Brylcreem is a brand of hair care products that originated in England in the late 1920s with a canned pomade that gave hair hold and shine, notes the "Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History" by Victoria Sherrow, and was the first hair product marketed exclusively to men. Today, Brylcreem has expanded its range of products to address a wider variety of men's styling needs.
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One of the uses of the original Byrlcreem pomade was as an everyday styling aid, giving texture to hair and making it easier to part and comb as desired. The broader range of newer products offers more subtle variations in styling ability, including products designed to feel less greasy than the original formula.
The range of Brylcreem products contains creams, gels, waxes and clays, all of which provide varying levels of styling hold. Though one of Brylcreem's original signature characteristics is an ability to provide hold without making hair hard or crispy, the newer generation of products includes a 24 Hour Hold Gel and an Ultimate Hold Gel which are used to create firmer styles. These should be applied to damp hair and will harden as they dry, and with the use of a hair dryer, they can set even harder.
Another characteristic of the original Brylcreem pomade is a wet-looking, shiny finish that was especially popular from the late 1920s through the 1950s, according to Sherrow. Though this look is less popular than it once was, the modern range of Brylcreem products still includes versions such as its Strong Wet Look Gel, which is designed to give a wet, slick look that lasts throughout the day.
Brylcreem produces a dandruff control version of its original hair cream, which is designed to help keep the scalp from drying out and avoid the type of hair-product buildup that can lead to flaking.
Brylcreem products may be used to achieve a desired look that is specific to a certain hairstyle. The original cream was particularly popular in the 1950s among men who wore the pompadour hairstyle, a look popularized by Elvis Presley. This is because pompadours require both a defined, sculpted shape and a wet look. The firm holding ability of the newer Brylcreem gels also make them appropriate for exaggerated spikes and hairstyles such as the blowout.