Best Hair Clay
When it comes to the best hair clay out there, it's The Cardinal Brand's ATLAS matte clay.
There are a few reasons we think the Cardinal’s ATLAS Hair Clay is the best hair clay:
Plus, now the best hair clay on the market is shipping to guys everywhere.
It’s lightweight but has a medium stronghold.
The ATLAS Hair Clay formula won’t weigh you down.
It’s incredibly lightweight, making it easy to work with. For those of you with thinner hair, this product will still texturize and volumize.
It fights oiliness.
The ATLAS Hair Clay uses clay ingredients such as Kaolin and Procapil – natural clays that will absorb excess sebum from your hair and scalp, whilst providing enough hold to create stylized looks.
This clay kind of does it all!
It works on all hair types.
Whether you’re got tight coils, loose curls, relaxed waves, or straight hair, this clay will maximize your overall shape and style.
ATLAS Hair Clay’s formula is versatile enough to make coils and curls more defined, waves more workable, and dead straight hair more textured and shapely.
Also, if you have short, or longer hair, this clay will still work well for you. It has a medium to strong hold (7), meaning that it’s not too hard a hold for lightly texturizing short hair, but strong enough a hold to stylize longer locks.
Overall, regardless of your hair type, this clay is going to help you achieve the look you’re keen on.
It smells awesome.
Fragrance matters when it comes to hair styling products.
Hair is porous, and as such, it absorbs and holds scents for a long time.
That’s why it’s important that whatever you’re applying to your hair smells good.
Smelling pleasant is one thing, but smelling irresistibly delicious can be a major advantage.
ATLAS Hair Clay uses The Cardinal Brand’s signature Vanilla Bourbon fragrance; a classic, masculine scent that smells tasty enough to appeal to anyone you’re looking to appeal to.
Basically, this hair clay won’t only make you look like a million bucks, you’ll smell like it, too.
Best Hair Clay for Men
What the heck is hair clay? And why should you care?
We can all agree that a fresh cut at the barbers (or salon) often leaves us looking smooth like Clooney.
But have you ever gone home to have a shower, only to realize that, after toweling off, your gentlemanly mane now resembles more of a disheveled tom cat sat upon the top of your head? If you don’t use a quality styling product, then this is probably your reality.
It’s a tale as old as time: You’re a stud when you leave the barber, and are transformed into a dud as soon as you rinse off.
Despite the apparent low maintenance of a short cut hairdo, there is still something to be said for using hair care products to perfect your overall look.
But the product-phobic among us don’t have to worry: We’re not saying you need to equip yourself with curlers, and enough hairspray to become your very own Farrah Fawcett.
In fact, you only need one tool in your hair care arsenal to tackle the problem of a puffy, mushroom-shaped, post-shower head:
Hair clay is a styling product that can be used in either dry, or wet hair, to add volume, texture, and overall shape to your everyday look. You’d be hard-pressed to find any man (or woman) with a well-fashioned short haircut who isn’t using some form of hair clay or pomade.
If your only exposure to hair styling products has been gel, then we understand if you’re a bit skeptical of using any sort of styling product. Hair gel leaves your hair feeling anything but natural. It can leave your hair crunchy, spiky, and generally reminiscent of an early 2000’s Justin Timberlake.
We get it, a gelled look is way dated, and not something you’re going for in 2018.
But hair clay is different, and in this article, we’re going to show you why.
Never had luck with hair clay? You’re doing it wrong.
As with all things style and fashion, knowing how to use hair clay to get the results you want is an art, and science in itself.
Hair clay often has a matte finish, and adds enough grip and texture to your hair that you can remould it all day long.
This makes it the perfect styler for relaxed, casual, swept back looks.
If you’re needing something formal, slick and shiny, you’re going to want to go for something that dries wet, rather than matte (like a wax, or gel).
The key to styling your hair with hair clay is not to overdo it.
When the right amount is used, and applied correctly, your hair won’t look soggy and defeated, the results should be voluminous, textured, and healthy looking.
Here’s our step-by-step guide for the right way to use hair clay for the best results:
1. Prepare your head.
For the best results, your hair should be clean.
This means you’ll want to shower before applying your hair clay.
Any product or oil build up in your hair, if not washed-out beforehand, will mess with the results of your styling; leaving your hair looking limp and greasy. So make sure you wash thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner!
Once out of the shower, you can towel dry, and air dry, or you can use a hairdryer. A hair dryer works best for those of you with longer locks that you’d like to style in a specific direction (for example, the swept back look). Using the hairdryer, you can comb through with your fingers in the direction you’d like your hair to naturally fall once dry.
