Both packages on Leather

Elders will tell you about its greasiness, the fragrance and its overall generous usage by gentlemen of the past. Like Old Spice aftershave and Bay Rum, Brylcreem is just one of those personal grooming artifacts that’s synonymous with a bygone era.

Nevertheless, with “Mad Men” haircuts and attire making a comeback, this old product is starting to fill up drug store shelves again. However, these aforementioned shelves look different on both sides of the proverbial pond.

In Britain, we have the big red pots with a lion crest. In the United States, the product resembles a tube of toothpaste.

What is this madness? Are they the same product but with different packaging? If not, which is better? These are questions that even the wonders of the internet were unable to answer for me and so I was compelled to open an investigation.

A Little Brylcreem History

French Brylcreem Jar Submitted By Chris

Image contribution by Chris [see comments below]

Brylcreem was conceived as a pomade in 1928 by County Chemicals in Birmingham, England. An emulsion of water and mineral oil stabilised with beeswax, it replicated the effect of hair cream that was only sold to barbers, whilst incorporating the resemblance of brillantine.

Men flocked to Brylcreem in droves to recreate the iconic glossy hold that would become the fashion for decades. During the Second World War, members of the RAF were known as Brylcreem Boys for their overindulgence in hair cream and the 1950s witnessed Brylcreem become the most dominant product in men’s hair grooming.

In Britain, Brylcreem advertising campaigns often incorporated contemporary sports stars as their heralded “Brylcreem Boys,” such as Cricketer Denis Compton throughout the late Forties and early Fifties. In the United States, it was advertised on television accompanied by the catchy jingle “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya!” When the dry look became popular in the Seventies, the tagline was changed from “They’ll love to run their fingers through your hair” to “They’ll love the natural look it gives your hair.”

Denis Compton 1954 Brylcreem Cricket Advertising Campaign Poster“Brylcreem Boy” Cricketer Denis Compton in a 1954 magazine ad.

Unfortunately, Brylcreem’s success began to wane in the following half of the twentieth century. Much like the once-compulsory wearing of hats, The Beatles and other popular music of the Sixties would have a significant impact on men’s fashion with their longer, unkempt hairstyles. The pomade fell out of fashion, accordingly.

An excellent 1965 American Brylcreem Commercial featuring the iconic jingle.

Brylcreem At The Dawn Of The 21st Century

The brand was sold from owner to owner like a hot potato throughout the following decades, causing the name to eventually split across borders. It wouldn’t be until 1997 that Brylcreem began to witness a slight resurgence when a young up-and-coming David Beckham was dubbed Britain’s new “Brylcreem Boy” and a new range of different styling products was introduced.

However, it wasn’t until recent years, with the introduction of popular television shows such as AMC’s Mad Men and vintage-scene revivalist movements creeping into the mainstream, that Brylcreem saw a true renaissance. Today, there are a multitude of hairstyles from different periods such as pompadours and the classic shine that are being appropriated by young men around the world.

Today, Combe Incorporated markets Brylcreem in the US, whilst Unilever administers the rest of the world. Although the products carry the same name and fulfil the same function, there are a variety of key differences. Unfortunately, records on the history of Brylcreem is somewhat limited through mainstream sources. Moreover, both Combe and Unilever were reluctant to provide any supplementary information on the product when contacted. Nevertheless, that does not change the fact that both are excellent products worthy of review.

Ultimate Brylcreem Review


The bright red Brylcreem pot with the lion crest is an iconic artefact from 1960s Britain, so much so that it hasn’t changed since. However, despite being of a similar heritage, the American Brylcreem tube has undergone a redesign since the Combe takeover: a modernised font and removal of the crown logo. Although both pot and tube were originally available in both countries, it appears only one has survived in each. In either case, the products have retained a sense of nostalgia that legitimises the products as pedigrees of gentlemen’s hairdressing.

UK Brylcreem Red Pot

In terms of practicality, the British Brylcreem’s pot makes for a robust and stable container, whereas the American tube easily tips over. However, whilst the pot isn’t a practical travelling companion, the American tube slips into any small bag without much inconvenience.

Another benefit to the tube is the cleanliness and control in delivering the product into your palm, which allows you to take only the right amount without contaminating the rest. Moreover, the pot can attract dust and loose hairs when opened, as well as causing the product to expire sooner than if it were in a tube.

