When you come to a certain age you either have hair or you don’t, and if you don’t your options are few. If you do have hair you can either style it or not, and if you decide to go freestyle then this post is not for you. In this post I’ll be taking a look at the 5 different types om pomade, or styling gel if you like, that I have on my shelf.
I’m sure no one is in any doubt about the function of the styling products, though I have long wondered what the person I saw way back sporting a world class combover what using. It wasn’t a traditional sidecomb variant either, he gathered the hair from right at the back and brought it forward, in one dark, shiny, immovable piece.
All I could think while standing behind him, observing, probably gaping, was that it looked like he had a beavers tail cunningly draped over his head. Memorable.
Not to lose the plot entirely though, let’s crack on. The selection I’ll be presenting here covers a few different varieties of consistency and application. I can tell you right now there is no one type to fix all, but I should be able to steer you at least some way towards what might work for you.
I’ll start out at the traditional end of things and try to maintain a sticky narrative. Oh, I almost forgot, maybe I should say a few brief words about my techniques and tools when it comes to styling my hair? I apply product to my damp hair, and then use a comb to put the hair into it’s place. Job done. Life is too short to spend time blow-drying and all that malarkey.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Hair wax for gentlemen
This is traditional stuff from a long-standing supplier. It feels quite like vaseline and has a distinct and rather pleasing smell of vanilla. The vanilla is only in the form of perfume, but the primary ingredient is indeed vaseline. Not water soluble then, but it claims to be free of parabens, which is a good thing.
Application is easy, it spreads well in the hands. Not so good when trying to wash it off your hands though, as you might expect given you have covered your hands in petroleum-based vaseline. It does give a glossy finish to the hair, but the actual hold is quite lacking, so the styling capabilities are quite poor. On par with having pretty greasy hair really. It smells nice though.
2. Layrite Supershine
Layrite is a US barber supply company that supplies to a lot of barbershops. Evidently developed with input form barbers it should be very good. Initial impression is that it has a consistency almost like toffee, and a colour that makes you want to taste it. The list of ingredients is long, though I found nothing I recognised as objectionable.
In use this product becomes super sticky when rubbed in the palms of your hands. So sticky that you wonder if you’ll be able to transfer it to your hair. It does though, and this “medium hold” variant does what the tin says. It won’t hold up the highest of pompadours (Layrite do supply stronger holds), but for a regular style it works fine. It lives up to it’s promise of being very shiny! Being water soluble it washes off the hands with little effort.
3. Imperial Gel pomade
To me this is a strange one. Whenever I use it I’m taken right back to the 80’s and the “extreme hold” types of gel that were in vogue then. It has that exact same feel and smell. And to be honest, it works exactly the same as well. This is my go to product when I know I’ll be wearing a hat and want my style to keep. I’m sure this could be used to fashion a perfectly rigid beaver tail as well.
Water based, so easy to wash off your hands after application. Easy to comb into your hair, but also easy to over-apply, so be careful to not overdo it. A little water on a comb lets you reset it if necessary, though once it dries it holds. Like glue. Yet still washes out as easily as that. I don’t get a “pomage feeling” from it though. Again a long list of ingredients, and nothing that lights up as a problem. It’s even gluten free.
4. Railcar Supreme Hold Pomade
Railcar is mainly known for it’s line in fine denim, though denim and pomade use tend to overlap a lot and hence they have launched their own line of products. I wanted something with good hold so I ordered the “Supreme hold” version.
When applying the first think you notice is the colour. A more robustly pink gel I have never seen. And it almost quivers on your finger. Easily distributed in your palms and into your hair. And being water based again it’s easy to rinse off. For something claiming to be supreme hold I don’t find it that strong though. I have been experimenting with how much to apply and even with a pretty hefty dose it still falls short of expectations. The contents are, as far as I can tell, all acceptable, so no issues there. Nice packaging as well.
5. Uppercut Deluxe Pomade and Featherweight
The “Deluxe Pomade” from Australian Uppercut has been my favorite pomade for the past couple of years. It’s easy to distribute in your palms, easy to get into your hair, and it holds well. Recently my barber recommended I use half and half of the Deluxe Pomade and the Featherweight wax, to get the best combination of shine and hold.
The consistence of both products is on the firm side, though not quite as firm as Layrite. They mix and apply decently though, and provide a good hold and a nice shine. Even the tins are really nice.
As happy as I am with the product though, I do have a couple of niggles: The pomade has quite a strong colour, and this colour sits in your hair. Until you lay your head on your pillow, at which point it migrates. Also, if you don’t have a local supplier you can order direct from Uppercut. I would strongly suggest you don’t try to order from their European site, as a more repeatedly inept service I have never come across in all my years. Oh, and the pomade includes parabens. Sigh.
So, that’s what I have on the shelf here. What do you recommend? I have a feeling the perfect product has yet eluded me!