Best hair gel 2021: from providing a firm hold to creating spikes or quiffs

Ensure you’ve not got a hair out of place with our top picks for the best men’s hair gel

The best men’s hair gel: From providing a firm hold to creating spikes or quiffs

Male grooming has become much more prominent in recent years, with a whole array of men’s hair and beauty products available to help guys achieve the look they so desire. 

Whether you’re looking to perfect your style or you don’t know what all the fuss is about, there is one product all men have relied on for decades: hair gel. 

As other male grooming products come and go, men’s hair gel is something that has stuck around as a reliable and easy-to-use product that most men would consider a staple of their daily routine. 

How to buy the best hair gel for you

Most hair gels are decently priced and easy to find in your local high street stores, so the only thing you need to think about when choosing the right men’s hair gel for you, is what look you want to achieve. 

If you have short hair and want to create a spiky style, a firm hold gel does the job nicely and will often last more than a day. 

Or if you have wild and unruly hair, a medium strength gel can help you tame the mane whenever you want to pull off a smarter look, without creating too much build up that is hard to wash out. 

We've collated a list to help you pick the right consistency and hold for you, and we have gathered some great prices and deals for you, too! Happy styling. 

Our pick of the best hair gels available to buy today

Best hair gel: Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel

1. Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel

We love this think, super light, nice smelling hair gel

Best for: Scent and comfort
Hold: Strong
Hair type: Any
Reasons to buy
+Smells great+No flakes, residue or crunch+Shine
Reasons to avoid
-Not for those after the matt look

Baxter of California's Thickening Style Gel provides high hold and high shine looks with none of the pitfalls of previous gels. The non-traditional formula contains; Birch Juice, which helps to smooth and soften hair, while calming scalp; Ginger, which helps to strengthen hair, and defend against flakiness in scalp and adds natural shine to hair; and Vitamin B5, known to plays important role in the healthiness and growth of your hair.

The gel fills a styling gap for those seeking a high shine look that will stay in place all day long. Be confident with no flakes, no residue and no crunch. The Thickening Syle Gel can be used to create a variety of hair styles. From the slick back and pompadours to hard parts, it can even be used to create a natural look with just a little bit of shine.

Best hair gel: American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

2. American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

Best for: Shaping long hair
Hold: Medium
Hair type: Long
Reasons to buy
+Flake-free+Smells nice+Washes out easily
Reasons to avoid
-Not great on dry hair

If you have long hair that looks flat, thanks to its dual polymer complex, the American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel can help boost volume for a fuller look. From the reviews, we can see that this men's hair gel does a good job of shaping style and volume for long hair, while the brand claims it is also excellent at slicking back hair for a wet look. 

Unlike other gels, this product shouldn't make your hair greasy and provides a subtle natural finish on medium-long hair styles.

We particularly liked the masculine scent, as it isn’t too overpowering but should someone get their nose right into your locks, they wouldn’t be disappointed.

Best hair gel: Bumble & Bumble SumoGel

3. Bumble & Bumble SumoGel

Reasons to buy
+Long-lasting+Alcohol-free+Smells great
Reasons to avoid
-Too much can create a hard, heavy finish

For those who want that slick, high-shine finish, Bumble & Bumble’s Sumogel gel has a really firm hold we assume it can withstand the elements to maintain that sophisticated finish. Perfect for styling either wet or dry hair you will soon find out a little goes a long way. A great option thick and unruly hair that will keep you looking sharp all day.

Best hair gel: Bluebeards Revenge Hair Gel

4. Bluebeards Revenge Hair Gel

Reasons to buy
+Strong hold+Not too sticky
Reasons to avoid
-Slow drying

Whilst we feel Bluebeard probably never had the resources, or the care to gel-style down his salt-sprayed wirey locks, this firm-hold resilient gel would no doubt have done wonders for his flyaways. Today however, this is a resilient product that will hold the largest quiffs and spikes (if they’re still a thing) in place. It’s light in texture and easy to wash out, though it takes a little while to set.

Best hair gel: Bed Head for Men Power Play Firm Finish Gel

5. Bed Head for Men Power Play Firm Finish Gel

Reasons to buy
+Smells amazing+Flexible hold+Matte finish
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best for styling perfectionists

So you want hold but you also want flexibility- sounds like a healthy relationship. This Tigi number gives enough to keep hair in shape with the a more devil-would-care finish. The perfect gateway product into the world of hair styling with a natural finish, though if it’s firm hold you’re after this isn’t the one for you.