Brylcreem US Tube New Design Logo

Composition & Shine

The American Brylcreem is a loose almost aqueous cream with traces of an oily residue. Conversely, the British Brylcreem has a thicker creamy texture that reacts like soft butter when manipulated between the fingers. It also contains little grease and feels cleaner in the hands and scalp.

Although both provide an excellent sheen, the aforementioned oily residue in the American Brylcreem delivers a far deeper long-lasting shine. However, the oil can leave deposits on material, hats and even bare hands whilst the British variant is relatively clean to touch.

Brylcreem Products Close-UpAmerican Brylcreem (Left) and British Brylcreem (Right). Note the oil at the base of the American version whilst the British product retains its form.

Hold & Longevity

It should be noted that, although Brylcreem styles and nourishes the hair and provides an excellent shine, it tends to require some attention throughout the day.

Brylcreem will not provide the same hold as pomades, which can be advantageous for more sensitive scalps and roots. Although the UK variant has an overall stronger hold, it has a tendency to dull quicker than its American counterpart. Consequently, the British Brylcreem may be more likely to require topping up during the day, whilst the American variant is potent enough to be simply combed back to life.

Brylcreem Results Appearance US UKThe difference between a little dab of American (left) and British (right) Brylcreem in the hair.

Due to the UK Brylcreem coming in a pot, topping up can be an impractical affair. However, many aficionadi of the product have recommended Vitalis Hair Tonic to be an excellent accompaniment for restyling, which is also deliciously laced with a classic Barbershop smell. Regardless, it goes without saying that a pocket comb is an essential accessory when using Brylcreem.

Fragrance & Conditioning

Although the Brylcreem fragrance is synonymous with the era, the two variations are surprisingly unalike. Whilst the US Brylcreem has a bold, citrusy scent, the British version is sugary sweet. Although both are quite pleasant, the American version has a more compelling fragrance than its British counterpart.

Both Brylcreems claim the ability to condition hair, whilst the British variant goes so far as to boast that their product is enriched with protein. Although the benefits of the added protein seem rather obscure, both products appear to have a remarkable nourishing effect.

Brylcreem 1940s advert World War 2 Soldier“The purest most beneficial tonic hair dressing you can buy.”

When washed out, the hair is left with a full and healthy feeling. However, if the product is left in for more than a day, it can have an adverse effect by causing a build-up of grease, which is especially prevalent in the American variation. Nevertheless, as long as the hair is regularly washed, Brylcreem is generally a healthy compliment to a personal grooming routine.

Pricing & Value For Money

As their availability varies from country to country, it’s difficult to properly assess their value for money from a particular location. For instance, the British Brylcreem is much cheaper in the UK whilst the case is the opposite in the USA.

Nevertheless, stocks both in large quantities at fair prices. The best deal can be found when purchasing three tubes of USA Brylcreem, which provides you with over 15 Oz (445 ml) for just over $16.

Meanwhile, a 250 ml (8.45 Oz) tub of the UK Brylcreem can be purchased on Amazon for as little as $6.34. As you can see, the price difference is minor even if the UK variant is just a touch cheaper by volume.

Final Assessment Of The Two Brylcreems

Both incarnations of Brylcreem are a testament to a bygone era. Although they vary on minor points, they are of equal quality and each have their unique benefits. Whilst the American version provides a rich shine, British Brylcreem is more malleable and will retain a slightly stronger hold. Whilst it’s true that the American Brylcreem has an alluring zesty fragrance and a richer shine, British Brylcreem’s versatile and greaseless composition has its own strengths.

French Brylcreem Advert Submitted By Chris

Image contribution by Chris [see comments below]

Although at a push, I will personally be more likely to reach for the American product, I tend to alternate between the two throughout the week. Objectively, there is no superior product beyond personal preference and due to their low cost and accessibility thanks to the internet, both can be obtained for the same value.

About the Author:

Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.


  1. Ben October 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Charles

    Great article. I actually did a comparison myself recently of the 2 and found both products to be in interesting. I would argue that the American is closer to the very first Brylcreem as it still contains Beeswax, where the English has changed for some reason. It could be good for either the US or English to resurrect the jars from the earlier periods.


