I'm looking for a product that will give you a dry matte look with an all day hold for medium length hair.
EDIT - Sorry to hijack this one, but I'm also looking for a pomade that's easy to wash out, and also Paleo friendly, in that it's not made in some far away factory out of Petroleum Industry by-products and industrial alcohols. Back in the Wild West, men used bear fat!
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I picked some stuff up from an Aveda teaching school that has a "matte" finish and it isn't sticky or greasy at all.
Although Mr. Aveda himself is no longer with the company, he was/is extremely passionate about using ingredients in beauty products that you "could eat if you wanted to."
This may sound gross, but I just wash my hair less and it looks better than it does with any product I've ever tried. I discovered this back in my days of crashing in punkhouses and generally being skanky. If you go this route, you have to make sure to keep your face clean and washed, or you may get forehead breakouts. And obviously don't go overboard, if it looks like you've been washing your hair in the fry vat, or that you have localized snow flurries, it's probably time to wash it.
Vegan stuff is often organic, or close enough in the important particulars: http://tinyurl.com/3capc6n
I made my own out of beeswax, coconut oil, rosemary and some other stuff. You can find recipes online. It worked well but was greasier then the nice store bought stuff I had. I also have fine hair. If your hair is coarse itd probably work well
I know that in the 19th century, men in the western U.S. used bear fat in their hair, for a coiffed look. Not sure what Madame de Pompadour used, but I'm sure it was probably duck-fat based (she WAS French you know!).
Apparently, punks with mohawks use eggs for that all day hold, but that does get pretty brittle, and gummy I would assume.
I've also been looking for a good alternative to pomade. I'd ideally like to be able to make something at home, or at least know that the ingredients are food grade. I don't eat industrial products, so why slather my head with them? I'd like to keep my hair!
I used to use Layrite, which smells like vanilla bean and clove, which I (and my GF) LOVED...but it's packed with all kinds of alcohols and chemicals to make it water soluble.
I always thought pomade was inherently both of those things if used in large quantities, "dosage" may be the issue.
Have you tried a bees' wax based pomade in very small amounts, a little goes a loooooong way, and will give a matte finish.
You can even make it yourself and save a ton of money with equal parts bees' wax and coconut oil. Just melt them in a closed jar in hot water bath, and then pour into your desired container. You can adjust the ratio depending of what you are after, more wax for hold, more oil for shine. A few drops of yummy smelling essential oil and everyone will be sniffing your head for aromatherapy treatment.
I have a friend in town who makes the most amazing hair stuff. Literally being made out of a workshop in her home, tested out on all her friends (myself included), and she's pretty intense about everything being nontoxic and eco-friendly. I'd strongly recommend trying this stuff: http://www.originalmoxie.com/piece-nik-matte-styling-paste/ from her lineup.
I have pretty short hair (1-1.5 inches) and Ive found straight Shea Butter works perfect for styling it. It's really cheap as well. I bought a small container for $4 and it's probably enough for 2 years. Just get a pea-size dab and rub it around in your fingers until it melts and style away.
I've heard good things about the Nature's Balance http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Blessings-Hair-Pomade-oz/dp/B0009OXHC0 pomade. I have not used it personally, but the ingredients list passes the test.
This stuff is AWESOME. Smells like oranges but I don't notice it throughout the day. Only when you put it on. Also it may be a tiny tiny bit "greasy" but nothing much at all once it sets up.
I have discovered the wonder and pleasure of organic cocoa butter. It's hard so I put the jar in a bowl of hot tap water, wait a few minutes and it's ready. I use it on my skin too, but for the hair and scalp, I dip my fingertips in the melted cocoa butter and put it on my scalp first and then rub it into my hair. try this home when You can take a shower if it isn't what you want:)