Which pomade?
July 12, 2012 7:16 PM   Subscribe

I need a hair product that doesn't look like I'm wearing hair product and also doesn't leave a residue in the tub. I'm thinking about American Crew pomade. Experiences and other suggestions are welcome.

I'm growing my hair long, and in its natural state, it's straight but rather frizzy. I use pyrithione zinc (anti-dandruff) shampoo, smoothing conditioner. I was using Got2B creme pomade, which got the look right, but it leaves a gross residue in the tub.

I don't need a particularly strong hold -- no putty or wax, thanks -- but I need it to de-frizz and weigh down my hair. I specifically do not want something that makes it look like I'm wearing product, or leaves any sort of noticeable residue after it dries. As a rule I don't blow-dry, so blow-drying-necessary products aren't going to do me any good.

My research has told me that I should go with American Crew pomade. Does anyone have experience with it? Does it gross up the tub? Does it look like there's no pomade? There's also different types. Which has the lightest hold?
posted by griphus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have ridiculously fine hair so I can't do the heavy stuff but like the control of a pomade or else my hair is frizzy.

I like Bumble and Bumble Grooming Creme - run it through my hair when wet. If I choose to dry it, then I'll use an extra dab after drying as styling creme. It's awesome!

B&B Grooming Creme!

I also love their styling wax - it's heavier/creamier like a pomade but is super light.

The best hair styling stuff ever
posted by floweredfish at 7:25 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Body Shop apparently started making again something I used to use. The coconut oil hair shine product is somewhere between pomade and leave-in conditioner. When I had longer hair I used to use it to cut down the frizz in the summer. Start with the faintest trace on your fingertips and skim it over your hair; add more only if you really think you need it.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:26 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The American Crew pomade (the one called "pomade") looks distinctly like you have product in your hair. I'm not sure which one has the lightest hold, but it's definitely not the Fiber.
posted by corey flood at 7:28 PM on July 12, 2012

I don't have long hair but have used American Crew pomade as well as Axe and Suave. For my hair, they all work about the same, so I mostly use Suave since it's the least expensive. It keeps my hair from fizzing, and still feels naturals. It doesn't look like there is any product in my hair.

But, I never bath, so I can't speak to residue issue. It comes out quickly and cleanly in the shower. I use the same kind of shampoo as you do.
posted by The Deej at 7:28 PM on July 12, 2012

You might try argan oil. It's not noticeable, if used correctly. I use them on a regular basis and I find that I am left with what looks like healthy, frizz-free hair. Don't be scared that it is oil. It's not oily. It's not slick or shiny.

I like a couple brands. One that I particularly like is Christophe.

For your length I would use dime size amount, rub between palms, distribute evenly, comb through, blow-dry. Bonus: The stuff speeds dry time.
posted by Fairchild at 7:30 PM on July 12, 2012

I use Garnier Fructis leave-in conditioner and that works for me most days. On humid days I use some Pantene oil.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 7:40 PM on July 12, 2012

This will sound weird, but try rinsing your hair with cool water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Back when I had super long hair, I was amazed at how shiny/smooth/manageable this made my hair. Try it at home first--you will smell a bit like salad dressing until it dries.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:43 PM on July 12, 2012

It seems from your description that I have the same aesthetic hair requirements as you, although my hair is more wavy.

I used wax for a long time when I was wearing my hair longer, but got tired of the residue. My eventual solution for non-frizzy hair has been:
1) I don't wash my hair every day, but I have to wet and condition it for combing to be effective to any degree. I generally wash about three times a week.
2) I use (drum roll) American Crew Forming Cream. It's lighter than wax, so it mixes into my hair easier with a smaller amount. If I just put it in and comb/brush my hair and leave it, it will get a little bit crusty, but nothing like gel or mousse. If I run my hands through my hair after the cream has set, it'll remove the "hair-product" crust effect, but still leave my hair non-frizzy and the hold will still be there.
posted by LionIndex at 7:45 PM on July 12, 2012

