It’s the most popular product in their range. Its versatility has led to a huge global following, but it definitely isn’t for everyone. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about American Crew Fiber.
It’s made its way into homes and barbershops around the world and its influence can’t be denied.
But figuring out whether it’s the best product for your specific hair and budget is important.
Let’s get to it.
What Is American Crew Fiber?
American Crew Fiber is a resinous, water-soluble hair product with a waxy consistency, a low shine, and a medium-to-high hold.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not a clay. Its consistency is somewhere between that of a cream and a clay. Not as firm or dry as a clay, but not as smooth as a cream.
It’s quite difficult to say what a “fiber” really is, as many different products labeled as “fibers” actually look and act quite different to one another.
At the end of the day, you’d expect a fiber product to add texture, fullness, and (usually) a pliable hold.
American Crew Fiber is popular because it provides more texture and a better hold than most of the other products within the American Crew range.
That’s the general gist. Now let’s dig a whole lot deeper.
American Crew Fiber: Key Features
Here are six features of this product that should give you as clear of a picture as possible.
1. The Look
American Crew Fiber looks like an off-white paste in its two-toned blue and black container.
The plastic jar is simple and has quite a classic aesthetic, but may appear a little outdated compared with modern glass jars and packaging.
Click the image to take a look on
2. The Smell
American Crew Fiber has a very subtle and gentle citrus smell that can be difficult to pick up on at first.
Overall, it isn’t overbearing and won’t interfere with colognes and fragrances.
The scent has a synthetic edge but it isn’t offensive and doesn’t detract from the citrus-y, lotion-esque smell.
It’s obvious that they haven’t made the scent a defining feature of the product.
3. The Feel
American Crew Fiber feels like a butter as it’s rubbed between the palms, but the fibrous, resinous consistency is still prominent.
In many ways, it feels as smooth as you’d expect a wax to be, but a little tougher and with a little more grip.
Again, think of it feeling like something in between a cream and a clay. Not as smooth as a cream, but not as dry and tough as a clay.
The smoothness and waxy consistency are largely thanks to the Lanolin wax and beeswax it uses, despite the product being water-based as a whole.
It isn’t as fibrous as you’d expect a “fiber” to be and does break down quite easily.
It’ll leave a gentle shine on your hands once it’s fully broken down.
4. The Application
Due to its waxy consistency, it does distribute through the hair easily with minimal tugging.
Much like how it felt when rubbed between the palms, you’ll still feel more grip and pull than you’d expect with a cream or a wax.
This is where the fiber really comes into play, and does suggest the hold is going to be pretty good.
5. The Hold
You can expect a medium-to-high hold from American Crew Fiber, stronger than that of its counterparts Forming Cream and Pomade.
Men with thick or long hair will most likely struggle to keep their hair in place with this product. The hold won’t be strong enough or reliable.
But men with thin or normal hair that’s short-to-medium length should be absolutely fine with it.
Although it does say that it’s a “high hold” product, this is sort of a stretch.
It isn’t as strong of a hold as you’d expect from a clay, for instance. But it would still be good enough for many men.
The hold is pliable, however. You shouldn’t have any problem restyling throughout the course of the day. It doesn’t dry stiff or hard like a gel or a water-based pomade would.
This is necessary in many ways, as you may find your hair flopping or falling out of place towards the end of the day.
6. The Shine
American Crew Fiber will produce a finish with a low shine. It’s a subtle shine but definitely noticeable, particularly in the right light.
It definitely isn’t the same as a matte finish. If you were looking for a pure and matte finish, go for a traditional clay instead.
Having said that, not American Crew’s Molding Clay, as for some reason that does come with a medium shine; very unusual for a clay.
But Fiber’s shine is subtle. It may not be good enough for the gloss you’d want in a slicked-back style or pompadour. But overall, the shine is very versatile; not overbearing or obvious, but also not invisible.
American Crew Fiber: Who Is It Best For?
The problem with hair product reviews is that they assume that everyone’s hair is the same. The same product can look good on one man’s hair and not so good on another’s.
I’ve broken this down into three categories of hair: thickness, length, and straightness.
Thick Vs Thin Hair
American Crew Fiber works well for men with thin or medium-thickness hair. It gives it fullness, texture, and enough hold. Men with thick hair may struggle to keep their hair in place as the hold most likely won’t be strong enough.
The thickness of your hair is important to consider.
If you’ve got thick hair, you may be better off going for something like a high hold pomade or clay, depending on the amount of shine you’re looking for.
