We know that in order to keep our bodies healthy and strong, we need to be careful with what we put into them.  We remove certain foods from our diets that we know can cause them harm.  Well, the same goes for our hair!  Despite being marketed as safe and effective, many men’s hair styling products sold in the US actually contain ingredients that can not only make our hair and scalps look and feel worse, but that can also cause long-term damage.

If you’ve ever looked at the ingredient list of a men’s hair styling product, you’ve likely encountered a lot of unrecognizable scientific names.  It can be hard to tell what is actually in (or not in) a hair formula just by reading the label.  But not to fear – finding the right ingredients for your hair, and avoiding the wrong ones, doesn’t have to be difficult!  While there are many not-so-great ingredients for hair, we’ve simplified things by starting with the top 3 to avoid.  




The skin on our scalps has a tendency to produce less oil than our facial skin.  This means that our scalps can more easily become dry, which can lead to flakiness and dandruff.  Hydration is also important for our hair follicles and strands, especially when it comes to preventing thinning and hair loss.  While some alcohols are technically considered safe to include in hair products, many can have a drying effect on hair and skin.  Before buying a men’s hair styling product, take a look at the ingredient list and look out for “denaturated alcohols,” paying particular notice to whether they show up near the beginning of the list as this means they are included at higher concentrations.  Alcohol-free hair formulas (like all of our Pomades and Pastes) are best for maintaining healthy, hydrated hair.




While this greasy substance made from mineral oil (most famous for being the single ingredient in Vaseline) may provide a shine, it does not actually provide any moisture or hydration to hair or skin.  Petrolatum simply acts as a barrier, stopping any moisture from coming in or out.  Once it is washed off, this effect is gone and hair is no longer protected or moisturized.  Given its thicky, heavy texture, it can also weigh hair down and make it look and feel greasy if it is in a formula at a high concentration.  Furthermore, this barrier ingredient can clog pores on the scalp and resulting in acne.  Lastly, petrolatum has been potentially linked to cancer so keeping it out of your skin and hair regimen entirely is the safest bet!

We recommend using products with ingredients that are water-based and provide actual hydration to hair and skin, like our Sleek Grooming Paste which features moisturizing actives like Glycerin and Vitamin E.




While this natural ingredient is good at locking hair, particularly naturally curly hair, in place, this benefit also happens to be its downside.  Beeswax, in fact, has such a strong hold on hair that it is also very difficult to fully remove.  Over time, beeswax will build up on strands, weighing them down and eventually causing damage.  It also blocks your hair off from getting essential moisture.  The only way to thoroughly remove beeswax from hair is to use an aggressive clarifying shampoo, and these are often harsh and contain ingredients that can strip and further damage hair.

To avoid beeswax buildup, opt instead for a styling product that provides a strong hold but is water-based and beeswax free, like our Stiff Pomade


While reading labels and researching products takes a little extra time and effort, doing so and avoiding ingredients that are harmful to your hair will make a huge difference in how your hair looks, feels and behaves.  Alcohol, petrolatum and beeswax are, in our opinion, the biggest hair enemies so do your best to keep them out of your routine.  Luckily, all Gentlemen Republic men’s hair styling products are formulated without these unwanted ingredients so you can find the one that’s right for you without fear!

Spread the word so other gentlemen can learn about how to best treat their hair!