The world’s gone mad. It has been like this forever. The future seems more than insecure and – if you are a little bit like me – you try to find a little bit of hold and control in daily tasks. You know the deal… if you have something to worry about – something really important on your agenda – you suddenly start cleaning your house to have just a little bit of steadiness and control over your surroundings.
A couple of years ago I read in an article about coming up hairstyles, that pomade is making a comeback, because it’s the one hairstyle product that seemingly can even withhold an atomic explosion. And that conservatives like it, because it looks so strict. Conservatives are never the ones to listen to, but yeah… Pomade it is.
It’s true. I am personally blessed with very thick hair, for which I usually don’t do anything. Curled hair does its trick on its own. But from time to time I like to switch my appearance up a little bit. No barbers needed, just a can of pomade. Just like fashion, changing your hair is fun. Even daily dressing for me still has the excitement of a kid dressing up for Halloween. Same goes with hairstyles.
For me personally, I might be in two different states when you see me wearing my hair all slicked back with the sun reflecting from my shiny, dark head of hair.
I might be on the brink of losing my mind (see above) or I might be feeling myself that day. Getting fancy, you know. Pomade gives you control over your hair and for me it’s a statement to myself, my own special armor to keep going… and looking extremely good.
And I mean… who doesn’t want to look like Austrian music legend Falco?
Even the Joker, one of pop culture’s most recognizable villains opted for pomade, when he returned in the future-set Batman Beyond (2000) movie.
What makes pomade stand out in the range of hair styling products is that – in contrast to gel or hair spray – pomade does not dry. It stays wet and gives a shiny, dark look that even holds up several washes, if you don’t use a shampoo specifically for de-greasing.
When humankind (for better said: The Romans) first started going for the slick and sexy look, they decided on soap to do the trick. In the 18th century pomade mainly consisted of bear fat or lard with the product nowadays containing oils, petroleum jelly or bee wax to do the trick.
There is no wax like DAX
The first pomade I’ve ever used was DAX Wave and Groom, which I purchased at my local African hair salon. If your are looking for good pomade check out your local afro shop, otherwise you can visit one of this hipster heritage old-timey shops that beside heavy denim and Redwing boots also sell classic hair styling products. Pomade has always played a part in rockabilly culture and it was those guys who kept the flag waving for this bee wax-based hair dress throughout the years. But more on that later.
I usually switch between DAX Wave and Groom and DAX Green and Gold. The red can is the real deal and gives you a perfect hold with the hair still able to be combed throughout the day if by any chance a strain of hair should decide to suddenly have a mind on its own. It is not that easy to wash out, so I would highly recommend using a special shampoo to wash your hair afterwards.
DAX has produced its own shampoo which I highly recommend, even if you don’t use pomade. The vegetable oil-based care product gives your hair a shiny look, but also gets rid of pomade left overs. Your basic shampoo would need four to five washes easily.
DAX also offers products which are easier to get rid off on a daily basis. If you are looking for something like this I recommend DAX Hair Wax which also comes with a citrus-like scent that really smells like Summer. Talking about scents: I once optioned for DAX High & Tight Awesome Hold. I has a very strong scent of cinnamon, but if that’s your shtick, then go for it.
The company was founded in Brooklyn, New York almost half a century ago and not only produces pomade, but also waxes, cremes, shampoos and conditioners. Their products can be found in over 10,000 stores in the US and 50 countries worldwide.
How To Style Your Hair
There are three hair styles that instantly come to mind when talking pomade: The ducktail, the pompadour and the quiff, which basically look like this:
A comb is also a necessity if you want to rock a hairstyle like this. Never leave your house without it.
The 2010s saw a return of the undercut or even called “Hitler Youth” hairstyle. Short clipped sides with a long pomaded top were seen rocked by actors like Brad Pitt not only in war movies or in shows like Peaky Blinders, but also by mainstream stars like David Beckham and basically every other trendy guy around that time. But there are other sub cultures who took a huge part in building the styling product’s legacy.
The Rise Of The Greaser
The term “greaser” is nowadays known to label a sub culture that originated in the 1950s and early 1960s. Formerly used as a derogatory term for Greek, Italian and Latin Americans, the term was adopted by working class youth to label themselves. With them coming from a working class background and therefore very few economic resources available they could not participate in the happy consumerism we all love. But they cared for their hair.
Greasers are now a part of nostalgia and found portrayals in movies like The Outsiders (1983), Grease (1978) or TV shows like Happy Days.
While John Travolta and the other 40-somethings playing teenagers in Grease became pop icons and the poster boys of pomade, the 1943 racist Zoot Suit Riots – that occurred in Southern California specifically targeted Latin and Mexican American residents identified by not only by their ethnicity, but by their style of clothing and hair – are not that often mentioned. Zoot Suiters were round up, beaten, their suits burned and their hair cut by service men of the army with the police arresting the victims of the attack rather than the perpetrators.
If you want to know more about the events I really recommend this short documentary by The History Channel. The Pachuco lifestyle is also heavily connected to the history of pomade and besides Austrian music legend Falco I cite movies such as Blood In Blood Out (1993) and American Me (1992) as main influences for me wearing the hair style. American Me also opens with a personal retelling of the aforementioned racist attacks of 1943.
The Zoot Suit Riots are a prime example of how political a hairstyle can be. Funny, how this short beauty piece turned into a personal piece about losing control and then into a history lesson.
On a personal note I can say, that today was another of those days of me slicking back my hair and I can only recommend anybody trying it out. So hit up your local shop to get one of those tin cans that in itself are a part of history.
I also want to highlight, that there is a whole universe of Black hairstyles for which pomade can be used. I am not qualified to write about these, but I would be more than graceful if you hit me up via mail, if you want to participate in a follow up piece.