Pomade Review: Monkey Brains (Monkey Grease)

The water-soluble pomade market, is the hardest one to compete in. For one, its an expensive one for the customers to maintain. Two, there’s just a lot of brands out there competing with one another, making rather similar products, yet, the price points are different. It ranges anywhere from $4 to $36, depending on what you’re looking at. Luckily, I’ve got one of the cheapest, most accessible water-soluble pomades to review.

Monkey Brains is marketed towards the youth. Not only the product, being washable with simply just water, but in the product design. You don’t have skulls, which some kids and parents (surprisingly) are scared of. A lot of parents take the logos literally. So this is definitely easy on the square parents eyes. Oops I mean, the conservative… No, I meant squares… And hey, that’s fine! Being a parent myself, I’m not gonna buy my kid something that’s not age appropriate. Like Justin Bieber… Send him to Herbert The Pervert, and let’s move on!

Water-soluble hair products are something a lot of parents look for, when lookin’ to grease up their little monkeys (SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?) There’s a ton of parents looking for products to grease up their little greasers and hopefully, they aren’t stupid enough to ruin their kid’s hair with petrolatum based products. So, they gotta stick with the washable stuff. I mean, it’s expensive enough for us adults to keep buying pomade, it’s sure as hell not any easier for a parent!

Though this stuff is marketed towards the youth, it doesn’t mean that us adults can’t use it! Or does it? There’s been some whispers that this stuff is comparable to Layrite. Well, let’s see how much truth that hearsay holds…

As I mentioned, this is one of the most accessible pomades out there. No, not every barbershop stocks this. But Walgreens sure as hell does. And Walgreens, are a dime a dozen. Unless you live in a hick town in Alaska, surrounded by polarbears and poachers, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding this stuff.

Unlike the usual suspects we’re used to spotting, this stuff comes in a box! Being grown ass kids that we are, we love opening boxes and finding pomade inside. This isn’t any different! Well, except for the monkeys and all…

Obviously, being marketed towards kids, there’s a cartoon “grease monkey” on the cover. With a pompadour on top and a wrench in hand, this guy is obviously ready to roll! Rock and roll, that is… (Hey, this stuff is marketed towards kids, so I gotta be a little lively corny in this post!)

Opening the box up, you see the exact same logo on the box, but on a silver lid. This tub looks similar to La Bella. Well, very similar. Hey, nothing wrong with that. Until they make a pomade container, in a shape of an oversized comb, in which the pomade comes out of the teeth of the comb, so you can comb it straight into your hair from the container…….. I might need to copyright, trademark and patent this…

As soon as you open it up, you get a fresh whiff of flowers, while looking at its cool purple goop. One thing I definitely dig, is different colored pomades. It just gives the pomade a lot more character, as well as making sense of the scent. That was a weird sentence.

Scooping it out, I noticed that it’s considerably lighter than Layrite Super Hold. Of course, Super Hold is Layrite’s strongest hold, so this stuff may be more comparable to their regular hold. But since Super Hold is what I use, we’ll just have to compare it to that.

While being lighter in consistency than Super Hold, it doesn’t spread out too lightly. It spreads out just nicely, without turning to water. I can tell already, that this stuff will have a good hold!

Running it through is just as easy as any other water-soluble pomade out there. Just run it through, comb and style. Pretty simple, right? And that’s exactly how it is.

Styling with this, is just as easy as Layrite. Some of the other water-soluble pomades out there that I’ve tried, do not style well at all. Unless caked on, meaning more $$$ used. Grease Monkey however, styles just right with a rather “conservative” amount. Conservative being a couple of fingertips worth.

Not too shabby, eh?

Now, for the hundred-dollar question…

Is this stuff really comparable to Layrite?

Well folks…

The answer is, yes. It is comparable to Layrite.

It has a really good hold, especially when comparing it to Layrite’s Super Hold. While it doesn’t have the same scent as Layrite, it is rather enjoyable, and easy on the nose. While the ladies do love that vanilla scent from Layrite, I’m sure they won’t complain about this stuff!

Now, I’m not going to knock Layrite out of the stable, because I admire Donnie Hawley, his shop, and his products. But I can’t deny a good pomade when I see one!

