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Paste or Pomade? That is the Question

By Andrew Stone
Posted On Nov 06, 2015

The handsome fellows at Mister Pompadour, the hot new men’s haircare line out of Raleigh, walk us through the new guidelines for tressing up.

by Andrew C. Stone

Mr Pomade- New YouGuys, think back to childhood. What on earth were we doing with our hair? Limp bowl cuts and “party in the back” mullets. Impenetrable walls of bangs shellacked by Dippity-Do. Crispy helmets, galvanized by mousse, that were about as soft and silky as a week-old croissant. We were trying… and failing miserably.


Times sure have changed, eh? Men are finally coming around to proper coiffure techniques… even straight ones! From David Beckham and Bruno Mars to Matthew McConaughey and Adrian Grenier, men have finally learned how to do the ’do. Here we check in with Matt Davis and Zack Henry, co-founders of haircare line Mister Pompadour (misterpompadour.com) to help you get your own style down.


NEW YOU: Fellows, how can the average guy determine the best hair product for him? And how do factors like length and texture factor in?

MATT DAVIS: A lot of what determines the best product is based upon personal preference and the particular look a guy is looking to achieve. Lately, hair trends seem to be moving away from high-shine, combed hairstyles that utilize products like pomades. Instead, guys are opting for hairstyles that are more finger-combed and have a natural matte finish, which is perfect for hair pastes. The amount of hold the product provides should also be noted, since most guys love to have their hair held in place throughout the day. We typically point customers in the direction of our Natural Beeswax Paste because it meets the needs of your typical guy and the product works for all lengths and textures. It’s  a “one size fits all” type of product that’s been well received from guys all around the world.


NY: In the pomade versus paste debate, what do we need to know about these products’ composition?

ZACK HENRY: Pomade seems to be the catch-all term to describe styling products that come in a jar, but that’s not necessarily accurate. Pomades and pastes are generally used in two different ways. What guys need to understand is that pomades are designed for combed hairstyles that have high shine, such as pompadours, slickbacks, or side-parts… Think Grease or Mad Men. Traditionally, pomades are oil-based products that give hair a ton of shine, leaving you hair with a wet, greasy look, but are impossible to wash out in the shower. Nowadays, water-based pomades make a great alternative for guys who want a high shine finish, but don’t want to spend an eternity in the shower washing product out.


Hair pastes, on the other hand, tend to be a lot more versatile in their functionality. They’re great for adding texture and definition to the hair and tend to leave it with a matte to semi-matte finish, which is very popular for most guys.  Pastes typically have a thicker consistency and need to be emulsified—warmed up—in your hands before application. Hair pastes typically leave hair with a flexible hold, which allows restyling throughout the day and maintains the look even if you want to run your fingers through it.


NY: What’s the deal with wet or dry hair, when it comes to pomade and paste?

ZH: Regardless of whether you’re using a pomade or paste, we typically recommend applying product to dry hair only particularly after it’s been blow-dried into shape. Applying these products to wet hair will tend to leave your hairstyle with less volume because the combination of water and product will naturally weigh down the hair. You also won’t have nearly the same amount of hold either, because the water will dilute the products and make them less effective at binding the hairs together. The only time we suggest applying products to wet hair is when you’re using the product as a pre-styler and you intend to blow dry your hair with the product in it.


NY: The Mister Pompadour products really look pretty amazing. What was the original intention for the brand and what sets them apart?

MD:The original and current intent of Mister Pompadour is to give guys confidence in the way their hair looks, and to provide quality tools to help them achieve their hair goals. We set out to create the best men’s hair styling product suite available—versatile as well as easy to use, for all hair types and lengths. We focus on product aspects that guys find important but often get overlooked. The products also have pleasant, yet not overbearing, scents instead of harsh chemical or cheap cologne aromas you find in typical men’s styling products.


NY: How much product is the right amount for the average short hairstyle, and what do you do if you use too much?

MD:Typically a nickel-sized amount of product is suitable for shorter hairstyles. It’s wise to start with less and add more as necessary, otherwise your hair may become so overwhelmed with product that your hairstyle just won’t look right.  If that’s the case, rinse out the product and start over.


NY: What are the big picture goals for the brand?

MD:It’s obviously an ambitious goal, but ultimately, we’d love to be the next American Crew. We’ve already converted thousands of customers and salons to switch from American Crew to Mister Pompadour, so we think we’re on the right path.


NY: Men seem to be a little more conscious when it comes to stocking up on decent grooming products. What has your research told you about guys and their habits right now?

ZH:There’s definitely a shift in the way men perceive grooming products in general, and we believe it’s mostly due to access to quality information on blogs, forums, or YouTube videos and from hairstylists and barbers themselves. Guys are also becoming more conscious of the ingredients in the products they choose. They’re starting to understand that a healthy look comes from washing, heat protection, and using premium products. Mediu-length hair is definitely a trend right now and and guys like to create a look that has a natural finish instead of high shine.


NY: Will a woman enjoy the products if she is to steal some of a guy’s Mister Pompadour?

ZH: It’s interesting because about ten to fifteen percent of our customers are women, which is something we didn’t necessarily expect. We typically find them using our Sculpting Clay and Moroccan Texture Paste (versus guys who tend to focus on Natural Beeswax Paste and Peppermint Pomade) because these products apply easier to long, thick hair. These two styling products also work great at controlling frizz and repairing dry, damaged hair.


NY: How key has packaging been to the Mr. Pompadour brand?

MD: It’s important to have packaging that compliments the contents within. Cool, clean packaging certainly reinforces our brand and we believe that we’ve done that with a metallic blue cap that’s embossed with our Mister Pompadour logo. Color coding logos on each product also helps customers remember which one they like to use even if they forget the product name. From a brand perspective, we wanted Mister Pompadour to be timeless, yet fun. Our logo is a faceless man in a tailored suit rocking a pompadour. Nothing’s more timeless than the appeal of a well-groomed, well-tailored man.


NY: What are the cornerstones of the brand ethos, from which you intend never to stray?

ZH: We want our customers to have great hair so they look sharp every time they walk out the door. We want them to feel confident in the products they use and the advice that Mister Pompadour provides. We take a lotof pride in our customer service  Whether a customer is looking for a product recommendation or a hair style critique, we tailor our advice to each individual and they appreciate the time we take to answer them personally. Customer satisfaction is our main goal, and all of our business decisions are based on that.

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