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Grip Aids

There are so, so, so many grip aids, antiperspirants, and pole-dance specific moisturizers out on the market now that it can be really overwhelming to know which one is right for you, and which to spend your hard-earned money on. I see this question come up time and time again on forums and websites, and I see tons of people upset that they can’t work on anything because they keep on sliding off their @#$*@#$ pole. But the thing that people don’t talk about enough, is that the grip aid you should use will depend on some specific conditions.

Another important note is that a warmed up pole is a sticky pole. If you aren’t warming up your pole and your body, you will slide right off! And if you aren’t warming up, you will be more prone to injuries, soreness, and you won’t get as much out of your flexibility or muscles. If you’re poling in a very cold or dry environment, you may need to apply grip aid because it’s not possible to warm the pole up enough to get it truly sticky. Or sometimes, in a performance setting, you don’t have the time or ability to control what the pole’s condition is like before you get on it– that’s when you put on enough grip aid to be sure you don’t slip. Otherwise, if you have an air conditioner, humidifier, space heater, or fan that you can use, try adjusting your environment. You’d be surprised: although a cool, dry room is ideal for physical exertion because it’s comfortable, it’s NOT ideal for poling! Moist skin, NOT dry papery skin, is sticky skin. You want a slightly moist room that is just cool and dry enough that you don’t sweat too easily.

I know there are people who are for and against grip aids. I’m not going to get into the different arguments here, but I will say that my personal philosophy is that you should try to do as much pole work as you can without them. However, if you need the confidence of a grip aid for a new move, then fine. If you need it to stick to your brand new home pole, then go for it. And we all just have our slippy days. The important thing is that you try to avoid being mentally or physically dependent. And beyond that, we’re all adults here and can make our own decisions. Pole is supposed to be fun, and as long as you wipe down the pole really well for whoever is coming after you, we should all be able to play nicely! = )

A few months ago, Bad Kitty sent me a sampler pack of all the grip aids that they sell on their website. Our intent was to test out all the different products and come up with some kind of buying guide that could help a pole dancer to select the grip aid that was right for them. But after months of testing, it has become very apparent that the right product for you completely depends on your poling environment, and skin, as well as a bunch of other variables– which body part you are using it on, what you need it to do, what allergies you may have. What works for one person is very unlikely to work for another unless all these variables are the same, and different aids may work better for you depending on what you are using them for. I had students and friends of all different skin types, with different grip needs, test these under all the different conditions that I could think of– it took quite a while!

So, I’ve put together this grip aid review to try to help. It is by no means exhaustive, but I’ve tried to summarize some key points in the chart below:

And now lets get into specifics:

  • Dew Point: This is a lightweight spray that comes in three “tack” levels and is great for use all over the body. The easiest way to spread it on your legs is to spray lightly, then rub your legs together like a cricket. I covered Dew Point in a blog entry a while back, and it’s really useful especially if you need to pole without being completely warmed up or if the pole is very cold. The spray has no fragrance and is oil-free. The ingredients are all natural: distilled blue solar water, vegetable glycerin, phenoxyethanol (a commonly used preservative) and caprylyl glycol.
  • Mighty Grip: A tasteless, odorless, and colorless powder, less is more with Mighty Grip! To apply, tap a small amount into your hand and rub them together until your hands heat up- you need the product to get warm in order for it to get activated. You can lightly press your palms onto the pole or other parts of your body to spread. It is VERY tacky; I would recommend this product more for spin pole work and high-grip applications. I’ve heard some reports that it works with sweaty hands, but your mileage will vary.
  • Dry Hands: This is a really popular product in the studios near me; it’s a thick clear/whitish liquid that you can spread on your hands or any part of your body and let dry before you pole. It smells a little bit like alcohol but that’s it. If you only sweat lightly, this can help to minimize slip but is not really appropriate for very heavy sweating or prolonged sweat control. It adds tack but can also dry out your hands and if you’re using it on a static pole, the additional friction can increase any issues with blisters or calluses. The ingredients are alcohol, silica, methyl glycol, phenyl trimethicone, and cyclomethicone.
  • iTac2: iTac2 is a beeswax-based natural product that comes with a rather strong vanilla scent and is available in different “tack” levels as well. You scoop a little out of the tub with the back of a fingernail, and spread it on your body and/or hands and then rub to heat and spread. Although some have reported success with it in very warm or humid conditions, I would be wary because it can “liquify” under heat and become less grippy very quickly.
  • Tite Grip: This is a light orange, thick liquid that you spread on your palms (the color is meant to look skin-toned when it’s applied) rubbing them together lightly until the product gets tacky; then let air dry. This is my holy grail for sweaty hands, and I have blogged about it before (I suggest applying it 30 mins prior to pole if you have truly sweaty hands), but it is an antiperspirant so it will not really add grip unless you layer another product over it. I have heard of success with putting it on the soles of feet for tricks that require grip there, but it’s otherwise not appropriate for use on the body as it does not add tack. The ingredients are similar to many antiperspirants but for a full list, please see the manufacturer’s website.

Additional grip aids will be added in the future: Grrrip, Cramer’s, rosin crystals, toothpaste, shaving cream, Liquid Grip, EcoBalls, Gorilla Gold, Platinum Grip, distilled white vinegar, Corn Husker’s lotion… and feel free to let me know if I’ve left anything out! If you have found that your personal experience runs counter to any of the info presented here, or have questions, please post in the comments!

22 Responses

  1. Spinny
    Spinny April 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm · Reply

    Here in the UK we are currently loving STICKUM which is incredibly tacky and widely used in the US in sports such as basketball and baseball. It’s like Superglue for your skin. You can find it on Amazon or plenty of sports equipment stores in the US but it cannot be posted by airmail because it’s an aerosol can. (Is it OK to say that I sell it through my website in the UK?) It can be washed off with soap and water or you can also buy a remover. NEVER spray it directly on the pole and just use a tiny squirt on your hands or anywhere else on your body. It is very good for a Teddy or any moves where you’ll use the sole of your foot on the pole. It’s helped me nail some new moves.