Overall, I’m very impressed with Monkey Brain’s Grease Monkey pomade. While being marketed towards kids, it works perfectly fine for us adults, and definitely gets the job done. It doesn’t hurt that it’s less than $5, for a 4oz tub!!! So if you’re out of your usual pomade, head over to your local Walgreens or email Rebecca at Monkey Brains and place an order. You will not be disappointed!

Big thanks to Rebecca for this sample! We wouldn’t have been able to compare the two, without your generosity!

Well, that’s all for now folks.

Until the next time.

Pomp Hard.

71 responses to “Pomade Review: Monkey Brains (Monkey Grease)

  1. Now you have to Try La Bella Waterbased pomade!

  2. I’m currently living in a hick town in Alaska.

    I’ll check the local Walgreens and see if they have it.

  3. The box says medium hold. Maybe there will be a stronger hold in the future???

  4. Thanks for the review. Will try this out as I would like to switch to non-petrol pomade without the premium Layrite price tag.: )

  5. How’s the re-combing work? Also, give both of the Axe pomades a try, the gave a normal one and one with shine. They’re both pretty good. Also, there’s an Olive Oil Shampoo in the Ethnic section. Works like a dream. But you can’t put it dry, gotta do it like the bottle says.

  6. Thanks for the review.
    Bummer tho that we dont have walgreens in Sweden. A water soluble pomade for under $5 sounds very nice. I wonder if they ship to europe? …. going to find out.

  7. I used LaBella for a little while. Their paste SUCKS. The 9 pomade is okay but the problem is there is no hold until it is dry. You have to apply, let it dry then recomb. I’m def going to give Monkey Brains a shot.

    • Yeah, most people have been a fan of their pomade, as opposed to their other products. I still plan on trying out the pomade though. Kinda tough, because Monkey Brains works pretty fuckin well, no real need to look for a “better” water based pomade! (Everyone knows Layrite, so no real need to keep pushing it that hard!)

      Definitely check them out, I’m sure you’d dig it.

  8. I am almost through my tub of Layrite, so am very happy to see this one reviewed. Also, thanks to Victor for spotting that Amazon UK has this stuff in stock!
    I bet I’m not the only Dutchie keeping an eye on your blog, so if anybody else is interested in a powerbuy, they can drop me a line.

    • Michelle!

      I promise I’m not avoiding you! Just been getting a whole lot of emails and spam! I’ll definitely shoot you an emails this weekend, I promise!

      – Jan

      • No worries man. I’m in no hurry and they won’t be running out of Brylcreem any time soon.

  9. just a heads up – i found grease monkey at a local rite aide pharmacy here in philadelph. when i did a search for local retailers on the monkey brains website, all the returns for nearby retailers were rite aides.

  10. I bought a can of this, I can honestly tell you, I like it better then my layrite super. For whatever reason, even though layrite super is thicker then the Monkey Grease, the Monkey Grease tames my hair (Wirey Polish hair here) a hell of a lot better. I have noticed though, that the Monkey grease does harden a TAD more then layrite super does, which like Jan says, makes your hair matte when re-combed. The smell is nicer then layrite too, in my opinion, as a really don’t like my hair smelling like a baking product (vanilla).

    All in all, this stuff is the best bang for the buck non-petrol based pomade I’ve ever used.

  11. I went to look at walgreens and it’s on sale this week for 2.69.

  12. im using monkey brains right now. so far so good! good post

  13. I received my order today and I have to say I was very worried when I first scooped it out. This stuff is really light! But once I combed things through my faith was restored. My curls are under control and my pomp is nice and high, just the way I like it. I have sent the folks over at Pomade Shop a note about this as well, so with a little luck they will add this to their stock soon.

    • Glad it worked out for you, Michelle!

      If I had more time behind the computer, the email would’ve been sent out last week. No idea how I got so “busy!”

      I’m out the door now and won’t be back for at least 17 hours!

