I’ve spent a lot of time styling the hair of my clients and although I always have a specific line at my disposal depending on my work environment, I don’t think there is one answer to the question “What should I style my hair with?”. In fact there are far more questions to ask before you can reach a sensible conclusion.
First thing first: If you want a consistent and professional look you need to spend money on good products. Going to the bargain bin for your haircare is a waste of money, it never works that well and it usually contains ingredients that can harm your hair, scalp… and even your face. I’m going to single out Murray’s here because it is an easy (cheap) target for my purposes and I have found WAY too many people use it improperly. It is a petroleum based wave controller for black people with very coarse and curly hair, yet has been co-opted by a lot of white guys because it is about $5 a can and controls like no other. It also doesn’t wash out without using a clarifying shampoo or dish soap-that’s right, the same stuff they clean up feathered oil spill victims with. It so hard to wash out that most guys leave it in over many days and will sleep with it in. Can you imagine how gross that pillow must look? Can you imagine what that petroleum does to the pores on your face as you sleep? Bleck!
So now that I’ve scared you sufficiently with bad stuff, lets talk about the good! I prefer water based or water soluable creams, pastes, clays, and pomades (pronounced Pawm-aides, not pa-mods). There are so many options it can be overwhelming, so here’s a cheat sheet for you.
Creams - good for adding weight and moisture to hair to make it lay a little better (usually hair longer than three inches or so).
Clays - good for that natural messy look, really great if you want some volume and you like to continually mess up your hair all day. My hair is too fine for most clays and it feels like my hair is being ripped out of my head when I apply them.
Pastes - between clays and creams there are many different holds and scents that could be the “perfect” product for you. I myself prefer pastes because I have fine dense hair that reacts really well to a little bit of hold.
Pomades - the classic slicked Clark Gable or George Clooney in “Oh Brother” style. If you want that slicked down sophisticated look, or you want to have the rock-a-billy slick back pompadour then this is your jam!
Gels - are you ten years old? Are you trying to spike up a mohawk? Are you setting finger waves? If any of these apply then I’ll let it pass, otherwise just say no.
I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any further questions as this is a cavernous subject that I have merely scratched the surface of.