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January 06, 2016

What is pomade?

Pomade is a hairstyling product that can be of a greasy and/or waxy consistency allowing you to achieve your desired look. While water-based and oil-based are the two general categories of hair pomade, every pomade differs in shine, grease, texture and hold. Pomade has been used over many years to achieve a variety of looks for both men and women.Hairstyling products like pomades became very popular from the 1920s to the 1950’s especially when the subculture of “Greasers” emerged. These groups of adolescents were influenced by rock and roll idols such as Elvis Presley, and were coined the name “greaser” as a result of their comb-back hairstyles slicked with styling products like hair wax and pomades.

 

Generally there are two different categories of hair pomades, oil-based and water-based. Similarly to alcohol-based aftershaves and alcohol-free aftershaves, there really is no “better” option. The quality of each type of pomade ultimately comes down to personal preference, which may also have to do with your particular hair type. If you are new to hair pomade and aren’t sure where to begin, this post will start you off on the right track by teaching you some of the differences between a water-based pomade and an oil-based pomade. This post is to serve as a guide and is not intended to have you choose oil-based over water-based or vise versa. On the contrary, give both varieties a try to see which one you prefer most. You might even like both for different occasions and different styles.

January 07, 2016

Oil vs Water

Oil-Based Pomades

Oil-based pomades are the traditional pomades that have been around for many years. When looking for an oil-based pomade read the first ingredient listed and if it says petrolatum, petroleum, soft paraffin, or mineral oil, then it is an oil-based pomade. Unlike water-based pomades, oil-based pomades are unable to be dissolved by water. So even after you wash your hair, you will still have some pomade left over for the following day. As a result, there is no need to reapply a large amount during the second day since the pomade from the previous application is still lingering in your hair.

 

Water-Based Pomades

Water-based pomades are considered to be the more “new age” or modern version of the traditional oil-based pomades that were especially popular during the 1920s-1950s. Although the name says it all, when searching for a water-based pomade, if the first ingredient says water, more likely than not you’ve got yourself a water-based pomade. Also, keep your eye out for the term “water-soluble”.

 

Oil-Based Pomade Disadvantages

As previously mentioned, compared to water-based pomade and other hairstyling products, oil-based pomade is not easy to wash out after your initial application. If you do not wish to have the remnants of pomade left in your hair a day or 2 after you first style your hair then the hydrophobic characteristic of an oil-based pomade can be seen as a disadvantage. Acne is another negative aspect that can occur if you are not careful when applying your pomade. You can also be more susceptible to breakouts if you are just starting to use an oil-based pomade for the first time.

TIP: To help prevent breakouts from oil-based pomades, use a washcloth or a moist towelette to remove pomade from the forehead, face or hairline.

 

Water-Based Pomade Advantages

The number one advantage to using a water-based pomade over an oil-based pomade is the fact that it can be easily washed out with water. Similarly to oil-based pomades, water-based can be found in a multitude of options ranging in consistency, hold and finish. Many during the warmer months prefer water-based pomades because they have the ability to dry and maintain any hairstyle throughout the day. Another advantage to using a water-based pomade is that although everyone’s skin is different, the chances of acne and breakouts are significantly reduced as the level of greasiness is typically little to non-existent. 

TIP: To restyle your hair throughout the day, simply liven it up with a bit of water and adjust as you feel necessary.

 

 

November 05, 2016

What makes a good water-based pomade?

Scent

There are many different types of pomade scents, especially when it comes to water-based types. Some scents last for a short while like 2 hours and then it slowly fades. Some scents last for the whole time it is in your hair until you wash it out. Issue is, during the day, you will perspire and your scalp has oil secretion and that might mix with the pomade to create a new scent which may or may not be pleasant. 

Ease of Scooping

If the pomade is very stiff and hard to scoop up, it will also probably be difficult to spread on the palms, and hence also difficult to spread on the hair. Resulting in unevenness of application of the product in the hair. Clumps and flakes may also result as a result of poor distribution of product. The "hardness" of the product also depends on the ingredients. Usually a higher wax/oil content or oil of a lower viscosity will result in a harder/thicker pomade. 

