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The Renaissance of hair pomades & the new Golden Age

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
"A sunny day in the early 1930's. A young well-educated man walks in the main street of his small town. The young man is elegantly dressed with a grey suit, white shirt, blue tie and a pair of black, shiny shoes. He is clean-shaven and wears a wonderful French cologne. Suddenly, he stops by the door of Luigi's, a famous Italian barbershop. The old Italian Master Barber smiles at him and prepares his trusted tools for a good haircut. The young man sits down on a green leather chair and, after about 40 minutes, stands up with a beautiful Regular Contour perfectly executed on his head and kept nice, tight and shiny with a great pomade."


This is how I imagine a fine Gentleman of the 1930's, a period in which refined manners and attention to quality grooming products were part of everyday life. This is what I like to define as the Golden Age, the years between the early 1920's and late 1960's when hair pomades had their maximum splendour and were popular in every western country.


Now, after the rediscovery of the almost lost art of wet shaving, of the authentic and genuine barbershops, we are embracing the rediscovery of pomades. Since 2010 there has been a true Renaissance of hair pomades, which have quickly gained the interest and appreciation of the public all around the world. Traditional ones like Murray's Superior Pomade (originating in the mid-1920s), Brylcreem (introduced in 1928) and Royal Crown Hair Dressing (originating in 1936) have been brought back to light and new ones like Admiral, Uppercut Deluxe or Lockhart's (just to name a few) have immediately obtained the seal of approval by the most discerning Gentlemen, eager to keep their hair well groomed with the finest products available.


But what exactly are hair pomades and why are they so much better than gels or sprays? Original pomades are made with real grease and fatty ingredients, contain natural waxes and oils and are much more skin friendly than those hair products we are used to find in local supermarkets. Also, their formula assures great shine, keeping the hair soft and pliable and, at the same time, great hold. These traditional oil based pomades however do not wash out too easily and for that reason alone are not for everyone. The modern response? Water based pomades. These, as the name itself says, are water soluble, hence wash completely out with one single shampoo and, generally speaking, are easier to apply and comb. On the other hand most water based pomades contain some chemicals and may harden up like gels.


As you can see both types have their pros and cons and both types have their place. It's all up you and your personal preferences. One thing however is sure: a new Golden Age has just started, right now, under our noses. Enjoy the wonderful world of hair pomades!




$finestmodernpomades.jpg
 
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strop

Moderator Emeritus
:a14::a14::a14:

Marco, if that is your drawer, then I'm impressed and a bit jealous. In part, though, I feel much better as I just got a box in the mail today that had 4 tins of pomade and was worried that I had overdone it!:w00t::thumbup::thumbup1:
 
This is fantastic. As a pomade user, I'm always interested to read about the days of Pomade past, and present. Great works as always Marco!
 
Sir, this is very well written and I appreciate every bit of what you say.

I've had great experience mixing the two types of pomades (water and petroleum) and it seems to get me the best of both worlds.
If anyone is on the fence about using pomades instead of gels, a good water-based pomade is exactly what you need. Even just the jump from gels to water-based pomades opens the doors to a whole new world of properties you could never find in a gel. Flexibility, holding strength, longevity, shine... the list is almost endless!

When I mix pomades, I like to use a base of petroleum for the malleability and once I have the style in place I'll put on a light application of water-based pomade to "lock it all in." This allows me to keep the style throughout the day and I'm able to wash most of it out when I shower before bed. Best of both worlds.

Thanks again for the write-up, Marco, well done!
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
:a14::a14::a14:

Marco, if that is your drawer, then I'm impressed and a bit jealous. In part, though, I feel much better as I just got a box in the mail today that had 4 tins of pomade and was worried that I had overdone it!:w00t::thumbup::thumbup1:
Many thanks Mark, your kind words are much appreciated. My friend, which 4 tins did you get today? I should get O'Douds Heavy soon and am eagerly awaiting the release of King Brown Firm pomade, which should be on late November. This new Australian brand already released its Medium Hold pomade on mid September. Here are the two beautiful tins I'm talking about. The yellow one on the left is the Medium Hold (oil based), the black one on the right is the Firm Hold (water based).

$King Brown.jpg
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
Sir, this is very well written and I appreciate every bit of what you say.

I've had great experience mixing the two types of pomades (water and petroleum) and it seems to get me the best of both worlds.
If anyone is on the fence about using pomades instead of gels, a good water-based pomade is exactly what you need. Even just the jump from gels to water-based pomades opens the doors to a whole new world of properties you could never find in a gel. Flexibility, holding strength, longevity, shine... the list is almost endless!

When I mix pomades, I like to use a base of petroleum for the malleability and once I have the style in place I'll put on a light application of water-based pomade to "lock it all in." This allows me to keep the style throughout the day and I'm able to wash most of it out when I shower before bed. Best of both worlds.

