When I started styling my hair with a side part about a year ago I used molding paste, a thin hair gel that went in easy, but couldn’t hold my thick hair, and hairspray which would lock the style into place. The combination of the two worked but I had to wash it out and redo it everyday. I also hated the smell of hairspray and the fact that it made my hair feel rock hard.
Enter pomade. For the uninitiated pomade is often made of a combination of oils, waxes and petroleum products that were the way to style hair from the 60s on back. There are a huge number of varieties, which vary by the amount of shine, hold, and stiffness. When I started, I used Murray’s Brand pomades, which are nice and light but lacked the hold I was looking for. I finally found Bees Knees which is made by a Portland barber who wanted something with a really strong hold without any petroleum products.
Why use Pomade?
Pomades are really easy to work with has a great hold even on really, really, thick hair
Most pomades have some kind of nice smell, Bee Knees has a great peppermint scent
Because pomades are not water based they are not affected by water or sweat
You don’t need apply more pomade everyday. It stays in your hair and you can just spend a minute every morning brushing it into a new style
A little pomade goes a long way a $13 tin of Bees Knees will last me about 2-3 months
Pomade adds a nice healthy shine to your hair
How I Style My Hair
I usually apply pomade right after I get out of a shower. I towel dry my hair and then get to work.
Before doing anything else, I comb in my side part and clean up the rest. This helps me get a good idea of where all the pomade needs to go. If you are doing a part, try to get the line as clean and straight as possible.
Quick Tip: To set a part, just drag the comb long ways along your hair where you want your part. Then comb your hair away from the line you just drew.
Start softening up the pomade with a blow dryer (or in my case the hose from Janey’s bonnet dryer, since she refuses to purchase a blow dryer) until you can build up a quarter size glob on your fingers (use less if you already have some left in your hair). Spread your glob around on your fingers and then work it evenly into your hair. Over time you will learn that some places need more then others, for me my bangs and right side often need a little more then everywhere else.
Once you have it worked into your hair start styling. Use your blow dryer to soften the pomade up in a particular area and then comb it.
Washing and Maintaining
I’ve started washing my hair every 3-4 days just to keep my scalp and hair clean, this doesn’t totally wash out the pomade so afterward I apply a little more (if I want to wash the pomade out thoroughly, I use common dish soap such as Palmolive in conjunction with my normal shampoo and conditioner). In between washings I just wake up and comb my hair again with the help of the dryer or a run my comb under hot water. It’s really easy to restyle.
There are loads of different pomades on the market with different levels of shine, thickness, hold and scents. Just because I love Bees Kness doesn’t mean you will, it would probably be terrible for someone with finer or thinner hair. The Rebel Rouser does regular reviews of pomade on his blog to give you some idea of the variety you can have. Here is a list of some of the best.