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I have a pompadour hairstyle, if you will, and that takes some serious stuff to keep it in shape on a long day. My day-to-day changes frequently and these days I find myself more often in the field filming or shooting rather than sitting at my desk. Sometimes I just don’t want to put in the god damned effort to make my hair stand up all day and on those days I typically wear a hat, though recently I’ve been searching for a solution that will make this mess still look somewhat clean and styled while taking super minimal effort.

Enter Spruce Grooming Cream. A thick, pasty substance that looks like cake frosting but functions like a dream. This stuff goes in thick, but not too thick so that it rips out hairs while you’re working it in. On two shoots thus far it’s held it’s own in keeping my hair up and out of my face while taking no more than ten seconds to apply and not looking like a helmet. Lucas Larson, owner of Spruce, likes to emphasize that this stuff also smells great. You might think, no shit, it’s a grooming product – why wouldn’t it? You’d be surprised at how often the stuff I come across either smells like chemicals or like nothing at all. It’s a nice change of pace. I don’t need my hair to give off an aroma (I have cologne for that) but it’s nice to know there’s something there pulling double duty. Click here to view the full article.

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Lucas says the scent profile is: “bright citrus and herbal top notes with rich wood, leather, and tobacco base notes”. I’d say this stuff comes in heavy on the leather and tobacco side of things; it does have a musky undertone that some people will love and others might not so much. As I’ve done with grooming products in the past, I put it to the girlfriend test and had a few friends give it a shot as well. The consensus is that the grooming cream itself works super well but the scent is a little heavy handed. Maybe it’s not for everyone but suffice it to say that the product itself does it’s job and does it well.

One of the key points of Spruce is that they use all natural ingredients. He pointed out that the stuff I use on the regular (American Crew Fiber) has a ton of potentially harmful chemicals that are bad for both the environment and for people at large after prolonged use. I’m not going to stop using that stuff immediately because of a potential accumulated health risk (I drive on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles every damn day and just last night had a 3×3 In-N-Out Burger because I’m an adult) but it’s good to know. And you know what they say…the more you know.

Here’s a few words from Lucas himself. You can find more at their website and purchase directly from them:

From the top, natural is an extremely ambiguous and unregulated term that could mean almost anything to anyone. Likewise, natural does not always mean safe. I define natural as the following: primarily plant source with no parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, color additives, PEGs, EDTA, silicones, sulfates and petrochemicals. These are ingredients that are correlated with potentially negative health or environmental effects. There are safe alternative ingredients that can be used in place of the aforementioned ingredients (or just leave them out, e.g. color additives). However, those alternative ingredients are more expensive to use due to cost and because they tend to be difficult to source and formulate with. We do use lanolin (animal source) in Grooming Cream because it functions similar to petroleum jelly (found in most pomades). However, lanolin has better moisturizing properties, is ethically produced from wool, is renewable, and is extremely biodegradable when compared to petroleum jelly. Consequently, it’s about 2x as expensive as petroleum jelly.
I was inspired to start Spruce for a few reasons: I was using American Crew products, mostly Forming Cream, and became concerned about some of the ingredients in them. I read that some of them may be correlated with having a negative effect on humans and the environment, especially after accumulated use. I couldn’t find any water-based styling products on the market that made an effort to formulate with more natural (as defined above) ingredients. [Lastly] I couldn’t believe how complicated men’s grooming is becoming; anybody who knows me can attest that I’m all about a good value (price vs quality/utility) and efficiency. Therefore, I don’t prescribe to the notion that men (anyone for that matter) need all these serums and treatments to have healthy skin and hair. For example, a correctly formulated face lotion made with quality plant oils, butters and extracts containing antioxidants will provide more than enough skin benefits, to the point where additional serums are a waste of time and money.
To better understand the products and the market I taught myself the chemistry behind formulating hair and skin care products. For months, I’d literally read books and research articles on the subject late into the night. I also worked with several of the nation’s top cosmetic chemists to dial in the GC formula. As is the case with all future products. As we roll out new products (face lotion, body lotion, shampoo, body wash, conditioner) this fall (2015) I think our brand philosophy will become more apparent. That is, creating quality, versatile, easy-to-use and effective grooming products that are better for men and mother nature. Moving forward, we will continue to expand our product line as well as our online and brick and mortar retail presence.
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A big thank you to Lucas over at Spruce for sending his product over and we’re very excited to see what future products come from this neat little company.
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