    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment. I couldn’t find much out about the original brylcreem so that’s really interesting. Was this a comparison in your own time or did you write an article? If so, I’d love to read it.

      I’ll be honest that I took the easy way out in my conclusions, but I do prefer the shine and fragrance of the American one. It’s just a devil to find in Europe unless you buy online and cough up for shipping fees!

      Agreed, it’s a shame when products try to modernise to still be hip; it would be great to see the products embrace their iconic image again.

      Kind regards,


  2. Dan January 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Charles-Phillippe.

    Great article. I have worn Bryclcreem for 55+ years. But, after buying two red pots recently, well, it’s just not Brylcreem. It does not smell like Brylcreeem, and there is no mention of beeswax in the ingredients list. In fact, comparing it to an old pot, it’s quite different. Do you know what’s happened? I’m saddened. I notice that the product has been taken over by another company. I want my old Brylcreem.


    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you for the kind words. It’s really good to hear from someone who’s experienced with Brylcreem. Being a young’un, I can only compare the products as they exist today and from what I’ve read. It’s a shame to hear that Bcylreem has changed so much over the years. In fact, I’m a bit saddened to learn it!

      Unfortunately, the British Brylcreem that came in the red pots has been passed from company to company since the 1970s. The current owner today is Unilever but when I contacted, they practically refused to tell me anything about its changes and feigned ignorance when pressed. Sadly, we’ll probably never know whatever actually happened to the original stuff.

      Nevertheless, I’d actually recommend that you try the American Brylcreem out as it’s closer to their original product from what I gather. As I recall, it still contains beeswax too. I’d be also very interested to hear what you think when trying it out and if you could compare it to the original red pots from the UK. You can find reasonably priced bottles from sale on for import from the USA.

      All the best,


  3. Frank Wagner October 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    i have used the US version of brylcreem for about sixty years. Recently i bought a tube – same outer packaging, but a different appearance of the tube itself. What a disappointment1 The cheap French perfume aroma is gone, and the (apparently) new formulation is terrible. It causes a persistent, aggravating itchiness on my scalp, to the point where I was driven to wash it out of my hair. I can not use this stuff. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, is there any way we can petition the manufacturer to return to the original formulation?

  4. Tom June 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    I’ve used Brylcreme for about 70 years. It’s great stuff.

  5. Old BIll June 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I first used Brylcreem in 1936; 80 years by my reckoning. The first jar is still going strong although it’s lost its fragrance somewhat.

    • Paul Anthony July 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Let’s hope it goes on for another 80 years!

  6. Cream Ed June 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    My grandmother gave me my first jar of Brylcreem when I was 3 years old. I’m now 93 so that makes 90 years of daily use now. I don’t know how I’d survive without it to be honest.

    • Paul Anthony July 13, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Get ’em while their young! Wish I had any hair left at 30, let alone 93 bravo sir.

  7. John G September 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    I have both at home, the American does shine better but unlike this review, I find the British smells a bit nicer. Overall, I think the American is better.

    • Paul Anthony September 20, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Thanks for your insight John!

  8. Mark Williams November 30, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    I have my own mystery concerning Brylcreem purchased in the US. I found this website while looking for an explanation as to why my local store has carried two different types of Brylcreem in the past, but NOT the two different products described in this discussion. I have discovered a THIRD type of Brylcreem. This means there are two completely different types of “cream” that are packaged almost identically to each other here in the USA, both labeled “Brylcreem” and both distributed by “Combe”. The first tubes I purchased did not have the word “original” on the cardboard box or the tube. The ones that were different had the word “original” on the box and the tube. The cream in these tubes was not the normal “white” color, but rather a “yellow” colored cream that was noticeably more oily. I much prefer the Brylcreem that is yellow in color. I have now used up the two tubes of the yellow type of cream and upon returning to the same store I can only find the Brylcreem that is white in color. What is this other Brylcreem that I stumbled upon that is yellow in color and noticeably more oily? I would love someone to help me with this mystery. I would also like to find out where I can purchase the Brylcreem that is yellow in color. Any ideas?

    • Charles-Philippe December 1, 2017 at 2:18 am - Reply

      Hi Mark! A true mystery indeed and thanks for sharing it with us! Is one tube more modern and the other with “Original” written on it still retaining the old-school logo and text? If so, I’d hazard a guess that the first tubes you got were like the ones in this review (I suppose you could compare with the photos). The second “Original” tubes are likely older formulations if they use that wording. Combe does own the Bryclreem label in the USA but living in Europe, I’m not overly familiar with their other activities and whether they’ve begun licencing it. That said, I’d be interested to hear more of what you discovery!

  9. Peter Gardiner December 12, 2017 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Many thanks for your review. I have a red jar of the product but am considering purchasing a single tube for traveling.
    Would you think that they would be somewhat similar in ingredients and not ruin the original look by Brylcreem?

    • Charles-Philippe December 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Peter! I don’t think that the USA variant ruins the look but that depends in what you’re looking for. As it’s slightly oilier, you’ll get a better sheen and a slightly stronger hold. However, it doesn’t have that flowing finish that you can get from the red pots. Either way, I’d ask you to definitely give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

  10. Josh February 23, 2018 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Hey Chuck, I enjoyed your comparison of both products. I’ve been using Brylcreem (American) for about 5-6 years. I love the stuff. In addition to entering the world of pomades and Groom and Clean, classic hair products are a fun way to relieve a bygone era, where men dressed like men, and well, I think you get my train of thought.
    I love brylcreem, the smell, the way it styles my hair.
    I haven’t tried the British version, which I am going to have to remedy.
    Its interesting that you mentioned the British RAF brylcream boys, as my real initial introduction to this classic hairstyle was the American 8th airforce, especially as portrayed in the movie Memphis Belle.
    I have always had the utmost respect for those who flew and fought over Europe. I’ve grown to appreciate their music, styles, movies etc.
    Good stuff either all around.

    • Charles-Philippe February 26, 2018 at 2:23 am - Reply

      Hi Josh! Thanks for your message and glad to read that you enjoyed the article! I’ve never tried Groom & Clean but now that I live in France, I’m more-or-less obliged to use Pento, which I don’t like as much. However, it’s interesting the relationship between Brylcreem and both the American and British airforces!

      All the best,


      • Chris April 30, 2018 at 2:42 pm - Reply

        Hi CP, I too have only come upon your article recently, and found it very interesting. I am a barber and I specialise in classic styles from the 1920’s – 1960’s and like using old-school products, especially Brylcreem.
        Over the past 30 years I have collected 2 display cabinets worth of men’s vintage hairdressing products. This includes the history of Brylcreem, from 1928 till now, including old adverts.
        Brylcreem used to be manufactured all over the world, and in many cases the ingredients seemed to vary. But until the early 90’s the ingredients weren’t mentioned on the packaging. I don’t know when they stopped using Beeswax in the UK version, but it hasn’t been used for at least the 28 years that ingredients have been listed (though presumably it’s been replaced by something that does the same job!) – and yes, it’s still in the US version. I like to sometimes mix the two versions together, and get the best of both worlds!

  11. David April 30, 2018 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I just loved the entire article. It answers all the possible questions about Brylcreem a man can ask for. I am somebody who has never used Brylcreem or any kind of hair cream and I am really looking forward to start using this particular product for the very first time. I first got to know about Brylcreem from the 20th episode of the new CBS series “Young Sheldon”. And after that I googled about it and eventually found this article and this article just produced enough positive vives for me to start using Brylcreem hair cream.

    • Charles-Philippe April 30, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Hi David,

      Glad you enjoyed the article! “Eventually” found the it, though? We’ll have get on to Google about that!

      Enjoy your Bryclcreem antics and we hope to hear from you again soon!



    • Chris May 1, 2018 at 7:04 am - Reply

      Hi David, I really hope you enjoy getting into Brylcreem. It looks great, smells great and feels great – soft, cool and silky to the touch (not stiff or sticky or claggy!). Always carry a comb because it will need occasional attention throughout the day, but don’t regard this as a negative thing because it’s actually a very pleasurable thing to do.
      A tip for you when washing your hair – apply the shampoo neat before wetting the hair, then gradually introduce the warm water to build up the lather, then rinse out. Shampoo once more if needed. (If using a lot of Brylcreem, rub your hair vigorously with your towel before washing).
      Are you in the UK or the US? Whichever you use – ENJOY!

      Regards, Chris

      • Charles-Philippe May 2, 2018 at 11:12 am - Reply

        Hey Chris,

        This is great advice for David! Thanks for the contribution!



  12. Charles-Philippe April 30, 2018 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for such a fantastic comment. That’s all very interesting as a lot of the information you’ve given is very hard to come by so your words are gold! That cabinet sounds amazing! Do you think you could share photos with us as I’d be very curious to see it!

    It’s funny you should mention that it was made all over the world. A few years back I stumbled upon some Indian Brylcreem with the UK logo. However, the pot and its contents were completely different with a eucalyptus smell. It was very strange!

    Ha, I never thought of just simply mixing the two together. Now there’s an idea!

    Hope to hear from you again soon!



    • Chris May 2, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Interestingly CP, you mention that PENTO is the only classic Hair Cream you can get in France. As far as I’m aware, Pento started post WW2 in the 40’s as a home-grown rival to the already popular Brylcreem.

      Brylcreem was being sold in France in the 1930’s under licence to Robel of Paris. By the 60’s it was distributed Internationally by Beecham. At some point, perhaps in the 60’s or 70’s, Beecham acquired Pento too. Now here the plot thickens.
      I suspect that when men’s hair fashion had changed so dramatically by the 70’s, Beecham decided at some point to withdraw Brylcreem from the French market, diverting the lesser demand for Hair Cream to Pento.

      In my search for classic hair creams for my display cabinets I have some examples of Pento from the 60’s (Pre Beecham), the 80’s (Beecham), and the present day (Unilever). I really like the earlier ones which have a richer consistency and a great scent of lemon meringue pie! The modern one is not as rich, and now has a comparatively non-descript scent. Such is life!

      Re sending you photos – if you send your email address to mine, I can get them to you that way.

      Regards, Chris

      • Charles-Philippe May 2, 2018 at 5:03 pm - Reply

        Hi again Chris,

        Pento’s a British product? I had no idea! That’s a fascinating piece of history to learn that Bryclreem was present but soon pulled out in favour of pushing Pento. In my research, I really struggled to piece together snippets like this. What were your sources as I’m very impressed?

        With regards to the photos, I sent you an email a few hours ago. Let me know if you got it otherwise I’ll send it again.

        All the best,


    • Chris May 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Interesting you mentioning that PENTO is the only classic Hair Cream you can get in France. As far as I’m aware, Pento started post WW2 in the 40’s as a home-grown rival to the already popular Brylcreem.

      Brylcreem was being sold in France in the 1930’s under licence to Robel of Paris. By the 60’s it was distributed Internationally by Beecham. At some point, perhaps in the 60’s or 70’s, Beecham acquired Pento too. Now here the plot thickens.
      I suspect that when men’s hair fashion had changed so dramatically by the 70’s, Beecham decided at some point to withdraw Brylcreem from the French market, diverting the lesser demand for Hair Cream to Pento.

      In my search for classic hair creams for my display cabinets I have some examples of Pento from the 60’s (Pre Beecham), the 80’s (Beecham), and the present day (Unilever). The earlier ones have a richer consistency and a great scent of lemon meringue pie! The modern one is not as rich, and now has a non-descript scent. Such is life!

      Just a thought, but if you send your email address to mine I will be able to send you some photos.

      Regards, Chris

      • Chris May 2, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

        Regarding my article on PENTO :
        To clarify – it was a FRENCH Hair Cream made to cash in on the popularity of Brylcreem, which was sold in France from the 1930’s until, I believe, around the late 70’s/early 80’s.
        Regarding the demise of Brylcreem in France, that is just my theory, based on the discovery they were both owned by Beecham at the time.


        • Charles-Philippe May 3, 2018 at 3:40 am - Reply

          Ah, so it’s actually French? Because since your last message, I looked it up and from what I read on the very brief Wikidpedia snippet, Pento was apparently a British-made product but only popular in France (5 million tubes were sold in 1950).



  13. Chris May 1, 2018 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Hi CP, would love to share some photos on here, but how to do it? Apart from leaving a comment, how can I attach a photo? (excuse my ignorance!).

  14. Kev May 12, 2018 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Here in Australia we get the British Brylcreem, though I have brought back tubes of the American version which I bought and wore in the States. I found the British stuff smells more like orange blossoms, but in a manly way, whereas the American stuff has an interesting scent, a slight hint of lavender but very much a masculine aroma. The British version is also less greasy, and less greasy now than what it was when I was a kid.