Men with thin or fine hair may struggle with high-shine pomades, gels, and even the shinier waxes. This is because the scalp is revealed and the hair can look even thinner.
These men would be better off going for a cream, a clay, or a fiber. American Crew Fiber would be a great option.
Long Vs Short Hair
It works well for men with short or medium-length hair that’s less than 4 inches long. Men with long hair may struggle to keep their hair in place with this level of hold.
Ultimately, if it’s longer than 4 inches, go for a product with a stronger hold.
It may be fine for a couple of hours, but as the day progresses you’ll find that it just doesn’t stay in place for long enough.
Curly Vs Straight Hair
American Crew Fiber is a versatile product that works well on men with straight, curly, or wavy hair.
If you’ve got curly hair, base your decision on what you’re looking to achieve. If you’re looking to add more definition to the curls with a glossier finish, go for a pomade.
Pomades are a popular choice for men with curly hair, but AC Fiber may actually produce just the right amount of shine for you.
Fiber works great for men with straight or wavy hair looking for a more textured and tousled look.
I wouldn’t let the straightness of your hair be the deciding factor for you.
Use this product if you think it has the right amount of shine and the right amount of hold for the length and thickness of your hair.
How To Use American Crew Fiber In 6 Steps
Here’s a simple, step-by-step routine for using and styling with this product. It’s pretty easy.
1. Wash The Hair
As always, starting with a clean slate is best. It’s just easier to work Fiber through hair that isn’t greasy or oily.
Wash your hair. If you’ve still got some build-up of Fiber from the day before, it’ll easily wash out. That’s the beauty of a water-based product.
If you’d rather have some build-up over the course of the week, you may want to look into an oil-based product instead.
Once you’ve washed your hair, towel-dry it until it’s just damp.
This is the point where you could add a pre-styling product like a mousse, gel, cream, or a simple sea salt spray.
It isn’t essential, but boy does it really help you get a great outcome once you’ve applied Fiber.
Pre-stylers have different actions; heat-protection, smoothening, and adding fullness/volume.
Men with coarse and frizzy hair would want a smoothening product, while men with thin or fine hair would want one to add fullness.
BluMaan’s Meraki (Amazon Link) is an example of a pre-styler you can use to build fullness before applying American Crew Fiber.
Once you’ve applied it, you can choose to either towel-dry it further or use a blow-dryer to really build up some volume at this point.
Apply American Crew Fiber to damp hair if you’d like more shine, and apply it to dry hair if you’d like less shine.
Don’t apply it to soaking wet hair – the weight of the water will prevent the hair from staying in place. In addition, it’s a water-soluble product, so it’ll just dissolve in any case.
3. Break The Fiber Down
Spread a dime-sized amount of Fiber between your palms. As I mentioned before, the buttery and waxy consistency should make it easy.
It may feel a little chunky at first (thanks to the fibrous base) but it’ll quickly break down as you rub it in.
It almost feels like shea butter – not what you might expect at first, but it makes for especially easy application.
4. Work The Fiber In The Opposite Direction
The first direction in which you work Fiber into your hair depends on what direction you eventually want your hair to end up.
Work it in the opposite direction first. This will ensure you eventually get a nice and even coating of the Fiber throughout your hair.
For example, if you eventually want the hair swept backward, work the Fiber forward and down the top of your hair first.
Using your fingers is absolutely fine for this part; leave the comb/brush for the next step if you wish to use one.
If you’re used to using waxes, applying American Crew Fiber will feel quite familiar. It’ll spread almost as easy but with just a little more grip and resistance.
5. Work It In Your Desired Direction
At this point, work the Fiber in the direction you want it to eventually end up. If you want a more textured finish – use your fingers.
There’s no substitute for the texture you’re able to achieve with your fingers. If you wanted a more tousled finish, again, using your fingers would be best.
If you’re looking for a neater, slicker, and more shapely finish, use a comb or a brush.
Which one you choose depends on what you’re looking to achieve and also on the thickness of your hair.
The wider bristles of a brush would be better suited for men with thicker hair or for men looking to build volume. The narrower teeth of a comb would be better for men with finer hair and for men looking for a slicker finish.
It’s important to note that applying heat with a blow-dryer will definitely help you build more volume and fullness. It also opens the hair cuticles and makes it easier to mold to your desire.
Plus, using a blow-dryer while styling will give you a better hold.
If you haven’t got one, again, it isn’t essential. But much like using a pre-styler it definitely does make a difference and works well when styling with Fiber.
