Brillantina - Tango look
- Ann Gazenbeek
- Sergio Suppa
- Tom Ronquillo
- Erica Sutton
- Dario Mendiguren
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 12:35:44 -0800
From: Ann Gazenbeek
Dear Fellow Tangueras y Tangueros,
I am sixteen years old, OBSESSED with Argentine Tango, and a new
member to this wonderful list. Ever since I became interested in Argentine
Tango I have wondered what the dancers use in their hair to get that special
"tango" look. I searched the Internet for some keywords and came across a
posting on this list from 1997 (I believe). Someone asked what was used in
the hair and a few people responded to the question. They said that "GOMINA"
is used by the dancers. I have spent the past few days doing EXHAUSTIVE
Internet/Web research trying to find out anything about Gomina. I have been
terribly unsuccessful! I have just a few questions regarding this. They are
1) What is Gomina? Out of what is it made?
2) Where can one buy Gomina in the United States?
3) Are there any substitutes for Gomina? or Do Tango dancers in
Argentina use anything else in their hair that gives the same look?
4) Who or what started this look? Why has THIS hairstyle become
associated with Argentine Tango?
The answers to the above questions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
all for your help.
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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 22:40:10 -0500
From: Sergio Suppa
Subject: Gomina - Brillantina - Tango look
Ann Gazenbeek asks about "Gomina"
"I have wondered what the dancers use in their hair to get that special
"tango" look. I searched the Internet for some keywords and came across
Before any hair spray or mouse appeared, people used "Gomina" or
"Brillantina", as hair fixers.
They have been in use for many years, probably from the end of last century.
Gomina is made with (Goma tragacanto de Persia) Persian gum; when dry it
gives a hard fixation look but not shiny.
It was used mostly by men.
Brillantina is made of an oily liquid, probably similar to liquid vaseline;
this is the substance still used that fixes the hair with a very shiny look.
In summary Argentineans in general have used both substances for many years.
The oily, shiny look can be obtained by using
a substance similar to liquid vaseline.
Sergio-Mar del Plata - Argentina
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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 20:40:39 -0600
From: Tom Ronquillo
Subject: Re: Gomina - Brillantina - Tango look
Sergio Suppa wrote:
> Ann Gazenbeek asks about "Gomina"
> "I have wondered what the dancers use in their hair to get that special
> "tango" look. I searched the Internet for some keywords and came across
> Before any hair spray or mouse appeared, people used "Gomina" or
> "Brillantina", as hair fixers.
> They have been in use for many years, probably from the end of last century.
Many people in the U.S. might remember a hair pomade called "Brillantine" that
was popular from the 1920's and on. It was a popular product for achieving the
sleek look that went so well with suits and tailcoats. According to my uncle
Toribio, during the Great Depression when money was tight, he often slicked
back his hair with a concoction made from olive oil, melted beeswax and
peppermint or coconut oil. He claims it was better than the real thing.
Baby Boomers will recall the product called "Brylcream" ("A little dab'll do
ya...") which was somewhat of a takeoff on the "Brillantine" name. Now Boomers,
think back about all your axle-grease-haired friends from your school days.
With a little imagination, can't you see some of them on stage in your own
special nightmare of a tango show?
Tom (El Tigre) Ronquillo
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Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 08:26:32 -0800
Subject: Re: Gomina
Dear Ann (Anton?) & List,
The most popular brand of gomina among tango dancers in Argentina is
said to be Lord Chesaline. Miguel Zotto told us that he had contacted the
company once to see if he could make a deal since he uses practically an
entire tube every night he performs. They didn't go for it (probably a
mistake on their part). !Ojo! Hearsay.
I don't believe Lord Chesaline is available outside of Argentina.
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Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 08:11:47 PST
From: Erica Sutton
Subject: Re: Hair goop revisited
I remember this question coming up a while ago and I know I replied person
to person... but since it came up again...
I am almost certain this falls into the category of More Than You Ever
Wanted to Know!
There is a secret hair gel/fixer for stage use that holds hair, keeps it
shiny, and WASHES OUT WITH WATER (very important!). I have seen countless
dancers use it, opera singers have found it priceless (no floppy hair!) and
(my own experiece) actors use it as well in period pieces for that 40s and
Available in every corner drugstore. Remember, the important part that
makes it better than other hair fixers - Water Soluable. Step in the
shower and off comes stage makeup and stage hair-do. Priceless.
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Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 07:17:26 EST
From: Dario Mendiguren
I was born in Argentina, and I was using gomina when I was a child back in
BA when grown ups still uset to go "peinado al la gomina" (I have to thank
my grandfather who insisted that I had to fix my hair with gomina to go to
School so I could look neat!, otherwise I wouldn't know what Brancato was!)
"Gomina Brancato" was the most famous brand there and as I've heard
once when I was living there Brancato was an Italian who emigrate to
Argentina at the end of the 19th century, right at the time when Tango was
born, and he builded an emporium, producing a Gel what was called Brillantina
Here in USA I'm using "Brylcreem POWER GEL long lasting hold "
that is the only product that produce the same results that the famous
"Gomina Brancato" and Lord Cheselin, as Barbara had mentioned in her post,
another brand that come to the market in the late 60's in Argentina and
competed with Brancato (I've tried others brands here, but they don't
produce the same results as this "POWER GEL " that I've mentioned)
Have happy Tangos Dario
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