So, fellas, you finally got your fresh cut. When I say fresh, I mean you and your barber—to whom you’ve pledged fealty until he dies or retires–have personally curated this look. It was a tricky feat, but now that you’re checking it out in the mirror, you can’t help but feel that the proper positive adjective hasn’t been generated into the lexicon yet.
All’s right in the world, save for one thing. You’ve been digging into your jar of pomade deeper than a coal miner, and you’ve been mining the meager remnants for days. Either your favorite shop is waiting on a new shipment, or your bank account is tighter than those skinny jeans hanging in your closest collecting dust (boy, are we glad that fad is out). So what do you do?
Well maybe you’ve heard a myth or two about how to style via household products from that aging punk buddy of yours. Can’t afford slip-ups? Do not fret, buddy pal, your compatriot veteran of your friendly local gentlemen’s general store tried them out so you don’t have to.
1. Aloe Vera
How to use it: Aloe is a plant grown in tropical climates that is often cultivated for medicinal uses (typically to soothe beat-up or burnt-up skin). It usually sells as either gel or juice. Got the gel? Glop out a generous portion and slick it in your hair just like you would with hair gel.
The Good: You’re going to get pretty much get the experience and hold of gel. It will feel almost the same, and it can be applied the exact same way (generously). It’ll dry in an hour or so, giving you the same darkened, slightly stiff look. It also has a pretty pleasant aroma, which is a little hard to describe but is something fresh akin to mint. Bonus: your scalp gets a nice chilly vibe for a minute or two.
The Bad: Nothing lasts forever. Gel gives you a nice hold until you make it to the gym after work, but I’ve found aloe a little shorter lived (think a lunch-time fall-down). I’d recommend you take the tube with you and reapply at least once. Unless its demise is dance sweat; then I say let it ride.
The Cost: Very cheap, my friends. You can pick up a tube of this green goodness at a drug store for a few dollars or a fancier version at a fancypants grocery store in the $10 range.
2. The Incredible, Edible Egg
How to use it: Arguably the bedrock to a good morning, this breakfast staple can actually stand in for hair product in a bind. When I say eggs, I’m not talking some cage-free, brown, organic eggs that cost double, just good old-fashioned grade A (which I imagine stands for America). Now, unless you want to smell like the kitchen at a diner, you have to separate the egg white from the yolk (wear the white and drink the yolk, champ). It’s both a messy and slightly tricky feat.
The Good: This DIY product actually works pretty well. It dries fast and gives you a nice hold. The look is going to be similar to gel. It will darken your hair slightly, and if you play with it, it will rub out easily. It also doesn’t have much of a smell.
The Bad: The process of separating the egg is a tad touchy. The egg white viscosity is sort of…snotty goop, and after it dries, the look is more “decent” than “spectacular.” You’ll also have a bit of a hair helmet.
The Cost: This might be the cheapest way you can go. A six-pack will run you less than a dollar. When else can you say that?
How to use it: For starters, you want to use run-of-the-mill Elmer’s school project glue. Do not use some ultra-adhesive super-glue in your hair. (Although, it is your hair, this is America, and as is written, “Don’t tread on my hair care routine.”) Unlike the other hacks on the list, with glue, less is more. A quarter sized dollop or so will probably do you. I recommended combing it in with a wet comb.
The Good: You’re going to get a firm, solid hold. In fact, you might find that even after a good night’s sleep, you’ll retain your sharp look. This is glue, after all, and you’re not going to be rid of it without a solid wash with shampoo. You can also certainly get plenty of lift or shape, although the end result is much denser than standard hair products. The look is going to be dark and shiny. There’s also no real smell.
The Bad: There’s really not much to neg on this hair hack unless you feel that having to thoroughly wash it out is a negative attribute. The process of application can be a little hairy (no pun intended). Glue is much thicker and less malleable than most standard hair products, or any of the other hacks on this list, for that matter. It also dries very quickly, so you have to work fast.
The Cost: Beaucoup cheap. You can pick up some for under $2, and you’ll have enough for at least a few emergency hair hacks and glittery arts and crafts projects (I don’t judge how you spend your free time).
How to use it: Go to the grocery store or your local drug store and grab any standard conditioner. Squeeze out a nice juicy glob and rub it in. Finish by combing it to shape. It might seem a little strange, and you might be tempted to quickly wash it out, but the experience feels like a pretty standard go-around of your morning routine.
The Good: You likely won’t even have to make an emergency store run. Most shampoos and conditioners have a pretty pleasant aroma, and that will stick with you all day. You’ll also get decent hold with some staying power. Unlike most hair products, it will also remain fairly malleable if you need to do some midday maintenance.
The Bad: It gives a pretty greasy look with not much lift, as it’s pretty dense. And unless it’s a torrential downpour powerful enough to wash it all out (leaving behind silky, silky smoothness), you probably don’t want to get caught in the rain and have it running down your face and shirt.
The Cost: Will probably run in the $5 range.
5. Shaving Cream
How to use it: If you’re going to do this, I recommend you go with a made-in-America classic and grab a can of Barbasol. If you’re trying to go cost effective and get as firm a hold as possible, you don’t want some loosey-goosey sensitive skin malarkey. You’re going to want a real handful (think classic sleepover prank amount) and mush it in, then give it a good rub until you don’t see white foam anymore. Lastly, comb for your shape and look.
The Good: It works! Well, sort of. The look isn’t bad. It’s actually less noticeable than the other hacks on the list, meaning it will give you a smidge more natural look.
The Bad: It ain’t gonna last. More than any other hair hack on the list, this one is short-lived. You’re probably only going to get a few hours max before your style falls apart. It will also feel a little dense and greasy even after it comes tumbling down. Also, I’m not a Doctor of Hairology, but I can’t imagine that using any product with propane as a key ingredient is good for your hair health.
The Cost: You can probably pick up a can with just the contents of your spare change jar and still have enough for a pack of gum or two. A can is about $2-3.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. Do you ever use household hacks instead of spending exorbitant amounts on self-care products?
2. Gents, do you care for your grooming as much as the ladies you know? If not, why not? Why do it or not do it?
3. What DIY ideas can end up as fun activities with your kids, friends, roommates, or dog? Just kidding, leave your dog alone.