Men's hair product and technique for thick, mostly-straight hair
May 7, 2015 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I got kind of a funny haircut (not on purpose). It's like the mid-'90s "butt cut" but extra long in the front. I have no idea what the stylist was thinking, as she did the two things I specifically told her not to do: no butt cut, as I have a serious cowlick that accentuates that look, and nothing that requires product, as my hair is very thick and everything I have tried is absorbed and useless within two hours. So what can I do? Technique and product recommendations?

I know the obvious solution is to get another haircut to fix it, but I live in NYC where a cut is expensive and I am growing my hair out longer.

It looks fine with some product in a raked-back manner, but what I have tried all gets absorbed and dissipates because my hair is so thick. When it was shorter, I used to use a little Brylcreem as I like the sorta-soft, sorta-shiny look, but now I need something more serious. I have tried all combinations of Brylcreem, light mousse, strong hairspray, and serious clay/wax thing but they all go droopy and greasy in a couple hours.

A possible solution might be to try a style that is already collapsed, i.e. combed over with a bit on the forehead, but I don't know styling techniques.

Any products or techniques recommended? By the way, my hair is really thick. ;)
posted by laerm to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could you do a side part and rock a Jason Schwartzman?
posted by witchen at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2015

I know the obvious solution is to get another haircut to fix it, but I live in NYC where a cut is expensive and I am growing my hair out longer.

No, no, no. You go back to the same place and say "I was in here yesterday to see so-and-so and this [point to hair] is really not working for me. Can somebody please fix it?" And they *should* do it for free (you will tip them generously, obviously) and you go on your merry way with less butt-ful hair.

That said, I have absurdly thick hair as well and when I do use product, I've always been very happy with fructis products. There's a shine serum stuff they make that gives clean hair more of that "I washed this yesterday so now it looks and moves better" kind of feel that I like a lot.
posted by phunniemee at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2015 [14 favorites]

I've got thick hair and I've had good luck with BedHead Manipulator.
It has the consistency of Elmer's glue, and tends to stay put after it's been thoroughly rubbed in and then styled and combed.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2015

Also, here are Amazon's Best Selling Pomades and Hair Styling Waxes.. Might be worth strolling through there and see what stands out.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2015

Maybe Brylcreem's similar-but-different competitor Groom & Clean is worth a try. It's not nearly as greasy as Brylcreem and it "freshens up" during the day with a little water on your hands. Plus it's cheap and readily available. (I've used both. I prefer Groom & Clean,)
posted by The Deej at 10:19 AM on May 7, 2015

Best answer: I recently bought 3 of Amazon's best selling pomades and hair styling waxes. All wash out easily with no shampoo and leave nothing behind (this was my primary requirement). I mostly do a side part sort of Don Draper taper look at the moment. I have very thick straight hair like yours. While you have a different thing going on, maybe this will help:

Bed Head Matte: not smelly, good consistency and you won't see it in your hair. really doesn't smell like much of anything. Can give a wet clean look if combed with a wet comb. Looks natural if dry. Good hold.

Uppercut Deluxe Pomade: Smells great, really good scent, hold is not as strong or maybe I'm not using enough. Definitely looks like something Don Draper would use.

Layrite Pomade: Good smell, not as good as uppercut though, less gel like. Haven't used it much because I've liked the bedhead. It is shiny. Hold seems less strong though again I must not be using enough because the reviews say the hold is really good and made for thick curly hair.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not a guy, but I have super-thick hair and have used Bed Head Hard to Get on my hair from its former short-and-spiky to its current "would be a nose-length butt cut if I didn't clip the sides back" length. It stays soft, smells only vaguely lemon-y, and doesn't absorb into my hair or make it greasy like pretty much anything else does. (I've tried the Bed Head Manipulator mentioned above and it made my look like I hadn't showered in a week.) It's a firm yet soft hold, and should give you the hold to rake it back, which is what I do on days I can't be bothered with barrettes. The pain is that you can only get it from salons or online - it's not available in stores.
posted by okayokayigive at 10:31 AM on May 7, 2015

Best answer: 100% aloe gel.

I abandoned all of the chemical-laden, super-perfumey styling waxes, creams, and gels years ago in favor of plain aloe gel. It goes on clear and it dries clear, leaving no visible residue (unlike most styling waxes tend to do). It can make your hair look wet if you put it on and leave it alone afterwards, or you can rock a dry-look by putting it in and running your hands through it after it's nearly dry-to-the-touch. It will hold the style, but no longer look wet/clumped and more reminiscent of the look you'd get with hairspray and a blow dryer.

I find it's strong enough to hold up a fauxhawk or spikes, but YMMV. A $5 bottle will last me nearly a year -- a little goes a long way.
posted by stubbehtail at 10:56 AM on May 7, 2015

My stylist told me that some hair products work better when you put them in sopping wet hair. Something about your hair being more porous when it's wet so it can absorb the product and let the product do what it was meant to do. So you might experiment with putting product in wet hair versus semi-dry versus dry. Maybe one of these will work better for you!
posted by purple_bird at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2015

I use Kevin Murphy's Night Rider for my hair, which is thick and straight. Works wonders, doesn't get absorbed to the point of ineffectiveness. I put it in when my hair is almost, but not quite, dry, and can keep a good messy-ish look all day. It can be found cheaper in salons than at that Amazon link.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:26 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use Kevin Murphy's Night Rider for my hair

Me too. It's the best thing I've found for my very thick, unmanageable hair. You can buy it at Seagull (West Village) or Shampoo Avenue B (Alphabet City).
posted by John Cohen at 10:00 PM on May 7, 2015

Response by poster: Hi all –

Thanks for the great ideas. I will hit the drugstore this afternoon and report back. Some individual remarks:

@witchen: I possibly could, but my hair gets a little wavy at that length, plus the cowlick tends to make the front rather sticky-uppy. If I knew what I was doing, maybe!

@phunniemee: Yeah, going back is certainly the best move, but, sadly, I got the cut when I was in Pittsburgh this past weekend visiting a friend, so a 6-hour drive isn't going to happen for this.

@The Deej: I have Groom & Clean and use it sometimes, too, but I find the smell is a bit too harsh compared to the Brylcreem. Shame.

@stubbehtail: Aloe gel? Huh! I will definitely check this out, as I find that my hairline gets dry and breaks out if I use product too many days in a row. This will probably be easier on my skin.

Thanks again!
posted by laerm at 7:46 AM on May 8, 2015

Response by poster: Hi all –

I have tried a handful of the products recommended here, and I have had good results with a combo of the aloe gel and the Bedhead Matte. Winning pair! Thanks very much.
posted by laerm at 11:37 AM on May 12, 2015

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