I get a lot of hair-related questions. Most of them are only half-serious, and many of them are mocking. Even so, Arianna has asked me to write about the proteins extruded from my scalp, and I told her that I would try.
I generally keep my hair at a short or medium length, although I did try to grow it out once, to which my girlfriend put a stop before I achieved the princely locks I had envisioned. That means that all of these recommendations are for hair of a similar length – I really have no idea how to deal with rockstar curls or anything like that. I also have very thick hair, so keep that in mind.
First of all, make sure that you’re nurturing said extruded proteins by following a proper hair-care routine. Mine is as follows:
- Shower, sometimes (usually at night).
- Wash my hair, if I remember.
- Shampoos and conditioners that contain Tea Tree Oil or Eucalyptus smell nice.
- Go to sleep.
- Drool on pillow.
- If sleeping on wet hair, hair may or may not need styling in AM. Sometimes I rub product in wet hair before going to bed, because #iwokeuplikethis. Perhaps it’s the pillow drool that really does the trick.
If styling hair, follow one of two steps:
- If blow-drying: add warmed-up product to towel-dried hair, then style and blow-dry to the best of my meager abilities if I have the time or inclination. I almost use a penny-sized amount of product, and heat it either by rubbing my hands together or by pointing the blow-dryer at it for a bit.
- If not showered: dampen product with a drop of hot water, work it into a paste, and apply directly to dry hair – gives it a different texture, but it works.
I’ve played with a lot of different products, and most of the ones I’ve ended up liking have been recommendations from my hairdresser, who has been cutting my hair since I was 8. I’ve had poor luck with just about everything I’ve ever purchased from your standard Target/Walgreens/whatever, and at this point I’m not going to keep trying, because let’s face it: American Crew just kind of sucks. However, a few products have stood out to me over the years, and I’ll go over them here.
Right now, I’m pretty enamored with fatboy hair products, and specifically with the perfect putty. I have a used a lot of different products of this type, and I think it’s my favorite, especially considering the price (21$ for 2.6oz). There’s no grease to it, it gives a matte finish, and it is really, really lightweight – and it smells nice. If you’re trying to use various ‘clay’ products and they’re not what you wanted, give this a shot.
I’ve also sampled the water wax, as a kind of finisher to dry blow-dried hair that adds some nice texture and a bit of shine. I’ve never used it by itself, however, and it doesn’t feel like a ‘necessary’ product in my life.
Based on how much I’ve liked the fatboy products I’ve tried, I’d definitely be interested in experimenting with their other offerings, but the perfect putty is more or less everything I need.
Another wax-putty, Sumotech is very similar to fatboy’s perfect putty, with a slightly different, slightly waxier texture, though it also gives a matte finish (with perhaps a touch more shine to it). This was my favorite product until I started using fatboy, and I can definitely recommend it. However, it costs 29$ for a 1.6oz jar, which definitely tips the scales in fatboy’s favor. Even so, it smells great, works great, and generally feels great in the hair, so have at it.
Similarly, I went through a period during which I was using B&B’s Sumowax, which is, well, a wax. Hard-hold, and all that; I think it works well for shorter hair, and gives some hold and separation without making you look like you’re in 8th grade – if you follow. Again, I can recommend it, either on its own or as a finishing product.
Kevin Murphy has a whole line of apparently well-regarded styling products, but the only one I’ve ever used is Gritty Business. This is a clay/wax blend, so it behaves differently from the options above. You can either apply it the same way as the two above (put in damp hair, rub around, profit), or you can apply it to completely dry hair as well. It gives a much messier look than the putties above, and according to their website is good for thinner hair.
I ended up really liking this, but doubt I’ll buy it again for my personal uses – it’s heavier than a pure wax or putty, which I don’t need. The easiest way to get it is via Amazon, and at 31$ for 3.4oz it’s not a bad deal.
This is one of the only – I don’t know what you’d call it – ‘additional’ hair products I’ve ever liked. A ton of companies make something like this – look like you were just at the beach! – but this is the only one I’ve ever thought did anything. It adds a little salty texture, but it’s dry instead of waxy. You can apply to damp or dry hair, but in my case I’ve used it in tandem with Sumotech/putty once my hair is mostly dry, or on days when I get up and my hair is dry and I don’t feel like getting it wet and re-styling. Spray it, work it around and let it air dry – B&B recommends using a diffuser on your blow-dryer if you go that route, but I don’t have one of those.
Surf Spray is nice because it’s really lightweight, so if you’re not looking for a firm hold or a lot of shape, it’s a good way to add texture without your hair feeling greasy or weighed-down.