Men across the world have been discovering hair clay as a uniquely effective styling product over the past few years.

The not-so-distant cousin of hair wax slowly gains the popularity it deserves as the perfect hairstyling product for thin hair. And who can disagree with that? It gives your hair strong hold, more volume and a matt look -which is one of the main reasons to style your hair with it.

Because of this sudden raise in popularity, we thought that selecting one can be challenging for anyone who hasn’t used it before -and not only. Not to worry though. We did the research, so you don’t have to. We found 11 of the best hair clays for men that fit all budgets and hair types so that you get the one that suits your needs.

Upon thorough research, we find the Baxter of California to be the best men’s clay for any type of hair. Runner up, is a great clay by Paul Mitchell which works well for thick and normal hair. Finally, Woody’s appears to be the best value for money hair clay which also comes with a great mix of natural ingredients.

The 5 Best Hair Clays For Men

 Woody's Hair ClayBaxter of California Hair ClayLayrite Cement Hair ClayAveda Hair Grooming ClayPaul Mitchell Hair Clay
CountryUSAUSAGermanyUSAUSA
Size15oz / 474ml4oz / 120ml6oz / 177ml9oz / 255ml5.1oz / 150ml
Greasy Feeling
Duration
Hold
Ease of Application
Ease of Washing Off
Value for Money
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Besides reviewing the awesome selection of the top-notch clays for men, we’ll be discussing the following:

  • Best clays for men’s hair
  • What’s hair clay
  • What’s the difference between clays and other hairstyling products
  • When should you use it and for what type of hair works best
  • How to use it
  • And finally, the criteria to selecting one

Here’s everything you need to know about this nifty styling substance.

The best hair clays for men

Baxter of California Clay Pomade

Baxter of California Hair Clay For Men Matte Finish

Baxter of California is another popular men’s grooming brand that lives up to its reputation.

This hair clay pomade is made of some exquisite ingredients that offer a texturizing effect on your hair.

It’s the sort of clay that makes your hair thick and smooth, while holding it up properly.

The two things you notice about the clay’s hold is the way it stays on throughout the day and the natural matte finish it offers.

Overall, it’s a good product that’s also won a few awards for its natural ingredients and superior texture.

Yes, it’s a classy luxury product so you should expect a higher price tag. This 2 ounce can costs nearly double compared to other products.

Is it worth the price? Definitely.

Considering the sort of hold it offers I think I would recommend it to anyone. In my opinion, it’s, hands down, one of the best hair clay for men for any hair type. If you’re searching for a quality hairstyling product, you won’t have any complains when choosing Baxter of California.

Layrite Cement Matte Hair Clay

Layrite Cement Hair Clay Matte Finish Strong Hold

A hair clay that’s water soluble is always a great idea. You need something that washes off easily otherwise you risk getting flakes in your hair.

Layrite has the right idea here with this can of hair clay. It’s almost the same value as other hair clays but with double the volume.

It’s got a nice vanilla scent without being too overpowering.

The texture is exactly what you would expect. Very hard to scrape out but once you succeed and start rubbing it between your palms, it spreads nicely and you’re able to apply it on your hair.

As for the hold, Layrite it’s fairly strong and it lasts for hours. Even if you’ve got thick hair, you won’t have any problem keeping your hair styled. In addition, just like a proper hair clay, you get a great matt finish.

All in all, this is a premium quality hair clay and we don’t exaggerate when we say that this is definitely a product to try out at least once.

Aveda Mens Pure-Formance Grooming Clay

Aveda Men Grooming Clay for Mens hair

Just line their hair gel, the hair clay from Aveda is a great product to include in your shopping list.

Although the container indicates that it gives you a strong hold, I would say that it’s more like medium. For this reason, it’s a great clay for thin hair and maybe for some men with normal. Guys with thick hair might find the hold too light. That being said, this hair clay is able to keep your hair in place without making it crusty or glossy.

Speaking of the finish, you get a nice matt finish, especially when you apply it on dry hair. I think that the particular product works best with damp and blowdried hair right after a good wash.

The only downside that I can find on this hair clay is the price tag. It’s a bit expensive compared to other products reviewed here but it surely is among the best hair clays for men you can get.

Sebastian Craft Clay Remoldable Matte Texturizer

Sebastian Craft Clay for mens hair

Sebastian is a brand that needs no introductions as they are very well known for their hair care and styling products for both men and women. And this hair clay hits every nail on the head.