6. Dry And Assess
If you’ve used a blow-dryer, chances are your hair is now already dry and in place.
To lock in the shape, use the blow-dryer on a cold setting to close the hair cuticles and keep the style in place.
If you hadn’t used a blow-dryer and initially applied the Fiber to damp hair, you’ll want to wait until it’s air-dried before really judging the outcome.
When hair dries, it looks a little different to when the product was initially applied to damp hair.
So wait an hour or so before assessing the results.
At this point, you’re done. Step back and admire your work.
American Crew Fiber: Range Comparisons
American Crew has a range of hair products and it can be difficult to know which one to go for.
Here are three other products within the range that could be said to have similar effects to Fiber but aren’t exactly the same.
There’s a good chance that one of them may be more suitable for your particular hair type; this should make it easier to decide.
Remember, Fiber is labeled as high hold and low shine. Let’s compare:
Fiber Vs Defining Paste
American Crew Defining Paste has a similar level of hold and shine to Fiber, but has an even waxier consistency and distributes through the hair even smoother.
Defining Paste is medium hold and low shine.
You’ll notice that Fiber is labeled as “high hold” while Defining paste is marketed as “medium hold”.
Try them both out and you’ll most likely find that they have pretty similar levels of hold, both leaning more towards medium than high.
Fiber does have slightly more grip and slightly better hold, but the shine they produce is essentially the same.
Fiber Vs Forming Cream
American Crew Forming Cream has a weaker hold and more shine than Fiber. As you’d expect, it’s creamy consistency makes it even easier to distribute through the hair than Fiber.
Forming Cream is medium hold and medium shine.
American Crew Fiber is surprisingly buttery for a fibrous hair product; more so than you’d expect.
But Forming Cream is even smoother – this won’t come as a surprise. Styling creams are supposed to feel smooth.
It’s a versatile product, but it’s best for men with hair that’s on the thinner side. The glycerin actually helps to absorb water and make the hair look fuller.
The hold is quite mild, so men with thicker hair may struggle to keep their hair in place.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for something with a little more shine and don’t mind a weaker hold, the silky smooth, creamy consistency of Forming Cream is definitely a great option.
It’s great for classic slicked-back and side-swept styles when you don’t want to put up with the weight and high shine of a pomade.
Fiber Vs Molding Clay
American Crew Molding Clay has a stronger hold and more shine than American Crew Fiber.
Molding Clay is high hold and medium shine.
It’s an interesting product because it doesn’t play by the rules you’d usually expect a clay product to play by.
I mentioned earlier that it’s useful to think of fiber products as lying somewhere in between a cream and a clay.
That doesn’t apply to AC Molding Clay; it makes a point to produce a pretty significant amount of shine.
This is unusual because you almost always expect a clay to produce a matte and textured finish.
But you’ll quickly notice that Molding Clay just has an oilier and shinier texture to it.
If you’re looking for a better hold than Fiber, you could go for Molding Clay.
Having said that, if you don’t want to have to deal with the extra shine, go for a more traditional clay instead.
6 Alternatives To American Crew Fiber
When listing potential alternatives, it’s important to stick to products that attempt to achieve similar effects.
In other words, products within a similar price range that produce (or claim to produce) similar effects.
Comparing apples with oranges is never a useful process, after all.
Let’s compare American Crew Fiber Vs the following products:
1. Tea Tree Shaping Cream
Tea Tree Shaping Cream by Paul Mitchell (Amazon Link) has a smoother consistency than American Crew Fiber. It may have a weaker hold, but produces a similar level of shine and has a more striking and memorable minty fresh scent.
The two products are worth comparing because although Paul Mitchell’s product is a cream before anything else, it does contain mesh-like fibers which make it feel a little similar to AC Fiber.
As with Fiber, the shine is low but not completely matte.
Both products are better for men with hair that leans towards the shorter and thinner end of the spectrum. They’re great for adding fullness, texture, and volume.
Plus, the mild shine won’t reveal too much of the scalp.
Fiber may have a better hold, but men with thicker, wavier, or longer hair would struggle to keep their hair in place with both of these products.
2. Tigi Bed Head Separation Wax
American Crew Fiber and Tigi Bed Head Matte Separation Wax (Amazon Link) both produce similar, low levels of shine and a medium hold. Although Bed Head has a waxier consistency, both products are easy to wash out of the hair.
They’re surprisingly similar.
As you’d expect, Fiber does have a more fibrous texture, but only slightly. That extra bit of grip doesn’t really translate into a stronger hold.