    • Charles-Philippe May 14, 2018 at 2:56 am - Reply

      Hi Kev,

      Yeah, that sums up the difference quite well. The British stuff smells from citrusy and is less greasy whereas the American version is more like lavender. Nicely summed up!

      So the British one was greasier back in the day? That’s interesting…



  15. Steven Goodfellow May 15, 2018 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great info. Just given myself a DIY haircut around back & sides, keeping top long. Dug out some old Brylcreem from back of bathroom cabinet, and jobs a good ‘un! I feel like the bees knees. My late dad used brylcreem, (was in RAF for his National Service) so this is a familial connection to him. Plus, what i’ve saved at the posh barbers will keep me in Brylcreem for a year!

    • Charles-Philippe May 16, 2018 at 2:06 am - Reply

      Hi Steven,

      That’s brilliant! I’ve never dared cut my own hair but I’ve certainly been tempted. Great to hear that it’s been a generational thing – I guess you’re a Brylcreem Boy descendant!



  16. Chris May 16, 2018 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Hi CP, and Kev,

    On the subject of the UK Brylcreem being greasier in past times – I certainly remember it being oilier in the 60’s when I was a kid. I also remember when they stopped using glass jars and introduced the new red plastic tubs in about 1970. The ads at the time talked of ‘a new lighter, cleaner formula’. I remember the improvement of its texture – the cream had more body and felt less oily.

    But speaking of Brylcreem in Australia, for decades there was a manufacturing base in Melbourne, but more recently it has shifted to South Africa. A friend from Oz brought me over a tub a couple of years ago for my collection. It looks and smells like the UK cream, BUT… it still has Beeswax listed in its ingredients.

    Check your tub Kev to see if that’s still the case!

    Regards to you both, Chris

  17. Brian September 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Hi I’m also Australian and I use brylcream .
    Found this blog while sitting in a hotel in Bali looking for an alternative , anyway I’d like to add that in America it may not have gone out of favour as early as you describe as Italians young men were called greasers , l can only assume they were useing copious amounts of brylcream .
    As far as younger guys now useing the product l think you can put ” oh brother where arth thro ” before mad men as ” dapper Dan ” hair pomade would have made them do some investigating .

    • Charles-Philippe September 24, 2018 at 3:29 am - Reply

      Hi Brian,

      You make a good point and I did indeed overlook the Greasers in the USA. I think it’s a fair assumption that they achieved their distinctive look using Brylcreem. This review is in need of an update so I’ll keep your suggestion in mind for when the time comes.

      As for Oh Brother Where Art Though?, although it’s a cult film, I’m not sure whether it had a wide enough impact on popular culture at the time. However, it may have certainly helped encourage the pomade renaissance in the last decade.

      All the best,


  18. Chris Rayner January 11, 2019 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Hi CP, it’s been a while, but I thought this might be of interest to you regarding the differences between Brylcreeems manufactured in other parts of the world.

    A few years ago, a friend brought me some Brylcreem back from South Africa. It was very similar to the UK Original in its texture and its orange-blossom scent.

    I recently went to Capetown and bought a red tub whilst there. I was horrified by what I found! The texture has changed – the cream stays white much longer (more akin to PVA glue). And the previously recognisable (and desirable) orange-blossom has been replaced by a really horrible, cloying smell reminiscent of many cheap gels and hand lotions, a nasty smell that remained on my hands for most of the day, despite repeated washings. Thankfully I didn’t put any of this muck in my hair!

    My suspicion is that Quality Control has been overturned in the pursuit of cost-cutting in the manufacturing process.This concoction won’t attract any new converts, and will alienate many loyal users.

    What’s even more disheartening is realising that in recent years South Africa has been the manufacturing base for the Brylcreem sold in Australia! I’d love to know if this has affected their stock too.

    Regards, Chris
    (Barber, and collector of men’s classic hairdressings)

    • Charles-Philippe January 11, 2019 at 7:11 am - Reply

      Hi Chris,

      Great to hear from you – and a happy new year too!

      It’s certainly interesting to hear about this development in South Africa. However, it’s also somewhat upsetting too. What’s the most disconcerting is that if SA is a large production centre for Brylcreem, will we start to feel the effects in the UK too?

