Hair tonic is one of the most popular old-school hair products for men. Tonics make hair look shiny and healthy while providing a light hold that allows you to style your hair. Although styling gels, oil-based pomades and mousses took over in the ’50s and ’60s, hair tonics are making a comeback as classical barbering and traditional grooming products are back in fashion. If you’re looking to experiment with a new styling product, check out our guide to hair tonic for men. We’ll cover everything from what it is, what it does, how to use it, and the best tonic hair products for men to get right now!
What Is Hair Tonic?
Hair tonic is a styling product with a loose hold that is most commonly sold in liquid form. Some tonics have cleaning ingredients to help wash out other hair products and breakdown build-up, while others boast attractive scents. However, the main purpose of any hair tonic is to help style hair with a wet look that won’t weigh down your hairstyle. While old tonics were made with mineral oil or petroleum jelly, modern tonic hair products come in non-greasy formulas.
What Does Hair Tonic Do?
Hair tonic helps add moisture to men’s hair, making it appear glossy and wet. Tonic has a light to medium hold, so it is often used for slicked back, combed over, or messy hair when you don’t want a heavy or stiff look. Other benefits of hair tonic include hydrating dry hair, moisturizing a dry scalp, stopping dandruff, reducing split ends, and generally repairing damaged hair.
Barbers often use tonics to help their clippers and scissors cut through hair more easily. Oftentimes, you’ll find it in spray bottles at traditional barbershops. If your barber offers a scalp massage, he/she may use the tonic as a lotion to stimulate your hair and scalp.
How To Use Hair Tonic
Using hair tonic is as simple as running it through your hair after you shower or dampen your hair.
- With damp hair, apply a little tonic to your palms and rub your hands together to spread evenly.
- Using both hands, massage the tonic into your hair and scalp thoroughly, coating your entire head.
- Use a comb to evenly distribute the tonic throughout your hair and then style.
- Once your hair has been styled to achieve your desired look, guys can blow dry their hair in place.
You only need a small amount of hair tonic for styling purposes, but if you have especially thick hair or a dry scalp, you may need to increase how much you use. Feel free to experiment with how much tonic you are using to find what amount is right for your hair type, length, and hairstyle. Some men also use hair tonic on their facial hair and sideburns.
Best Hair Tonic Products For Men
Finding the best tonic hair product for you can make all the difference in your look and style. Hair tonic for men can refresh and revitalize your hair while allowing you to style a handsome old-school hairstyle. But gentleman aren’t limited to just classic men’s hairstyles; the wet look can be applied to many modern styles that require a shiny finish. If you’re looking for options to get you started, check out the best hair tonics for men on the market, starting with our top pick from Reuzel.
Reuzel Hair Tonic
With a classic throwback look and scent, Reuzel Hair Tonic provides a product that is reminiscent of times when tonic was in every man’s home. This oil-free hair tonic is meant to help clean hair and provide a light hold without being too heavy. It is perfect for restyling hair without cleaning it completely. Reuzel’s formula has been designed to emulate a classic formula and actually smells as good, if not better, than the tonics used in old-school barber shops. This product uses witch hazel as a natural astringent, nettle left extract to make your hair shiny, rosemary extract to hydrate your strands, horsetail root to strength your follicles, and a plant-based alcohol to soften your locks. Top-rated and all-natural, Rezuel Hair Tonic for men is the best product around.
Lucky Tiger 3 Purpose Hair Tonic
Another classic, Lucky Tiger offers a hair tonic that is meant for styling. A great blend of nourishing oil and a fantastic scent, this tonic will keep your hair feeling great all day. This tonic product has a trademark tingling sensation on the scalp which is sure to transport you back to the barbershops of yore.
Clubman Pinaud Hair Tonic
Pinaud has been making fine hair products since they began offering products in the early 19th century. The iconic Frenchman in full dress on the label is synonymous with classic men’s styling. This hair tonic will keep your hair looking healthy and stylish all day long. The formula has been designed to deliver a glossy finish while preventing dryness and nourishing hair. Great for all hair types, Pinaud’s Clubman Hair Tonic is a non-greasy product you’ll love using.
Jeris Hair Tonic
Another offering of the classic brand, the Jeris Hair Tonic is a great subtle tonic that will maintain your well-groomed hairstyle throughout the day. With a non-greasy formula that is easy to use, this styling product comes with a light hold that will give your hair plenty of volume and shine without weighing it down. As an oil-free tonic, this is lighter than other tonics on this list but still provides a glossy wet look. The scent is a classic barbershop scent that will smell great on any man.
Vitalis Hair Tonic
As one of the most popular tonics in the ‘60s, Vitalis Hair Tonic was originally marketed as an alternative to the heavy, greasy oil-based pomades of the time. Made for upscale gentlemen who wanted a slick, shiny finish without looking like a kid with greasy hair, Vitalis will leave your hair neat and stylish for a clean look. This tonic product will give you shine without being too stiff and the non-greasy formula is perfect for all types of hair. Apply it for some extra control and sheen when blow-drying your hairstyle into place.