Application/Styling

A good pomade is easy to spread on the palms, does not stiffen too quickly, usually 3-5 min is a good enough timing. If a pomade is too stiff and hardens to quickly, the user will be pressured to style very quickly, spreading may be tough and uneven. It hence would be tough to style properly. Adding water to style might dilute the pomade, and if the pomade formula is not concentrated enough, the strength will be reduced and the user might end up adding more pomade to style. More does not mean good, using just the right amount for the desired style is what most users should strive for. Too much pomade normally makes the hair too heavy and harder to style, later in the day, some pomades might cause the hair to dry up and the scalp might turn excessively oily.

Adjustability/Reliability

Water-based pomades usually are adjustable a few times during the day. But some formulas are too high on water, so the number of times might be less. Some pomades over-harden/turn crispy on the hair, resulting in the need to add more water on the hair to soften the hair, which will dilute the formula and hence, loss of strength of product happens and some users may see the need to top up some pomade, say if needed to reconstruct some demanding styles like high/full pompadours. Some pomade formulas are more concentrated hence requires to be styled on wet hair. They will also be able to take some heat and humidity well, some keeping a good shape of styled hair for more than half a day, without drying or flaking out. They should also be able to be re-styled a few times without adding additional pomade.

Ease of removal

Most water based pomades are easily washed off. However, there are some brands that have too much wax/oil content that makes the water-based pomade become unorthodox type because the hair and scalp gets too oily. Multiple shampoo or conditioner runs may be required to remove the product. Basically, these are the steps that are recommended for product removal. First, use normal temperature water(not warm or hot) to rinse the product off the hair and scalp first, which might need about 30 seconds, next, add shampoo in and cleanse/rub thoroughly before rinsing off. This method prevents curling of hair and does not loosen the hair follicles too much due to heat and which might contribute to more hair loss.

In summary, most users generally, although some factors like hair type, length, location(temperature and humidity), would prefer a pomade that:

-has a scent of their preference but fades away gradually

-is easy to scoop out of container

-easy to spread on palms and easy to style on hair

-does not harden too quickly or over-harden and become crispy like gel

-is adjustable a few times during day without losing too much shine and strength,and without need to top up product

-does not flake/clump/dry up

-holds the style for more than 12 hours

-decent strength to hold at least a 3 inch pompadour

-does not cause hair/scalp to dry up

-paraben-free

November 07, 2016

Differences between pomade, matte paste, gel, wax, clay, spray and all other hair products

Over the decades, there have been many products created to style hair. From oils, to creams to waxes and so on. The variety of products and brands does make it hard to consumers to choose. Short of snazzy advertisements and eye-catching shop displays, consumers usually get good advice from barbers and salons who also sell the styling products.  Most importantly, consumers should know the differences between a hair paste, pomade, clay, gel, hairspray, mousse and waxes. What the product does and does it even suit their hair type and the style that they want to achieve. The thing is to try to understand and then simplify the choice and try the product.

POMADE

Pomades can be broken down into two major categories: 

Oil-based (the more traditional version)
Water-based (the more popular and newer option)

They are primarily designed to showcase your hair in a slick, composed and neat manner while usually providing a shiny finish (ie pompadours, ducktails, or classic side parts).  Basically, pomades work extremely well for hairstyles that are formed using a comb.   Unlike gels, pomades do not dry out or leave your hair stiff and crispy allowing you to re-style your hair again and again throughout the day(depends on the formulation).  Options for medium to high strength pomades are widely available in many brands and scents. They make look the same once the cap is off. But performance can vary from 2-12 hours of hold, some acting like a gel(one time styling) to those that are like a workhorse, lasting hours and able to adjust with some addition of water. Some dry out your hair and scalp, some are wonderful to use, feels like a dream to style(similar to oil-based), forming nice curved segments and pomps, yet easily washable at the end of the day with no residue.

