Gel or wax? That used to be a standard question in hair salons but today it's easy to get lost in the quagmire of terms that are applied to hair styling products.
'Styling Cream', 'Matt Paste' or even 'Jelly Gel' compete with each other for the favour of the customer who wants to get his hair just right.
Right now the hot favourites on the market are new products that combine the best of both wax and gel.
They give hair body while remaining flexible at the same time a godsend especially for men with short hair.
"In the past we had a couple of tubes or pots with either gel or wax," says Kai-Uwe Dalichow of the Berlin Hairdressers' Association. "Today, you can have both mixed together giving you shine and hold while remaining soft at the same time."
The new products are very useful when it comes to trendy, spiky hairstyles that are very popular at the moment.
It's mainly younger men that are using styling pastes, according to the hair product maker Wella.
In principle, the new pastes are suitable for all hairstyles women included, says Marga Abromeit, hairdressing World Champion. Long hair can also be styled with the pastes, which are good at accentuating layers.
The pastes tend to be made up of either more gel or more wax depending on the desired style of hair. In most cases the name is misleading. Experts advise customers to look closely at the label.
Wella makes a paste that promises to deliver a "structure that stays shapeable" and is called "Messy Matte Paste Evokatif Disobedient" and belongs to the Sebastian series of hair care products.
The other large companies also produce pastes that make it easy to re-shape hair to achieve the desired form.
Schwarzkopf makes a series of products in the "Got2b" range that promise "flexible stability." Its styling gel "Rubber Cement Glued Jelly" claims to live up to its name and be as flexible as rubber.
L'Oreal's brand "Studio Line Indestructible Gel" delivers "extreme fixing" while remaining "elastically resistant."
No matter whether you put on a pullover or wear a hat, the hair "springs back into the styled shape," according to the packaging.
Despite the plethora of products styling has not become any easier than it used to be. "Most people use way too much," says Dalichow.
The best thing to do is experiment and find out how much paste is suitable for your own hair, according to Abromeit.
Rub the paste between the palms of your hands and then work it into the hair from the inside to the outside.
"Body and hold come from the roots," explains Dalichow.
The new pastes open up a world for men with fine hair because neither gel nor wax has served them well in the past.
Wax is best suited to strong, thick hair because it doesn?t need much support but it does need shine, says Dalichow.
Gel also fails men with thin hair. "Their gelled hair just crumples. They just look as if they have wet hair even though what they want is to accentuate what they have."