2. Start small.
Hair clay is an incredibly versatile product and is designed to be applied in a layered fashion.
This means you should always start with a minimal amount of clay – say a pea-sized amount.
If you require more, you can add as you go.
Unfortunately, if you’ve started off with too much, there’s no real way to reverse it except for hopping back into the shower, and starting all over again. And who has time for that?
3. Work your clay.
The next step is to either rub the clay between your palms, or between your fingertips.
Either way, what you’re aiming for is to warm the clay up so that there are no large clumps. You want it consistent across your hands so that when you apply it, there aren’t going to be any globs of clay that end up caught up in your locks.
4. It’s time to style!
When it comes to styling product in short hair, you’re going to want to apply back to front. That means, start styling your hair from the back, then work up to the front. The reason for this topsy-turvy method is to avoid over-saturating your fringe area.
If you work from the back, any larger amounts of product will be worked into the back, where the hair is more forgiving, and more out of sight.
By the time you make your way to the front, you’ll have the perfect amount of consistently worked-in product to style the most important part of your hair: the hair that frames your face.
As for how to apply your hair clay, depending on whether the clay has been worked into your palms or fingertips, you’ll want to run your hands gently over your hair – not through it.
Make sure you’re not combing the product through your hair with force. Product that gets smeared onto your scalp is going to do the opposite of volumizing. You’ll end up looking like a bit of a grease monkey.
So stick with a light stroking method. where you’re gently running your hands (and product) over the tips of your hair.
Once your clay has been applied throughout your hair, you can work from the front to back to create the shape, and texture that you want.
The great thing about clay is that, unlike gel and sprays, it doesn’t set. This means you can continue to manipulate the style of your hair all day long.
If you find there’s not enough hold for the look you’re going for, simply add a bit more clay.
If you’ve chosen a hairstyle that needs ‘fixing’ then you can use hairspray after you’re happy with the final look.
However, using spray means it’ll be hard to rework your hair throughout the day.
Using clay alone is always the casual, flexible option.
How To Choose The Best Hair Clay
When it comes to choosing the right hair clay for you, you should consider two qualities:
The strength of hold
The dullness of the matte finish
When it comes to choosing the right hold for you, think about how much hair you’re looking to style, the length and weight of it, and how heavily you’ll be manipulating your hair.
For example, if you have an undercut with long locks on top, and your hair is quite dense and heavy, if you’re wanting to sweep your hair back, your hair will need a lot of encouragement.
You’ll need a stronger hold clay.
Stronghold clays usually advertise themselves as such. You will want to keep an eye out for clays that are medium to hard hold. Some clays with hard holds are called ‘molding’ clays – which gives you an idea of what a hard hold clay is meant to be able to achieve.
If you’re working with shorter hair, or hair that doesn’t need much manipulation, then you might want to go for a clay with less hold, so that you can achieve a more natural, casual look.
This is especially true if you have shorter hair that you’re just looking to texturize. Many clays are called ‘texturizing’ clays for this reason.
Most clays have a matte finish. This means the clay won’t give you wet-finish (or shiny) results. Rather, it works to create a casual, organic, tousled look.
If you’re looking for a clay that has more of a slick finish, you may want to either a) apply the clay to damp hair, or b) use a hair wax or gel, instead (both of which are guaranteed to give you more of a wet-finish look).
There are some hair clays that give you more of a full shine, rather than a dull shine. Just read the description carefully and go from there.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Hair Clay
Hair clay is, at the end of the day, a really workable and forgiving product. This makes it perfect for first-timers, and anyone new to the hair-styling scene.
But when it comes to getting the results you want, there are some rules you should follow.
Whether you’re looking to fight oily hair, or simultaneously combating acne, then heed our below advice!
DO cleanse your hair thoroughly between applications.
No matter what styling product you’re using, product build-up is something you need to be aware of.
Product build-up occurs when hair products aren’t removed properly from your hair, creating greasy, sticky build up on your scalp and hair.
You can usually tell you’ve got issues with product build-up when you lose a lot of volume and can’t seem to break free of a greasy, downtrodden look.
That’s why it’s important that you cleanse your hair properly between clay applications.
Look for a clarifying shampoo next time you’re in the hair care aisle. These shampoos use product and oil busting ingredients that will lift all the build-up off of your scalp and roots, leaving you with workable hair perfect for clay styling.
It also matters how well you shampoo.
A general foamy tousle through your hair in the shower and a lightning fast rinse may still leave a lot of oil and product build-up on your head.
