You don’t need to be a greaser to style your hair with pomade; you just need to be a man secure enough to know what he wants out of his hair, and old enough to realize gel and mousse leave you looking like a douche. If you’re just reaching the age of pomade, we welcome you with an introduction to five basic types and their characteristics…
For white folks not sure whether they’re comfortable buying pomade out of the “ethnic hair-care” aisle of the drugstore, Brylcreem is a gateway drug. They sell it with shaving supplies, but it’s really just a light pomade. Too light, we’d say: it doesn’t so much style hair as strongly suggest to your hair what you’d like it to do. It’s up to your hair to decide whether or not to comply, and we’ll warn you ours doesn’t always feel like going along.
Nothing says “Classic Pomade” like Royal Crown: it’s still sold in tins and maintains the label it’s had since Jerry Lee Lewis hadn’t killed anyone yet. Though it’s not easy to find in Canada, that might not be a bad thing: it’s so oily you can only use a little if you don’t want to look like a mechanic’s assistant, and it smells like fake roses. If you’re willing to get sincerely greasy, it’ll give you the hold you want, but at a cost.
As pomades go, Dax is probably the easiest to find. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it good, per se. The basic Dax pomade is a heavy combination of petroleum jelly, olive oil, and green colouring. Like Royal Crown, it gets the job done, but with far too much firepower, leaving your hair looking greasy and heavy. Luckily Dax makes a series of other pomades, but unluckily all of them feel weird to our hair – Wave & Groom is too waxy, Short & Neat is too weak and oily, and Super-Neat smells too much like insect repellent.
Murray’s (Regular and Super-Light)
Like many pomades, Murray’s is designed for the hair of those of African heritage, but with extra firepower for kinky hair. It’s thick and waxy and requires you warm it in your hands before applying it. Having non-African hair, we prefer Murray’s Super-Light, which is like a much thicker version of Royal Crown that holds well without being too greasy, and smells like coconuts. Mmm…
Our favourite pomades, hands down, are of the wave-control variety. The two brands easiest to find (which are indistinguishable from one another in their holds) are 360-Style and Sportin’ Waves. Their hold is strong but subtle: they mix naturally with hair oil to leave no obvious grease, and they wash out with shampoo (unlike all the rest, which may require dish-soap if you use too much). 360-Style has a slightly better smell, but really they’ll both make your hair do what you tell it to and look great in the process.