When it comes to lube, the hair on your head generally isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
Yet there I stood in my bedroom mirror recently, running a handful of lube through my hair as part of my job like the awkward star of some coming-of-age teen comedy trying something new in an attempt to win the girl.
Let me explain.
When RedEye was pitched story about a lube that doubles as a hair product, we had to investigate a little further.
Enter Uberlube. Which is a thing that exists.
No, really. A 100-milliliter bottle will set you back about $30 on Amazon.
“We wanted to take a product that everybody uses either because they like to or a lot of people have to in their lives for one reason or another,” said Uberlube founder Stephen Magnusen, a 38-year-old Evanston resident. “A lot of the times, it has taboo around it. The word lube is kind of funny, it’s kind of the butt of a joke. People who are buying lube used to have to go and buy a crummy product or go to some other shadowy area to buy the product.”
The Evanston-made product is being billed as a sex lube/chafing reducer/ hair product. And while the idea of putting lube in your hair may sound, well, unconventional at best, at least one stylist swears by it.
Steven Lightfoot, an independent stylist based out of Portland, Ore., said he’s been using Uberlube on photoshoots for a while now.
“I’m actually on set right now with a bottle, and I take it everywhere I go,” he said. “It’s my secret.”
So secret that he doesn’t tell most people he’s working with what he’s using.
“People on a photo shoot, they don’t know I use it, and they don’t ask questions,” he said.
They don’t ask questions because it seems to do the job. Even if it does have a weird name. “From a technical level, it’s absolutely formulated perfectly for it,” Lightfoot said. “It’s smooth to make shine, it reduces the frizz, all the ingredients in it are commonly found in other hair products.”
A large part of that comes from Uberlube’s formula, which consists of a silicon oil designed to be as natural to the human touch as possible. Magnusen, who said he’s only recently begun marketing the product to stylists, already has his believers.
“(It) sort of shields the cuticles of the hair from ambient moisture, lays the hair down flat, makes styling a lot easier,” Magnusen said. “It’ll work as long as it’s being manipulated, and when you stop, it dissipates. It doesn’t overstay, you don’t feel like you have to get up and wash it off.”
The product definitely has a different feel than traditional lubes.
During a recent phone interview, Magnusen walked me through a brief test of the product that involved putting the stuff on my wrist.
Unlike with other lubes, there was no sticky or slick feeling immediately afterward. Instead, as it dried, the product had more of a baby powder-type texture.
Magnusen said that’s by design.
“As we’ve been engineering this formula, what we’ve realized is it’s not about being slippery, which is counterintuitive,” he said. “We wanted to make something that reduced friction and reduced damage from friction but actually had friction built into the formula. What we realized is that skin wants to feel skin.”
So, in the name of journalism, I put Uberlube in my hair. As work things go, this was a first but immediately I noticed that my hair was shinier and softer than usual. Clearly, I was doing something right.
Except I wasn’t.
“People mix it with their favorite hair products,” Magnusen said. Magnusen said by marketing the product to stylists and athletes, he’s hoping to take some of the shame away from buying lube.
“I used to be really apprehensive at telling people about (my job),” he said. “But over and over and over and over again, what I got was there’s really zero apprehension toward it. People are just full of questions that they want to know about it. It’s something that people become really comfortable with once they get it.”
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