Oil-based pomades are basically made of grease or petroleum, which makes it a very cheap to manufacture option compared to water-based pomades. It is easier to make and have a much longer shelf-life. It is so easy to make that, it is highly possible to do it from your own kitchen/home, hence the word "home-brew"  In the 1950s, the term “greaser” appeared to describe the greased-back hairstyles that use this type of product.  Their ingredients are water insoluble which makes them practically impossible to wash out in the shower (buyer beware!). Multiple shampoo and condition runs/ strong degreasers are needed to remove the product from the hair. By then, many innocent strands of hair have fallen, not forgetting the scalp which had to undergo so much chemical stress and the natural oils(necessary for healthy scalp) have been forcefully removed, making the body pump extra oil from the scalp, creating a frail and weak and oily scalp, where hair drops easily.  While the petroleum and grease might give your hair long lasting shine and infinite mold ability, it does come at a cost. One final thing worth mentioning is the oil-based pomades may leave you more acne prone, particularly along your forehead and on your scalp.  If you don’t give your hair and scalp a proper wash, then pore and hair follicles can be clogged resulting in unwanted buildup and undesirable acne. To sum it up, alot of damage to hair and scalp, too much sacrifice. 

Water-based pomades on the other hand are much more user-friendly and not as damaging and stressful to scalp and hair.  They are designed to allow you to achieve similar looks and holds to oil-based pomades, but they wash out easily with water. Leaving little or no residue.The scalp is healthier and cleaner, less hair fall. Some water-based pomades can hold as firmly as the oil based type, they can also maintain flexibility and can be restyled throughout the day. Some even feature essential oils like lanolin oil, lavender oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil ...etc which are actually beneficial for hair and scalp, promoting natural shine, growth and bounce.    


HAIR PASTE

Pastes are like a thicker version of toothpaste, they normally are easy to apply and can be made water-based. In general hair pastes are thicker in consistency than pomades and are opaque. They normally give a low to medium shine. Pastes when applied to semi-wet hair, usually is combable. A hair paste usually gives your hair a medium to very firm hold and  they can be restyled, just like a water-based pomade, hence the versatility of this type of product and can be recommended for practically any hairstyle.  Hair pastes are ideal for all hair lengths, types and styles…from short to long, fine to thick, messy to combed.  And they are generally water-based, so washing them out is not difficult. However, do becareful in choosing some pastes, as they could contain too much oil /wax, hence still washable but more shampoo/ or more forceful rubbing is needed. This factor might create some stress for some users' scalps.

Now typically, thicker hair pastes require them to be warmed up before application.  Rubbing thicker hair paste between your fingers or palms will soften the product allowing you evenly distribute it throughout your hair.  Once the product is applied and your hair is styled, the product will begin to cool again and re-thicken, which helps give your hairstyle the hold it needs.

 

CLAYS

Clay hair products typically look very hard and dry in the container. The one thing in common with all clay hair products is the fact that they actually contain a clay ingredient in their formulations.  The most commonly used clay is bentonite, which is completely natural and usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash.  It’s incredibly fine and powdery making it almost “velvety” to the touch, and can swell when contacting water.  Clay however requires the user to apply a small layer by layer, thus more time consuming and takes more patience and practice. Taking too much into the palm at a time, makes it impossible to apply on hair, forcing clumps to form in the hair. Normally, just take a bit, rub quickly into palms, creating some heat before spreading into hair. Because of the fast hardening nature of clay, sometimes it hardens too quickly during styling, causing tugs and pulls, which in turn, pulls hair out. Clay in hair is also pretty much uncombable, you have to use your hands and fingers to style. 
 

WAXES

Waxes look like stiffy and less creamy versions of pastes. They contain higher content of oil/wax components. Wax in hair is pratically impossible to comb and much hairfall is expected if you do that. Restyling is difficult as wax generally stiffens and dries up quickly. The hold of waxes are not as strong as pomades. Multiple scoops are required to be placed into the hair, clumps, flakes are easily formed. Looking like dandruff when dried up in the day. The stronger waxes are brutal to hair and scalp as they are very dry and hard minutes after application. Be prepared to lose hair during removal like the same way you would do to remove an oil-based pomade. There is a lot of residue and clogs the hair follicles. Waxes usually are very cheap to produce and also are sold cheaply. Waxes are typically a teenager's first styling product.
Waxes have a low to medium shine. Better for layered and short hair styles.


