“You know what a Greaser is? White trash with long hair.”
That was what the popular Soc said to Ponyboy in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. But no one who read the book or saw the movie ever wanted to be Soc. The Greasers—Ponyboy, Two-Bit, Dallas—were the cool ones. And more than a little bit of that had to do with the hair that gave the crew its nickname.
Some guys still bristle at the idea of using products in their hair. But it’s time to get over “putting goop” in your hair because if you want your hairstyle—whether it’s clean-cut, sculpted, or messy—to last after you get out of the shower you’re going to need to use something to hold it in place.
Chase Wilson always looked up to different 1960s icons, the surfers from the Endless Summer era. But he found that when he styled his hair with pomade and then went in the water one of two things would happen. The wax-based pomades wouldn’t come out for weeks and the water-based ones would wash out immediately and sting his eyes while he tried to surf. So Wilson, a pro surfer on the World Qualifying Series, decided to create a pomade that worked for him.
The result is Byrd Hairdo Products. Launched in 2012, the company now produces three different pomades (classic, matte, and light) that offer a variety of different holds and finishes, in addition to other cool products like a soap-on-a-rope that will make your bathroom smell like the beach and a pocket comb made out of the same material as surfboard fins.
When Wilson was just a little grom starting out on the pro surf tour, he never thought he’d know so much about hair products. But now he is able to coordinate his surf travel with business trips for his company and kill two “Byrds” with one stone.
To help guys get over their fear of pomade, we asked Chase for some tips.
KNOW YOUR HAIR
Some products will say that they are for all hair types, but that’s impossible. You need to know if you have straight or wavy hair because that will impact which pomade works best for you. “When it comes down to it, it’s about trying different types,” Wilson says. After experimenting with a few different brands, you should be able to know whether you’re Dapper Dan Man like George Clooney in O Brother Where Art Thou or if another product works best for you.
START WITH LESS
“I think where guys go wrong is they use too much product off the bat and it weighs their hair down, and you can’t really take it out unless you wash it out,” Wilson says. Like with cooking, it’s better to use less at the beginning and add more as necessary since you can’t take it out afterward. Wilson recommends using a dime size amount to start.
PREP THE PRODUCT
Don’t just scoop the pomade out of the tin and put it right in your hair. Give it a little love first. In order to get the pomade to spread evenly through your hair, rub it around in your palms and fingers thoroughly to warm it up. Once it emulsifies in your hands, you’re ready to start applying it.
GO DOWN TO THE ROOTS
In order to get the pomade to really work, it needs to cover the entire strand of hair down to the root. “A lot of guys just get the ends of their hair and that’s not going to give the full benefit,” Wilson warns. His rule of thumb is to start from the crown of the head and work the pomade through from back to front. Then go from side to side and finish with back to front. That should insure proper coverage. You can also run a comb through it. Not only will it help you achieve a more clean-cut look, it also works the pomade in deeper. But if a less-polished look is what you’re going for, then styling with just your fingers is fine.
Even though Byrd’s classic pomade is wax-based, the company has added ingredients to help it come out after a couple of washes instead of a couple of weeks. Wilson showers in the morning and applies product afterward, but he has found that, particularly with the matte pomade, it looks better after sleeping on it for a night. And sometimes, a cocktail of different pomades can work, like starting with the matte to give the hair some volume and then finishing with the classic for shine. Enjoy the experimenting. “You can say this works for this guy’s hair and this works for that guy’s hair,” Wilson says. “But in the end it’s about whatever works best for the style you want to achieve.”