Also note: not washing my hair every day resulted in far less dandruff.
posted by LionIndex at 7:46 PM on July 12, 2012

Response by poster: Does the Forming Cream smell at all?
posted by griphus at 7:47 PM on July 12, 2012

Response by poster: Also, if it is relevant, I only wash my hair every 2-3 days and I only put in product after towel-drying my hair out of the shower.
posted by griphus at 7:48 PM on July 12, 2012

My boyfriend has thick, curly hair and used to use American Crew, but found that Aveda sculpting paste looks way better. It's a lot less goopy than American Crew (doesn't look like he has product in it), but offers control and, uh, sculpting, I guess.
posted by odayoday at 7:49 PM on July 12, 2012

Almost all of the guys I know with noticeably awesome, tamed, non-greasy, non-frizzy hair use American Crew, either the pomade or the forming cream. I don't think either smells bad.

The one other guy I know who use product with the kind of success you're looking for uses Aveda, which smells nice and does the job really well, too.
posted by goosechasing at 7:52 PM on July 12, 2012

I'm a lady with medium length curly hair, so not sure how well this will work for you, but I use Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Styling Gel to cut down on frizz. No residue on your hair unless you use a really lot or a clump of it sticks to one part of your hair, and no residue in the shower/bathtub that I've noticed. As long as you don't slather it on, it doesn't look like you're using product. Your hair will feel kind of crisp, and you can't really run your fingers through it (which you shouldn't do anyway if you want to cut down on frizz), but it doesn't look like you're using gel. My hair is shoulder-length, and I use a dollop of gel that's about the size of a quarter.

I also use a leave-in conditioner (Giovanni Weightless Leave-In Conditioner) before I use the gel, but YMMV on how greasy/oily that will make your hair and scalp.
posted by yasaman at 7:53 PM on July 12, 2012

The Forming Cream has a scent to it, but it's not strong or offensive (to me). I honesty can't tell if the scent is just the inherent smell of the stuff or not, but it doesn't seem particularly "scented".
posted by LionIndex at 8:02 PM on July 12, 2012

Use the American Crewe forming cream which is a bit matte whereas the pomade has a bit of shine which can add to the look of "this hair has product in it".
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 8:07 PM on July 12, 2012

My hair is shorter than yours, but I use American Crew Fiber and it generally looks like I'm not using a product as long as I don't overdo it and only add it after I've dried my hair. It isn't a light hold, though (it's specifically marketed as having a high hold with a low shine).

Bumble & bumble sumowax is a similar product that I've used in the past, but it's more expensive.

Neither product goops up the bathtub. They are both strong hold products, which you've indicated that you don't want, but they're also the only products I've ever used that don't make my hair look like it obviously has product in it.
posted by asnider at 8:07 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use Garnier Fructis sleek and shine serum and it's really helpful for the most part.

I also (and I feel kind of gross doing this but a friend suggested it and it actually works really well) will put just a tiny bit of regular body lotion in my hair, like, Lubriderm or something basic and unscented. It is just sticky and heavy enough to weigh down my frizzies without being obviously there. It's actually the thing that has worked the best for me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:08 PM on July 12, 2012

[Disclaimer: I am a lady, with lady hair. But judging from your picture this should all definitely apply to you and your gentleman hair. If I cut my hair short, it would look like yours.]

Your hair just looks dry to me. I have a lot of thick, wavy hair that tends to frizz and benefits from weight too (I can never cut my hair above my jawline). When it comes to styling without looking styled, what works for me is lots of natural moisture - usually products with coconut and/or avocado. I use a light shampoo combined with Aussie Moist conditioner through the week, and post-shower I use extra virgin coconut oil on the ends. Not too much, just enough to make my palms a little oily so I can seal off the ends and stop them from frizzing/drying out. Once or twice a week I'll use Lush's R&B hair treatment as a leave in conditioner.

