September 12, 2014

THE DAPPER MAN | Finding the Right Hair Product

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By ERIC DING

Throughout my Cornell experience, I have had exactly eight different hairstyles. As a matter of fact, my dramatic hair transformations have earned me the nickname of “Hairic” within my dance team. I have always felt as though hair is immensely malleable, due to its constant, continuous growth and the plethora of ways to manipulate it. Thankfully, men traditionally have short hair, enabling us to experiment wildly without much permanent, residual damage. The cornerstone of most of my hairstyles has been the hair product. Below I have outlined my three most used hair products during college:

Pomade

This is what I’m currently using, and I’ve got to tell you, it is my favorite. It’s great for a smoother, more sophisticated look. Pomade generally has high shine and a strong hold. This means it will give your hair brilliance as well as hold it in whatever place you style it into. Pomade is extremely effective for slickbacks, parts and generally making your hair look in place and neat. Additionally, it does not harden and creates a sort of “hair helmet” when it settles in! Pomade cradles the exact right balance between being strong enough to keep your hair in place and being pliable to allow fixing throughout the day.

Gel

Gel seems like the poor man’s pomade. I will admit openly that I used gel for a long time merely because the term hair gel was the most familiar among men’s hair products, and I was reluctant to branch out and try new things. Be forewarned — hair gel chalks up flakes in your hair pretty quickly, and after a few hours, slight white residue starts to show. Gel should only really be reserved for those times when you just want your hair to go completely against its natural path, like with spikes or an extreme mohawk. For daily use, stick to either pomade or wax. Hair gel, when applied, evolves into a solid, hardened mess, which can be very uncomfortable and downright gross at times.

Wax

Using wax definitely is a different experience than gel or pomade. First and foremost, wax has a type of clay-like feeling to  it, and it provides your hair with a sort of “controlled, messy” look. Wax looks dry when you put it in, meaning it generally doesn’t have any shine value. Wax fabricates an airy feeling throughout your hair, giving it a literal lift. Waxes are high-hold products, but instead of feeling stiff, they feel like a strong, dry resistance into whatever style you work your hair into. When I used wax, I primarily had a wavy fauxhawk, and the hairstyle held up well throughout the day. However, if water is added or if it is raining out, the its power is significantly reduced. If you’re going for something less serious and more fun, play around with it!

My suggestion would be to try out different types of products to see which one is right for you. These are the three have used the most heavily, but you can also play around with hairspray (to add sheen and/or hold) or creams (for finishing touches). Have fun with it!

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