      Like fragrances and perfume, I imagine that there is a lot of reformulation. Although they assure us that these are “new and improved formulae”, it’s rare that the improvement is for us as the consumer but rather for them as the producer.



  19. Danny May 7, 2019 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    MYSTERY BRYLCREEM CASE SOLVED: Hey CP, I am a young Brylcreem junkie and have the EU/UK version (I live in the Netherlands), the older Southeast Asian formula, the current SEA formula, the Indian formula, and the current US version and the older pre-2012 US formula.
    In 2017 some gentleman here described a mysterious Brylcreem also by Combe with a different appearance, the word “original” on the box and not in the current one, and yellow contents. This is the pre-2012 formula (I believe Combe changed the packaging to the current one that year but I don’t know if they even changed the formula). They are rare now and I found one on eBay for a decent price recently so I snagged it. These versions with the different tube appearance are obviously discontinued which is why that commenter was not able to find these tubes again – he bought the last of the remaining stock in his store.

    • Danny May 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      More details:
      As to why it’s yellow, I believe it’s aged. I saw Youtube videos from 2010 and 2012 with that very version and the cream is white. As I said, these versions supposedly stopped production in 2012 and the commenter found 2 of them in 2017. By then the cream probably turned yellow, and very oily as the mineral oil content may have separated from the cream over time. My particular tube is like this as well but it still performs quite well. Yet to use it again to make a proper comparison to the current version – I’m not sure if the formula has changed though since the ingredients list are exactly the same.
      And the reason why the older box has “Original” printed on it was because Combe also had a version for gray hair (with blue lining instead of red, the “original” had a black box with red lining.) The current Brylcreem line by Combe has only the original and there is no longer a version for gray hair which is why they dropped “original” out of the box. Also, I have more things to say ablut the other Brylcreems in the next comment since this one is really long.

      • Danny May 7, 2019 at 6:39 pm - Reply

        Comparing the other Brylcreems (besides US and UK/EU):
        -SEA versions, old and new, are the same despite having slghtly different scents but both have a very clean and soapy scent, not exactly a classic scent, but it’s nice. I prefer the scent on the newer version.
        Compared to all other Brylcreems this one has the best hold and slickness, thickest consistency and cleanest feel since it is non greasy, but it is a very modernized formula made to be a non greasy one with a so called “Aqua-Oxy Formula”. Its shine is not high and more of a satin sheen a notch above natural.
        -Indian Brylcreem is my least favorite and the most modernized. Has a cheap cologne scent and the 3nd lightest hold among all versions I’ve tried (lightest to least lightest: US, India, EU, SEA). Shine is almost neutral and contains a lot of weird chemicals. The SEA version has weird ingredients too but the Indian version has more strange ingredients.

        Also, I run a Youtube channel where I review lots of pomades (I release videos every week) and I made videos on the UK, Indian, and SEA versions of Brylcreem so far (but I was too harsh on my SEA Brylcreem review in my opinion, it’s not as bad as I made it to be). I’ll not leave my channel name here since I want to avoid self-promotion but I think you can find me very easily.

    • Charles-Philippe May 9, 2019 at 5:36 am - Reply

      Hi Danny,

      Thank you very much for your detailed insights into the mystery Bryclcreem as well as some of your research with regards to other versions abroad. It’s great to see that you’re so passionate about the subject and it really brings value to the comments section of this article!

      Here’s a curve ball for you: Many years ago (well over 10), I got hold of a box of several “Eucalyptus” Brylcreem tubes. I believe that they were Indian or from somewhere in Asia due to the various languages on the tubes. Have you ever heard about this one?

      It smelled interesting – very refreshing and of eucalyptus as the name suggests. However, it performed very poorly. In the end, I barely used it and threw most of them away!

      All the best,


  20. Danny May 10, 2019 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    No actually – the closest thing I’ve experienced similar to this one is the Indonesian “Brylcreem Natural Styling Cream” which comes in a black and green pot (a tubed version was available but a barber I went to had a pot version and used it on me), it has a graphic of leaves on it and smells quite like modern hair gel, but very refreshing too and significantly shinier than the “original” Indonesian/Southeast Asian Brylcreem, and the cream itself looks like a green gel. What you had actually sounds like a gem – if you still had some I’d be interested in getting ahold of one especially since you’re located in the UK and myself in the Netherlands.

