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Life's a play - Mark Nokes

Pomade, a necessary evil?

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What is pomade?

Pomade is junk for your hair. It’s usually gel, wax, or clay of which you warm up a small amount and pass on, over and through your beautiful locks. I’d been shaving my head with a guard for many years, and before that doing the usual haircut routine, until recently. Within the last couple of years I decided to grow out my hair. I’m still on the fence about whether that was a mistake, mostly due to my overwhelming desire for simplicity in my life. I am a MAN, after all. I didn’t even know what pomade was until recently. Where have I been, you ask? Where most dudes are that don’t think about their appearance but once or twice a decade. Anywhere but the hair care product isle!

Should you use it?

Honestly, as much as I dislike thinking about messing with my hair every day, I don’t think I could get away with a respectable, longish hair style without it. I’m not talking about hair to my shoulders. I’m talking about that classic look that my father had. A simple side part, with a little length combed over, and a sharp overall look. I can’t speak for those of you with very long hair, but I’d say for the medium length hair styles, it can be very good. For very short hair, I don’t think you’d benefit much, but I’m no hair stylist. These are only my opinions.

Which pomade brands are worth my hard-earned money?

Pomade selection with open lids

The verdict is still out on that one, although, I’ll share my thoughts on the only three I’ve tried thus far. Before I get into those details I would like to mention that in all cases I’m applying the products to towel dried hair right out of the shower. I understand they may be used on dry hair, but I haven’t tried it.

 

Boogie’s Hair Pomade

Boogie’s was the first I tried. I’m a Dollar Shave Club (DSC) member so, naturally, I went with the option that required the least amount of effort. I used the tool on the DSC website to determine which product of theirs to buy. The Boogie’s is pretty good stuff. It goes in easily, holds very well, and washes out easily. I’m not a fan of the shine, albeit a low shine, as advertised. The only real negative I can say about it, which is easily mitigated with a comb, is that after it (and your hair) dries, you can still see the comb’s tooth marks through your hair. If you carry a comb, it’s not an issue since you can just run it though a few more times to smooth things out. Note that in the image above it appears black from the container, but it’s really clear.

Baxter Clay Pomade

Normally, I wouldn’t spend a gazillion dollars on a product like this. The only reason I decided to splurge is that I had a coupon from Men’s Wearhouse, part of their Perfect Fit Rewards program. The coupon ended up making this free for me. Baxter Clay Pomade is extremely thick and waxy. They recommend you use a hair dryer on it for a moment to get it loosened up enough to obtain a dime sized amount. What MAN is gonna mess with a hair dryer? I don’t know one, although, I could probably pick one out of a crowd. Anyway, the product is amazing, really. I hate to admit it, but the first time I used it, I could tell it was going to hold all day. No shine, good hold, and a natural appearance. It’s very difficult to wash out though, and I’ll mention once more that the cost may be prohibitive.

Layrite Original Pomade

A few days ago I decided to try a different barber shop. The one at which I’ve been a regular was a little too trendy for me, and they just raised their prices since they can. It’s a shame because it was .25 (yes, a quarter of a mile) closer than my new favorite. Regardless, the new place is fantastic. It’s everything I remember from my childhood when good old Dad took me to get a haircut. Old guys, sitting around watching the news and commenting on the state of things. I’ll get to the point. When dude was done with my haircut, I asked for something to help keep it in place. He reached into the cabinet, pulled out some Layrite Original, smeared some on my head, and said, “That’ll hold it.” I purchased some on my way out because I liked the smell of it. After using it for a few days I can say that I like it. It has a good hold, low shine, and washes out easily. Those seem to be the attributes on which I measure a pomade’s value, anyway.

Final thoughts

There are so many hair products out there that it’s overwhelming for a simple MAN like myself. I’ve stumbled upon these three products which I’ll use until their gone, and pick one to continue buying. At the moment, the winner is the Layrite. The cost to quantity ratio is good, the product seems well-made, it works well, and the smell is nostalgic.

The MAN Himself

Author of Modern Guitar Method. Also, please listen to my album, Life's a Play. It's available everywhere!

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