I’ve read NYMag’s The Cut blog on and off for years now, at least for a decade–when I was much younger, I used to accept its word as the gospel, and followed all its writers religiously when their careers took them elsewhere. It was from one of their beauty stories that I inherited my deep respect for Bumble & Bumble products, which always seem to have a good handle on the intersection between Hollywood-level elegance and seaside tousles. I’ve used the Bb. Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Creme ($34) before and I found it excellent for that just-got-out-of-bed grittiness, so this time, on the hunt for something sleek and more professional, I went with the Grooming Creme ($34) instead.
Grooming Creme is called a styling moisturizer by its parent company but, to be honest, for a while now I’ve simply been calling it “sheen cream” in my mind. The happy medium between a conditioning oil and a hair mask, the fluid does absorb rather quickly and leave your locks silky to touch. Safflower and and sweet almond oil coat the follicles with fatty acids, which explains the shine and velvety texture, while jojoba oil penetrates deeper in to ensure that your hair doesn’t get dried out with prolonged use. Something tells me that it should be used sparingly on fine hair—unless a primer is applied, Grooming Creme can sit rather heavy, and fine hair seldom has enough volume to support more viscous consistencies—but for the most part, it would probably agree with most regular hair types.
As a styling product, however, the cream is more a supporting actor than a lead. There’s no shame in being a great product for layering, and that’s what Grooming Creme is. I have thick hair and it has a lot of personality, and there simply wasn’t enough hold in this B&B product to keep the longer bits in place. Since I mostly wear my hair as it falls naturally, I’m not complaining at all, but there were times when I could’ve done with less sheen and more staying-in-place. I might in all honesty have been using it wrong, and sure enough, on the product page, there are at least five different ways to layer this moisturizer with primer or surf spray to achieve a range of textures and holds, but I guess that’s the point of Grooming Creme. It helps you groom your hair, not set it—I should’ve trusted the name from the start.
In India, we often use coconut oil to condition our hair and we leave it in for hours so that it deeply replenishes the texture of our manes: this seems a much gentler version of that, with a much milder scent and stabilized structure so that the fatty oils never start turning rank. I do enjoy the product, but the fact that it does very little by itself makes it much better suited for dry hair and day wear than an evening look or a night out. I do think the purse size version would be an excellent fix for massaging some life back into over-salted beach waves in the summer or to manage unruly, long hair into a well-behaved french braid, but on my end, I guess it’ll always been sheen cream to me. Ain’t nothing wrong with that either–if your head of hair is healthy, sometimes, a little elegance is all you need.