Empire Apothecary | Standard Issue

Today, we're back for another review, but this time marks a milestone because we're finally breaking into a world of pastes and paste pomade hybrids. As you can recall, we only recently fully dived into the world of clay and clay pomades. This was triggered by the fact that we finally stumbled onto clays worthy of our time. Similarly, I've finally found a paste pomade that's worthy of being shared with you all.

This is Standard Issue Pomade Paste by Empire Apothecary. It was recommended to me by Clayton of O'Douds, and whenever a homebrewer recommends another product outside their brand, it's usually worth noting.


As you would expect out of product cooked in Brooklyn, it has good style. I'm also a sucker of minimalism, so I'm just giggling with excitement about all the typefaces used here. It's a 2.3 oz. jar which is an odd size, but the thick glass is very satisfying to hold. It should be noted that it's not a deceiving jar like that of Baxter's where the jar hides the fact that there's barely any product in it.

My only criticism would be that this would look even cleaner if all the printing was done directly to the jar and lid. Of course, that requires large upfront costs and a guarantee that they could sell the quantity need to hit minimums when ordering.


The official scent is tonka and citrus, but for me, the tonka really just takes over everything. Yes, it is a very nice scent that is reminiscent of vanilla, cinnamon, and a light hint of almond. However, it would be amazing if the citrus could get kicked up.


With paste products, we expect it to be like a lotion. You should be able to get product by simply touching it -- no need to scoop. That's the case with Standard Issue. It's really cool and especially if all you've been using lately was traditional pomades.


This is where clays and pastes overlap a bit (and we'll do our best to distinguish between the two during this review). Right when you apply it to your hair, you'll feel the grip. With a paste, it's like the moisture in the product just disappears. Whereas with a clay, it's like any moisture in your hair was absorbed by the clay.


Neutral. You can argue that it gets slightly matte throughout the day.


Paste products tend to provide fine texture versus clays which ideally provide coarse texture. Standard Issue follows the expectation here. It's hard to describe, but there are two different aesthetics to the texture provided by pastes in comparison to clays. Though it wasn't intuitive to me, the texture from pastes is more similar to what you get after a day at the beach and didn't have anything in your hair. The texture from clay is like you also went to the beach but have a little oil-based pomade in there.

Standard Issue provides fine texture that doesn't really stick to itself. This helps to suggest more loose and messy styling.


This paste pomade had grip but wasn't as harsh as others I've tried. This is best utilized by finger styling and can be broken down by combing.


This product's strength is comparable to your average traditional pomade.


The strength and grip mixed with unreal lightness and texture makes it a mind-bending experience to style with. I would consider Standard Issue to be one of the more forgiving pastes in the world, but still, you need to be comfortable and confident with loose styles to use this product.


As with many products that push towards loose styles, the endurance can always expect to be sacrifice. It's not a heavy or firm product in any way. The idea is that you substitute the endurance with loose and messy aesthetic. What I mean is that even as it gets messed up, it still looks good. This is definitely the case with Standard Issue.


The grip stays throughout the day and the volume looses some after a few hours. You can definitely rework it into a pomp, but my personal preference is to transition to a loose slickback with mah fingahz.


Doesn't harden anymore than it feels when you first apply it.


Washes out in one shower, but I would recommend shampoo to make the process easier.


This product receives my seal of approval, which is also why I chose to use it as an introduction for you all to paste and paste pomade hybrids. I've tried many, but they've all been very frustrating to use. Standard Issue by Empire Apothecary marks a starting point from which we can experience and build paste products that are intuitive to use and don't require a whole salon's worth of shit to style with.

To make it financially easier for you guys to experience, we've created the promo code THEPOMP for Empire Apothecary. So, buy direct and save some money.