They both have similar levels of hold – I’d call it medium. Good enough for thin/normal thickness hair that’s short-to-medium in length. The hold is pliable and flexible on them both as well.
The shine on the products is also very similar. Subtle.
Hair that’s longer than 4 inches or especially thick would struggle with both products.
Choosing between the two is tough considering just how similar they are. Tigi Bed Head may give you slightly better value for money.
3. Old Spice Fiber Wax
Old Spice Fiber Wax has a similar waxy-yet-fibrous consistency to American Crew Fiber and produces a similar medium hold and low shine. They’re both water-based products and easily wash out.
The products are very similar in their effects.
You can expect a little more texture with AC Fiber but not enough to make this a distinguishing feature.
Once again, men with thicker or longer hair would struggle to keep their hair in place. The hold won’t be good enough.
The only real distinguishing feature would be the price; Old Spice is pretty hard to beat.
4. Layrite Cement Clay
Layrite Cement Clay has a slightly weaker hold but a very similar low shine finish to American Crew Fiber.
It isn’t your typical clay. In fact, it doesn’t actually contain any bentonite, kaolin, or other typical clay ingredients.
Layrite is actually waxier than your usual clays, thanks to its beeswax. This is what makes its consistency pretty similar to American Crew Fiber and why I think the products are similar enough to compare.
Layrite Clay also has a more striking scent than the subtle citrus of Fiber. It’s sweet and you can often smell it even once applied to the hair.
It isn’t offensive but if you want something that won’t be as obvious, Fiber would be a better option. It’s less likely to interfere with colognes and fragrances.
The hold on Layrite Cement Clay is also weaker than that you’d expect from a clay. It’s surprising because when you’re initially breaking it down it does feel quite stiff with a fair amount of resistance.
You’ll be able to build up some good volume initially but after 5-6 hours, you’ll most likely lose a fair amount of it.
If you’re looking for a better hold with a similar natural/low shine finish, go for American Crew Fiber. The prices are pretty similar.
5. Hanz De Fuko Claymation
Hanz De Fuko Claymation is a heavier product, produces a stronger hold, and leads to even more of a matte finish than American Crew Fiber.
Claymation is quite a typical clay; it’s firm, resistant, quite dry, and contains some glorious bentonite.
Although AC fiber has some of these properties, it will still feel more buttery, light, and smooth, despite its fibrous base. The grip is just milder.
The two products are actually quite different.
If you’ve got thick hair or long hair (> 4 inches), the hold on Fiber won’t be good enough. Go for Claymation instead.
6. Baxter Of California Clay Pomade
Baxter Of California Clay Pomade will produce more of a matte finish and a stronger hold than American Crew Fiber.
It’s an oil-based clay, as opposed to Fiber which is water-based. Ultimately, this doesn’t make a huge amount of difference other than making Fiber a little easier to wash out.
The two features where they can really be distinguished are the hold and the shine.
American Crew Fiber gives you a medium-to-high hold (although closer to medium) and a low shine. Although it does share some properties with clay, I’d still say it was closer to a cream despite its fibers.
Baxter Of California is a heavier product that will give you a strong hold, as you’d expect from a traditional clay.
It does also give you less shine than AC Fiber, although it isn’t completely matte. You will still get a small amount of shine but it’s very subtle indeed.
The two products are quite different to one another. Much like with Claymation, if you’ve got thicker or longer hair, Baxter Of California is more likely to give you the hold you need.
Men with thinner hair would be better off using Fiber, as Baxter is likely to be too heavy and will weigh the hair down.
Unlike Fiber, Baxter Of California Clay Pomade is paraben-free. If this is important to you, do bear this in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
To round things up, here are some frequently asked questions that are tough to find answers to online.
Is American Crew Fiber Bad For Your Hair?
It isn’t objectively bad for your hair but as with any fibrous product, the tug could cause a few hairs to get pulled out if styled too aggressively.
Having said that, as I explained earlier the product is much more buttery and smooth than most fiber products and tugging shouldn’t really be much of a problem.
Overall, Fiber does have some nourishing ingredients that are good for the hair, such as emollients like Cetyl Palmitate and humectants like Lanolin.
Ultimately, anything in excess could do damage, so use the smallest amount of product to achieve your desired look.
As always, do a patch test before applying it to your hair to ensure you won’t have a reaction to the product.
Does American Crew Fiber Expire?
Yes, it does expire. It may not have a specific expiration date but needs to be used within a reasonable amount of time.
