I was recently reached out to by Tough & Tumble, and especially this time around, it was exceptionally interesting because they wanted to introduce a black clay. Yes. A clay that is colored black by the volcanic clay they chose to use in the formula. And for someone with hair like mine, this is a great idea that I had surprisingly not considered before. Coloring a product black has proven to be the only solid way to get a naturally neutral finish to a pomade for all of us who have black hair.
Today, we'll be looking at 03 Black by Tough & Tumble. It is a clay product based on a gel-pomade foundation and advertised to provide extreme hold/volume.
Honestly, Tough & Tumble is one of the few companies who spend a lot time on the design of their packaging, and it's rightly so. All of their packages are consistent while still being unique in their own way. 03 Black does a good job of embodying the central message of this product -- the product should always visually represent its performance.
The scent is officially Black Forrest, but to me, I'd best describe it as a halfway between the original Irish Spring soap smell and baby powder.
At first, I thought it was going to scoop out like the other products from Tough & Tumble -- like a standard gel-pomade. However, this one was a bit different and also different from the other gel-clay-pomades I've seen (i.e. Layrite Cement, JS Sloane Caviar Clay, etc.). It's like a smooth jam.
Easy to apply. You do get that grip one always experiences with clay, but nevertheless, it's equivalent to apply a strong gel-pomade.
Straight neutral for me. The finish is probably my favorite aspect of this product. Because of its black color, I get a true neutral finish. Not matte. Not shiny. It literally looks like I have nothing in my hair. I love it.
The texture ended up a lot better than I expected. It's primarily a coarse texture, but that is undoubtedly, the primary aesthetic.
I would describe this to be more of a medium hold product. However, given the light weight of this pomade (as with most gel-pomades), the hold comes untainted and with full potential -- at least what can be allowed by a medium hold.
The overall control of this product ends up alright. I would consider it more of a balanced product if we choose to compare it to pre-existing clay-gel-pomades, but its still not as high-performing as the better water-based and oil-based clay pomades on the market. What it provides best is convenience, cleanliness, and a more balanced approach than other similar products.
In all truth, I decided to cut the test short before things got too crazy. It's not an issue of how strong this product is or even its weight. This is the nature of a gel-pomade. You're putting all your eggs into one basket -- that being all the hold and strength into the beginning. If it stays, then it stays perfectly throughout the whole day. However, if it breaks, then you've lost it. That is the situation we see with this product.
Without water, it's almost next to impossible to style. Unlike a water-based or an oil-based clay pomade, you can't easily run your fingers through your hair. Note, if you use the absolute minimal amount of product, then you might be able to. But also note, the medium hold makes it difficult to do so.
It will dry up. Quicker than a normal gel-pomade because of the clay BUT not as hard as a typical one.
Washes out in one go with or without shampoo. Convenient like any other gel-pomade.
Overall, the outstanding aspect of 03 Black by Tough & Tumble is its blackness. This makes it incomparably attractive to users with dark hair. It is very rare, if ever even, that I can use a product that makes it look like I literally have nothing in my hair -- truly neutral. The performance itself and the decision to make it a gel-pomade leaves more to be desire, but I admire the introduction of this new concept...a black clay. I like it.
If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, feel free to use our promo code THEPOMP to save yourself some money when ordering.