Just as Eskimos have more than 100 words for snow, so a product synonymous with frosty looks from parents now has 100 names in this neck of the woods … I’m talking about hair gel.
I popped into Sainsbury’s this week and was confronted by an array of styling products so daunting they’d make your hair curl! Which is exactly what you don’t want when you’re buying hair gel.
From memory, hair gel in my youth came in two tubs. There was standard hair gel, and ‘extra hold’. For some reason both were usually snot green.
Hair spray was strictly for the women. The exception to this rule was Cossack hairspray, the grooming choice for all 17th Century Ukrainians.
But to be a 14-year-old seen buying a can of men’s hairspray in South Shields circa 1979 could have resulted in a beating. Male hair grooming was an offence punishable by Chinese burns and wedgies at Mortimer Comprehensive at that time.
Who’d have thunk that more than 30 years later I’d be standing in front of supermarket shelves groaning under the weight of male grooming products.
The array was so vast, I ended up pulling out my pen and notepad and listing them all. For some reason I felt drawn towards recording their names for posterity. Preposterous posterity you could say.
So here goes, this is the list of male grooming hair products I jotted down: Re-styler Fibre Paste; Texturizing Gum; Rough-it-Up Putty; Fluff Tamer; Texturizing Salt Spray; Grooming Pomade; Volumizing Styling Powder; Spiking Wax; Out of Bed Fibre Cream; Indestructible Gel Glue; Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion; Funky Shaper; Light Hair Dress; Surf Style Paste; Sculpted Hold Freeze Spray; Dishevelling Dry Putty; Define Hyper Wax and Shine-Free Sponge Putty.
And that’s where I stopped. I was getting strange looks from the staff.
Like I say, it was enough to make your hair curl. And if it didn’t, Curl Defining Mousse was also available on the shelf to make sure it did.
The irony of it all, is that our two boys (aged 11 and 14) don’t touch the stuff. Which is disappointing.
When spiked hair was all the rage in my youth we had just two tubs, yet the pop charts were full of acts with ludicrously wild hairstyles.
Today, we have more hair products than you can shake a crimping iron at, and yet our kids and pop stars have the tamest hairstyles imaginable.
I was beginning to despair until I spotted chart-topper Sia performing on the TV show The Voice. She looked, as one colleague pointed out, like Cousin It from the Addams Family.
It is as hysterical a hairstyle as you’re ever likely to see and one which can be achieved with little or no hair grooming products at all.
All you need is a hat, a distinct lack of self-awareness and skin as thick as rhino’s backside. Maybe there’s range of products available for these people, but I’m just not aware of it.
Vidal Sassoon’s Rhino Butt Paste, for the girl who just don’t care … I’ll have to check Sainsbury’s again, to see if I missed that one.