Today, I am very proud and excited to introduce the first pomade by my new brand: Black Bean Grocery. This little baby is a project between myself and my homie from college. We created this brand out of admiration for the old traditional Asian products and design work that surrounded us throughout our childhood — from Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce to Eagle Brand Oil. There are other Chinatown brands out there, but rarely are they ever from a perspective that originates within the community. We sought to create something that introspective and respectful — thereby drawing inspiration from traditional design work rather than imitating it.
Superior Pomade is the love child between two ideas: create a product that visually pays homage to Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce — arguably one of the most intricately designed products in an Asian Supermarket — and formulate a pomade that can be use to style anything from a pompadour to a executive contour and even to just texture up a short crew cut. We believe we did that.
This was unquestionably the crowd favorite at our launch party. I love that everyone understood the reference. They may have not been able to name the exact sauce that our jar drew inspiration from, but they understood the feeling. That suggests that the right balance between allusion and originality was achieved. The label is underlaid with a warm gold metallic finish and full color printing. Please note the subtle golden flowers in our lady’s dress.
As for the jar, it’s much larger than the standard four ounce or 100mL pomade jar. It’s actually a 200mL clear glass jar — slightly more than six ounces — and capped off with a red plastisol-lined lug cap. In the same mindset that allows some hoisin sauce to be safely contained over many months, this jar was both convenient in aesthetic and optimal in design. Well — actually not for shipping though, the jar is just big enough to past a pricing limit for USPS. So be it.
Eagle Brand Medicated Oil is unanimously recognizable by the entire Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American community. That wintergreen aroma is unforgettable, and so, how could we not make play with it. This aroma has a minty base but with dancing notes of rosemary, oudwood, and a few other items.
We opted for a thiccc and creamy consistency. In truth, it was easy to accomplish given this wouldn’t be a heavy/strong hold product. It’s not too soft or wet such that you feel a change in consistency as you apply it into your hair.
It goes in easy and stay easy to work without throughout the entire time you have it in your hair. While all other aspect of this product change with time and we embrace that, one thing I don’t like is how a product changes from creamy to grippy as it is applied. So, with Superior Pomade, I wanted something whose consistency matched its application.
It’s primarily a neutral finish, but there’s a slight matte aspect just to make sure it doesn’t go beyond neutral — also to help absorb just a bit of moisture.
In order to make this a versatile pomade, it needs to be able to keep hairs together but not with a stickiness or oily slick. It should rely on a gritty paste effect because this can also easily be use to balance separation in a texturizing effect. And as you can see in the photos, the pastiness is more than enough to effectively keep a clean pompadour together.
Being balanced out by a dry paste effect, the texture comes out to be beautifully coarse. Comb it into a nice and clean pomp. Then, you can use your fingers to texture it up into a loose pompadour. You’ll get long and deep lines of separation that go all the way from the front to back.
We took inspiration from some of the finer medium-hold, lightweight pomades that we’ve reviewed here on the blog. Though it is a medium hold pomade, the airy lightness of the weight allows you to optimize every ounce of hold this pomade has to offer, and as you can see from the height in the photos, there is plenty of volume to be had.
In the same light that made me formulate this as a versatile pomade, ease of use was another important aspect to achieve. So, not only is it befitting of almost any hairstyle to use with, it is also befitting a user of any experience level to style with.
If it’s not a heavyweight, then a product is bound to change with time. Instead of trying to avoid that, we thought, “Hey. What if we embrace it?” So, this product will change with each passing hour and encourage you to embrace a more textured look. Will this pomade evaporate or disappear in any way? Actually, no. It will remain present and able to control. The aesthetics will become more supportive of a textured style.
A bit of the volume will naturally pass, but the product remains completely present. The grittiness and pastiness stay completely effective.
Should feel like you have nothing in your hair.
Washes out easily with just water and even faster if you’re shampooing.
In short, the idea was to create something versatile enough to capture all users and support whatever your hairstyle is, whether it be a long and tall pompadour or a short and clean contour. At the same time on our end, we wanted to have fun with the design work — make something cool as shit that you hopefully keep forever on your shelf. Plant a bamboo shoot in there when you’re done. Needless to say, we are very proud of it. We hope you love it. And of course, thank you for all your support over the past five years or so. It’s been crazy, and now we’re really doing it!
It is available via the Black Bean Grocery website. For our international supporters, we’ve been able to work with some retailers to make it more readily available — we will provide an updated list of international retailers for your convenience. If none exists, it is still possible to purchase the pomade with international shipping.
Again. Thank you for all your support and your continue support will help us do more and more in the future.