Barbs Who Blog

Which Short Hair Styling Product is Right for You?

Sheena Lister
Which Short Hair Styling Product is Right for You?


Whether you’ve had short hair for years or just recently cut your hair short (if so, welcome to The Barb Shop club! If it’s your first time hearing about us, The Barb shop is a short-haired person, a vibe, a style, or a mindset), you may be acquainting yourself with some new hair products that you hadn’t considered before. Maybe you’re looking at your existing hair products wondering if they’ll work for your short hair, or your Googling for information has come up short and caused more confusion.

We worked with a group of three experts in the hair space to provide a fairly comprehensive list of the different styling products for short hair. Below, we’re going to explore many styling products for short hair, diving into what the products actually are and who they’re best suited for, so you can feel confident with any short cut.

Let’s dive in.

Our Experts:

Sher Clemmons (she/they/he), Founder of Sher Loves Hair

G Tournai (they/them), Hair Artist & Owner of G TOURNAI Hair & Creative Studio

Georgette Watje (she/her), Owner & Operator of The Barber Collective


Pomade is a more pliable substance, usually coming in the form of a puck or jar where you use your fingers or hands to grab the amount you need, warm it up by rubbing through your hands, and then styling your hair how you see fit. It comes in all sorts of holds and finishes, making pomade a super versatile option. Like any beauty product, the quality of pomades varies greatly. Many can be drying or too stiff. Opting for a clay pomade is a great option, and the one we’ve linked has organic aloe vera, beeswax, rice protein, and organic mango seed butter to keep hair moisturized and pliable while still holding it in place. Pomade can be used for just about any short cut, from buzz to bob, so don’t overthink it.

G Tournai specializes in queer-affirming and shorter cuts, and The Barb Shop's pomade is their go-to because they can use it on nearly about all their clients (even on long hair *gasp*).  They mentioned that pomade is more widely used on people with shorter hair, above the ears, as it provides a lot of lift and texture for the person using it.


If I’m honest, when I think about hair gel, I think about 90’s sitcoms where someone has WAY too much gel in their hair and it looks awful. But gel definitely has a place in certain hair routines!

Hair gel typically comes in a tube or a tub and is either squeezed or scooped out into the hand and rubbed through them before styling hair with the product. It's usually a bit sticky, and often has a shinier finish, even when the gel states that it doesn't have shine.

Tournai has been using gel in their hair when they’re in the mood for a slicked back, 90's heart throb vibe. As far as comparing gel to pomade goes, gel doesn't tend to be as versatile as pomade. Gel can be a great option for short hair, but G warns that if your hair is longer than shoulder length, it’s best to leave it to a seasoned stylist or professional, as it can be a bit tricky to work with. Use gel on any short haircut when you want the slicked back, shiny, or wet look.


I loved messing with my mom’s mousse when I was growing up. You know, press the lever slightly and it grows into a giant ball right before your eyes. Truly a fascinating product, but I’ll leave it to the experts to explain what it actually is and how it’s best used.

Mousse is a foam (fun fact: mousse is actually the French word for foam) that gives hold with a slight “crunchy” feel when dry. It’s best used on curly hair and cuts where you want to tame frizz and give definition to strands. It can also help provide volume when heat styling. It is lighter than gels and pomades, so it’s a great option if your hair is easily weighed down and you want to volumize. One interesting thing to note about mousse is that it’s great if you want to refresh curly hair throughout the day - by adding a small amount of water to hair that has mousse in it, you can reactivate the mousse and reinvigorate curls throughout the day.

While mousse can be used wet or dry, it works best on wet hair. Dispense a small amount into your palm, add to wet hair, working it through the entire strand, and air dry or heat style as usual for added volume and definition. Mousse may be a great choice for you if your hair is a chin-length bob or you have a bit of length to your hair and want to define your waves or curls.

Styling Cream

Styling cream has a smooth, almost whipped consistency that dries with a natural shine and can also hydrate the hair. They often help tame frizz and provide a light hold without a hard cast like a gel. Make sure you look for one that has moisturizing properties, as a styling cream can actually nourish the hair while you’re wearing it. Skip styling creams with parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils, as those can cause damage to your locks.

Watje suggested styling cream as an especially great option for cuts with short sides and a medium-length, flowy top in which you want to maintain movement. For a pixie cut, a styling cream can be a great add-in before heat styling to add volume while keeping the hair soft and allowing movement.

Wave Spray or Sea Salt Spray

Sea salt spray or wave spray should be used when more texture is desired as it adds some grit to the hair. Burford shared that wave spray is perfect for folks with finer or softer strands who want to add more waves, texture, or movement to their hair. Typically if your hair is limp and straight, a wave spray will allow your hair to have movement and volume versus sitting flat against your head.

Sea salt spray is a fantastic choice for mullets and shags that want to add texture and enhance all the different hair lengths. That said, a sea salt spray will work for nearly any short style, especially if you have fine or soft hair. It’s also easy to use - simply spray onto hair and gently scrunch to activate that grit. When you’re getting used to this product, use less at the beginning as you can always add more later but you don’t want to end up with too much!

Note: If you already have a good bit of texture to your hair and your hair is on the dryer side we recommend skipping wave spray altogether as it can be too drying for your hair type.

Hair Wax

Hair wax is a product that allows you to mold your hair style into your desired shape. A hair wax is also going to give hold to keep that shape for a style that’s wearable for hours, according to Burford. Similar to Barb’s pomade, wax is easy to wash out and can be used daily. It typically has a matte finish and a buildable hold.

Hair wax is great for most hair types, but the key is in the application! For fine/soft hair, you may want to layer a wax, Burford shared. For example, add some wax while your hair is wet, let it dry in and then layer in some more if needed for a buildable hold. For coarse/textured hair, you can use the same method of building in layers of product, but Sher recommends adding it to your style once your hair is dry. For extra hold, hit your finished style with a little heat from a blow dryer - this will lock in your style even more.

Texture Spray

Texture spray is a nice alternative to many short hair products because it is a super lightweight option for those who have finer hair that tends to go flat with too much product or weight. Texture spray is great to use on the go because you don't have to get your hands dirty and it's really good for volume. It's also a way to give a little life to the ends of your hair for a beachy or a messy yet chic "I woke up like this" vibe.

Texture spray is truly for anyone. Any textures, any length, as it will almost always add a little volume and texture where you want it, without the worry of using too much product and weighing it down. One setback to note is that it can tend to make dry hair look even drier, so keep that in mind if your hair is on the drier side and go with a more moisturizing short hair product.

Blog Contributor: Hannah