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King Brown Pomade and Underground Culture throughout the Ages

Ever since the inception of rock’n roll music, extravagant hairdos have been inextricably linked to underground music cultures. However, some of them also have their trademark go-to products to refine them. I am not necessarily referring to punks using glue and anything sticky to ensure that their mohawk is at a ninety degree angle but rockabillies and greasers, whose nomenclature already suggests the products they prefer, i.e. tubes of grease or pomade.

Derived from French “pomade”, in its original form it was made from the curious melange of mashed apples, animal fats and herbs and was thus used as an ointment, long before being employed as a hair product heavier and being lauded for doing a better job than traditional waxes or creams.

Ever since the 1950ies and I vividly remember both my grandfathers using it extensively leaving their respective bathrooms with the resulting hovering wafts of the product’s aromas, pomades have been used to not only keep one’s quiff in shape but imbue the pompadour with a luscious, stylishly shiny and waxy look, so it should not be further wondrous that it has become synonymous with rockabilly culture.

Eventually pomade has evolved to become a more refined product than to serve the purpose of greasing back young Elvis’ hair, with a modern twist giving birth to a range of different variants giving a softer, slightly texturized or matte finish, which was just around the time when it made a comeback into underground culture and hardcore.

However, despite having evolved from a product that leaves residue everywhere to one with ingredients that make it feel like set jelly with a bit of bounce to it, pomade has still retained a defined purpose and distinct vibe, which seems essentially geared towards a certain hair type, i.e. at least medium length top and side, short in the back.

I usually start with a coin sized bit of pomade applied to slightly damp, towel-dried hair starting with the sides to then move to the back and finally pull my fingers through the top, to then add more if needed. Apply it vice versa and you are going to end up with a front-heavy piece.

While I usually wear my hair fairly short, I have witnessed unapologetic perfectionist psychobilly friends finetune their more exaggerated distinction between the top, back and sides, creating sculpted, upwards pointing shiny, hairy waves that would make the Fonz jealous, or alternatively the Mike Ness’ of this world, rough and ready, pulled back with a comb and a generous serving of pomade to give it a glossy finish and ample opportunity to reshape throughout the day.

Intrigued by its stylish presentation and the overall brand concept within the confines of a barbershop, I was introduced to King Brown Pomade and its product range. Luckily, their tobacco and vanilla scented core product lived up to what the designs on the tins promised in terms of hold and sheen.

Eventually I moved to King Brown’s cologne scented water soluble based formula along with the lemon myrtle and sandalwood fragrance carrying, natural look enhancing Cream pomade variant, as both dry firm yet can be restyled without the need of a water source, complemented by the sheen-less volume enhancing Kingbrown grooming spray geared at taming longer hair.

All of the aforementioned enriched my grooming routine immensely and looking a bit deeper into how King Brown came about, the love, care and research that went into refining individual products along with the schmick designs that adorn its products and make it look classy instead of merely novelty products that try to fit into an overcrowded niche.


T • December 28, 2021

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