Posted on 22 June 2019
Once upon a time, a hair crème made up of water, oil and beeswax dominated the men’s grooming industry. Founded in a small factory in Birmingham, Brylcreem has had a stronghold over the men’s grooming industry since 1928. But while the quintessential British classic is a popular choice among many older men even to this day, more recent trends have brought us through the age of gel, wax and more recently pomade. Just as hair styling has developed over the years so have the ingredients, and as we found out recently, modern men’s grooming companies are including more natural and hair-friendly products in their mixes.
For a lot of men, knowing which products are best for the hair can be tricky. From water and oil-based pomades to styling creams and wax, it’s hard to know where to start. Finding products which suit both your hair type and the style you’re trying to form isn’t any easier. With $25 being the benchmark price for a lot of hair products, it’s not exactly a figure most men would like to test the waters with. So, to sift through the individual strands and brush up on our knowledge we recently we caught up with Kent Mulligan, founder of Melbourne pomade brand and grooming company Modern Pirate. In our chat, we’re taught about the Modern Pirate product line and how Kent gets a hold on his own hair.
Modern Pirate’s story began five years ago when the Australian barber boom was at its dawn. At that time there were several American brands and a single Australian company dominating the market. Kent saw room on the shelves for an Australian alternative and after experiencing a little scalp irritation from some of the popular brands, Kent says, “it kind of just pushed me into this idea of what’s going on in the products”. Much like wine, there’s quite a difference in the quality of the ingredients used in cheaper hair products to those a little more expensive, he says. As someone who is quite conscious of what he puts in his body, he wanted to create an alternative with “cleaner ingredients”. So he steered his own brand away from cheaper additives and focused on quality, natural ingredients. In his men’s grooming line you’ll find natural alternatives like pomegranate extract, Vitamin E, betel leaf and other natural oils. The result provides us with hair styling products that aren’t simply sourced more naturally, they take better care of our hair and scalp too.
While the Modern Pirate story has grown to include four styling products since its humble beginning in 2014, its original hair product was Superior. A coconut and vanilla scented pomade providing a medium strength hold. For convenience, the entire range is water-soluble, easily combed out with a little water or washed out with a quick shampoo. Designed with traditional barber cuts in mind, Kent suggests the blue-ringed tub for anyone sporting a slick back or classic barber cut.
The second product to join the Modern Pirate line was Matte Clay, one Kent describes as “most versatile”. When the trends moved from the traditional wet look to something more dry and natural he found most clay waxes were too tough. This, however, is designed to be easy to apply; a soft and buttery feel with enough hold to last the day. With a citrus and tobacco leaf scent from it lemon peel and sunflower seed wax, it adds a nice, aromatic touch to your hair. Kent recommends Matt Clay for texturizing shorty styles. easy to apply, enough strength to hold up the traditional, classic style, dry natural looks.
Heavy Hold Pomade
Next in line came Heavy Hold pomade, a wax-based product built for classics styles and uncooperative hair. With a little more weight than the original Superior pomade, the third addition to the pomade line-up is one for thicker hair types often harder to control. With pomegranate seed extract, Vitamin E and a leather/vanilla scent. Heavy Hold will keep your hair in place all day and night.
Sea Salt Crème – Founder’s Choice
Last in line and one of the most anticipated products Modern Pirate has released, Sea Salt Crème is lightweight, easy to use styling creme for those sporting the natural, effortless look. Blended with Celtic Sea Salt and Aloe Vera leaf extract, Sea Salt Crème helps maintain scalp health while providing a light, sandalwood scent. It’s also the founder’s favourite
Some Tips from the Man
Kent notes it’s always good to be conscious about what you use on your body. For a lot of Modern Pirate’s products, there’s often multiple purposes or reasoning behind the ingredients or use. An example of this can be found in the beard treatment serum: Rather than create a serum purely to treat facial hair, this product follows a similar formula to hair and scalp treatment serum and can also double as a pre-shave oil. The result in a beard product that doesn’t leave a thick, oily residue on the face. Another example can be found in their shampoo and conditioner. Hair wash products are rather simple he notes, however, the Modern Pirate line is dosed with peppermint oil and menthol extract providing a tingly sensation on the scalp while washing the hair without stripping it completely of its essential oils due to it’s sulphate and paraben free formula.
How the creator does it
Kent’s go-to product is the sea salt cream. When it comes to grooming, he describes himself as “a bit of a lazy guy”. His ideal product is something practical that can be quickly applied after a shower. Describing his mane as “thin but still a decent head of hair”, he opts for a product that’s easy to apply yet functional. Wearing his hair in a more of a loose push back, Sea Salt Crème works him because it’s “soft and creamy but still with a decent amount of hold”