Updated: December 13, 2020
By Derek Martin
Are you sick of the same old feminine or gender neutral scented shampoos? If your answer is a resounding, yes! Then I give you this list of best smelling shampoos designed specifically for guys like us.
Each one is formulated to cater to the discerning nose of a man. They’re rugged, masculine, tough, fresh, and most importantly, they smell frigging awesome.
Since every man has his own unique tastes and preferences, each one of these great smelling shampoos is hand selected based on personal experience, and thousands of genuine user reviews from guys just like you and me. That many noses can’t be wrong, right?
So if you’re looking for the best smelling men’s shampoo, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and brace your nose hairs for impact. Enjoy.
- Floyd’s 99 Classic Shampoo
- Baxter of California Daily Fortifying Shampoo
- V76 by Vaughn Hydrating Shampoo
- Kick Active Shampoo
- Tame the Beast Eucalyptus Shampoo
- Blackwood For Men Hydroblast Shampoo
- Mitch – Heavy Hitter
7 Best Smelling Shampoos for Men Reviewed
Floyd’s 99 Classic Shampoo
They say that scent has the strongest tie to memory, and I’d say that I absolutely agree. Something about the look, feel and smell of Floyd’s 99 grooming products reminds me of old school barbershops. The one’s with the striped poles, big comfortable man sized chairs, and an old guy wielding a pair of razor sharp scissors. While those types of male-exclusive retreats are getting harder to come by, I take a bit of solace in the fact that we have products like this Floyd’s Classic Shampoo to remind us of those dying days. Nostalgia aside, the smell of this male specific shampoo takes manliness to another level. Scented with Floyd’s exclusive fragrance; black walnut and cedar, this shampoo punches you in the nose like a heavyweight boxer on steroids. But don’t worry, it feels much better than it sounds.
What else is great about Floyd’s 99 Classic Shampoo?
• The scent lasts
I get it, you guys want a shampoo that not only smells great in the shower, but has some staying power throughout the day as well, right? That’s one of the main reasons why Floyd’s 99 Classic shampoo is here on this list. Not only does the black walnut and cedar scent smell awesome during those early morning showers, but the fragrance clings to hair and keeps you smelling like a real man all-day.
• Big lather
One of the first things you’ll notice about Floyd’s 99 Classic Shampoo, aside from the awesome smell, is the thick, rich lather that it produces in your hair. Only a quarter size dab is more than enough to work into a big, frothy lather that removes dirt, product buildup, and grime.
• A little goes a long way
This isn’t the cheapest bottle of men’s shampoo in the world, but for the price, the 33 ounce bottle is absolutely massive, and you don’t need a lot of it to get the job done. My point is: a bottle of this stuff lasts.
• It moisturizes
It’s obviously important for shampoo to do a good job of cleansing the hair, but it’s not so great if it strips hair of essential oils and nutrients along with the dirt and grime. One of the great things about this Floyd’s 99 shampoo is it’s ability to cleanse the hair and scalp, while leaving your hair’s essential oils and nutrients intact. It’s also Formulated with moisturizing moringa oil and jojoba oil to leave hair shiny, nourished, and hydrated.
• Safe ingredients
You know all those shampoo ingredients that we are told to avoid, – Parabens, sulfates, DEA, formaldehyde – well Floyd’s 99 classic shampoo contains none of them. It’s formulated using safe ingredients that leave hair feeling clean, hydrated, moisturized, and of course smelling good.
Baxter of California – Daily Fortifying Shampoo
Featuring a minty fresh scent, this Baxter of California Daily Fortifying shampoo not only smells great, it also strengthens, nourishes, and hydrates hair, and leaves your scalp with a refreshingly cool tingle. Known for their premium men’s grooming products, Baxter of California is one of my favorite brands when it comes to quality and effectiveness, and the fresh masculine scent of their products never disappoints.
What else is great about Baxter of California Daily Fortifying shampoo?
• It strengthens and thickens hair
You shouldn’t just be asking yourself what men’s shampoo smells the best; how it performs is just as important. One of the great things about this Daily Fortifying shampoo is that it strengthens and thickens hair thanks to hydrolyzed wheat protein. While you won’t find hydrolyzed wheat protein in your every day bottle of shampoo, this nutrient rich extract originates from wheat germ, and provides a shit ton of benefits for the hair, including:
- Strength – Hydrolyzed wheat protein penetrates deep into the hair shaft and provides strength and support to hair’s internal structure. It also provides hair with a massive increase in moisture. This in turn increases hair elasticity and makes it far less likely to break.
