I recently received samples of the Axe men's hair care line. After using the products for a week (on myself and my clients), it's time to report what I found. I'll admit prior to using the product, I was biased. As a middle-aged man, I found the Axe marketing campaign to be pretty cheesy, and I wanted to hate the product. Naturally, I realize I'm not their target client (Axe are going after the late teen/early 20's set), so I set out to keep an open mind and judge the product based on its performance, and not to allow my feelings about the marketing cloud my judgment.
- Cheap compared to salon brands.
- Solid performance from the products I tested.
- All products had okay fragrances.
- Easy to understand usage instructions.
- Graphics make it easy to select the right styling product for your style.
- Packaging is hideous and excessive.
- Fragrance can be way too strong.
- Contains excessive and unnecessary artificial coloring.
- Awful marketing.
- Axe Downpour Refreshing Mint Shampoo - contains mint leave extract and feels cool on the scalp.
- Axe Charged Spiked-Up Look Putty - deceptively named cream that gives strong hold and spiky texture.
- Axe Whatever Messy Look Paste - provides that "bed head" texture with low shine and a strong hold.
- Axe Sleek Smooth & Sophisticated Look Shine Pomade - provides variable hold and high shine for more formal styles.
- Axe Refined Clean Cut Look Pomade - a lower shine pomade provides control and a more natural finish.
A Review of the Axe Hair Line of Styling Products
During my testing, I found that most of the products performed quite well and all were cheaper than similar salon brands. While there is a bit of disagreement about whether salon brands are better than supermarket brands, for the average man who doesn't need special hair care or scalp care, these products should do the trick.
While Axe offers about ten different shampoos, I had the opportunity to try the two newest: Axe Downpour Refreshing Mint Shampoo, and Axe Heat Igniting Citrus 2 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner. I found that both products cleaned well and rinsed away easily, leaving my hair feeling clean and soft. The Heat 2 in 1 shampoo was surprisingly good, and it had a nice warming effect, but it's probably not the best option if you have oily hair. The ingredient list is quite similar amongst all of their basic shampoos, so pick the one that smells best.
My biggest gripe about the shampoos is the excessive use of artificial colors. Each of the shampoos was an unnecessarily bright, sparkly color. I'm not a person who believes everything has to be all-natural, but I do appreciate products that are stripped of unnecessary packaging and ingredients.
The Styling Products
Of the five products I tested, all performed surprisingly well. I actually expected less from a supermarket brand, but I was pleasantly surprised. My favorite, Axe Whatever Messy Look Paste, is one that I'll hold onto. For me, it provided great control and texture and a little bit of shine—perfect for my dull, fine hair. The two Pomades—Axe Refined Clean Cut Look Pomade and Axe Sleek Smooth & Sophisticated Look Shine—performed well and were easy to work with. Both gave similar hold, but the Clean Cut Pomade gave a more natural finish, and less of a wet look. Axe Charged Spiked-Up Look Putty isn't so much a putty as it is a cream, but it gave a nice hold and texture for more aggressive styles. Axe Laid Back Shaggy Look Cream offers a much lighter hold, and adds separation and texture for longer shagged out styles.
All five of the styling products performed well and lasted all day, but I had a few major complaints. Each product seemed to be aggressively fragranced, and will clash if you wear cologne. The packaging was excessive for the styling products—the outer package looks twice as large as the product inside. Not sure if the folks at Axe are trying to make you think you're getting more product, but we don't need that in our landfills.