  14. I’ve found this pomade at Walmart, RiteAid, Walgreens, and Food4Less in CA. Works great..!! I’m a automotive collision repair specialist and work outside all day,outdoor activities,holds in the sun, use too much ways down hair,my only con of this pomade, re-combs matte, I use a little more for re- combing, I like to re-comb through out the day to keep my high pomp up when dealing with the public, the public I deal with like that Greaser look on their mechanic’s when they have their custom work done on their hot rod’s it give them the confidence that they’ll get the style of 1950’s era.I’m a heavy pomade user for that reason. and this stuff works great for the work place. I’m a Layrite super hold user and love it, but man this pomade is not burning a hole in my pocket and at $4 that bargain..!! A $20 spot gets you grease for days…!!!! 4 stars from me so give it a try you won’t be disappointed

    • Glad you dig it Jake!

      All water based/gel like pomades will re-comb to a matte finish. That’s how it is, unfortunately. You can always use something like Sweet Georgia Brown in the purple tin or Groom & Clean as a top coat, to add that authentic sheen, but still be able to wash the products out with just water.

      – Jan

  15. I ran out of Suavecito and thought I’d give this a try. I went down to Rite Aid and it was on sale for Buy One Get One Free. $4.30 for two pomades? Hell yeah!
    I gave it a test run and its pretty rad. Really easy to comb and smells great. Pretty decent hold and no flakes. Really good buy especially if you don’t want to drop $15 for layrite!

    • Andre,

      Exactly. A lot of people can get it for 2 for 1, but that deal hasn’t popped up around here. Definitely a great product for a great price, even without that deal!

      – Jan

  16. Pretty legit shit man!!! No joke best 3.50 iv spent a little goes a long way iv tried both axe products not the greatest if u have thick hair! In my case nothing ever worked but murrays but this stuff is the best for really thick hair! Just had to mod the pomp for a little extra support but works great and way more shine then axe, smells like pineapple and coconut

  17. Jan!
    Have you ever used Suavecito?? I bought some online yestereday without really knowing much about it(I dont know how I got so brave) and I am curious if you have ever used the stuff. I know people compare it to layrite but I hate layrite only because it gives these big sharp “Fly-aways” on the back of my head when I slick it. So im preyin to the pompadour gods that suavecito isnt the same.

    • Colton,

      I replied to your first comment, but I’ll add some stuff to this one.

      From what I can gather, is that people see Suavacito as a Layrite rip-off. A lot of the supporters actually dislike Donnie Hawley and what he does. So go figure.

      If you’re having the back end stick out, try wet-combing it. It’ll help set the hairs down. Also, look into brushing the back together, rather than combing.

      – Jan

  18. I used this product for the first time yesterday, and my hair looked fantastic. I have a very short pixie cut, and I was looking for something mid weight to hold everything down sleekly. It did the job nicely, even in the 110 degree Arizona heat. The issue, though, started last night when I washed my face. My forehead where my bangs lay was poofy and splotchy. I figured it was from the heat, so didn’t really worry about it. I woke up this morning with a full on blistered, painful rash, again only where my bangs lay. I’m waiting to hear back from the manufacturer with a full ingredient list so I can head to the Dr.
    Anyways, if it hadn’t given me the rash, I would give this product 10 stars, but as it stands, if your hair will touch your skin anywhere, buy at your own risk.

    • Adrianne,

      Sorry to hear your skin reacted so intensely! Maybe there’s an ingredient in it that you may possibly be allergic to? After a while, I got a pimple or two on my forehead from this stuff. It’s the only drawback!

      Then again… This stuff IS marketed towards kids… So maybe for us folks who already passed puberty, we get these sort of reactions? Haha! Hey, it could be!

      – Jan

  19. I did some research, plugged all the ingredients into a cosmetic ingredient database (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product.php?prod_id=401625), and METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE came back with a high allergy risk. My Dr told me to use IvyDry on it (it really does look like I wiped my forehead with poison ivy leaves) and see if that helps. Otherwise, just have to wait it out. I would still recommend this product to people who do not have a history of skin allergies. BUT, if you have sensitive skin, beware!

    • Big thanks Adrianne for helping with the extra info! I really appreciate it and I’m sure others who will read it, will also appreciate it!

      And, it’s tough to pass on a good product, that works really well, is cheap, but has that one single side effect, yeah?

      If you’re looking for another water-soluble pomade, let me know. There’s quite a few that I can recommend, if you haven’t checked em out already.

