When it comes to pomade, all men want to know is how strong the hold is. Fellas, we ‘re here to tell you to forget everything you thought you knew about pomade.
Prepare to have you mind…BLOWN!
Because “hold” doesn’t mean jack, not by itself. Pomade, and hair product in general can give you so much more, if you really know what you’re looking for.
We know, George, but just trust us. We’ll steer you straight.
You have to admit, Draco Malfoy did have GREAT hair
So let’s talk about hold. Hold, to us, means ability to stay put, through the stick and/or firmness of the product, but that hold doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Hold will vary through wet/dry application, use of pre-styling with a blowdryer, as well as your hair type and style. It’s all in the technique.
Did you know that in water-based pomades, applying to damp hair will cut out 2/3 of the hold of the product? Think about it – water based, add water, watered down, less hold. Dry it out with a blow dryer and style it into place before applying product, and even lighter holds will last all day long.
If there’s one thing that Dr. Evil knows all about, it’s hair styling products
Weight, on the other hand, refers to the heaviness of the product. If you want a big tall pompadour or just have finer hair, hold is great, but if you choose a heavy hold, heavy weight product, your hair is not going to operate as intended.
Heavier weight is wonderful for compacting in thick, dense hair, giving you the look and feel you want without needing a ton of hold. Your hair is the hold. Lighter weight lets you build volume, and combined with lighter hold can give you some wonderful texture and movement in your hair. It’s not always supposed to be shellacked.
When Ned Stark is right, he’s right
The last major consideration in hair products is shine. Pomade, by its nature, has a sheen to it, but they certainly don’t all have a high shine finish. Shine also does not operate in a vacuum. The more emollient ingredients (softening oils and butters) that add shine to a product also decrease the hold.
To demonstrate the point we included Shiner Gold Clay in this roundup. Matte products like this naturally help build volume and make hair behave like thicker hair. More shine, on the other hand, gives texture and reduces the volume in the hair.
With so many pomades out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Well, we can help you with that in the shop, but this primer on our current stock of pomades will help you understand why certain ingredients do what, and you can make more informed product choices across the board.
Reuzel / Heavy Hold Grease
Made of jelly-like petrolatum and waxes, this pomade contains very little liquid oil. It is an incredibly old fashioned product meant to be worn in the hair for days on end, scrubbed through with water in the shower and simply recombed. Over the days, the pomade combines with your scalp’s natural oils to make your hair buttery and cooperative as hell.
Great for slick, well combed styles on hair where the aim is to rein it in as opposed to getting more volume and height. Especially nice for that super silky medium thickness (individual hair that has a ton of density and feels like a massive uncooperative mop). This will tame it.
Reuzel / Grease
Made much like the Heavy Hold Grease, but with the addition of more soft oils, like supremely nourishing emu oil (especially for the scalp, and often neglected area for dense hair-havers), this is a true medium pomade for buttering up thick/heavy/dense hair. It also works well for thick curly hair. Very Elvis-y.
Prospectors / Crude Oil Pomade
This one contains petrolatum, waxes and hemp oil (full of wonderful nutrients for healthy hair and skin, including loads of fatty acids), making it a bit softer and more nourishing than the Reuzel Heavy Hold Grease. It is also a little on the greasier side compared to the buttery Reuzel Grease or the waxy Heavy Hold Grease.
Reuzel / Pomade
This is an often misunderstood pomade. It doesn’t have the strongest hold, but this stuff is so light in weight it nearly defies gravity. If you want some tall hair, this is the one.
Beware, you will need to thoroughly pre-style with a blow dryer, because this pomade will not shape your hair. It will lock it where it already is. So if you have stuff sticking up on your head uncontrolled, now it’s just going to be glued there.
Prospectors / Gold Rush Pomade
This is one of our favorite pomades on the shelf. Although it is water-based, it is made with hemp oil, so you get the nourishing benefits of oil, but it’s a fast absorbing one, so the pomade rinses out clean with water, and leaves you hair feeling healthier too.
This is a pomade with a higher water content, so it has the ability to shape hair more like an oil-based product. It shows off wavy textures beautifully, and combs through like a dream. We like to think this one would make Elvis proud and groom his loosey goosey pomp in the way to which he was accustomed.
Prospectors / Iron Ore Pomade
Just like the Gold Rush but less water, so a little stronger. That is all.
Shiner Gold / Classic Pomade
A bit heavier than the Reuzel Pomade, this is a great intro product that works well on most hair. And for the price, you can’t beat it.
Shiner Gold / Psycho Hold Pomade
If the standard idea of hold is paramount to you, this one will do the trick. We have seen it comb waves out of brillo pad thick hair, and it holds strong, as long as hair is dry when you apply it. This water-based pomade has comparably little water in it compared to its Classic Shiner counterpart, so you end up with a stronger hold.
It is best used for obscenely thick and hard to control hair. An oil based pomade like the Reuzel Heavy Hold Grease would do the trick as well, but if easy and frequent shampooing is important to you, this is a great choice.
Shiner Gold / Clay
This is the one exception to the pomade rules (not being a pomade at all) that proves the rules. A good part of its hold is due to its low shine, bulking up hair and giving it a bit of stick-to-itselfness. But it is also incredibly light weight, adds texture, and gets cowlicks to behave.
If you use it right. Do not try to comb this one through all side part style, that’s not what this is for. You end up looking a dusty old man. Instead spread it all over your hands, touch your hair lightly all over until you hair picks the product up, instead of rubbing it on, then shake out and style with your fingertips.
Low shine products like this are the best friend of thin, fine, flat, straight, silky hair. If you have a thick head of Lego man hair, a matte product like this going to be like your Kragle (if you haven’t seen the Lego Movie yet, you will not get that reference, and there is no help for you).
Well, there you have it, a definitive, no-muss no fuss guide to not only the pomades we offer in shop, but the application, styling technique and scientific attributes of pomades in general. Think of this as your Hitchiker’s Guide to Better Hair. Remember…
Keep your head clear of any pesky misconceived ideas when it comes to styling. Let us put them there! Plus fix up the hair on your head.
There’s a whole world of hair styling products out there, and it can get confusing, especially if you’re coming from the world of simple gels and pastes. While they may seem intimidating, pomades can help to give you a super-sharp, stylized look with ease.
And we do, good sir. We certainly do.