CREAMS (LOTIONS)

Hairstyling cream has a lotion-type consistency (versus the solid, pasty-type consistency of pomades and pastes) and they work great for moisturizing your hair in an effort to control and maintain fry/frizzy hair.  Hair creams offer a light, softer hold compared to any other hair styling products, and they are recommended primarily as a pre-styling product as they add substance, shine and separation to the hair. After which, the user can choose to blow-dry the hair to style and prior to applying a styling product, whcih could be a pomade or a paste. They can also be used as and when the user needs to give their hair a boost of moisture and nourishment.

So if you’re looking to tame unruly hair and control the frizz on curly haired guys, then adding a cream to your styling regime would be recommended. Some high-end creams have complex formulas that nourish hair and skin at the same time, pampering the user. Some creams have such great ingredients that they can be used on beards, giving nourishment for at least a day. Creams work better for longer hair and some men like the relaxed and flowy look, applyin some cream would be optimum.

GEL

Hair gel is a very common hair styling product for men.  Like wax, it is readily available at even petrol stations and drugstores. It’s typically the “starter” hair product for most guys who begin styling their hair in middle school or high school. A survey once found gel or wax in 8 out of 10 school boy bags. Only the lazy ones did not bother to style their hair. Unfortunately, gel is mainly made of water and a lot of oil compounds. It is a very basic hair product and has very limited functions. 

Gel is great product if your intention is to have stiff, non-movable hair and if you don’t care if products damage your hair.  It does work well with all hair lengths, thicknesses, and textures to mold, sculpt, and hold your hair in place.  Gel tends to coat the hair strands and binds them together to lock them in place.  Gels are water-based styling products but they have a concoction of harsh alcohols and holding chemicals. They typically leave your hair shiny and rock hard and don't have the flexibility to style your hair throughout the day. Gel users often experience oily scalps, forehead, face and back of neck. Once you perspire, the gel literally melts and covers your face and neck, real gross situation.

The “extreme hold” of using gel in your hair does come as a cost: 

Flaking or residue when gelled hair is disturbed by running your fingers through your hair
Hair damage and excessive drying due to the type of alcohols that are used to help the gel dry
Corrosive chemicals strip all moisture from the hair and scalp resulting in itchy and flaky scalp and dandruff
Hair becomes brittle and prone to breakage
Hair becomes more frizzy, thereby making it unmanageable, dry, rough, limp and lusterless
Promotes dead skin cell build up and excess sebum on the scalp which clogs the hair follicles and eventually causes hair to fall out and hair loss 


MOUSSE

Mousse is basically a lot of harmful, sticky chemicals including oil in an aerosol can.  Mousse is a hairstyling product that is designed to add body, light hold and shine to hair. The result is crispy and oily hair which can not be restyled. Normally used by ladies to create volume for curls. Mousse pumped out of the can normally melts into a liquid very quickly once in the hand, making it  spread like water both into hair and scalp. Unless you are careful, it is difficult to spready evenly into a men's hair, without touching the scalp. It makes a good prestyler if you are careful with application and if you have the intention to use a brush and blower to create volume.

SERUMS

For men with thick and longer hair, a serum is used to control frizz and fly-aways by moisturizing the hair and providing a silky smoothness.   Most guys will never use a serum due to the application, but can be used to add a quick shiny finish by applying a little bit after your hair is towel dried. 

HAIR OIL

Hair oil is not really a styling product, but rather a hair repairing product.  Its recommended use is overnight or when styling your hair isn’t needed because hair oils will likely leave hair looking extremely greasy/oily and provide no hold whatsoever.  Their main purpose it to hydrate the hair when the scalp is insufficiently producing enough sebum (natural hair oil) or when the sebum isn’t traveling from the root to the top to effectively protect the hair.  Depending on the needs of your hair, you’ll need to choose the product right for the job: 

Argan Oil – Protects the hair and makes it feel smoother, softer, and less frizzy
Coconut Oil – Improves overall hair health by penetrating deep in the hair shaft and strengthening weak spots
Almond Oil – Contains a Vitamin A, B and E which improves hair health and adds shine and body
Olive Oil – Revives dry hair (*use sparingly for fine hair types) 

While Quincy does not offer a stand-alone hair oil product, we do include oils within our products to help condition, strengthen, and improve overall hair health.  Take Quincy Freakout Special Edition Pomade for example – its ingredients include argan oil to condition and soften the hair throughout the day and even during washing out.