      – Jan

  20. I bought some of this at Kroger (grocery store in ohio) for $1 a tub. love it! had been using Suave Medium hold, but that stuff melted in anything above 50 degree weather, and boom, my low-pomp became a no-pomp. anyway, love your blog and reviews, keep it up!

    • Hey Mike,

      For the general price of $4, it’s hard to beat. But for a $1, that’s a steal!

      Glad you like the blog. I got a lot more instore, so stay tuned!

      – Jan

  21. i love the stuff and was so happy to find something inexpensive and that did a great job holding my style. I didn’t even really pay attention to the kids part, although i felt a bit silly asking for it by name the next time :). just ran out and found out that walgreens no longer carries it (or at least in colorado). I am on a mad hunt to find some more and stock up before it is gone!

    • Angie,

      Glad you like it! It’s definitely a great product, especially for the price you’re paying. Check out Rite Aid or Wal-Mart, as they stock it as well. I think they’re cheaper there, too!

      – Jan

  22. When applying to wet hair right out of the shower it wont hold very well for me. Do i really need completely dry hair ?/

    • Jonathan,

      You’d have to wait for it to try, to get the noticeable hold. I personally apply it to damp hair, not wet… Just because you have to wait for it to dry.

      – Jan

  23. hey man, i just bought some of this monkey brains and im planning on using it for school but im not sure if itll hold my pomp or not. i have curly hair, and i use layrite and it works extremely well for me. It gives me that straight, clean look i want…. but, im not sure if this product will hold as well since i have thick curly hair.
    Love the blog btw. 😀

    • Hector,

      Which version of Layrite do you use?

      If you’re using the yellow labeled one (the name slips my mind) then it’s quite comparable to Monkey Brains. If the brown, then Monkey Brains will be a little lighter than it. It still has a really good hold on my thick hair and many others. I mean, at less than $4, it’s hard to experiment with it, or use an excessive amount!

      – Jan

  24. jan, thanks for reviewing this stuff. i’ve been looking for a pomade that doesn’t break the bank, but can easily wash out. murray’s is cheap and styles really well, but at the end of the day i’m kinda sick of having pomade all over the place, and when i get a haircut the hair sticks to everything.

    went to walmart and bought two cans of these @ walmart for $7.56 after you wrote this review. i will keep checking on more of your pomade reviews, MY BAY AREA KUYA.

    -JMF, 510

    • Glad you dig it man. It’s definitely one of the best pomades out there, especially for the price! Check out some Rite Aids or Walgreens, some people bought it for buy 1 get 1 free, and you just can’t beat that!

      – Jan

  25. I was skeptical about this pomade after seeing it at walmart. I didnt think it would work as good as some of the other water based pomades. It has worked better then i expected I would compare it like heavy hold Layrite. Im very happy I read this review and cleared my worries of not working. At under 4 bucks u cant beat it. Thanks.

    • Glad it worked out for you.

      But, a buddy of mine told me that it was discontinued. I don’t know if the store he went to was just going to stop carrying it, but it was discounted, so I don’t know for sure. If that’s true, you better stock up!

      – Jan

  26. Man this stuff is legit. I kept hearing negatives on water based pomades so i just stayed away from them until I found your blog. I read your review and hauled balls down to walgreens and got me some. Sure enough this dude holds pretty well, smells great and is cheap as hell. Your reviews are the shit man. Thanks.

    • Glad you dig it!

      I got a tip from a buddy of mine, that Monkey Brains is discontinued! I don’t if the store he went to is gonna stop carrying it or what… But either way, it’s a great buy for the price, so you might wanna stock up, while you can!

      – Jan

  27. Dear Jan,

    The Monkey Brains site it seems under construction..Amazon is selling it over 8$ or something per piece and is out of stock in most stores..so it looks like it is discontinued.. but is is possible that La bella is replacing it…
    I am saying this because I found out that Newhall labs Inc-Santa Clarita,CA
    was manufacturing it but is also the parent company of La Bella.

    If what I write is true can we get a review on La Bella to see how it compares with the rest water based pomades..
    I have not been able to get either the Monkey B or La bella back here in Europe, I am currently using suavecito and pay dearly for it plus the postage..so I am looking for a cheaper alternative..

    Best regards


    • Hey Dimitrios,

      I believe you’re right about them being under the same manufacturer. The containers are too similar not to be!

