Hair tonic? What is it? And how do you use it?
Have you ever used a hair tonic?
Have you ever heard of one? If you are familiar with the pomade community, you probably have heard of one, but how much do you know about them? I asked myself this question a long time ago after seeing some pop up around the pomade community and since looking into them, Ive made them a permanent part of my personal haircare & styling routine. Word on the street is too, that Blumaan is actually in the early stages of developing their own tonic, so in preparation for that, I am going to give you everything you need to know for a starter education in the hair tonic.
First things first, what is a hair tonic?
Hair tonics have been around forever and have been a staple in both men’s grooming and the art of barbering for a very long time. Its very important to note that sometimes the word “tonic” is used to describe a medical substance, but here were strictly talking about the styling aids. Early users of hair tonics sometimes referred to them as “liquid pomade” which actually brings out the first fact regarding these products: they are almost always liquids. You have tonics made from a collection of oils, like Templeton Tonics ( which we will discuss later on ), or you have tonics like the Reuzel grooming tonic, that is a liquid-but it actually offers some styling benefits as well!
More on that in a bit, but my favorite period of time to look at these types of products, are actually in the 50’s and 60’s, like this ad here:
which is for Vaseline hair tonic. I personally love this era in Men’s fashion and grooming and this tonic here ( which they still make today ) acted kind of like a liquid pomade where it provided hold and shine and created those iconic looks like we see with big names such as Elvis, or Johnny Cash.
Now I know what your thinking… you mean Elvis didn’t use American Crew?? I know.. I was surprised too.
Why should I try a hair tonic?
Since then hair tonics have both stayed the same, and become something new. Like I mentioned before you can still get that old style tonic at most grocery stores, but these days theres a lot of new products to explore within this genre and Reuzel is a prime example of this. These guys have made a name for themselves with their excellent barbers and signature branded pomades, but in my opinion-their tonics are some of the best.
At the moment these guys offer 2 tonics, the blue hair tonic
and the orange grooming tonic. Both are ones ive used for years now and they each offer specialities that definitely deserve some attention. The blue hair tonic, is a “refresher”, I like to keep mine in the refrigerator (a tip I picked up from a reuzel video) and in the summer when my head is all sweaty and greasy, products melting all into my scalp, I take that blue tonic and splash some on there and not only does it feel great, but it removes all that grime, all the product (it doesn’t fully remove petro but it does remove some) and for barbers it can really help to refresh the hair before a haircut.
How do you use a hair tonic?
The orange one is one I use a lot more because it actually has some styling benefits. It actually has a bit of stickiness to it so when added to damp hair and dried with a blowdrier, it works as a really nice pre styler. On top of that, it adds thickness, volume, and texture. I enjoy this one a lot and if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest you do so.
Now let’s talk about the other kind of tonics. These days you can find hair tonics being used by all types of people because of their major contributions to both hair health and styling. Unlike the other tonics we have already discussed, these tonics don’t contain fillers, or ingredients designed to deliver any type of stickiness in the hair. Usually these contain a collection of oils, with each one designed to deliver a pre-determined attribute. This is the type of tonic BluMaan is rumored to be creating.
What is hair tonic made of?
A prime example of this type of tonic, is the offerings of Templeton Tonics. Looking at their website, they describe their original tonic as “A blend of five natural oils that work together to break down pomade buildup, condition the hair, and rejuvenate the scalp. The light oils are absorbed quickly by the hair without leaving behind oily residue, and leave the hair feeling light, soft, and healthy” This really is the key here for these types of products, light oils that are quickly absorbed, which then leave your hair feeling full of life, body, and of course extremely soft.
Even though these offer no hold, I still feel like they do offer a tiny bit of styling benefit, especially with dry, sticky products. When your hair is this nourished, and soft it has an easier time achieving volume, which translates into your styles obviously, but it also helps with distributing product into the hair, because the hair is nice and soft. Product applies easier, and more evenly thus, you get more out of each scoop.
The Benefits of using a hair tonic
These can also help with other things as well, repairing scalp irritation, dry scalp, dry/brittle hair, and even some issues regarding frizz in thicker hair types. Tonics offer so many benefits and if your not using one you absolutely need to give it some thought.
Through the years of making videos on my channel, Ive heard so many different things people struggle with regarding their hair, whether it be styling, dryness, achieving volume, damaged hair, dandruff-all types of things and all the time im seeing people sharing these crazy “remedies” for these types of issues, like cracking eggs on your head, or using these specialty shampoos that may solve one issue, but then leave you with another.
If you really look, a good hair tonic can be an easy fix and even a fairly cheap one too. Templeton sells their original Tonic for 15.00 USD for a 2oz bottle and for me that bottle can last for months, because you need so little of it! This is a very inexpensive and effective tool that can really help in many situations.
My routine with hair tonic
Speaking of use, Im sure people are wondering how they should use a tonic like this. I know I was wondering the same when I first got into them, so let me share with you what I do.
If Im styling, what I like to do is start with clean damp hair and ill apply 2-3 drops from the bottle ( if you use too much it will overpower your hair with the oils ) and just rub it into my hair and scalp. After that I will blow dry and thats it! You will see the effects instantly, your hair feels soft, its got a kind of natural glow about it, and it will look great when fully styled.
If I’m trying to repair some dry hair, say from getting it colored, using a shampoo that left it feeling dry, or maybe my scalp is feeling a bit dry even- what ill do then is I will apply a couple extra drops than usual ( about 5-6 drops ) into my hands and then rub that in before I goto sleep, or maybe in the morning on a day where I’m just chilling around the house. I will then wash my hair to remove the excess oil and thats it!
Tonics are something I think everyone should be using, and if you are already using them, you probably already know why Im saying that. And If you aren’t.. well what are you waiting for?