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It feels like January 1, 2020 was about 17 years ago. From losing iconoclasts — John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman — to gaining a lethal, out of control global pandemic where America leads the world in deaths by far, it can be said that 2020 has been a rough, rough year, and we could use some good news.
With all of the sadness, frustration, and quarantine 2020 brought on, we have all spent a lot more time at home, be it alone or with loved ones, making our way through this WTF WFH time by practicing some solid self care. This practice likely means something different to everyone, but the act of taking care of oneself always starts with the personal vessel we call home — our body.
RELATED: These Are the AskMen 2020 Grooming Awards
So, for our annual grooming awards this year, it felt even more important to get them just right. Testing products while stuck inside with little else to do then slap on a mask and read up on ingredient labels, 2020 did end up bringing on something at least a little great — our best grooming awards to date.
Whether you’re looking for the newest, latest, greatest skin care or the best hair care out there, we scoured all the new launches of the past year to find every shiny silver lining there was to find, at least when it comes to grooming. Hopefully our hard work will bring you happiness as we wrap up one of the most flabbergasting years on record.
What was on our mind while we unpacked, pumped, and primped with all these awesome products?
Packaging: How easy is it to use? How does it hold up over time? Is it recyclable or eco-friendly?
Formula: Is it made from quality ingredients? Is it pleasant to use? Does it do what it claims?
Brand: What does it stand for? Is it BIPOC-, LGBTQ-, or women-owned? Is it a small business?
Look for the following labels when searching through the products for added benefits:
After months and months of meticulously putting thousands of products to the test, we picked only the best, based on the criteria above, our expert advice, and most importantly, our first hand experience.
These pros gave us insight into what they believe to be important in their expertises. Lookout for what they said throughout the awards.
Dr. Matt Nejad, DDS, Cosmetic and Biomimetic Dentist
Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD FAAD, Dermatologist, Researcher, and Laser Surgeon
Vernon Scott, Celebrity Master Barber
Ian Michael Crumm, Hair, Skin, and Makeup Content Creator
Cassandra Bankson, Medical Esthetician, Skincare, Beauty, and Lifestyle Expert
Siqi Mou, CEO and Co-Founder HelloAva
Gloria Fu and Victoria Lu, Co-Founders, Chemist Confessions
The biggest hair trend of 2020? Quarantine hair. We’d guess a lot of men realized the importance of a good conditioner after not being able to get their regularly scheduled haircuts. Another trend of 2020? Stress. When we weren’t pulling our hair out wondering WTF is going on, we were thankful that it was somehow strong enough to withstand such abuse.
Whether this was the year the grays finally set in, the strays finally fell out, or the days ran together so much you couldn’t remember when the last time you washed your hair was, these are our picks for the best hair care products of 2020.
The newest product in the Baxter of California hair lineup is the Deep Clean Shampoo. This sulfate-free shampoo is designed to purify and cleanse both the scalp and hair from dirt, oil, and product build-up, while leaving hair looking and feeling extra clean. With an ingredient list including apple cider vinegar, known to improve scalp health to strengthen hair, and ginseng to promote hair growth, we love the gentle clean that comes as a result of using this twice-a-week shampoo.
$34 at BaxterofCalifornia.com
Apple cider vinegar shampoo gently cleanses and purifies the hair as well as soothes and moisturizes dry, itchy, and flaky scalps. This ACV shampoo is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, silicone — so it’s just as great an option for men with thinning hair as it is for men with color-treated hair. Or both.
$30 at Amazon.com
Dry shampoo can be a perfect addition to any man’s routine. It steps in when you can’t shampoo, and it adds volume and density after you have. This refreshingly cool dry shampoo is just about perfect, thanks to hydrocarbon-free, non-flammable, climate-friendly propellant and its Cradle to Cradle certification.
$11 at BravoSierra.com
Harry’s new line of 2-in-1 anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners are clinically proven to relieve different degrees of scalp symptoms: dry scalp with buildup, mild dandruff, and our pick, stubborn dandruff. With rich sulfate-free lather that leaves your hair feeling clean and soft, the level three is an extra-strength OTC formula for maximum treatment, for guys dealing with the three-shower-a-day kind of dandruff.
$7 at Harrys.com
A moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo that gently cleanses thick and textured hair without stripping it of its natural oils or altering the hair’s natural pattern. A perfect prep-step before heading to the barbershop.
9.95 at Target.com
Protect against thinning hair with this sulfate-free nourishing shampoo that removes build-up and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from the scalp, while cleansing hair of product build-up and pollution. Prepare yourself for thicker, fuller looking hair in no time.
$21 at BosleyMD.com
Nourish and Repair Hair Conditioner is a deep conditioning treatment that adds moisture, repairs damage, and strengthens hair from root, leaving hair soft and shiny and frizz-free.
$11.99 at ScotchPorter.com
With 2020 being what it is, at-home hair color got an unexpected surge in popularity. So it makes sense that we were looking hard to find the best there is. Colorsmith’s made-to-order, salon-grade hair color is individually crafted and each order comes with custom color (duh) with comb and application brush, easy-to-follow instructions, professional developer, two pairs of non-latex gloves, shampoo and conditioner, stain guard and stain remover, and maybe most importantly, access to a licensed colorist for help every step of the way.
From $23.95 at Colorsmith.co
This hair regrowth treatment contains the best ingredient to regrow hair — 5% minoxidil — in an easy-to use dropper. It shows up, and each bottle lasts a month. It’s a no brainer.
29.99 at Amazon.com
If you’re going to go with gel, you might as well go with a brand backed by the guy who knows it best — Pauly D. The water resistant-hair glue can be used multiple ways and delivers hold so strong (it’s wind-tunnel tested) your style will last until your next shampoo, rain or shine.
$15.99 at Amazon.com
This is a serious rinse-out treatment that conditions, softens, and supports natural curl pattern, while reducing frizz and strengthening damaged and color-treated hair. All this in a weightless delivery — pretty stellar for your next curl treatment.
$36 at EvoHair.com
Matte Texture Powder is a weightless, texturizing powder that adds volume, thickness, and density to hair and is suitable for all hair types — all you have to do is tap out a bit of this powder along your scalp before styling. You’ll get extra texture with a weightless feel, and you can add more throughout the day, no problem.
$18 at Reuzel.com
This new Head & Shoulders Shaping Pomade delivers a medium hold, leaving a matte finish and re-shapeable style that last throughout the day all while delivering scalp benefits with zinc pyrithione.
$9.99 at Amazon.com
If you are looking to carry your salty, beachy hair through the year, this vegan spray provides texture and long-lasting summer-inspired styles anytime of year.
$28 at Amazon.com
This multipurpose oil-based butter nourishes, hydrates, softens, and adds shine to beards, hair, and scalp. Loaded with rich shea butter, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil, it is perfect for taking hair from dry and brittle to soft and supple.
$8.50 at Amazon.com
This waves pomade helps create seemingly endless wave styles, providing lightweight hold for all day everyday styling, while leaving hair soft and conditioned.
$6.99 at Target.com
This water soluble pomade molds and controls hair during styling and stays put long after thanks to its workable, medium to strong hold that is flexible enough to work with before your style sets. If the wet look is what you’re going for, you found your new go-to.
$15 at OriginalCopy.com
ghd’s Helios Professional Hair Dryer features patented filter design and aeroprecis technology that combines internal aerodynamic design with a contoured nozzle to deliver a concentrated temperature and airflow distribution, which gives you even more speed and precise control, a; while keeping hair healthy and not overheated.
$249 at Amazon.com
SEE ALL OUR 2020 GROOMING AWARDS WINNERS: