The Perfect Pomade: Hair Products

By Kevin Raub / September 7, 2011

Get me talking about my hair and hair products, and I can go on and on. In the mid 1990s, I even did a small feature on it for the long-defunct Bikini magazine. Put bluntly: it’s a bitch. Thin as black ice. No body. Impossible to style. There’s hardly a pomade that works for me, as I basically need Vaseline to do the job. Therefore, I’m a longtime user of Dax and Murphy’s, two old-school pomades that basically are Vaseline, full of enough petroleum by-products to rival the Gulf of Mexico.

Everything else is simply too “wet,” if that makes any sense. So, admittedly, I don’t have high hopes for natural or organic pomades going into this month’s column; and, frankly, I don’t like sacrificing my killer—and hard-fought—‘do for the sake of citizen journalism, but here goes nothing, anyway.

Smelling good enough to eat and nearly pulling off an actual good hair day for me, Jason Citrus & Mandarin Wax Pomade is a solid choice, both for styling and value. Of course, nearly is the key word here, as this one probably does a bang-up job for men with thick, short locks, but for thin-haired narcissistic Joe’s like me, it falls a tad short. This one calls on beeswax and candelilla wax for hold and a delicious combination of tangerine, mandarin, lemon, and lime oils.

Head Organics Styling Wax is more of a drugstore variety holding wax with a texture somewhere between a gel and a wax and the pungent odor of a hair salon. Not that there is anything wrong with that—my pomade of choice goes for $2.89 at drug stores and beauty supply stores, often in shady parts of town. But this one doesn’t turn me on whatsoever other than there’s a decent concentration of certified organic ingredients here, green tea, birch, jasmine extracts among them. It’s not tested on animals, is paraben, glycol, and gluten-free, which are all things I find commendable. My hair, however, dances to its own drum, and it’s not feeling the beat of this particular wax.

Finding natural and organic hair pomades proved difficult, so I had to expand my net a bit this month to encompass natural-leaning pomades, as well. Enter Malin+Goetz’s Hair Pomade, a New York-based apothecary steeped in hipness. The company’s philosophy is to blend trusted natural ingredients with gentle performance technologies, incorporating many botanical extracts along the way. Here that means meadowfoam seed, cannabis sativa seed (seriously?), and soybean, as well as yucca and aloe. It’s natural white color and citrus scents are both natural. Does it work? Well, absorbent fatty acids create a moisture effect – indeed that is their purpose—but for me, moisture is the enemy. So, it doesn’t work for me, as usual, but it’s not a bad product. If I had normal hair, my only complaint would be that it cakes up on your hands a bit obnoxiously.

I figured if Emmett Cooper Styling Wax was good enough for super dudes like Peyton Manning and Antonio Sabato, Jr., then it would be good enough for me. I was wrong. Perhaps they have more cooperative hair than I do? I don’t know. But this styling wax is definitely too wet for my tastes—though it is to be applauded here for it’s recycled packaging and its use of 80 percent certified organic ingredients, including burdock root, golden seal, lemon peel, sunflower seed, and horsetail extracts and peppermint and spearmint leaf oils. Perhaps even more noteworthy, though, is that this wax comes straight out of …Indiana? That’s my birth state. I thought nothing came out of it besides basketball players and tasty corn-on-the-cob. Go Hoosiers!

VitaMan Pomade hails from Down Under, where there are surely a lot of seriously worked-over outback dudes who could care less about how their hair falls. This one is actually my favorite natural pomade—it smells like Country Time Lemonade, thanks to lemon myrtle oil – and it almost works for me, which in this month’s column is as good as it gets. Japan Wax obtained from the berries of the Japanese sumac is what holds it all together and there’s some petrolatum— otherwise known as petroleum jelly—which is probably why it almost pulled off a style coup.  The problem is with my exquisitely fine hair, a little petroleum jelly simply does not go a long enough way.  

Kevin Raub
Kevin Raub

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