Best hair gel: Murdock London Vintage Pomade

6. Murdock London Vintage Pomade

Reasons to buy
+Easy to wash out+Flexible hold

So we strayed slightly with this product, it’s a pomade but a water-based one that washes out with ease. It’s a hybrid, but it has a dry appearance and a vice grip on hair. Prepare to style and watch it stay.

Best hair gel: Gummy Original Hair Styling Gel

7. Gummy Original Hair Styling Gel

A great value hair gel for the daily styling of thick hair

Best for: Value for money
Hold: Strong
Hair type: Thick
Reasons to buy
+Easy to comb out+Large tub
Reasons to avoid
-Some don’t like the smell 

This hair gel is excellent value for money compared to some sized tubes and tubs on the market, as many reviewers find just the smallest amount effective. Made by Fonex, it's rated 5 out of 5 for hold, and its commonly seen in barbers shops as the professional gel of choice. 

You only need a little, and it combs through nicely as well as washes out with shampoo easily. All details combined, for non-fuss, cost-effective styling, this product will suit most men down to the ground - the reason why it's clinched our number one spot. 

Best hair gel: Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head Mohwak Gel

8. Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head Mohwak Gel

For the punk rockers out there, fix your spikes in place with this Mohawk Gel

Best for: Spikes
Hold: Firm
Hair type: Short/medium/thick
Reasons to buy
+Very strong hold+Handy sized bottle
Reasons to avoid
-Too much can dry the hair out 

Bed Head have created the best men’s hair gel for extreme styling, claiming expert spiking and ultimate hold. The majority of the users agree, with men with thick hair claiming it does a great job of creating defined spike. 

Even if punk rock isn't your style, it will help your daily look stay put for longer. It dries super quickly, but be careful not to use too much otherwise it can become clumpy on shorter hair. Simply use a small amount and massage through the hair until you have created your desired style. 

Best hair gel: Tresemme Tres Two Hair Gel

9. Tresemme Tres Two Hair Gel

A firm all-rounder for all hair types

Best for: Everyday use
Hold: Firm
Hair type: All
Reasons to buy
+Doesn’t leave residue+Soft and shiny results
Reasons to avoid
-A bit flaky 

Called Tres Two Hair Gel, Tresemme claim this product does a great job of providing resistance to humidity while continuously holding your style. Reviewers back this up, with many who describe themselves as having curly hair saying it does a good job of calming their frizz. 

Those who use it as a gel compliment its ability told hold their hair without the usual stiffness. It is recommended for use on towel dried hair and to start out with a small blob, adding more as and when needed until you’ve achieved your favourite style. If you don’t like the wet look, you can then blow-dry your hair to finish without it looking or feeling crunchy. 

Best hair gel: Style Sexy Hair Hard Up Hard Holding Gel

10. Style Sexy Hair Hard Up Hard Holding Gel

A funky looking gel for creating short hair styles that last all day and night

Best for: Simple hair styles
Hold: Firm
Hair type: Short
Reasons to buy
+Lasts a long time+Smells good 
Reasons to avoid
-A bit expensive

According to reviewers, this is a great performing hair gel that is ideal for short hair;  it doesn’t flake, while many people mention that it gives small spikes a firm hold. The brand claim that it sculpts and spikes wet hair while giving dry hair a tousled look. 

They also say it works on hair of all thicknesses, leaving hair soft and sleek all day long. This Style Sexy hair gel is a little pricier than others, but a little goes a long way and again, it's a popular choice with professional barbers so it gets a vote of confidence on that front too.

Best hair gel: L’Oreal Studio Line Fix and Style 4 Vitamin Hair Gel

11. L’Oreal Studio Line Fix and Style 4 Vitamin Hair Gel

A gel which replenishes the hair for healthier roots and shiny lengths

Best for: Nourishing
Hold: Medium
Hair type: All hair types
Reasons to buy
+Super cheap+Nourishes hair with vitamins
Reasons to avoid
-Not the strongest hold 

If you find that other hair gels dry out your hair, then this L’Oreal hair gel is packed with vitamins including Pro-B5 to provide a healthy, shiny look and feel. L'Oreal says it provides a long-lasting hold that isn’t too heavy on the hair and can be used on all hair types for a range of different styles, although anything too extreme may not hold as well. 

While this product is more of a standard mainstream gel with no fancy specifications, it is highly rated by users, comes in a handy bottle that is perfect for travel and is an absolute bargain when it’s under a fiver!

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