As mentioned in my "pomadessey" a couple of weeks ago, tinkering with your hair is about evolution. The moment you close yourself off to change is the moment you become a dodo. You have got to change with your hair. That might sound a bit dramatic—certainly felt so typing it—but when you become attached to a hair product, it can be awfully hard to try something new, even for a single afternoon.

Case in point, Imperial Barber Grade Products. Heritage-minded stuff like this is awesome, but old-school barbering overtures from handlebar mustachioed dudes is a little heavy handed, no matter how sharp the packaging. Still, breaking the seal on some of Imperial's pomades was a wise decision.

Find out why after the jump...

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My wife is a hairstylist and her grandfather was a barber. Up until a year or so ago he owned a quintessential barber shop on East Colfax in Denver. Like a true barber, he was a lynchpin in the community. Not only did he log some 50 years of cutting heads of hair belonging to politicians, boxers, schoolteachers, local historians, bartenders and roustabouts, he is also an artist, so he took to sketching and painting the many homeless men who roamed about the street his shop sat on.

Big shoes to fill, but my wife has ascended to the top of her game as well—different tho that game may be. Her gramps cut hair with giant scissors that looked and sounded like gardening shears (he could still get a tight, tight fade) and charged about $10. My wife uses tiny precision shears and a head full of geometry when she cuts. Still, the aim remains the same: making folks feel better with a valuable service and a long stretch of conversation.

My wife cuts my hair and pours all sorts of creativity, training and technical whizbang into the task (when she has time to seat me). She taught me how to round-brush my hair using a blowdryer to get it nice and big, but I only wash my hair two or three times a week (usually in an Epsom salt bath).

A head full of waxy pomades, even the expensive ones, can leave my hair heavy, flat and kind of gross. In this regard, the Imperial line of pomades has proven damn useful. They are water-based, so not only to they wash out easily, if you wet your hair a little, they reactivate. So far I've only fingered their Classic Pomade and Gel Pomade but both have fit circumstance like a condom.

The Classic is especially tacky and can be a bear to comb through a dry head of hair, but throw a little water into the mix and the brush glides through and the stuff holds your hair back with muscle. It can look a little funky for the first hour or two, but the reactivation is key. Wet your hair down and comb it back and the hold kicks in for another couple of hours and looks slicker than before.

The Gel Pomade is lighter and seems to work best after a day or so without a wash, when my hair is already heavy with other pomades. I wet my hair, put a generous amount of this in and then comb it back. Shit still has juice the next morning, too. A little water and another coming and it is often set until lunch.

The barbering bros over at Imperial clearly know their business. Their products look to be designed with dudes who want 1950s replica hair in mind, but are plenty applicable to other hairstyles as well. They are also tested and made in Los Angeles and priced to fit an honest budget. Most importantly, they help make your hair look good, which is indeed part of the ongoing tradition of barbering ... or hairstyling. Call it what you will. (jt)

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