And that's about it. I know this sounds crazy, but the coconut oil just worked for me. The hair: it stays in place! I have movement/waves and the weird part (on the right, at the back) has decided to assimilate itself back into normal hair society! Where was this stuff when I was a teenager? On the shelves in the supermarket, pretending to be food. I now completely regret buying things like silicone based serums and creams over the years and I wish someone had told me to read up on product ingredients and how they impact hair types rather than just blindly buying something that claimed on the front of the bottle that it would work on my hair type. In my experience, very little of them do.

(PS - not saying you should buy Lush stuff, but they have clearly listed ingredients along with great and honest product reviews. I learned so much just reading other people's experiences there.)
posted by saturnine at 8:10 PM on July 12, 2012

I have long, wavy, fine, very prone-to-frizziness hair. I use anti-frizz shampoo (whatever is on sale) and apply Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Hair Serum to wet/damp hair. Try to get a sample to try it out because it's sort of expensive ($22 or so for a pretty big bottle). And only apply a small, dime-sized amount because otherwise, it might weight down your hair around the crown of your head and look weird. But a small amount applied mostly to the ends? Look natural and non-frizzy. I don't do this in the tub, so there's no chance for tub residue.

Sometimes I'll also wash and condition my hair and then rub in a small amount of conditioner and not rinse it out. I would imagine this achieves the same effect as a leave-in conditioner, but you know. Not a separate product.
posted by Aquifer at 8:16 PM on July 12, 2012

If you have a Sephora near you, try asking there and getting a product from them. I recommend this because 1) They've never steered me wrong, and 2) They'll let you return something if you try it a few times and don't like it.

They don't sell American Crew but the Bumble and Bumble products are nice, as noted above.
posted by k8lin at 8:33 PM on July 12, 2012

I've used AC Pomade in the past and agree with whomever said that you will look like you have product in your hair. I currently use the Fiber and feel it looks much more natural.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:19 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

My hair is similar to yours except a little bit finer.
Bedhead "Mastermind" -- a very small amount rubbed in both palms and then rubbed in damp hair after a shower, towel dried, with the same vigorous movement as towel drying -- worked best for me. I haven't used it in a few years so I don't know if they have changed the formula. When I was buying it it was salon only and pricey. Now, I see it in drugstores and the grocery store and Target, so I suspect it has been diluted or something, but that's only a hunch.

It does make your hands sticky, and it has a slight fruity scent but not unpleasant smelling or excessive. I got a lot of compliments when I was using it, and it never got goopy or dripped, even in the super humid South.
posted by at the crossroads at 9:47 PM on July 12, 2012

Pomade is generally petroleum jelly-oriented, or some other non-water soluble base, where creams are more likely to be water-based, both can also include waxy type substances. (I'm not a cosmetologist, just a guy who has had to use product for a while) I agree with the person/people who recommended Bumble & Bumble Grooming Cream (the blue bottle). You can get a mini-tube to try it out for a few weeks. Capital-P Pomade is generally going to look wettish, but I've been using something that is kind of in between cream and pomade, but it's a bit spendy ($20 for a couple month's worth).
posted by rhizome at 10:07 PM on July 12, 2012

What you want is a water based product, the one I use appears to be no longer available though. Another tip to help with frizz is to not towel dry. The front/top of my hair is very dry and frizzy and not towel drying has really helped with the frizz.
posted by missmagenta at 3:11 AM on July 13, 2012

Best answer: I use American Crew Fiber (high hold, low shine) and Defining Paste (medium hold, low shine). The Defining Paste is essentially the Forming Cream but less shiny, so I'd recommend that. Doesn't need blow drying and, as far as I can tell, doesn't leave a residue in the tub. The only catch is that it doesn't seem to be as easy to come by as some of their other types (i.e. I can't drop into CVS and buy it, here in Philly at least), but it's out there.
posted by The Michael The at 4:25 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use American Crew Fiber too. Looks like I'm not using anything, except for the fact that my hair stays styled instead of sticking out everywhere. It definitely feels like I'm wearing something, but it just feels stiff, not greasy or anything like that. Blow drying isn't necessary at all. I get best results if I apply while my hair is still wet--I usually re-wet it before styling--and then let it air dry. Washes out just fine, and I don't notice any residue, though I shower, so that might have something to do with it. Doesn't flake or anything either.
posted by valkyryn at 5:26 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am male with frizzy, curly hair. American Crew is the bomb. Get the low shine stuff. I use the fiber, and when I don't overdo it, it doesn't look like I've added anything to my hair, it's simply where it needs to be. I also like the fiber because it doesn't necessarily melt away on hot humid days like wax does (gross!). Since your hair is straight and you're looking for low hold, I'd follow the above rec for defining paste. I've never myself used it. Check amazon.

I'd take a before/after picture for science but I am a month or two behind on teh haircutz so you probably wouldn't be convinced either way :p Add the stuff to wet hair out of the shower. Otherwise it'll look like sheyet.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:54 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

4th'ing the American Crew Fiber. I used it before I cut all my hair off and it was great. My hair it really fine and I didn't like the way it felt with no product in it because it would float around and make my scalp feel weird. The fiber kept it mostly in place but it didn't look at all like I had anything in it and didn't really feel like there was much product in it if I touched with my hand.

I also liked that it didn't take much product to get what I wanted and one jar lasted a REALLY long time.
posted by VTX at 6:12 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nioxin Silk Elixir. No smell, incredibly smoothing, keeps hair healthy, non greasy, only noticeable if you use WAY too much of it. For the slightest bit of hold, I squeeze a pea size of the Silk Elixir and a pea size of the Thickening Gel onto my hands at the same time, rub together, swish through hair and let it air dry.

The nice thing about Nioxin products is that they are designed to create the best environment possible for your hair and scalp - meaning you will have no buildup of gunk on your hair follicles (the result of which can be balding and scalp issues). Nioxin also has a terrific system for getting rid of dandruff called Scalp Renew.

I worked at a high end salon for 2+ years and the Scalp Renew stuff worked wonders on several clients who had persistant, treatment resistant dandruff. I no longer work for the salon and have no affiliation with Nioxin. This stuff just simply works wonders, and is decently cheap to boot.

If you're not interested in the Nioxin, or can't find it near you, the Bumble Grooming Creme recommended above also seems like it would fit the bill. Bed head After Party is a cream product similar to Grooming Creme. Bed Head Spoil Me Defrizzer is an aerosol spray defrizzer that you would never, ever be able to use too much of. Super easy to use while hair is wet (just spray on), or as a touch up after hair has dried if it is still too fuzzy. A can of it lasts forever and it's just quite possibly my favorite product of all time (and for that two years I worked at the salon, I had access to expensive product lines like Kerastase). It has no hold, just serves to smooth annoying fuzzy hair like yours and mine, and leaves it looking like it has a healthy sheen (not shiny, just healthy).
posted by Gonestarfishing at 6:41 AM on July 13, 2012

I also liked that it didn't take much product to get what I wanted and one jar lasted a REALLY long time.

Yeah. I use like 1.5 jars a year. And I use the stuff 5-6 days a week.
posted by valkyryn at 6:48 AM on July 13, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, I think the AC Defining Paste is exactly what I need. I'm ordering it on Amazon and I'll report back maybe.
posted by griphus at 7:01 AM on July 13, 2012

If you just need something to de-frizz and weigh hair down a bit the best product that I've ever used is Moroccan Oil Treatment. I have somewhat coarse thick hair and it almost completely transforms the texture of my hair to soft and smooth. As an added bonus it has a really clean but subtle smell. It is expensive but you really only need a drop or two; the regular size lasted me almost a year. Like you I only wash my hair every 2-3 days. I never blow dry or use any other styling device. Unlike you, my hair is pretty short and likely to stay that way. By the way, the cheap imitations don't work nearly as well (I've tried them), nor does straight argan oil (my friend tried this and looked like she hadn't washed her hair in two weeks).
posted by kaybdc at 7:10 AM on July 13, 2012

Fekkai Marine Summer Hair Smooth Sailing Anti-Frizz Cream does the job for my frizzy hair, and meets your qualifications.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:43 AM on July 14, 2012

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