Pomade is pomade. Anyone can use it, behindhand of their gender, to appearance abbreviate hair. Yet traditionally, arcade for anoint has meant actuality bombarded with hyper-masculine marketing—drawings of men, labels that acquaint the articles as “for absolute men,” and classically asperous scents like covering and tobacco. Not all bodies with abbreviate beard analyze as men, though, which agency the anoint class has historically afar an absolute citizenry of people. That’s why Sheena Lister and Megan Andrews founded Barb, an across-the-board hair-care cast for bodies with abbreviate hair.
When arch to barrage the cast in aboriginal 2021, Lister and Andrews articular a ample gap in the abbreviate beard administration bazaar based on their own experiences. “The one artefact I’ve endemic throughout my absolute character lifetime is beard pomade,” says Lister, who addendum that she boring chopped off her long, coiled beard as she “came into her identity” over time. “But they’ve consistently been marketed to men, fabricated for men, and smelled like men, so I never acquainted like I had a artefact for myself… and already you bazaar a artefact alone for men, you’re automatically abrogation bodies out.”
In ablution Barb, Lister and Andrews capital to actualize added than aloof hair-care products. They set out to breed a association in which anyone with abbreviate beard could feel safe, accepted, and included—and that’s absolutely what they’ve done.
Barb appear its admission product, Barb Bendable Clay Anoint ($30), on its armpit aftermost June. When it launched in Urban Outfitters in January 2022, the aboriginal accumulation awash out aural 24 hours, a attestation to the abundant charge for anoint articles for all.
What makes the artefact angle afar is its light, gender-neutral aroma that blends auspicious scents like lavender and eucalyptus, abrogation its user smelling like alpha laundry (because not anybody wants to aroma like they’ve aloof appear aback from chopping wood). “We absolutely went aback and alternating on whether or not we capital a aroma at all, but we admired the aroma so abundant that we absitively that we were activity to run with it,” says Andrews, who serves as the brand’s arch operating officer.
Barb’s business focuses on those who accept commonly been abandoned by the abbreviate beard artefact offerings on the market. “It’s important to us that we’re targeting women and non-binary people, because, to date, we haven’t been seen,” says Lister. Head over to the brand’s website or Instagram, and you’ll see admirable images of women and non-binary association owning and adulatory their abbreviate hair.
Barb additionally works with stylists who serve women and non-binary bodies to analysis their products, which hasn’t been done historically. “Across the industry, abbreviate beard articles are alone activated on men. They analysis the aroma on men, they analysis the artefact on men,” says Lister. By addition the testing pool, they’re able to ensure they’re authoritative articles that anyone can love.
But, that doesn’t beggarly bodies who analyze in added means can’t additionally use the Barb. They’re aloof not the ambition audience.
“A lot of men are affairs our product—because it’s a abundant product,” says Lister. “And a lot of women are affairs our artefact for their men—partners, brothers, siblings, whatever. That’s ultimately our goal, to actualize a amplitude area everybody can feel themselves, behindhand of their gender or sexuality. The abbreviate beard is the connector.”
Aside from actuality inclusive, the anoint happens to be a abuse acceptable artefact in its own rite. It’s fabricated with accustomed waxes and bulb proteins to bear the absolute mix of texture, fullness, and shape. It provides a average authority in a accustomed accomplishment that feels bendable and buttery on the hands.
After application a agglomeration of not-so-great pomades in their lives, Andrews and Lister capital to accomplish abiding their blueprint wasn’t buttery or adamantine to use. “We fabricated abiding it wasn’t sticky, but was actual malleable, so it’s accessible to assignment into your hair,” says Andrews. They additionally formed to accomplish the absolute akin of shine. “We capital to accomplish abiding that it was agleam enough, so it could still be acceptable for association who like added of a slicked-back look, but not too shiny.”
The anoint is aloof the alpha for Barb. They’re alive with industry leaders and stylists to get three new articles out this year, one of which is actuality created accurately for Black textured hair. “It’s absolutely important to us that we’re demography the time to ensure that the articles that we cycle out are as acceptable as our Bendable Clay Pomade,” says Lister. “We’ve accustomed amazing reviews and acknowledgment from our accepted chump base. And we aloof appetite to accomplish abiding that we’re active up to that artefact quality.”
Great articles aside, Lister and Andrews are abolition an absolute industry by putting calm a association of “Barbs,” aka bodies with beard beneath than chin-length. They’re alive to ensure that anybody feels acceptable accepting their beard done, behindhand of how they identify. Not alone can barbershops be afflictive places for bodies who don’t analyze as men, they can additionally be discriminatory. For example, in 2020, a woman was denied a crew at a barbershop because men were “put off” seeing a woman in the store, letters BBC News.
“Today, if I went into a salon, I may not be the alone one with abbreviate hair, but it’s acceptable I’d be the alone queer, lesbian-identifying being with abbreviate beard walking in, in my sweatpants and sweater, attractive for a abundant haircut,” says Lister. “And again on the cast side, 99 percent of the time I go to the barbershop, I’m the alone woman.”
In either situation, “If you accept a stylist giving you a cut and you faculty that they’re uncomfortable, again your cut’s not activity to accomplish you feel your best,” adds Andrews. “You deserve to be walking through the apple activity your best.” They agenda that educating stylists on able pronoun use, for example, can accomplish a huge aberration in someone’s acquaintance at a salon.
For now, the cast is hosting pop-ups area women and non-binary bodies can feel safe accepting their abbreviate beard styled (for example, they hosted one aftermost year at San Francisco Pride). But the achievement is that by arch by example, the blow of the hair-care industry will bolt up and apprehend that accepting your crew doesn’t charge to be gendered.
“It’s the abstraction that you don’t accept to accept a card for your cuts that are ‘men’s cut’ or a ‘women’s cut.’ Why aren’t we aloof talking about abbreviate cuts, shags, mullets—just styles?” says Andrews. “We appetite to accomplish abiding that the acceptable beard and adorableness spaces apperceive about Barb. That they apperceive about these conversations that they’re starting to absorb the language, the pronoun use—it’s all cool important. It is activity to be step-by-step. But we’ve got to alpha somewhere, and hopefully giving bodies assets and language, alike if they aloof attending at our website and they’re like, ‘That’s absorbing how they said that.’ Great, again we’ve fabricated one little step.”
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