Advertised as unisex, this hair craft clay will work exactly as promised. You should expect a firm hold that lasts with matt texture.

Because of its petroleum based formula, it might give you some hard time washing it off. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t regret applying it to your hair.

In a nutshell, the hair clay by Sebastian is a great performing product that has everything that you want from a clay.

The only downside might be the price although a little goes a long way and also you don’t need to use too much product. This makes it a good value for money as you wouldn’t consider buying a new one quickly even if you use it daily.

Paul Mitchell Matterial Strong Hold Ultra Matte Styling Clay

Paul Mitchell Styling Clay For Men

Paul Mitchell is another brand -and possibly the most well known among the reviewed hair clays, that is known for their high quality hair care products. This hair clay lives up to its fame.

Even though this doesn’t give you the firmest hold, once you apply this top-notch hair clay on your hair, it will stay there for as long as you want it. It gives you a nice, natural hold that doesn’t make your hair crusty in any way. And speaking of natural, your hair will have a natural matt look that doesn’t feel greasy in any way.

This product is definitely among the top hair clays for men at this price point. It really delivers excellent performance and it comes at a fair price. For this clay’s value, you would have to pay double for any other product out there.

Now, if you want to give your hair a firmer hold, you can also use it a prestyler combined with a strong hair wax or even another clay.

When it comes to application, compared to other products, you might want to work it on your hands a bit more before spreading it on your hair. I found that the clay’s white color might take a few more seconds of rubbing between your palms. I wouldn’t consider it a problem but rather a different application process.

Woody’s Matte Finish Clay for Men

Woodys Hair Clay for men

It’s not the first time that we give a hair styling product by Woody’s a try. If you’re following our blog, you might remember the time when we gave their hair gel a go in the past. We particularly liked both the consistency and performance.

As for this hair clay, it’s even better than the gel if you ask me.

Although not as popular as their hair gel yet, I would argue it’s certainly more popular than hair pomade at this point.

The clay really has some great qualities. There were some interesting ingredients here that made this a unique hair product. One was the beeswax and Mineral oil combination, of course, but the ingredient that really caught my eye was Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil. As far as I’m aware, that’s the seeds of the marijuana plant which makes it very interesting.

Once you open the jar you’ll notice the hard texture which feels almost like cement. Although it’s a bit challenging to get it out, when you start rubbing it in between your palms, it emulsifies well and it’s applied nicely on the hair.

The particular hair clay is meant for normal hair, which means it can adapt to pretty much any hair texture or length. It gives you a matt finish and it’s perfect if you have a slick back hairstyle. It also gives a very decent volume and therefore, it would be a good hair clay for men with thin hair as well.

Finally, for the price, I think that Woody’s is rightfully one of the best hair clays for men reviewed on this guide.

Uppercut Barber Supplies Matt Clay

Uppercut matt hair clay for men

Uppercut always delivers uniquely scented, high-performing hair products. This hair clay is no different.

It has a string and thoroughly pleasing peppermint scent that I find really appealing. As for the hold, it’s surprising how strong it is. I’m not sure how this would work for men with thin hair though. In addition, not only does the hair clay last the whole day but the scent keeps you awake. It’s a great combination.

There’s no fuss, no gloss, and certainly no stickiness. The petroleum base helps the clay hold your hair follicles for much longer but it makes washing it off more challenging.

One thing that I don’t particularly appreciate is the presence of propylparaben in the list of ingredients. Although it’s a preservative that is broadly used in preservatives and there’s no particular evidence of being harmful, I tend to avoid products containing parabens.

As for the price, it’s reasonable considering the fact that it’s got great performance and it’s a brand that many men and professionals trust it.

American Crew Molding Clay

American Crew Molding hair clay for men

‘Recommended for romantic wear’ it says on the can. Yup, this is a great hair clay that really does make your hair look like something out of a men’s style catalog.

The doughy clay makes your hair thicker and firmer than you’d expect, even if you use a tiny quantity.

It’s got a medium shine that makes your hair look really healthy. There’s a ton of natural oils and a hint of sunflower oil that adds that little bit of shine to the product. The scent is citrusy due to the ingredients such as grapefruit, orange and lemon extracts combined with rosemary. A truly nice aroma.