This is unlikely to be a problem, as it will almost certainly last longer than a year. With regular use, you’re very likely to use it up before this point in any case.
But yes, at a certain point it will start to become dryer, more rancid, and less effective. Leaving it open will definitely reduce its shelf-life, as would exposing it to extremes of temperature.
Can You Bring American Crew Fiber On A Plane?
Most airlines will allow American Crew Fiber to be brought onto a plane as its largest container (3 oz) is still within the usual fluid restrictions of 100ml/3.4 oz.
Airlines can vary, but these rules will hold true for most. Always check the exact fluid restrictions of the specific airline you’re traveling on.
The most important point here is to treat American Crew Fiber like a fluid. Hair products do still need to meet the airline’s restrictions just any other fluid would have to.
What If American Crew Fiber Isn’t Strong Enough?
If it isn’t strong enough, a high hold clay or paste would be more suitable.
As I mentioned earlier, men with thick and long hair may struggle with the medium hold of Fiber.
From the list of alternatives above, Baxter Of California’s Clay Pomade or Hanz De Fuko’s Claymation would provide a stronger hold at a similar price point.
Is American Crew Fiber Good For Dry Hair?
American Crew Fiber does have some ingredients that are good for dry hair, including the humectant lanolin, the emollient cetyl palmitate, and beeswax which helps to reduce moisture loss.
Its consistency feels almost like shea butter and it distributes easily through the hair.
How Long Does American Crew Fiber Last?
Using a fingertip amount on a daily basis, you could expect a 3oz jar of American Crew Fiber to last around 5-6 weeks.
Men with thicker and longer hair will usually need larger amounts to produce the same effect so can expect to use more and finish their jar quicker.
Is American Crew Fiber Water-Based Or Oil-Based?
It’s a water-based, water-soluble product that will easily wash out with water.
The convenience this brings shouldn’t be underestimated, as many men hate the feel of product build-up in their hair and value an easy washout.
Oil-based products may be harder to wash out, but they’re also better for restyling as the hold is more pliable and flexible.
If you’re looking for an oil-based product with similar effects, check out Baxter Of California’s Clay Pomade.
Should American Crew Fiber Be Used On Wet Or Dry Hair?
American Crew Fiber should be applied to damp hair for a shinier finish or dry hair for a less shiny finish. It should never be applied to wet hair as the water will dissolve the water-soluble product.
Applying it to damp hair does allow the product to distribute easier and also builds more volume.
But whether you choose damp or dry does depend on personal preference. Try both of them out and see for yourself.
Does American Crew Fiber Contain Parabens?
Yes, American Crew Fiber contains the paraben compounds Ethylparaben and Methylparaben.
If you’re looking for a paraben-free hair product, this isn’t the one.
Baxter Of California Clay Pomade is paraben-free and worth checking out if you’re interested.
Can You Use American Crew Fiber On Beards And Mustaches?
Yes, American Crew Fiber can be used on beards and mustaches in the same way you’d use it on your hair. It will produce the same low shine you’d expect with your hair.
One thing to note is that beard hair is generally thicker and coarser than scalp hair.
Because of this, you may find that the hold may not be strong enough for more complex facial hairstyles. Either that or you’ll find that you just need larger amounts of Fiber to keep the hair in place.
Can You Mix American Crew Fiber And American Crew Pomade?
Mixing Fiber and Pomade wouldn’t be worth doing, as the resulting mixture isn’t easy to distribute through the hair.
You may be looking to mix Fiber’s hold with Pomade’s shine. Unfortunately, simply mixing the products together isn’t an effective way of achieving this.
A better option would be to go for a product like American Crew Forming Cream which does actually have the best of both worlds in many ways.
It has more shine than Fiber and a similar, if not better, hold than Pomade.
Is American Crew Fiber Vegan?
Fiber contains lanolin wax which is a wax produced by the glands of wool-bearing animals.
What Are The Best Hairstyles For American Crew Fiber?
Fiber is best for messy, textured hairstyles where you don’t want much shine.
For example, it works well for textured quiffs and side-swept hairstyles. In addition, it’s great for undercuts where the hair on top is left textured and tousled.
Fiber isn’t good for slicked-back, glossy styles where a shinier product such as Forming Cream or Pomade would be more suitable.
Although it may not be for everyone, Fiber really has taken the men’s grooming world by storm.
To this day, it remains one of the most popular products around.
Hopefully, this guide has told you everything you could have possibly wanted to know about it.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.