Rockriver hair supply – medium unorthodox water based pomade

Company – product

Heard of Rockriver hair supply about 2 years ago (around April/May 2015). Their vision interested me at once: choice of ingredients, a long list of healthy conditioning nourishing oils. The pomade I used at the time was the strong hold beeswax (oil) based pomade. A review on that one is still available. Link -

Branden Rockriver, owner and brewer makes his products in Portland/Oregon. Back then, Rockriver hair supply was not that recognized as it is today. Branden is noted for his professional, accurate and creative way of brewing pomades and other grooming and as an advisor in the pomade brewers group on Facebook. He wants to brew grooming that’s not only from high quality but the products have to work well and easy.

Bonus: a tutorial in which Branden shows the production of his unorthodox medium hold water based. Source: filmed + edited by Mike Smith of Modern man TV. Both thanks to Mike and Branden! Link –

Quoting the brewer as he speaks about his water based: ‘Rockriver water based pomade is specially formulated, with natural ingredients, to have great endurance, without using harmful byproducts. This product is perfect for medium length to longer hair. It also works well on thicker hair, and will provide a classic slicked back to medium pompadour look. It will make styling a breeze and keep strays from getting the best of you. This pomade provides a nice natural shine and will restyle easily.’ I will refer to this exposition during the review.

More info –

But without further ado, here it is:  Rockriver water based!

My hair profile

I’ve medium thick, wavy hair. I wear a side part with a contour. At the moment, I’m using a brush with wild boar hair, a Denman brush plus a wide tooth comb (detangler). During styling, I use brushes most. Use a tangle teezer to avoid tug. More info on this handy tool:


The water based comes in a 3.7 oz amber colored glass jar. Pomade is off-white.


Water, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Candelilla Wax, Emulsifying Wax (Vegetable based), Stearic Acid, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Castor Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Soybean Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Fragrance Oils, Optiphen Plus.

A few ingredients explained:

  • Stearic acid: represents a significant component of the skin and sebum of the intercellular substance of the human stratum corneum. Used as a co-emulsifier (mixes water, oils, waxes and butters together) and gel former.
  • Optiphen plus: useful preservative because of the water base, protects the pomade against unhealthy molds, bacteria, yeasts.

Branden makes use of high quality ingredients that nourish scalp and hair. He inserted a big amount of great oils, no harmful chemicals, byproducts in the formula as mentioned above. It’s natural.


Oaked vanilla and tobacco. How to describe this aroma? In particular: sweetness. I sniff a sharp undertone which is in a subtle harmony with the sweetness of the vanilla. When you read tobacco, don’t expect the smell of a cigar. Tobacco originates from the leaves of the tobacco plant. Not my favorite but I cannot say it smells bad. In the jar: strong and tart. In the hair: whiffs from time to time, subtle, agreeable, sort of sweet freshness if I can put it that way.

Application process – result

When I use a water based, I always style with dry and clean hands plus remove hairs, dirt afterwards to keep the product fresh, clean and healthy. Store it in a cool and dry environment. Application: damp to get rid of the most prominent waves. Branden gives no directions to style damp or dry. Used licks: 3, from a normal size. The Rockriver scoops out with a tad of pressure. Breaks down alright, when taking bigger scoops it tends to show a water-pomade separation for a moment, then a few solid rubs and gone/done. Texture: creamy, pasty, dry but not ‘a falling apart consistency’, no clumps or beads. Not shiny or buttery, matte outlook, not sticky/tacky, on the drier side, clean. Putting in: noticed little resistance but without hassle. Had some white streaking going on but that vanished during styling. Smaller scoops help if this bothers you. Combing back: bit of tension using my Denman brush, also when combing the hair to the side to prepare the part. Don’t worry, it won’t rip hairs out. Dispersing through the hair: no problem to spread it evenly. Styling went not as quick as I expected due to its lighter control for my ticker and wavy hair type. An advantage of this pomade is it does not force the hair into any direction, instead of that it respects the natural way your hair wants to flow. Waves came through from the start and I didn’t manage to tame them completely. I’m aware this is a medium strength and yes, some mediums tame them, others less. But all this said, Branden says it’s made for medium pomps or classic slick backs and it will do a perfect job for those styles. I’m just more of a firm-heavy guy. Didn’t have to struggle with loose strands, my cowlicks stayed in place rather easy. Sides held down properly. Lightweight, airy feel in the hair, got the idea not having any pomade in. Volume: achieved some decent volume but my front waves did not allow to keep it and lost height right away. Overall hair shape: had better days but in its entirety it looked clean and neat. Not liking the waves is a personal thing. If you love your waves showing up but kept in place, Rockriver water based will work terrific for you! Looking back after half an hour: no real sag, no strays or cowlick issues, no splits, no increase of waves. It keeps the hair together in a mild, groomed manner and has this very clean/non-greasy, soft sensation.


Described as a natural shine. Can only second that. Sheen looks healthy, does not make the hair look matte or unhealthy. Didn’t dull during the day. Sunshine makes the hair look shiny in a clean, groomed way.

Hold – endurance

Medium according to the brewer’s description. For my mane: medium on the lighter side of the spectrum. Does not provide the hold I wish for, hope there’s going to be a firm-heavy batch in the near future. Rockriver water based manages to give an overall good control. Hair did not collapse, not many strays or flyaways, cowlicks were held in place well. Test environment: with some wind, mid fifties temperatures, a soft sun, a few walks and the hot environment of a pool. Shortly: endurance wise it’s good.


Branden claims it restyles easy: second that again. Did not experience real tug combing through. Waves won’t disappear nor get more dominant. Hold stays about the same, no strays or sag.

Build up

Very clean, light and manageable. Styled on damper hair: went a lot easier, better and faster. Waves did not predominate and were straightened a lot better, nearly gone! The lightweight consistency and control proved to do a good job which was Branden’s intention.

Washing out

The brewer says: 1 wash. I needed 2 washes with shampoo, the case for many unorthodox water based pomades these days. It also depends on the amount of pomade you put in and your type of hair as well. Easy to rinse and ideal for a one-day commitment. Hair + scalp feel soft, healthy afterwards.

Hair, scalp issues


Similar pomades

  • Pomps not dead water based: both batches.
  • Grandad’s medium water based.
  • Quixote heavy water based. Suppose the medium as well but never tried that.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s