One thing to note is the presence of methylparaben, which again, isn’t a big deal for some guys. For me though, it’s a reason to keep on looking for something else.

The particular clay is a good deal pricewise for the nice texture and performance that you get. All in all, it’s a great product for guys who’re looking for strong hold and matt finish from a reputable brand. My only complain being the presence of parabens.

Styling Clay For Men – K+S Salon

K + S Styling Clay for Hair

If I judge from their other hair styling and body products, Krieger + Söhne deliver great men’s care essentials at decent prices.

One of the things that you immediately understand is the generous dose of beeswax in this hair styling clay, which allows for the superior hold. It spreads nicely on both palms and hair and it doesn’t make washing the product off a nightmare like many competitive products.

I think it’s one of the top men’s hair clay that I’ve personally tried out, although it’s not the type of clay you would expect. it doesn’t have the hard texture that most have but a rather liquid form like a cream or paste. However, this doesn’t mean that the results aren’t great.

The verdict: It gives your hair a nice, strong hold with a matt look. A solid choice overall.

Mr Natty’s Clay Hair Preparation

Mr Natty Clay Hair Preparation

I had my first experience with Mr. Natty hair clay when I got a haircut at a barbershop in London. I absolutely loved it.

It really has everything that you want from a hair clay.

Great, long lasting hold while giving your hair the desired matt finish. A little goes a long way and even though it’s only 3.38 oz / 100 ml, it will definitely last you for a good amount of time. And if that’s not enough for you, it boasts great scent as well.

One thing that might keep you from going ahead and getting it, is the presence of Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butyraben. If you’re OK with that, you might be looking at one of the best men’s hair clay for any type of hair. That being said, it actually works wonders with normal, shortish hair styles.

Pricewise, at first, it might look a bit expensive due to the small container. Considering that it lasts long and it has great performance, I believe that it’s a good deal overall.

Mister Pompadour Sculpting Clay

Mister Pompadour Sculpting Hair Clay For Men Matte Finish

Mister Pompadour offers a versatile and natural hair clay.

When you first open the jar, you can immediately notice the texture of the clay. It’s got a nice creamy texture which arguably is far from what hair clay really has. Needless to say that this is nothing that can stop you from trying it out.

In terms of performance, it gives your hair a natural hold although men with thick hair might not find the hold ideal. For men with fine hair, this might be a great product, allowing for styling the hair without loosing the natural movement. But guys with thicker hair might struggle to get the hairstyle that they’re aiming for.

This is the type of product that could work great a pre styler, in combination with a hair wax with strong hold. You can apply it on damp hair while blowdrying it and this way, you can build a great foundation for your hair before you use a product with a stronger hold for the finishing touch.

I like the way this smells too – it’s sort of got a natural eucalyptus scent to it. I’m surprised eucalyptus isn’t mentioned on the list of ingredients.

As for the price, I think it’s about right. You’ll get to enjoy the good performance and nice ingredients -no alcohol or parabens, this hair clay is packed with.

What is a hair clay

Hair clay, or simply clay, is a sort of putty that helps you hold your hair in place so it looks tamed and cool throughout the day without the gloss that other hair styling products give you.

Hair clay can be considered as a variant of hair wax. The substance, in case you’ve never seen it, is very similar to the clay or wax that comes off a burning candle.

It’s a nice, creamy substance that you’ll find in any drugstore or grooming store. It’s easy to handle, simple to use, and really effective. Plus, as already indicated, it doesn’t give off that glossy finish that you’d expect from hair gels.

The way it’s used is a little different compared to other hairstyling products.

Instead of simply taking a bit in your hand and slapping it onto your hair right away, wax or clay needs to be heated up to the right temperature first. You need to intensely rub the clay between your palms to get the right consistency before you apply it all over your head.

Once you’ve applied it, clay tends to last pretty long. It may or may not have a fragrance, but it will certainly have a characteristic matte finish. For some men, this matte look is rather boring, but for others it’s subtle elegance.

What makes it a great product is the way it voids drying out.

Unlike hair gel, wax or clay doesn’t usually have any alcohol in it. This means the clay will last longer and not make your hair flaky. It also means the stuff is easier to wash out at the end of the day.

A brief history of hair clay

Clay is, as you would expect, an ancient ingredient.

