Monday, October 04, 2004

Retro hair products, pt.3: Brylcreem

Brylcreem is so retro-chic that it is almost mainstream. People who've never heard of Vitalis or Wild Root recognize the phrase "a little dab'l do ya". You can find Brylcreem at every drug store, supermarket, and sometimes even convenience stores.

So much information about Brylcreem is already available on the Net that I won't waste too much space on it here. I won't bother describing its history or cultural impact, etc. You know how to use Google.

Many people think that Brylcreem was "greasy kid stuff". Actually depending on what sources I consult, it was either Brylcreem or Vitalis that used "no more greasy kid stuff" as an ad compaign. Compared to pomades and products containing petroleum jelly, Brylcreem is indeed non-greasy. Sort of an evolutionary step towards modern hair gels, I guess.

Like the Vaseline Hair Tonic discussed last time, it doesn't offer much in the way of "hold". Not in the usual hairspray sense of the word. If you follow the slogan and use a lil' dab, your hair will be shiny and good-smelling and easy to manage, but don't expect to be able to have a pompadour or 80s-cartoon-punk-rocker spikes. (If that's what you want then you should be using a pomade of some sort.) Using a big dab will allow you to comb just about any normal-looking hairstyle and your hair will stay put, and the smell will be even more pronounced.

So what does it smell like? To me it smells like a lotion that you would normally expect to put on your hands. (Looks and feels like it, too). So you will walk around smelling like you have a head full of lotion. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing.

Since the reason I started looking into these kinds of products was dandruff/dry-scalp, I was very interested to learn that there is a special version of Brylcreem that contains pyrithione zinc (the same thing as Head and Shoulders). Unfortunately I cannot find this at any store.

Because I couldn't find the dandruff formula, I actually stayed away from Brylcreem at the start of this project, and only went back to try it as an afterthought after having essentially solved the dandruff problem (oops.. spoiler!).