      I’ve actually been meaning to pick up some La Bella, but every time I find it, it’s ridiculously expensive. I’ll try to find which store around me has it for the cheapest, and I’ll pick some up.

      – Jan

  28. hey jan.
    are you able to give me the contacts for rebecca? im based in the uk and am would like to ask if she knows of any stocklist in the uk or if she is able to ship some over cause i cant seem to find either her contacts, or monkey brains in the uk. thanks!


  29. Dear Jan,hallo again
    I managed to get La Bella the new package sold recently and I believe it holds pretty good,the price is good there is no much shine as usual with the water based pomades..I was using Suavecito but I got the impression that it was fading my hair’s (artificial-color), (I am an old dog) turning it to yellowish,apparently too strong something in it..apart from that Suavecito is a very good pomade.
    I do not get this with La Bella although it has a kind of chemical lemonade strong smell..
    I also tried the Tres Flores molding pomade it also works for slick backs not much of a hold but if one is keeping it low there is no problem there..but one needs more quantity of Tres Flores than La Bella. To get the same hold …also Tres Flores is giving more shine..

    Best regards


    • Hey Dimitrios,

      Sorry for the late reply!

      Thanks for the heads up on La Bella and Suavecito. I recently got the Tres Flores Molding Pomade, and will put it to use real soon.

      I have the same problem (hair color washing out with water-soluble pomade.) Since the pomade is washable, it also “drags” along the color that’s attached to the hair. Yeah, kind of a sucky trade off when having dyed hair and using a washable product!

      – Jan

  30. great review, just to bad the product is almost gone evrywhere! WHERE ART THOU MONKEY BRAINS!? going to my local walgreens to swoop on the rest of their stock… hopefully i get a few jars! all the other pomades never hold my hair proper and are way to expensive to be laying on as thick as i have to.

    • A buddy of mine told me they were discontinued. From what I’ve been told by cats who can’t come across it anymore, it seems to be true! Better stock up on it!

      – Jan

  31. Dear Jan,

    I tried the other day the American Crew pomade..I must say that this product has a lot of shine!!!more than any other WBP(water based pomade) but unfortunately very light hold..it turned my curly hair more curly but shiny..so I put it in the draw with the other pomades..
    I also tried the Layrite extra hold..which gave me a very uneven hold..so for me the best so far are Suavecito and LaBella..

    Unfortunately all the WBP are washing out the hair color…the only exception(it does fade the color but after a while.. and not that bad) is the the Dapper-Man pomade..this is the best of the 2 worlds… a secret formula of the 1930’s.
    The hold is medium it shines like a petrolatum pomade and washes out like any WBP..it is absolutely “green” product with quality ingredients…it is expensive 12.9$ for 2.5oz and the guy is not selling it to everybody(face control) lol….(I like that..to be an exclusive user)…

    So I will continue “green” in some ways a bit of a compromise but I like to stay a way from the petrolatum mess (hard to wash..and suffocating the hair roots…)

    • That’s one reason I haven’t tried that pomade. I can’t stand pomades that make my hair wavy. Most similar brands do so, which is why I stay away.

      That’s the trouble with water-soluble stuff, it also takes away the hair dye. I dye my hair blue-black for the hell of it, and it fades after a week of using washable stuff.

      Thanks for the heads up on Dapper-Man. Maybe that’s why I never got a reply from them, haha.

      – Jan

  32. Man, i came here trying to find out what happened to this pomade and i cant say how disapointed i am to hear its being/is discontinued 😦 maybe it was because of all the reports about people getting rashes from it?

  33. It’d be awesome if you did reviews of newer pomades like Bed Head and Axe and American Crew and stuff. Because they are becoming more common and it’s be nice to see if they live up to the old standards. Plus, check out Imperial Pomades, I’m curious about that stuff, although it is expensive.

    • Hey Devin,

      I have a review for Imperial coming soon. But for products like Bed Head and Axe, I just find them not to be up to par with “normal” greases. Plus, those products are marketed against the greasy/greaser look, so how could they be comparable? But, I may try them out at some point… Just not anytime soon. 😉

      – Jan

  34. Pingback: Pomade Review: Bona Fide Pomade | The Rebel Rouser

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