Haircare can be baffling at the best of times. First come the cuts; the tens of trims and chops to choose from. Scissor cut or clippers? To fade or not to fade? It’s hair-raising stuff. And then comes conditioners, shampoos and that whole lathery palaver. Is your hair oily? Is it dry? Should you be blow-drying it? Or will a quick ruffle with the towel do?
And all this before we even arrive at the styling stage — arguably the most difficult part of your haircare routine. There are so many pastes, pomades and putties on offer that it can be hard to know what’ll do the best job. Wax, perhaps? Or maybe a gel? Could it be salt spray? And what even are these gums and glues?
Thankfully, we think we’ve found the answer. Stripped-back and simple, styling clay may very well be your winter haircare salvation.
What exactly is clay?
Mercifully, clay is exactly what it says on the tin. Generally thicker and denser than standard pomades and gels, it’s a type of hair product designed to have a heavier hold than most other styling options, and tends to leave a matte finish.
“There are a lot of clays on the market,” advises Paddy Goddard of men’s grooming brand Uppercut Deluxe, “and, while some of them are really good, there are others that aren’t so good. But clays are beginning to contain a lot more natural ingredients — including some actual clays, like kaolin.”
What benefits does clay have over other styling products?
Being much denser than other styling options, clay gives a texture to your hair unlike any other product. Where waxes, gels and pomades tend to give a slick, almost-wet appearance to your hair, the grit of clay will leave you with a rougher, more natural finish.
“And one of the key differences between Uppercut Deluxe Clay and others on the market,” says Goddard, “is its consistency. It can be easily applied with little effort — although it must be thoroughly warmed in the hands before applying to hair. And, with natural looks trending at the moment, more people are opting for a clay over products with more shine.”
What lifestyles would benefit from trying clay?
Of course, not everybody has the same hair type or style, so some will benefit from the effects of clay more than others. With winter in full swing, we’re wearing hats and pulling up our hoods throughout the day. And clay, with its reworkable, natural properties, is the perfect all-day answer to this seasonal style problem.
“It can be reworked throughout the day,” agrees Goddard. “And, importantly, it can wash out with water alone. This makes it a great product for anyone who lives an active lifestyle — or wants to be able to run their hands through their hair during the day.”
Which specific hairstyles can clay help with?
So could clay help you? If you’re rocking longer locks, probably not. But, for most of our mid-length styles, there’s likely something that this magic mud can do to help. From Faded Bed Hair to a Feathered Mullet, it’ll bring natural texture to most looks.
“It’s extremely versatile,” says Goddard. “It can be used to create Crops, Mullets, Textured Pomps and Quiffs. Uppercut Deluxe Clay, specifically, is best used for modern hairstyles since it adds hold, emphasises texture and creates volume.
And it’s easy to apply, too. Simply wash and dry your hair and then work a small amount of clay in your palm. Apply a small amount to your fringe area using fingertips, then work backwards — shaping as you go.
So why does Uppercut Deluxe Clay stand out?
“Uppercut Deluxe Clay contains a delicate balance of wax and water-based ingredients,” explains Goddard, “that allows the product to hold firm — without setting hard. These waxy elements also bring an anti-humidity complex to the formula, which means it can maintain its structure when exposed to heat – be that in the gym or even just on a hot day.”
Uppercut Deluxe’s take on clay also creates a low shine finish through a clever combination of ingredients — working together to gently disrupt the cuticle layer of the hair. It is this disruption, absorbing light rather than reflecting it, which gives this clay its superior matte finish.
So, if you’re struggling with styling this winter — and looking for a product that will keep your natural look in tact all day long — this low-shine, matte-finish clay is ideal. And it smells almost as manly as those boxing boys on the tin; with a woody, leathery aroma more punchy and potent than a top aftershave.
Uppercut Deluxe Clay