Arcadian grooming – firm unorthodox water based pomade

Company – product

‘DIY til I die’

Arcadian grooming is a grooming brand based out of Knoxville/TN. It was launched in 2014 by brewer Eric Dale. Eric is a DIY (Do It Yourself) man, he makes all his products by hand: hair pomades, beard products, apparel, body products and posters = versatile company.

Today’s product in the spotlight will be his firm hold unorthodox water based pomade. Quoting Eric: ‘Our firm hold water based has a similar creamy consistency to our medium but with a thicker, waxier and slightly drier feel. Scoop and breakdown is effortless and applying won’t tug any of those hairs. Restyling throughout the day whether with a comb or fingers is easy as this product won’t harden in place and stays pliable throughout the day. Washes out with water.’

Arcadian was one of the first to make water-soluble unorthodox water based pomades. Anchors aweigh was pioneer with the Teddy Boy original and matte pomade. O’Douds apothecary recently brought out 3 hydrophilic products (May 2017). The Malaysian splendour pomade with their Butter grease also belongs among those.

Arcadian grooming is particularly known for its clay pomade. His classic pomades are known among pomade lovers as well.

More info –

My hair profile

I’ve medium thick, wavy hair. I wear a side part with a contour. At the moment, I’m using a boar hair brush, a Denman plus a detangler (Tangle teezer). During styling, I use brushes most.


Arcadian grooming firm hold is poured into a 4 oz amber glass jar. Labels are of smooth paper, clean design, with a black background and white lettering, green accents are used as well. The green lettering represents the firm hold. The medium’s label is the same with yellow accents. Pomade inside is white.


Water (Aqua), Beeswax, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Microcrystalline Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Fragrance, Tea Tree Leaf Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia), Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.

We notice a few chemical (modified) ingredients we come across in gel-type and oil based pomades and of course the regular waxes, butter and oils like other unorthodox types.

Explanation of a few ingredients:

  • PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate: synthetic polymer that is based on PEG (polyethylene glycol) and fatty acids derived from coconut oil. Functions: conditioning agent, emollient, surfactant and emulsifier.
  • Cetyl alcohol: a fatty alcohol which functions as an emulsion stabilizer, surfactant, viscosity increasing agent. Conditions hair and skin.
  • Vegetable glycerin or glycerol is a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy or coconut oil. Functions as a moisturizer and solvent.
  • Stearyl alcohol is a compound produced from stearic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid. Functions: emulsion stabilizer, fragrance ingredient, surfactant, emulsifying agent and viscosity increasing agent.
  • Corn starch: found in plants and used as a thickener.
  • Phenoxyethanol + potassium sorbate: preservatives against harmful molds, yeasts and bacteria for the pomade contains water.


Bamboo, tobacco. Sounds as a novelty scent. Tobacco is a product prepared from the leaves of the tobacco plant by curing them. We encounter the tobacco scent in several pomades. What makes it special is the combination with the bamboo. I never came across this. Sniffing inside the jar: catch the tobacco aroma which is somewhat tart but not overwhelming. Not my favorite scent but it’s clean and bears a sweet freshness. When I broke down the pomade and worked it in, I started noticing the bamboo note too. During the day: subtle whiffs came by from time to time.

Application process – result

You hear me coming: it’s very important to style with dry and clean hands, to throw out loose hairs and other dirt to avoid molds, yeasts, bacteria to grow. Store it in a cool and dry environment. Applied to damp hair (wave tamer and style-ability facilitator). Eric advises dry or towel dried hair to enjoy its full firmness because it is water-soluble. First use: had to push through the top layer and obtained a caterpillar shape. Going deeper: a smooth, thick cream, a smidgen waxy and easy to break down into a creamy consistency. Rubbing between the hands: white creaminess that does not break down easily, rather similar to the O’Douds standard pomade. Solution: smaller sized licks, also advised by the brewer on the jar’s instructions. Working into the hair: no tugging, a slight tension/grip after the application of a few scoops. The white streaks vanish easily mixing the product evenly. Used 3 normal sized licks. Slicking back with a Denman brush: slight resistance, nothing out of the ordinary for a firm hold. Changing the hair’s direction to make a side part: tiny tension. Pomade’s control: does a good job to lay down/keep the mane down without hairs popping out. Sides were slicked down well. Has some good slickness. Somewhat sticky but in a balanced way to keep everything together and not a pain in the ass to style. Cowlicks stayed down. When lifting the front my hair started to wave but after a few minutes the pomade had settled and the waves became less. No tendency to split. Weight: light-medium. Short term endurance: a tiny bit of sag, slightly more waves but still neat. Gonna style on drier hair to get more strength out of it.


Arcadian grooming says: neutral. Yes, something we can expect from a stronger hold product. In my hair it looks, let’s say a step above neutral, after having styled on damp hair. On dry/towel dried hair: more of a neutral sheen. Shine stays the whole day.

Hold – endurance

Firm (strong) strength: between a medium and heavy hold. My experience, as mentioned above: using it on damp hair provides more of a medium hold. Dry or towel dried hair: medium-firm strength. Tests: temperatures (around 70° F), slightly sunny, little wind, sweating, had a few walks. Waves became somewhat more and because of that the front collapsed a tad. Rest of the hair was still okay. Has a good slickness. No splits. Overall good endurance.


Easy to restyle, tug-free. Hair retained its good hold.

Build up

If you don’t wanna deal with build up: rinse it out with water and it’s gone. Build up: clean one and good to work with. Day 2: styled on slightly damp hair with some tonic in it to test the strength this way. Experiences: big improvement! Great control, firm hold, fast styling! It gave me kind of stiffer, stronger feel but not comparable to a gel-type like the O’Douds standard pomade slightly did. Styling was not uncomfortable. My waves were straightened out much better and cleaner.

Washing out

Water-soluble, water source only. For me: a bit of a residue left. A dab of shampoo and it’s gone = overall easy to wash off. How does the hair/skin feel after the shower? Good, soft. Ideal for a one-day commitment or for people who don’t love to let it sit overnight.

Hair, scalp issues


Similar pomade

O’Douds, Standard pomade. O’Douds has a much creamier consistency but acts the same.

Other water-soluble unorthodox pomades

  • Anchors aweigh hair co, Teddy Boy (medium-light hold).
  • Anchors aweigh hair co, Teddy Boy matte pomade (medium hold).
  • Arcadian grooming, unorthodox water based (medium hold).
  • The splendour pomade, Butter grease (medium-firm hold).
  • O’Douds apothecary, Standard pomade (firm hold).

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