You want to spend at least a minute or two massaging the shampoo into your scalp with strong pressure from your fingertips.
Think of it as a little treat; a head massage every time you shower.
Don’t worry too much about rubbing the shampoo throughout your hair; the scalp is where you want to devote all your shampooing attention.
Once you’re done with your scalp massage, rinse and apply conditioner!
Fresh, cleansed, healthy hair, is workable, styleable hair.
DON’T overdo it.
As mentioned earlier in our how-to, it’s incredibly easy to overdo clay application.
The golden rule when styling with hair clay, is that less is more, and that it’s always possible to add, but not subtract.
Never start with more than a pea-sized amount of clay. If your hair ends up looking oily or bedraggled, you’ve gone too far.
There are a couple things you can do when you’ve overdone it.
If you have time, the best course of action is to rewash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
If you’re running short on time, then try using some dry shampoo to help lift your hair at the roots, and absorb some of the grease.
DO play with application techniques and styles.
Hair clay is incredibly versatile, and if you master the art of application, you can play with a variety of styles - no matter how short your hair is.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with your clay.
For example, try adding a small amount of clay to damp hair instead of dry hair, for differently textured results.
Mix styling products to achieve unique styles. For example, use a wax or gel to slick down the sides of your hair, and clay on top to create a tousled top look; reminiscent of 50s Greasers.
DON’T use hair clay as a gel or wax.
If you’re using your hair clay to get gel-like, or wax-like results, you’re going to be disappointed.
And you can’t blame the hair clay.
Although versatile, hair clay texturizes and volumizes, it isn’t made to add slickness, shininess, or to help your hair defy the laws of physics.
If you’re looking to fashion a razor-sharp mohawk, then get a gel, and if you’re looking for a product that’ll create a formal, or regal, finish - then wax is your friend.
Hair clay is a great everyday styling product because it adds a lot of shape without looking like you’ve used anything. It’s natural looking, casual - and it brings the best out in your hair as it is.
Learn the difference between styling products and what they can do for you; then decide from there what products you need in your hair care arsenal.
DO wash your pillowcase if sleeping with product in your hair.
Do you suffer from acne or any surprise overnight pimples in general?
Your pillowcase is probably giving you breakouts.
Your pillowcase gets pretty dirty, pretty fast. Think about it: your pillowcase has direct contact with your face, and hair, every single night.
This includes the dribble, and other dirt and whatnot that get left behind by your head as you sleep.
If you’re going to bed with styled hair, then your styling products, mixed up with your natural oils and other detritus your hair takes on over the time, will rub off onto your pillow case.
And you rub your face (and hair) all over your pillow case. You’ve got the idea.
Wash your pillowcase at least once a week. Especially if you don’t wash your hair clay out before hitting the hay.
DON’T skimp on your hair clay choice.
When it comes to choosing a hair clay, although affordability should be a factor (and we’re not pressuring you into buying the fanciest, most expensive product), you should make sure to choose a hair clay that is good quality.
There are plenty of styling products out there that are cheap, but they often don’t deliver the results you want. Not to mention the fragrances you could end up with by buying any old product in a rush (you might end up smelling like your Aunt’s bathroom if you’re not careful).
Do some research! Ask your favorite barber or hairdresser what they recommend. Smell a product before you part with your cash.
If you’re looking for a recommendation - we believe that The Cardinal Brand's ATLAS matte clay is the best hair clay on the market.
We’ve already raved on about it above, but as a reminder, it ticks all the boxes:
- great hold
- great ingredients
- great smell.
For men who really care about what they put onto their body, make sure you know which ingredients are safe and which ingredients can be harmful.
Use hair clay for the best short hair results.
If you’ve struggled with your short hairdo, because it simply won’t play nice, then you need some hair clay in your life.
This is the holy grail styling product for anyone looking to create natural, but styled looks.
When you’ve got the right hair clay, and the right application technique down, there will be nothing stopping you from fully realizing your perfectly manicured, suave self.
Hair clay will give your hair the texture and volume it needs to stand out in the crowd. And having said that, hair clay gives you results so natural and organic - that everyone will think you were simply blessed with perfect bed-head looks.
Hair clay is the perfect styling product for people that don’t want to do much styling.
All you need is a tiny amount, ruffled through your hair, and you can work with your hairdo all day long. It’s a no-fuss product, with professional results.
If you’ve ever envied another dude or short-haired person who seemed to have effortlessly tousled locks; then know this:
That guy was using hair clay.
And you can too.