- Thickness – As each individual strand of hair sucks up hydrolyzed wheat protein like a straw, they become swollen and engorged. This naturally gives hair a thicker, fuller appearance, making it a great option for guys with thin or thinning hair.
- Protection – As if hydrolyzed wheat protein didn’t already do enough for your hair, it also causes hair to form an invisible film that protects each strand of hair from damage. As a bonus, this protective film barrier adds a nice healthy shine.
• Improves scalp health
Just because your hair smells awesome and looks great doesn’t mean you should ignore your scalp. This Daily Fortifying shampoo is formulated to not only improve the look and feel of your hair, but it also prioritizes the strength and health of your scalp as well. Key ingredients include:
- Vitamin E – Did you know that poor scalp health has been linked to poor hair health? Vitamin E is added to this Daily Fortifying shampoo due to it’s ability to improve scalp health by reducing oxidative stress and to help preserve hairs natural protective lipid layer. As it turns out, happy scalp = happy hair.
- Salicylic acid – While salicylic acid is commonly found in acne treatments, it also offers a few benefits for our scalps as well. Regular use of salicylic acid containing shampoo causes the scalp to shed it’s top layer of dead skin cells, revealing the softer, healthier skin underneath.
• The scent lasts
Yeah this shampoo smells great in the shower, but how long does it last once you’re all dried off and going about your day? The answer? All day. As it turns out, guys want a shampoo that not only smells awesome in the confines of the shower, but they want the scent to last throughout the day as well. Baxter of California Daily Fortifying shampoo offers some serious staying power, and provides a minty fresh scent that lingers from morning shower to morning shower.
• A little goes a long way
This isn’t exactly the cheapest men’s shampoo in the world, that’s why I’m glad to say a little bit of this stuff goes a long way. I have longer hair than your average male, and I find that I really only need about a quarter sized amount of it to get the job done. It lathers nicely, and works through the hair quickly and easily. Hair is left feeling clean, hydrated, and smelling great.
• Looks cool
While this has nothing to do with the quality of the shampoo or how good it smells, one of the things I always like about Baxter of California products is how good they look in the bathroom. Their trademark blue bottles and minimalist label add a touch of masculinity, quality, maturity, and a sense of good taste to any space.
V76 by Vaughn – Hydrating Shampoo
For a unique and masculine smelling shampoo, this Hydrating Shampoo from V76 by Vaughn is truly one of a kind in my opinion. Featuring a “blue cedar fragrance” that I can best describe as smelling woodsy, leathery, cedar-y, and downright masculine as hell. It’s one of those scents that requires first hand experience to truly appreciate. Aside from it’s great scent, this Hydrating Shampoo is full of moisturizing, healing, and hair strengthening ingredients that are designed to leave your hair looking as good as it smells.
What else is great about V76 by Vaughn Hydrating Shampoo?
• Long lasting scent
What’s the point of a great smelling shampoo if the scent doesn’t last long enough for anyone but your shower curtain to smell it? One of the things I really like about V76 by Vaughn shampoo is how the awesome fragrance clings to hair, and gives you, and anyone around you the pleasure of smelling it’s great scent all day.
• Promotes healthy hair and scalp
Besides being an awesome smelling shampoo, V76 by Vaughn is full of beneficial ingredients that improve the look, feel, and health of hair and scalp, including:
- Sage leaf extract – This aromatic herb is part of the mint family and is full of antioxidants that reduce scalp inflammation, rejuvenate healthy skin, and promote the growth of healthy hair.
- Almond butter – Almond butter is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is believed to help promote hair health and improve growth. It’s also a natural moisturizer that hydrates hair and scalp, and strengthens hair by increasing elasticity, making it less susceptible to breakage and split ends.
- Chamomile – This powerful herd is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial that reduces scalp inflammation and irritation. It’s also commonly used to treat dry skin and scalp due to it’s effective healing properties.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that is known for it’s ability to maintain the growth of healthy hair. It also helps preserve the hairs protective lipid layer which is responsible for hairs healthy shine.
• A little goes a long way
If you’re anything like me, you want to feel like you’re getting what you pay for. I don’t mind spending more money on a premium product, but if I’m spending more money, I naturally expect more in return. V76 by Vaughn is one of those premium men’s shampoos that costs more than average, but the results are worth the investment in my opinion. Not only does a little bit of this shampoo go a long way (you don’t need much), it leaves hair feeling noticeably healthier with regular use, and it has an awesomely unique fragrance that you won’t find anywhere else. Certainly not in the grocery store aisle.
