One of the myths about cutting off all your hair is that you’ll save money on product. Sure, the increased mileage I get out of a bottle of conditioner is like switching from a 1970 Chevy Impala to a Prius, but when it came to styling product I used to get by with a couple of anti-frizz serums and a plain old bottle of hairspray. But now that I have a pixie, I have a whole stack of hair goops to tame it. It’s still easier to style (I love getting back the time I used to spend curling my hair, and I don’t miss the burns, either) but in exchange for that saved time I need to use more product.
I’m still searching for the perfect hair goop that does everything I need (when I had short hair in college, my aunt worked for Unilever and I got enough free boxes of the now-defunct Salon Selective Control D Substance Molding Putty to get me through two years of short hair and a year of growing it out. I wish they still made it.)
Here’s the roundup of everything I have tried since chopping off all my hair the day after my wedding:
Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Finishing Paste
Consistency: It feels a lot like face cream.
Smell: Lemon Pine-sol
Good news: The “clean” part of the name of this product is very appropriate, unlike a lot of these goops, it does not make your hair feel like you haven’t washed it in a week. It makes hair look less fuzzy, which is especially helpful when you need a trim.
Bad news: It offers zero hold and styling assistance.
Best use: Giving it to your Jew-fro’d husband, who has switched over to it after years of exclusive use of Garnier Fructis Style Curl Construct Mousse.
Tigi Bed Head Manipulator
Consistency: Aileen’s Tacky Glue
Smell: Somewhere between coconuts and candy necklaces
Good news: Nothing else I’ve tried, not even my beloved departed Salon Selectives goop, will correct the position of a wonky chunk of hair as quickly and easily as this stuff.
Bad news: It’s far too sticky and powerful to use all over your head. It’s pretty pricey, too, but it goes on 2 for 1 sales a lot at Ulta and Target, and so far I’ve managed to only buy it at those times.
Best use: Taming cowlicks and getting those little wispy hairs on your forehead out of the way.
Additional note: I tried some knock off version of this that I can’t even remember the name of, and it worked ALMOST but not quite as well, but the smell was so terrible (sort of like almonds and cough syrup) that I couldn’t stand to use it.
Sexy Short Sexy Hair Quick Change Shaping Balm
Consistency: Sort of like a creamy rubber cement, if you can imagine that.
Good news: This has nearly as much shaping power as Bed Head, but is thinner so you can use it on your whole head. Like with the Garnier Clean Paste, the name of the product is truth in advertising, because it is a super fast way to completely switch up your hair style.
Bad news: I compared it to rubber cement because it sticks to itself and stretches out in long strands of hair goop. This means using it is a huge fucking mess. The outside of my jar is disgustingly sticky. You absolutely must wash your hands after using this stuff. Also, it makes your hair feel completely grody and kind of makes me want to run for the shampoo.
Best use: When you have to be somewhere ten minutes after waking up/working out and your hair is all over the place and you’d need to make it look neat enough to go out in public, NOW.
Sexy Hair Short Sexy Hair Rough & Ready Styling Gunk
Smell: I honestly can’t remember.
Consistency: Sugar wax for hair removal.
Bad news: I’m starting with bad news because I hated this product. I bought it to help me with fauxhawks and similar wacky looks, and sure, it’ll get your hair there. The problem is it starts to flake off almost immediately, which is not only gross but means your wacky style won’t actually hold for very long.
Good news: Ulta takes returns within 60 days!
Best use: Maybe you are making a shot-for-shot remake of The Breakfast Club and the actor you have playing Ally Sheedy’s character doesn’t have dandruff? You can use this stuff for the scene where she makes dandruff snow on her sketch. You’re welcome.
MOP Glisten High Shine Pomade
Price: About $15
Smell: Vaguely lemony.
Consistency: Melted petroleum jelly.
Good news: This is a fantastic finishing product, smoothing down any stray bits and making your hair really awesomely shiny. It makes your hair feel soft instead of waxy.
Bad news: You have to use it VERY sparingly or your hair will look hella greasy. Also, the shinyness can have a “My gray hairs, let me show you them!” effect.
Best use: Making your short hair look extra fancy when you are really dressed up.
If you have or have had short hair, I’d LOVE to hear what you use on it. Maybe you can lead me to short hair product Nirvana!