HAIRSPRAY

The hair product marketplace is filled with all types of hair spray products that can set your hairstyle, enhance shine, reduce frizz, and even promote volume.  Hair spray can be used by itself, or used in conjunction with any hair paste or pomade.  They are normally sprayed on the outer layer of hair to lock in the hairstyle in place.

Typically, hair spray is packaged in an aerosol can or bottle with a pump sprayer, and is primarily geared towards women – this does not mean that men can’t and shouldn’t use them as well.  Some hair sprays are matte, some are shiny, some have shimmer even. Some cheaper sprays are very heavy and oily, if too much is used, a lot of residue builds on scalp and hence is harmful. Some hairsprays may precipitate when reacting with other hair styling products, so some experimentation is needed.

If you use a hair styling that is strong enough, it is actually redundant to use a hairspray. Why? Hair spray locks the style and you can not restyle since it is crispy and hard. If your styling product is strong enough to hold and yet still have the ability to restyle and easy to remove, without creating residue on scalp that may require multiple shampoo runs, we believe it is better to just skip the hairspray unless really mission critical.

In summary, most men would like to have a hair product that is easy to use, strong, adjustable, water-soluble, leaves no residue, hence healthier for their scalp. We would recommend a good water-based pomade(shiny) or matte paste.

November 08, 2016

Dangers of Parabens

The Hidden Dangers Of Parabens

You’ve probably heard about them – Parabens. They’re notorious in the beauty world as a dangerous addition to many products. But are they really that bad?

The short answer is: Most likely.

The dangers posed by parabens are highly debated. Some researchers believe that the findings are so minimal that the dangers are also minimal and impossible to link. Others believe that the limited evidence is enough to determine that there is indeed enough of a risk that it must be taken seriously.

With so much debate, it is important that you understand both sides of the equation and make your own determination about whether you believe parabens are dangerous for your health or not.

What Are Parabens?
Parabens are naturally occurring chemicals. Simply put, they are inexpensive preservatives, which is why many beauty products opt to save some money and include them in their products.

“Parabens” is the short name for a variety of strings of chemicals and preservatives. Some of the names you’ll likely see on popular skincare products include:

Methylparaben
Ethylparaben
Propylparben
Isobutylparaben
Butylparaben

They’re used in makeup, face wash, body wash, pomades, waxes, shampoos and other types of skincare/hair products. That’s because the dangers of parabens were only recently exposed.

Why Parabens Are Dangerous

Do a quick search online and you’ll find that many websites refute the idea that parabens are dangerous. The FDA has ruled that they are safe to use up to 25% in beauty products. In spite of this ruling, the FDA continues testing the chemical for dangers showing that the risk is not completely refuted and still very much a danger.

The following are some of the biggest reasons women worry about using parabens in their beauty products.

1. Parabens increase the risk of breast cancer.
A study was released in 2004 that shook the beauty industry. In the study, the researchers linked parabens to breast cancer after finding metabolites in breast cancer tissue samples. In full disclosure, the researcher who conducted the study responded to the negative reaction by saying that the presence of parabens caused breast cancer. However, many women still feel it is smart to steer clear of this chemical to reduce their risk of developing or worsening breast cancer.

2. Parabens increase estrogen.
Studies have found that parabens mimic estrogen. They are phytoestrogens, which means they have an estrogenic effect.
Parabens are absorbed through the skin. Because of this, when used on your body, such as in makeup or skincare products, parabens may impact your health on a number of levels. One study showed that when injected into male animals, parabens had an effect on the reproductive systems, including damage to sperm cells.
Estrogen-antagonistic activity has been linked to an increased risk of growing cancerous cells in the body. More specifically, estrogen-antagonistic activity leads to an increase in MCF-7, which is linked to breast cancer. Although many chemicals and foods have been linked to the same increase, including soy, flax and other herbal combinations, parabens still pose a threat.

3. Parabens are dangerous to children.
You baby-proof your home, but how about your beauty regimen? Parabens are not only harmful to female adults. They are also harmful to children.
Some toiletries for babies contain parabens that can get absorbed into your baby’s developing body. Other times, parents use products on their own skin that can transfer parabens to their child. This is especially true when the child is in the womb and a mother rubs a cleanser or lotion on her belly that contains parabens.
choose paraben-free productsA publication by the American Chemical Society in December 2013 showed that researchers are becoming increasingly concerned with the exposure of parabens in kids. Toddlers and babies are more likely to be hurt by parabens than adult women. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly suspects that 90% of babies are exposed to parabens in urine, breast milk and blood.


There is no definitive answer for just how dangerous parabens are on a person. However, with so many questions still in the air and so much research still to be done, many people believe that it is best to take a proactive approach and avoid parabens all together – especially in children.

Some pomade manufacturers, in a bid to reduce manufacturing costs, do use paraben chemicals in the production process as a cheap preservative. Buyers beware.

November 08, 2016

Dangers of Phenoxyethanol

More and more manufacturers are advertising that their beauty products are paraben-free--you've probably seen the phrase splashed across packaging at the drug store. What you may not realize is that many of these products, including natural and organic brands, are using an alternative preservative called phenoxyethanol.

What Is Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that's manufactured using a complex process where phenol is treated with ethylene oxide. Phenol is a mildly acidic white crystalline solid that can be obtained from natural or chemical sources. Ethylene oxide, also known as carbolic acid, is a colorless gas or liquid that is considered carcinogenic. Combined during manufacture, the two chemicals are claimed by some to form a safe, non-toxic synthetic preservative.

The Discussion on the Safety of Phenoxyethanol 

The MSDS on phenoxyethanol states that it can cause skin and lung irritation. It's also toxic to the kidneys, nervous system, and liver, and repeated, long-term exposure can cause organ damage. It notes that toxic effects can occur through inhalation, skin exposure, and ingestion. The toxicity effects listed in the MSDS are based on exposure to the preservative when it's undiluted, and scientists agree that in high doses phenoxyethanol is toxic. 

The debate comes in regards to the low dosages found in cosmetics and other common products you may use. A study in the International Journal of Toxicology claims that the low percentage of phenoxyethanol used in cosmetic products (generally two percent or below) is safe and non-toxic. However, the European Commission on cosmetic ingredients stipulates that phenoxyethanol is toxic when applied to the lips or around the mouth, which is concerning. In addition, the FDA placed a warning to nursing mothers about using a brand of nipple cream that contained phenoxyethanol, stating that it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and central nervous system problems in infants. 

What Is the Bottom Line on Phenoxyethanol Safety in Beauty Products?

More research needs to be conducted about the long-term effects of using beauty products containing phenoxyethanol. In the meantime, due to the European Commission and the FDA's concerns about oral exposure to phenoxyethanol, it is reasonable for you to be skeptical about its safety. It's especially concerning when you consider that most beauty products you may use that contain phenoxyethanol are often applied to the lips or around the mouth. 

Spotting Beauty Products Containing Phenoxyethanol

If you choose to avoid products that contain phenoxyethanol, you'll have to be a shrewd shopper, because it goes by many names. Some of the names will be easy to spot because they'll appear similar, such as 2-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether and 2-phenoxy-ethanol. Other names, however, could be a bit trickier to spot, such as rose ether. To make matters more confusing, some manufacturers don't even disclose the preservative on their product labels. Phenoxyethanol can also be used as a fragrance, and in some cases, manufacturers simply list it as "fragrance" on the product label. So, if a label states it contains "fragrance" but does not specify what kind, be aware that it may be phenoxyethanol. 

Preservatives like phenoxyethanol may be necessary to give beauty products a long shelf-life. The question is whether the longer shelf life is worth the potential health risks? As we learn more about the effects of phenoxyethanol, it may be necessary to turn towards beauty products that may not last as long, but will leave you with lasting peace of mind. 

Would you use a product containing phenoxyethanol? what natural alternatives have you explored?

Some pomade manufacturers use phenoxyethanol as a cheap preservative and also as a replacement for parabens. Phenoxyethanol is a germicide and carcinogen, which is potentially dangerous to human body, both in short and long term.

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