Fresher Studios Clay Pomade – A Smooth Clay Locally Produced in Ottawa
Before my August summer vacation I had the opportunity to meet with a Barber that produces his brand of pomade right here in Ottawa. This Barber is; Jay. He is the master mind behind the Fresher Studios brand. He operates the Fresher Studios Barber shop in the back of the Stroked Ego shop on Bank Street. If you are not in the know, you might never come across this store, let alone the Barber Shop. Stroked Ego is on the second floor with only a tiny door giving on Bank Street, making the whole place very discreet. Personally I rather enjoy the nearly underground setup. There is an uniqueness and originality to the experience. There is nothing special about having a shop on the second floor and this is rather common setup in Montreal, Toronto and other older cities where traditional commercials streets have not been taken over by high rises and shopping malls. In Ottawa, on the other hand it is in fact a very rare thing. Having a proper old-school Barbershop on one of Ottawa’s oldest commercial street just adds to the whole experience.
About a year ago roughly when the Style4Men project started, my friend Fadi from Hair Junkie had suggested I pay a visit to Stroked Ego for a few interesting products, one of which was the King’s Mane pomade that Jay was producing at the time.
Fast forward to today, the Barber behind the Hard Butter brand who is friends with Jay, were chatting about my recent review of the Hard Butter product line and Jay reach out to let me know about his new branding and new clay product. About a year ago his pomade was going under the name: King’s Mane. With the rise of the American Crew brand and their usage of Elvis (the king) for their brand image, Jay opted to find a new name for his stuff.
Jay is clearly the passionate creative type. There are a number of projects on the go at his station. When we met he was working on finishing a paint job on a pair of sneakers. Aside from the pomade being produced locally and artisanally, the sales pitch is that it is also a natural production. Using natural ingredients such as; shea butter, grape seed butter, bees wax, bentonite clay and essential oils. Going down the natural path for our hair is something we should all be inclined in pursuing and it is certainly something that is praised in our posts.
To date I have had mixed results with clay and mud’s:
- They are overly sticky making them hard to work with,
- not all that nice to the touch once in the hair,
- not always very long lasting
- and finally a bit harder to wash out. Nothing like grease pomades but more involved than just putting your head under a shower bead like with water based pomades.
So why would I drop some hard earned dollars to try another clay, you ask? The clay’s and mud’s I have tried so far have been commercially produced with a large number of chemicals including petrolatum which is what grease pomades used to be made with. It does the trick but is notoriously difficult to wash out. Until I applied simple chemistry and dissolved the grease using olive oil and then used a shampoo. but I digress.
I am interested in trying this product out for a few reasons:
- It is a natural
- It is made here in Ottawa
- I got to meet the product creator
Fragrance wise this scent is rather discreet but very original. You will clearly identify the scent of clay and the supporting essential oils add a pleasant element of spice. It is very mild so this won’t clash with any other fragrances you might be working with. When using the product, I was able to smell the spice fragrance for about 2 hours.
As you can see in the pictures, the jar is glass and the lid is metal. Elegant and recyclable. I especially like the glass gar as you can see what the product looks like. This is surprisingly rare in the pomade world. Most jar are opaque so there is generally no way of knowing what your getting until you bought it.
So here we are at testing time. Honestly, the first contact is odd as this initially feels like…well, clay! It is in fact not very promising on first contact as the product is somewhat hard and a bit difficult to scoop out. You then really have to relax this stuff in your palms. But, then the magic happens. All of sudden this clay becomes very workable and comfortable. You can feel some of the oily elements coming to life. Now for the big test; putting it in the hair. As mentioned before I have had some unpleasant results with clay’s. The worst encounter caused me to loose a few hairs because the products became so sticky. Surprise again! This clay went it very smooth and was totally workable. In fact it was a total joy to work with. And that fragrance totally comes alive.
Contrary to other clay’s, this pomade did not make my hair color lighter. Some of the clay’s made my dark brown hair look lighter or accentuated the white and gray because the actual clay is white. In the case of the Fresher Studio Clay, the balance of oils with the clay gave very natural results and did not alter my colour. If anything it might have made it a little darker by giving an ever so slight wet look at first.
I ended up using perhaps 2 small dimes worth of clay to style my mope. This rendered a very natural looking quiff with lots of volume and good height. Putting my fingers through my hair frequently to gauge the feel, texture and hold, I was impressed. The hair felt nice and smooth and the products offered very decent hold. Today was incredibly humid so we can’t expect any miracles in the longevity of the hold, but I nevertheless got a good 2 + hours before things needed to be restyled.
In my next application of this clay, I will lock it in with a hairspray and see if I can’t stretch the results a few extra hours.
The clay goes for $30 and can be bought at the shop. This is a somewhat steeper than other clay options, but there are no naughty chemicals and because of the small quantity required per usage, this jar will last you a number of months.
Here is the rating on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is a perfect score and/or the level of shine.
- Hold: 4
- Shine: 1.5
- Texture: 2
- Feel in hair: 4.5
- Facility to wash out: 3.5 (This is a 3.5 because 1 shampoo is not quite enough but it will do the trick. by the time you shampoo the next time, you will be done.)
This product turned out to be somewhat of a clay revelation. All of my “clay” encounters so far have been somewhat disappointing. The Fresher Studio Clay was extremely pleasing and has changed my outlook on using clay as a styling product. I am further pleased that it is a natural hair fixative produced here in Ottawa and gets tagged as part of my #Favorite.
You can get this clay pomade directly at: