In my write up of Herman’s Barber Shop I mentioned buying a tub of Imperial Classic Pomade. I’ve been pretty hooked on it and since I get paid the big bucks (lie) for writing these award winning reviews (lie) it’s a good opportunity to share (true) and make a cool Mill (lie).
Imperial Industries Inc., or Imperial as those of us in the know call it, is a Los Angeles CA based company. They have 4 different water-based hair products and a line of shaving products. It’s all done in a very sharp, minimalistic style of black and white.
Classic Pomade comes in a semi translucent 6 oz. (!) plastic tub with a silver screw on lid. There’s a white label with the name, ingredients, and hold rating on a scale of 1 to 4, with the 4 circled indicating it has the maximum hold. The lid is sealed with a piece of tape. It’s a very clean package and while I personally haven’t had any problems with mysterious scoops taken out of new pomades, I thought the tape seal was a classy touch.
Inside the tub is a clear gel-like pomade. I think it’s the only pomade I have that doesn’t have any coloring. While it’s only a cosmetic touch it continues to build on the classy feel that Imperial is selling. The scent was unusual. It was light and smelled like watermelon candy, maybe like a Jolly Rancher…do people still eat those? I’m so out of touch… Don’t sweat the sweet smell though, like I said, it’s light and I don’t think I ever got a whiff of it once it was in. The texture is very much like most water-based pomades that attempt to be like grease. It’s thick and clumps up on your finger when you scoop it out.
Rubbing it between your palms, while not difficult, let’s you know that this is a pretty stiff pomade. You’re not going to glue your hands together but you’ll use a little muscle to get it warmed up. I try to apply water-based pomades to mostly, if not completely, dry hair. My experiences with Suavecito and Layrite taught me that the only way to get the grease feel from water-based pomades is to use it on dry hair. The more water you use with the more it’s going to harden in your hair. If you don’t mind having a shell of hair then use as much water as you like but I prefer to re-comb in the day so…dry hair. Anyway, it goes in as stiff as it feels on your hands. Again, you’ll be using some elbow grease to get this distributed by hand. It’s definitely one of the firmer pomades I’ve used. Probably closer to Layrite Super Hold than anything else. Once it’s in your hair it combs through surprisingly easily and evenly. I had absolutely no trouble at all getting an even distribution once I started combing. I didn’t get any thick spots or streaking. While I didn’t feel like it had a lot of strength to hold up a crazy quiff it was more than adequate for my side-parted pomp.
When I first applied Classic Pomade it had a little bit of shine. One of the lighter shines in my collection. Within an hour the shine had faded more to be more like a low shine product. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was doing a nice job of highlighting the grey in my hair I would think it had no shine. This is going to change with the amount of water you use but remember that if you’re going for shine you’re going to have to add water and that’s going to harden it. You’re choice but I prefer dry hair and pliability.
The hold was good throughout the day. Classic Pomade has a 4 on Imperials 1 to 4 scale. I don’t think it’s the highest hold pomade in my collection, that might be Shiner Gold, but it definitely held my style all day. I did notice that I had my sides slicked back when I left the house but by the afternoon they weren’t as slick. This could be because I didn’t use enough product but just a heads up that if you’re looking to keep any particular areas very tight you might want to apply more there or add some water and deal with hardness. Try more product first. Recombing was a snap, I didn’t need to re-activate with water and it did have a grease-like consistency while combing.
Classic Pomade is water-based so, of course, washing it out is easy.
Imperial Classic Pomade really took me by surprise. I tried it on Sunday just to get a feel for it and found myself applying it again this morning for the 6th straight day. I have a lot of pomades to choose from and to find myself going with the same thing for 6 days in a row is a record. This is a great pomade and I’m hooked. I usually go with petroleum on the weekends and water-based during the work week but we’ll see what ends up in my hair tomorrow morning. Remember though, low shine so if you’re looking for a real greaser look you’re going to want to top coat with something.
Disclosure: I am not associated with Imperial Industries Inc. or any of the products or web pages mentioned in this article. The 6 oz. tub of Imperial Classic Pomade I used to write this article was purchased by myself from Herman’s Barber Shop & Supplies.