My journey from pomade to PomadeShop
My Shop for pomade and hair styles of the 1920s - 1950s
Actually, it was inevitable that I would open up a shop for pomade and thus would share my knowledge, experience, tips and products with fans.
The shine of an elegant time
Since my childhood in the eighties I have been fascinated by old movies of the 1940s and 1950s - actually in the afternoon program there was hardly anything else. I totally hooked up on the shiny and incredibly well groomed hair of the male actors and singers. Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Clark Gable, Lex Barker and of course Elvis Presley became my great idols and for me the epitome of elegant hairstyles. But actually it was the whole aura of elegance and charisma that appealed to me from the black-and-white photos of that time.
Well groomed hair: the highlight of the appearance
I admired how her hair gleamed and shone. How neat and still easy-going they looked. It was certainly not just the hair - the whole scene was simply elegant - but the shiny, neat hair was like the highlight of the whole appearance.
I knew this is what I also want to look like!
I just wanted a neat and shiny hairstyle, like the movie and music heroes of my youth.
Unfortunately at that time I - a fifteen year old teen - knew no one who could tell me how I could do such beautiful hairstyles. My father only remembered though, that as a little boy on special occasions he was styled with brilliantine. Brilliantine. Finally I had a first indication of a hair styling product from that time. But in all of Munich / Germany nobody knew pomade. And even if so, no one knew if or where I could get it.
The 1980s : Only gel, mousse and hairspray
Neither in a drugstore nor in a department store, the desperate salesclerks knew any advice. Gel and hair spray, were the hair styling products of the eighties. Nothing else. However, there were still the german hair creams like Diplona, Fit & Flot , Wellaform and Brisk. All I have of course tried. Only the Brisk is still around. Bu I simply could not manage to get neither hold, shape or an elegant shine from any of them. Maybe I had not used these hair creams properly, but there was also no instructions on the tubes.
From time to time, the term "pomade" fell or I heard people say "in the fifties men would wear smeary hairstyles", but that did not help much further. Or did maybe Cary Grant rub honey, butter or margarine in his hair?? Even my attempt to get a hair cut by a hairdresser in the style of the fifties, ended with a too-short US military haircut. Although frustrated, I still did not give up.
Finally in Australia : Murray's and Sweet Georgia Brown Pomade
When I first flew to Australia in the late 1980s to visit my mother, a whole new world did open for me: "pomade", "hairdressing", "Murray's Superior" and "Sweet Georgia Brown Pomade" suddenly were in front of me in an old barber shop in Sydney. Beautiful tin cans beaming at me like the holy grail. I was blown away! Of something like that I had never heard of before in Germany, let alone seen something beautiful like that.
Exercise makes pomade the best hair styling product
I immediately bought any pomade that seemed somehow nostalgic to me and tried diligently every day one jar after another. Although I did not know how and in what quantity I should use the pomades. But that was dumpling water to me. I was so close to the hairstyles of my movie idols that with a happy grin like Pippi I chunked the pomades in my hair. My enthusiasm even did not stop, despite some surprises like for a week glued hair by Murray's Superior Pomade or dripping oily hair from too much Brylcreem. Why should it. the products were not to blame for my weird hair adventures. I just had to figure out how I should handle these pomades. And this is when it happened: I fell in love with these products and tried to find out everything about them, so that I could apply them properly.
Cary Grant, pomade and an afro store
In 2006 I was surprised with the book "Cary Grant - A Celebration of Style", but thought not much about it. Though as a teenager I loved Cary Grant movies and admired how elegantly he was always dressed. And that was pretty it.
But this book was a hit. From now on I devoured every night the book and found among other things a small passage, in which it is mentioned that Cary Grant used a pomade. A black coloring pomade to make look his dark brown hair in his films appear even more brilliant.
Wow! But I had no idea where I could find pomade in Germany.
The search for such a pomade turned out to a small odyssey. First no result in Munich's hair salons and beauty shops. But finally a first indication by a saleswoman at Kiehl's in "Beck am Rathauseck" in the city center: "Try it in an African store in the Netherlands." I initially thought that the lady had not properly understood and tried to explain, "But I am not an African." The lady did not give up: " Yes, yes, but pomade is used by Africans and they have their own shops in which you can buy pomade." So finally a Murray's Black Beeswax Pomade stood in my bathroom. From the Netherlands. From a shop for Africans.
It had to go a lot easier for a non-African to get at a pomade.
Stan, you have to open a shop!
When in fall 2007 I eventually brought an old school friend of mine - Holger Wilken, a sales professional in the IT industry - a jar of Brylcreem from Italy and raved of the ingredients, of the application, of the great effect and the immense history, he just said,"Stan, you have to open a shop - and share all of your knowledge about pomade with others!"
A shop? Not in the least I had thought about a shop. But that very night I started diving into the world of online shops, and six months later went online with PomadeShop.
Founder of PomadeShop - the first special shop for classic hairstyling products of the 1920s to 1950s
PomadeShop: How I came to PomadeShop through pomade
Introduction: What is pomade?
Ingredients: What is pomade made of?
Elvis-Quiff: A guide to the perfect 50s hairstyle
Styling: 7 steps to a stylish business look