    • Charles-Philippe May 13, 2019 at 2:38 am - Reply

      Hi Danny,

      Apologies! It would appear that the Natural Styling Cream is what I was trying to describe! It’s been over ten years since I had any but after Googling it, you’re right! It was a strange but interesting product. However, I didn’t rate its performance well even if the smell was very refreshing.

      All the best,


  21. Mickey Mason May 16, 2019 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Hey CP

    great article – I am an advid user of Brylcreem myself. I recently bought and used a tube of American brylcreem when i was in the states; it’s much greasier than the british version. It was taken off me by airport security upon my return however as it’s over 100mls limit for carry on. I’ve since bought 3 American tubes via ebay from new Jersey.

    I also have a few brylcreem tubes from the 50s and 60s. I framed one of them in a 3d box, which is mounted on my wall, while i opened another. They’re from the US. It smelled much like the little tub of British brylcreem in my bathroom, i used some of it on my hair and it worked just as good as my new tub! I wish i could attach a photo for you all to see; I’ve become a bit obsessed with Brylcreem tbh. My granda used it in his hair all his days (he had a lovely head of hair) and Brylcreem reminds me of him very much.


    • Charles-Philippe May 17, 2019 at 4:28 am - Reply

      Hi Mickey,

      That’s awesome! I like the sound of framing a vintage tub in a 3D box!

      Yes, that’s how I used to buy my American Brylcreem too. Unfortunately, you do pay a little more but it’s worth it. Although I don’t use it as much now, it’s my go-to when I need to clean up! My father or grandfather (my grandfather lost his hair by 30!) never really used it so it’s all due to the nostalgia on my part.

      All the best,


  22. Paddy Walsh August 11, 2019 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Hi. Great article. I have been using brylcreem on and off since when I was a teen in the late 70’s/80’s. I first started using it as I was a fan of the movie Grease and the TV show Shanana. Lol. What I noticed is that the US version changed drastically regarding to the scent around 2012. It used to have this classic citrusy scent whereas now it is less citrusy and more…hmmm….hard to describe, like a citrusy scent but masked with a more modern chemical flowery scent. I much prefer the older original scent and wish companies would stop monkeying around with classic products. It still does the job very well though.

    • Charles-Philippe August 12, 2019 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Hi Paddy,

      Thanks for this! And great to hear from a long-time wearer! I’ll certainly have to check the new USA one out then and see how it differs! I’m disappointed to hear that it has changed but I’m also quite curious.

      All the best,


  23. Chowdhury April 20, 2020 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Hello everybody. First of all, freaking amazing article and feels great to find similar minded people fancying over the same thing: Brylcreem.

    I’ve been using this product for the last 2 years (I live in Australia and get the British one), although did use my dad’s one back in 2000 ish. I’ve known this product from the late 90’s, (I’m a gen y) as far as I can remember from my grand dad who had slick back hair and wore suits most of the time. He used to work in aviation back in Bangladesh and I can only assume the product was available because of the British colonialism. The style and attire he would maintain was akin to the one I see in Mad men and American Psycho.

    This product conditions my hair and the smell reminds me of my grand dad which I absolutely love. Apparently on short hair, although the longer hair- back brushed hair looks with brylcreem looks better; I use the product anyhow. No hair fall or itchiness so far so I’m assuming the product is still great.

    Let’s keep brylcreem alive. Ciao.

    • Charles-Philippe April 20, 2020 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Chowdhury! Delighted to hear that Brylcreem has such an important place for you and that you’re keeping it alive too!

  24. Martin Barnes September 6, 2020 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Good morning !
    I don’t know how far the comments went with this . But the British version certainly still does contain Beeswax !! ( Cera Alba) been using Brylcreem since 1985.

    • Charles-Philippe September 7, 2020 at 1:21 am - Reply

      Hi Martin,

      No, not sure if somebody commented on this yet! Thanks for the input!



  25. NEIL March 3, 2021 at 4:29 am - Reply

    I am 39 years old, and I am using Brylcreem since last 19 years. product is amazing but now days we couldn’t find this product.

    • Charles-Philippe March 3, 2021 at 7:44 am - Reply

      It should be quite easy to find online these days. Where have you looked?