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5 Ways To Make Your Hair Stay Down [No Gel Or Hairspray]

February 7, 2021
5 Ways To Make Your Hair Stay Down [No Gel Or Hairspray]

Gel and hairspray work quickly to tame cowlicks, bedhead, or otherwise unruly hair, but they also dry stiff. They can also make your hair look and feel unpleasantly greasy and sticky. So, how else could you make your hair stay down? 

Hair can be made to stay down using the right accessories, heated tools like hairdryers and straighteners, using water, or simply by using more natural-looking styling products. In addition, the right hairstyle could keep the hair down as well. 

Although it sounds simple, it’s unlikely that all of these techniques will do the trick for your specific hair type. 

Experimenting with them is definitely worth doing, as there’s a good chance that at least one of them will work for you. 

Let’s discuss each of them in a little more detail. 

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Hair Stay Down

No gel. No hairspray. Just good ol’ fashioned technique and know-how. Let’s get to it. 

1. Accessories

More men are wearing accessories in their hair these days, and they are great tools for keeping your hair down in addition to adding to your aesthetic.

Using accessories is also a pretty discrete way of making your hair lay flat, as most people will simply assume they are simply a part of your image. 

Headbands and bandanas are popular male accessories that will keep your hair in place. Some men with fine hair are turning to bobby pins, as well, because they secure large sections of hair without being visible. 

It may not be for everyone, but these options are definitely available if you’re looking for a way to do it while also making a statement. 

Hats are an option, but this may seem like a copout. I mean, sure – wearing a hat is a great way to keep your hair down, but it’ll also cover your hair right up in any case. 

Having said that, wearing a hat when appropriate will flatten the hair for when you take it off. Hair that’s flattened in this way may not look great, but it’ll definitely do the trick. 

To sum that up, if you’re an accessories-loving guy, it’s a super-simple way to get the job done. 

2. Heated Tools

Tools that apply heat to your hair can be used to establish control. 

Hairdryers can be used to train your hair into staying in place, as the heat will force it to lay the way you brush or comb it. Flat irons can be used to achieve a similar effect. 

Keep in mind, however, that it is important to use light heat protectant sprays whenever you use these tools to minimize any damage to your hair, no matter what type of hair you have. 

Consider combing and sectioning it thoroughly before using a hairdryer or flat iron.

Using these tools may add time to your grooming routine, but it’ll probably save you time in the long run. You’ll spend less time fretting and trying to flatten the hair using other methods throughout the rest of the day. 

3. Water 

Sometimes, a little water is all you need to keep that hair down. 

This technique works especially well when you are trying to tame bedhead, as your hair should be completely dry to start. 

But remember, brushing or combing wet hair can damage the hair strands, which become more fragile when they are water-soaked.

Either once you get up or once you have showered and your hair has dried, wet a comb or a brush. 

It is easiest to do this by running it under the sink for a few seconds, but some men like to use a spray bottle to do it. While you could also spray the water directly onto your hair, you might accidentally make your hair too wet.

Comb or brush your hair to lay down in the way you desire. The hair will absorb the water and the additional weight will make it lay flat. When the hair dries, it should hopefully dry in the general direction you want it to. 

Using water is a simple, all-natural way to get the job done. Sure, it doesn’t have any hold in itself, but it’s definitely better than using nothing at all. Following it up with a blowdryer is a great way to set it in place. 

4. Styling Products

If you don’t totally hate hair products, there are some that you can use as alternatives to hairspray or gel. 

If you’re looking for a more natural and matte finish, clays, creams, putties, and pastes are great options. 

Unlike gels and hairsprays, there’s very little shine and the products are easy to build texture with while having enough hold to keep the hair in place.

If you do want some shine and gloss, but don’t want the stiff hold of hairspray or gel, an oil-based pomade or wax would be great options. 

They may not be as easy to wash out, but they’ll keep the hair down while also giving you that glossy and formal finish. 

The thicker and longer your hair, the stronger the hold you’ll need to keep it laying flat. Products with typically stronger holds are clays, pomades, and putties. 

If you’re happier with a lighter hold, creams are a good option; they’re easy to distribute and give you a great low shine and textured finish. 

If you’re not a fan of gels and hairsprays, one product to avoid would be water-based pomades. Although they’ve got the word “pomade” in them, they do have a very gel-like consistency and will also dry stiff. 

Sure, it’ll keep the hair down with no trouble. In fact, they often have great holds. But this stiff hold may be something you’re looking to avoid. 

It can feel uncomfortable to some men who prefer a pliable hold that they’re able to restyle throughout the course of the day. 

5. The Right Hairstyles

Finally, if you’re interested in a less temporary way of keeping your hair down, you can get it cut into a style that will lay down better. 

Barbers can cut your hair to do this depending on what type of hair you have and what your preferences are. 

The key is to cut the hair in such a way that it naturally falls flat. When this is done correctly, all of the techniques listed earlier become unnecessary. 

Your hair becomes a lot easier to manage. 

Examples of appropriate hairstyles include French Crops and Caesar Cuts. 

Another way of ensuring your hair doesn’t stick up much is by cutting it so short that it’s not capable of doing so. 

Buzz cuts are pretty popular as they’re incredibly easy to DIY – you won’t even need to visit a barber if you’re going for a basic one (i.e no fades or tapers). 

They may not be for everyone, but they solve many styling problems – hair not staying flat is one of them. 

If you aren’t sure, a quick chat with a barber is all that’s usually necessary. They’ll analyze your hair and if they’re any good, will let you know what potential styles would work best for your specific hair. 


Battling with your hair can be a frustrating experience for a lot of men. But uncooperative hair is often caused by not using the correct technique to tame it. 

As I mentioned earlier, something that works for someone you know may not necessarily work for you or your hair type. 

It’s important to experiment with techniques, products, and styles until you find what you’re looking for. 

In addition, never be afraid to ask for professional advice. A good barber will know what they’re doing and will give you advice if you ask for it.