KICK – Active Shampoo
Featuring peppermint and tea tree oil, the scent of Kick Active shampoo offers men the perfect balance of masculinity, freshness, and cleanliness. Thanks to peppermint oil and menthol, Active shampoo not only smells awesome, it leaves your scalp feeling clean, energized, refreshed, and invigorated. Aside from the great fragrance, Kick Active shampoo excels at everything you would expect from a premium shampoo. Designed to promote hair growth, thicken, strengthen, hydrate, and even eliminate dandruff, Kick Active is the do-it-all shampoo with a pretty awesome scent to boot.
What else is great about KICK Active shampoo?
• It tingles
Aside from the great minty fresh fragrance, the first thing you’ll notice about KICK Active shampoo is the menthol and peppermint powered tingle that it unleashes on your scalp. It feels refreshing, invigorating, and provides a nice little wake me up during those early morning showers.
• Promotes hair re-growth/fights hair loss
Yes, this shampoo smells great, but that’s certainly not the only thing that it’s great at. KICK Active shampoo is designed specifically for men, and therefore targets one of the most common conditions that men suffer from: hair loss. While not every guy loses his hair, the fact is, it’s pretty damn close. It’s estimated that up to 85% of men have noticeably thinner hair by the age of 50. Yes, it does suck. The good news is KICK Active shampoo is formulated with 11 natural herbs that strengthen hair follicles, increase blood circulation to the scalp, and even help reactivate inactive follicles to promote new hair growth. What’s inside:
- Rosemary – A great natural herb that is known to improve hair thickness and growth when applied to the scalp. Studies have shown that rosemary oil performed as well as the common hair loss treatment minoxidil when applied to the scalp, but without the unpleasant side effects.
- Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil is known for causing a slight tingling sensation when applied to the skin, and the reason for this is because it’s stimulating blood flow to the area. Blood flow is important because it delivers oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles that are vital for hair growth.
- Lavender – Lavender is another natural ingredient found in KICK Active shampoo that is known for it’s hair follicle stimulation. A 2016 study found that lavender oil increased hair growth and density when applied to the skin of mice.
• Great for dandruff
While not every guy suffers from dandruff, the potential for experiencing dry, itchy, flakey scalp increases as we get older. KICK Active shampoo is formulated with tea tree oil, aloe vera, lavender, and peppermint oil to relieve dry scalp, and eliminate dandruff. Dandruff sufferers have reported that regular use of KICK Active shampoo resulted in significant improvement or eliminated the problem entirely. Powerful stuff.
• Big time lather
If you have ever used a shampoo that doesn’t lather very well, you know how annoying it can be. A great lather not only better cuts through dirt, oil, and grime, it also helps prolong the life of the bottle of shampoo since less is needed per use. One of the great things about KICK Active is that it quickly and easily works into a thick, rich lather that makes getting hair clean a breeze.
• It’s guaranteed
You don’t see this very often with shampoo, but KICK Active is confident enough in their product that they actually offer a lifetime money back guarantee on it. I’m not sure how many guys take them up on that offer, but based on my research I determined that it can’t be many. The results and user reviews speak for themselves.
Tame the Beast – Eucalyptus Shampoo
For a seriously fresh smelling shampoo, don’t bother looking any further than Tame the Beast Eucalyptus Shampoo for men. Featuring peppermint, green tea, ginseng, and of course eucalyptus, this shampoo has a truly invigorating fragrance that leaves hair smelling masculine, clean, or what I would simply describe as: fresh as hell. While the scent will leave your nose doing the happy dance; the tingle inducing ingredients will leave your scalp doing an Irish jig. Menthol, caffeine, and peppermint oil combine to provide a refreshingly cool tingle that feels about as good as this stuff smells.
What else is great about Tame the Beast Eucalyptus shampoo?
Aside from smelling really good, Tame the Beast shampoo leaves your scalp feeling invigorated and refreshed. Green tea, peppermint oil, and menthol powers combine to provide the scalp with blast of tingly excitement that helps liven you up during those half asleep, early morning showers.