Western Africans used the substance to hold their hair in place along with sticks back in 500 BC. in the 1300s, Europeans were known to use a similar substance.

Queen Elizabeth I, applied lard to her hair to keep it in shape. Of course, rats loved feasting on the lard at night while she slept, so she had to lock her hair up in a cage to keep them away.

The European version of hair clay, however, was made of disgusting elements like bird droppings and lizard tallow.

Fortunately, modern versions of hair clay are a made from ingredients that are a lot more appealing.

What is hair clay made of

The modern version of hair clay is made in a big part of…well..clay.

Bentonite in other words, is the main ingredient in hair clay and is pretty likely to be the substance your 5-year-old nephew plays with.

There could be beeswax, butters such as shea, carrier oils, some added preservatives, fragrances or fancy chemicals, but for the most part it is just old-fashioned clay.

What’s the difference with other hair styling products?

Differences between hair clay, pomade, hair wax, hair styling paste

Image courtesy: pogrebkov/BigStock.com

The key difference between hair clay and all the other types of hair styling products (gel, pomade, hairspray) is the way it looks, the application procedure and the finish that it  gives you.

It’s usually got a very matte finish which makes it ideal for a style that needs to look natural. Think about a hairstyle that needs to look like you’ve applied no products and taken minimal time to achieve and you’ll know what hair clay is perfect for.

Also, hair clay, in most cases, needs to be warmed up by rubbing it in between your palms until it reaches the right consistency.

When should a man consider using one and for what type of hair and hairstyles

The best hair type for this stuff is usually thin or medium. The thing with clay is it adds volume to your hair and makes it look a lot more and longer.

The other thing to keep in mind is that hair clay is perfect when a matt, dull look is your goal with more volume rather than very strong hold and wet look that hair gels for men and pomades give you.

In fact, the natural elements in most hair clays has a great effect on the scalp. It nourishes the scalp and helps your hair follicles grow.

For men who need a thick and strong hairstyle that needs to last for most of the day, hair clay is probably one of the best options.

How do you use hair clay

How to apply hair clay and other styling products

Image courtesy: deagreez/BigStock.com

A tiny amount of hair clay is usually enough to get your hair set. Especially if the hair clay you pick is of great quality.

You can use it pretty much like wax. You take the tiny amount and rub it vigorously between your palms. Then you work it through your hair carefully.

Make sure you cover your entire head, because applying hair clay wrong will leave you with streaks in your hair that are really noticeable.

The great thing about clay is that it can be applied before or after styling.

The natural clay ingredients have a moisturizing effect on your hair so you can probably apply it after styling towel-dried hair. Or you can use the clay as it is intended and shape your hair up nicely.

The best way to use hair clay is to style your hair with it and use a hair dryer to add even more volume. The hair dryer locks in the clay’s moisture and makes your hair look even bigger.

Personally, I prefer to wash my hair and blow dry it to the direction I’m planning to style my hair and once my hair is dry, I apply the clay. There’s no right or wrong way to use hair clay anyway, although it doesn’t work very well with wet hair.

How to choose a hair clay

As always, it’s best to go with the most reasonably priced and natural hair product. Pick out a hair clay that’s from a well-known brand, has the right price tag and contains more clay than anything else.

Consider the texture, the type of clay used, the strength of the hold and the type of style you want to go for.

Also, probably consider the type of hair you have. If your hair is too thick or curly, maybe you’ll need a hair clay that’s not too thick. If that’s the case, you might even consider other hairstyling products like some good pomade or hair gel for men. On the other hand, if your hair is fine and thin, hair clay is a solid choice.

Some of the best brands of hair clay will be mentioned in the list below. They include Woody’s, Uppercut, American Crew, and Paul Mitchell, although you will find a ton of others as well.

The average price for a decent jar of good quality hair clay is somewhere between $6 and $25. Depending on the ingredients, you should expect to pay a bit more than this range.

Speaking of ingredients, the best hair clays for men normally contain a good amount of natural ingredients. In many cases you’ll see ingredients like beeswax, bentonite, carrier oils that help with nourishing and softening the hair, lanolin linalool and many others.

Many popular brands produce hair clays that include a range of parabens. Although many are considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by FDA, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep in mind that parabens are synthetic preservatives that could cause some dermatological issues and not only. That being said, I included some good performing hair clays that do contain parabens and you can choose what suits you best.