Thanks again for the write-up, Marco, well done!
Thank you Adam, you are really too kind. Mixing an oil based pomade with a water based pomade? This is something I've never done before, I should give it a try!
 
Marco, outstanding thread. In a pure coincidence I was speaking to my mother about this very subject not one hour ago. I was showing her web sites like pomade.com and similar. We were both remarking how this old world/new school approach to hair dressing is a welcome change. I am gobsmacked at the sheer number of pomades available.

One thing I have issues with is hair colour. Pomade looks fabulous on shiny black hair. We who have hair of the blonde to very light brown (more like sand colour) side do not always fare so well. Sometimes you have to use a more matte product to avoid a dirty look. Considering the excellent selection in your collection would you mind to offer an opinion
of either a style of product or brands to try? I have used American Crew pomade and found it nice but even a smidgen too much had me looking a bit bit like a hooligan. I have fine stranded hair but a lot of it with a bit of body to it. So a 'wet' pomade like a petrolatum product can make it look stringy. I have also used Cool Grease red and blue water based and they are okay but kind feel sticky after they dry like gels do and sometimes make my scalp itch. Sorry for the load of questions but I had to ask. Again, wonderful thread.
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
Marco, outstanding thread. In a pure coincidence I was speaking to my mother about this very subject not one hour ago. I was showing her web sites like pomade.com and similar. We were both remarking how this old world/new school approach to hair dressing is a welcome change. I am gobsmacked at the sheer number of pomades available.

One thing I have issues with is hair colour. Pomade looks fabulous on shiny black hair. We who have hair of the blonde to very light brown (more like sand colour) side do not always fare so well. Sometimes you have to use a more matte product to avoid a dirty look. Considering the excellent selection in your collection would you mind to offer an opinion of either a style of product or brands to try? I have used American Crew pomade and found it nice but even a smidgen too much had me looking a bit bit like a hooligan. I have fine stranded hair but a lot of it with a bit of body to it. So a 'wet' pomade like a petrolatum product can make it look stringy. I have also used Cool Grease red and blue water based and they are okay but kind feel sticky after they dry like gels do and sometimes make my scalp itch. Sorry for the load of questions but I had to ask. Again, wonderful thread.
Todd, I have dark brown hair and have never discussed the "blonde hair" topic before, but I should investigate further for myself also since my little Joey is perfectly blonde with rather coarse hair. Now back to you, my friend. You say you have blonde, fine hair with good body to it and Petroleum products make them look stringy. In this case I would opt for a soft water based pomade with Medium Hold, which usually also means medium shine. Some names that immediately come to my mind are: Admiral Medium Hold Fiber, Railcar Fine Goods and The Daimon Barber #1. All 3 are very high quality pomades and you won't get any sticky or itchy feeling from them. Please, let me know.
 
Thank you Marco. I will certainly look into those brands. I was actually looking at Railcar products last night because the packaging logo was cool looking. I do love that about the hair dressings. A lot of them are not afraid to be bold with the graphics. Thank you again friend.
 
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Gents, I have to say the King Brown pomade tins look really neat. When I saw them at pomades.com and noted the name I wondered if they were referencing the famous snake. One look at the image on the tin answered that. I really hope our small soap makers trend toward custom packaging like this.
 

strop

Moderator Emeritus
Marco,
In answer to your question, I picked up Dapper Dan, Slick Devil, Uppercut Deluxe, and Ruezel Red. Obviously, all water based. I have been hesitatn to try the traditional products for fear of leaving grease spots on furniture. Our grandmothers put lace doilies on the back of chairs and sofas for a reason! How often do you have to change your pillow case?

Given your input, I likely will eventually try one. What would you suggest as the "least greasy" of the traditional pomades? I actually almost got the King Brown just because of the packaging!
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
Marco,
In answer to your question, I picked up Dapper Dan, Slick Devil, Uppercut Deluxe, and Ruezel Red. Obviously, all water based. I have been hesitatn to try the traditional products for fear of leaving grease spots on furniture. Our grandmothers put lace doilies on the back of chairs and sofas for a reason! How often do you have to change your pillow case?

Given your input, I likely will eventually try one. What would you suggest as the "least greasy" of the traditional pomades? I actually almost got the King Brown just because of the packaging!
Mark, you got some excellent water based pomades! I really love Uppercut Deluxe and Reuzel Red is very good too, especially for a Strong Hold look with definition. As about oil based pomades, you shouldn't be so worried: once in the hair they aren't that grease and are not terribly hard to wash out either. The one I love and wholeheartedly recommend is Lockhart's Goon Grease which is quite soft, easy to apply and gives great hold and shine. Also, as all oil based pomades, it breaks down quickly with olive oil and washes out completely with some dish soap.
 
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I had never heard of using olive oil for breaking down pomades to make them easier to remove. A man always finds great information here on B&B. Thank you for passing this along.
 
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