Tame the Beast Eucalyptus shampoo smells awesome and it provides the scalp with a refreshingly cool tingling sensation, but that’s not all this men’s shampoo is great at. Tame the Beast formulated their shampoo with a shit ton of natural DHT blocking ingredients. DHT is an androgen that’s believed to be the main cause of male pattern baldness. Using a shampoo that has anti-DHT elements has been shown to slow or even prevent the effects of hair loss in men.
• Big lather
Aside from the scent, one of the first things I look for in a shampoo is how well it lathers. While this may seem insignificant, it’s actually pretty important for 2 reasons:
- More efficient – Shampoo that works into a thick lather does a better job of breaking down oil, dirt, and grime, effectively speeding up the shampooing process.
- Less is needed – When you have a shampoo that works into a thick, rich lather, less is needed to get the job done. Not only does this prolong the life of your bottle of shampoo, but it saves you money in the long run. Win-win I suppose.
• Softens hair
With most shampoos you need to use a conditioner to give your hair that smooth, soft feeling. As it turns out, this Tame the Beast Eucalyptus shampoo isn’t exactly like other shampoos. It leaves hair feeling silky, soft, smooth, hydrated, healthy, and smelling great.
• Free of harmful ingredients
I’m sure you guys heard the phrase, “free of parabens and sulfates” before. The fact is, these and many other ingredients are potentially harmful and should be avoided in our grooming products. Tame the Beast shampoo is free of all parabens, sulfates, phthalates, paraffin, and petrolatum. It’s even gluten free for people with Celiac disease.
Blackwood for Men – Hydroblast
If you call yourself a real man, isn’t it about time you started using a shampoo that’ll leave your hair smelling like one? Blackwood Hydroblast shampoo for men is the epitome of a man’s man shampoo. It smells masculine, fresh, clean, and downright tough as hell. It laughs in the face of flowery smelling shampoos, and bullies shampoos that are gender neutral. Infused with all-natural ingredients including: honey, shea butter, and coconut oil to leave hair feeling clean, hydrated, and smooth.
What else is great about Blackwood for Men Hydroblast shampoo?
• Long lasting scent
What’s the point of a great smelling shampoo if the fragrance winds up washing down the drain anyway? One of the things I really like about Blackwood for Men Hydroblast is the long lasting masculine scent. Not only does it smell great in the shower, but expect the fresh, rugged scent to stay with you all day and night. Good thing it smells so good.
• A little goes a long way
Blackwood for Men products aren’t cheap, and this Hydroblast shampoo is unfortunately no exception. The good news is that only a little is needed to get the job done. Just a small quarter sized dab lathers up quickly and easily, and does it’s job without requiring a second helping. This not only prolongs the life of the bottle, but it’s another example of getting what you pay for.
As the name suggests, this Blackwood for Men Hydroblast shampoo is full of moisturizing ingredients that leave hair feeling soft, smooth, and hydrated. It’s a great option for men with dry, brittle hair, and even helps restore moisture and hydration to the scalp.
Mitch – Heavy Hitter
I’m still trying to figure out if Mitch calls this shampoo “Heavy Hitter” because of how the awesome smell hits you right in the nose, or because of how it kicks the shit out of dirt, oil, and grime. Either way, the name is quite fitting. Created by Paul Mitchell Systems, Mitch is a premium line of haircare products designed specifically for men. While I’ve been a longtime fan of the Mitch line of hair styling products, I only recently got turned on to their line of shampoos and conditioners. I gotta say, they certainly don’t disappoint. While the performance of this Heavy Hitter shampoo is exactly what I’d expect from a Paul Mitchell product, the great smell was somewhat of a pleasant surprise. Featuring a unique blend of cedar and agave, this shampoo smells fresh, clean, warm, earthy, slightly sweet, exotic, and extremely inviting. It’s certainly worth a whiff.
What else is great about Mitch Heavy Hitter shampoo?
• Deep clean
There are a lot of shampoos out there that claim to offer a deep clean, but rarely do they deliver. Mitch Heavy Hitter on the other hand has no trouble blasting through product buildup like clays, pomades, and gels (even the difficult to wash out kind), and leaves hair feeling fresh and clean, without stripping it of essential oils and nutrients.
• Rich lather
Part of the reason why Heavy Hitter provides such a deep clean is because it lathers so well. Unlike many other shampoos that I’ve used in the past, Heavy Hitter’s rich lather doesn’t break down when it comes in contact with oil and hair styling products.
• Suitable for daily use
While I personally don’t wash my hair everyday, Mitch Heavy Hitter is formulated to be safe and gentle for everyday use. That’s because it’s free of harmful ingredients like parabens and sulfates, and it doesn’t strip the hair and scalp of essential oils and nutrients.
