands
- Keeping your lips hydrated and smooth
Excellent. The cold, dry air is bad news for your skin. It leads to dehydration, flakiness, and other unpleasantness.
But what about your hair? How does the cold weather affect hair care for men? What should you do to make sure the winter season doesn’t ravage your hair? Use these tips.
What Happens to Your Hair During the Winter
You already know that dry winter air leads to dehydration. The same goes for your scalp: the dry air can cause flakiness and dryness. That means you grow more brittle, breakable hairs during the cold months of the year. But what about your hair itself?
Research shows that you lose less hair in winter than any other time of the year. Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that supports healthy sleep, also regulates your hair growth cycle. And it promotes extra hair growth during the cold season.
Other Winter Factors
Wearing tight caps and hats might keep you warm, but they can be bad for your hair. You can damage and uproot your hairs just by putting on and taking off your cap several times throughout the day.
It may seem like any hair loss caused by caps is minimal. But research shows that it can be serious and long term. Nurses in South Korea have suffered from “Nurse’s cap alopecia” - a form of hair loss. Researchers have found that this condition “appears to be a distinct clinical entity which should be distinguished from other forms of patchy alopecia.”
Winter Hair Care That’s Easy and Effective
For starters, make sure you tailor your hair treatment methods to your personal needs. Don’t just run into the drugstore, buy whichever shampoo looks good, and wash daily without giving it another thought. You deserve better. And so does your hair.
Since flakes are a common problem for guys during the colder months, we recommend our Relieving Dandruff Shampoo. It’s gentle formula won’t strip away natural oils. And it’s designed to prevent irritation, itch, and flakes - all of which are common winter issues.
We’ve said it once, we’re going to keep mentioning it - conditioner. It’s a must - especially when the dry winter air keeps sapping your poor scalp of critical moisture.