please advise

Ask Chris Black: What Hair Products Do You Use?

Photo: Wesley Verhoeve

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? Regular readers of the Strategist will know that we’ve previously turned to resident Cool Guy Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) to help us answer both of those questions, and to get more of Chris’s advice, he’s now answering reader questions for us in a regular column. If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, drop us an email with the subject line “Ask Chris” at

What hair products do you use?

I’m gonna keep it real with you, chief, I shampoo and condition my hair, towel dry, and hit the beautiful New York streets free of a thick molding wax or styling paste. I am just a simple man who feels lucky to have hair at all. But my fantastic barber, Andrèa Lord, at Fellow Barber in Soho sometimes hits my tightly cropped tresses with a few pumps of salt spray, and I love the effect it has. After a few visits, I decided to cop a bottle for my house and landed on the Sachajuan Ocean Mist, mainly because the packaging is on point. TBH, it doesn’t smell great, but the spray adds some volume and texture.

If you subscribe to the idea that you don’t need to wash your hair daily, dry shampoo is something you should keep in the medicine cabinet. It absorbs product buildup and oil and gives you hair a nice smell. Oribe Gold Lust (LOL, what a name) is excellent.

If you’re interested in dry shampoo, this stuff is excellent as well.

If you are rocking a pompadour in 2019, you probably need some OG Murray’s Pomade. Back in my day guys used Elmer’s Glue to keep their Mohawks standing up. Look how far we have come!

I am desperate for a Dr. Martens–type shoe (1461) that doesn’t make my feet feel like they’re being crushed by Andre the Giant’s hands all day. No matter what people say, these shoes don’t get comfortable over time! Do you have any recs for a similar-looking, chunky-sole shoe that doesn’t cost half a rack? Need those ’90s cool guy Ethan Hawke vibes on the cheap.

I thought my beloved readers would be willing to SUFFER for fashion, but I guess not. I wear a black version (no yellow stitching) of the Dr. Martens 1461 shoes, and you’re right, they aren’t the most comfortable, but I love the look. This is really just a beefy version of a classic derby, a style men have been wearing forever. The best option in a similar price range would be the Red Wing Postman Oxford, the black cushion crêpe and wedge sole might provide more comfort for your barking dogs.

You might also want to check out Solovair, they are the father to Dr. Martens, 100 percent made in bloody England, mate, and priced right. The Gibson is the style you want.

But, I have some terrible news, friend. To get a GREAT pair that will break in and last, you might have to pull out the American Express card and get serious. My first pick would be the chunky Chamboard style from Paraboot, with proper care, these will last forever.

If you win the lottery or marry up, the Sentry model from John Lobb is outfitted with a lightweight walking sole, which should be comfortable enough for your tender tootsies. Some unsolicited closing advice, toughen up! Life is long, but fashion waits for no man. Godspeed.

Joggers. Yay or nay? Do you have any favorites?

When you say “joggers,” I have to assume you aren’t asking me about a pair of khaki-colored Zanerobe with elasticized cuffs, truly horrific eyesores, because my answer would obviously be a resounding nay.

I like to call them “swishy pants” — which may seem a bit childish, but I use it confidently because it accurately describes the product. I have a few pairs, the real go-to is a black pair of Stone Island in tapered nylon ripstop. They are the perfect plants for the plane, the pockets have zippers to hold your wad of euros and passport safely, and they are very comfortable. The ones I wear are no longer in production, but a similar style with a bonus cargo pocket in a perfect shade of green would do the trick.

Are you rich? Prada in black with the logo cuff is your only option! The choice is yours. These pairs will make the haters hear you coming (SWOOSH … SWOOSH … SWOOSH).

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Ask Chris Black: What Hair Products Do You Use?