3 Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid
Did you know that the grooming products you put on your skin, hair, and body are capable of absorbing into your blood stream and organs?
Sometimes we as consumers forget the fact that there are many common chemicals used in our shampoos and skincare products that are downright toxic to our bodies.
While it’s easy to get hung up on the scent of a shampoo, or the efficacy of a hair conditioner, we sometimes forget to verify if the ingredients used to make it are actually safe to use.
Below is a list of the most common ingredients found in shampoos that we as consumers should avoid:
I’m sure you’ve seen the words “sulfate-free” on countless grooming products, but chances are you have no idea what sulfates actually are and why it’s best we should avoid them.
Sulfates are powerful detergents that were first introduced as an ingredient in shampoos in the 1930’s. Sulfate containing shampoos quickly revolutionized the beauty industry since they were far superior to their sulfate-less predecessors in terms of efficacy.
Sulfates help get our hair and bodies clean by clinging to dirt, oil, and grime and rinsing it down the drain. While this sounds like a good thing, research has concluded that sulfates are actually too good at what they do, which actually has a negative impact on the health of our skin and hair.
Some of the negative effects of using sulfate containing shampoos:
- They strip the hair of essential oils, proteins, and peptides leaving hair vulnerable to damage and breakage.
- They lift the protective outer layer of the hair called the cuticle, leaving the cortex of the hair shaft exposed to moisture and air damage. This results in frizz, and dry, brittle hair that is prone to split ends and breakage.
- They strip the scalp of natural lipids, allowing chemicals from hair products to permeate the skin. This results in scalp irritation and inflammation.
Sulfate names to watch out for:
Sodium Laureth, Myreth, Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Ammonium
Parabens have been around since the 1950’s and their primary function is to act as a preservative that dramatically increases the shelf life of our shampoos and skincare products.
Again this doesn’t sound like a negative thing, but studies have shown that parabens are fully capable of penetrating the skin and residing within our soft tissue. A 2004 study found traces of parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 participants studied. While this doesn’t prove that parabens can officially cause cancer, they have been shown to increase the growth of cancer cells.
Humans aren’t the only ones at risk from paraben use. They also have a direct impact on the environment and marine life. Scientific studies have shown that traces of parabens have been found in the bodies of marine mammals. It’s believed that paraben containing products that get washed down sinks and drains are making their way into the environment and water systems.
Paraben names to watch out for:
Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that is probably best known as a chemical used for embalming and preserving corpses. But did you know manufacturers have also used it in some grooming products as a preservative? It’s also important to note that it can be released over time through a chemical process from other preservatives as well. So while the back of your shampoo bottle probably won’t name formaldehyde in the ingredient list, it doesn’t mean it’s not in there.
Formaldehyde names to watch out for:
Quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin, 3-diol Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methanal, Methylene Oxide, Methyl Aldehyde, Formalin, Nitorpropane-1
How to Shampoo the Right Way
Now that you have your best smelling men’s shampoo of choice in hand it’s time to slather that stuff on your scalp and see what it can do, right?
Not so fast.
While shampooing hair isn’t exactly rocket science, there are some do’s and don’ts to washing hair that can help you get the most out of that great smelling bottle of shampoo.
• Rinse thoroughly
Before you apply shampoo, it’s important to make sure you rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly with warm water. Avoid using water that’s too hot as this has a tendency to strip the hair and scalp of essential oils and nutrients.
• Start small
Once your hair and scalp are thoroughly wetted, grab the bottle of shampoo and squeeze about a quarter sized amount into the palm of your hand and apply to scalp. I recommend starting with less shampoo than you think you need. You can always add more if needed.
• Massage into hair and scalp
Throughly massage the shampoo into your hair with the tips of your fingers using a small circular motion. Don’t forget to thoroughly work the shampoo into your scalp to eliminate excess oil, dry skin and flakes. Depending on your hair’s thickness and length, it’s recommended to shampoo for about 1-3 minutes.
Once your hair and scalp are thoroughly cleansed, it’s time to thoroughly rinse the shampoo from your head. As I mentioned earlier, avoid using hot water for this step as it can lead to dry hair and scalp.
Thanks for checking out my list of best smelling shampoos for men. If you found this list helpful, I also recommend checking out my list of best smelling body washes for men. As always, If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or recommendations, feel free to drop me a line in the comment section below.