    1. Emily
      Emily February 9, 2017 at 6:16 am · Reply

      Have you tried using Powergrip Sport Grip Enhancer? It’s UK based it’s a powder thermoplastic and also acts as an antiperspirant. http://www.powergripsport.com

  2. Stephanie
    Stephanie July 20, 2012 at 1:04 am · Reply

    Hi Amy;

    since I started doing pole I faced problems because my hands are extremely sweaty (my hands were so sweaty that it would melt any grip aid I used). I tried using gloves but its not the same.
    Earlier this year, I changed studios and one of the teachers told me try “DRICLOR” on my hands. Its the best thing ever (cause it literally stops your hand to sweat – your hands will never be the same, but who cares, pole is more important).
    Now I only use Driclor (you can find it in pharmacies – it is a super strong deodorant, use as instructed).
    I recommend it to all pole dancer with sweaty hands… Your life will be different… I can now say my pole life started after Driclor.

    1. Felicia
      Felicia January 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm · Reply

      What do you mean by your hands will never be the same? I have extremely sweaty hands when I try to pole or play video games. If you apply t night an wash off in the morning can it still stain you pole? Looking for more info before I try it out but I am seriously considering it!

  3. Brianna W
    Brianna W August 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm · Reply

    I used to dance all the time, I used alcohol to clean the pole and help stick. Then I changed studios and started using dry hands and it works great, but I did start to get blisters and calluses. I now have a pole in my home, and it seems like neither alcohol or the dry hands are working. After about 3 minutes of playing on my pole I feel my hands sweating. I don’t have sweaty hands usually, it hasn’t been a problem for the 7 or so months I’ve been doing pole. And it’s not only my hands that won’t stick, it’s really any part of my body. So I’m guessing it’s the environment. The room my pole is in has no ac to it directly. But it doesn’t get hot in there really. It feels like any other room in my house. What would you suggest?

  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa March 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm · Reply

    I would strongly recommend trying out Dirty Girl Poletice! It’s amazing for sweaty hands. You can find it at http://www.dirtygirlpoletice.com/

    My grip of choice before that was Tite Grip II. There is a difference between the original Tite Grip formula and the Tite Grip II formula too, I’ve used both but prefer the latter.

  5. Sivan
    Sivan February 5, 2014 at 11:02 am · Reply

    what about Dirty girl by Poletice, it works really well with sweaty hands and a little tacky, but it is about a 10 minute process to put on. Works on hands and body.

  6. What to Expect From Your First Pole Dancing Class - Grunts and Glam : Grunts and Glam

    […] the right grip is also a trial and error  experience that depends on a variety of things from how much you sweat to the room temperature. My favorite grips are iTac 4, Dry Hands and Tite Grip (I use the latter two the most). All of the […]

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    wizard 101 cheat codes to level up April 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm · Reply

    Great article.

  8. How do I stick to thee, dearly beloved? | The Reluctant Pole Dancer

    […] After nearly a year of poling and reading pole blogs, facebook updates, etc, etc, I understood that I have dry skin  on my body and so to stick to the pole I need to have moist body skin. So I invested in some ‘Dew Point Pole’. (I think it was Aerial Amy’s bloody brilliant blog that helped me discover it… she wrote about how different environments and conditions needed different grip aids, v interesting, see her blog entry here). […]

  9. How to Get Grippier | poledancecompetition
    How to Get Grippier | poledancecompetition April 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm ·

    […] I just found this on Aerial Amy’s website, which is a great way to approach finding a grip […]

  10. Erin
    Erin September 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm · Reply

    I like Prince tennis grip, which I find works both for dry skin or sweaty hands.

  11. Grip Aids by Aerial Amy! » My Blog / Site
    Grip Aids by Aerial Amy! » My Blog / Site September 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm ·

    […] Grip Aids by Aerial Amy […]

  12. christina
    christina September 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm · Reply

    liquid grip aid!
    The best pole grip aid I have ever gotten. I have had the hardest time finding grip aid to help with the death grip of sweat. and so far this has been the best for me.
    I hope this helps anyone and everyone!

  13. The ABC’s of Pole Dance: Every Essential Thing For an Awesome Pole Dance Life

    […] References: “Grip Aid,” […]

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    Pole Compete | How to Get Grippier - Pole Compete February 21, 2015 at 12:31 am ·

    […] I just found this on Aerial Amy’s website, which is a great way to approach finding a grip […]

  15. michala
    michala March 4, 2015 at 5:19 am · Reply

    I have the opposite, very dry hands, they dont sweat at all but again grip is sometimes a problem

  16. Cherry
    Cherry June 14, 2016 at 3:37 am · Reply

    I have only been doing pole for a couple of months – and from the start, I had issues with sweaty hands! On the first time I ever tried it, my hands got so sweaty yet gripped the pole too hard… And because of that I had humongous blisters that almost instantaneously popped (!) on all my fingers (!!!). And that kept happening at almost every class – it was so painful that it almost discouraged me from continuing. And my studio was all out of grip aids, too, so no help there.
    However, I read online that dry shampoo works for sweaty hands – and it really did for me!
    But an even better trick that worked WONDERS for me was actually NOT drinking coffee!! I stopped drinking coffee within 3 hours or so from my classes. Boom. No more sweaty hands.

    1. Emily
      Emily February 9, 2017 at 7:06 am · Reply

      The Powergrip Sport Grip Enhancer acts as an atiperspirant and should help stop thos sweaty hands http://www.powergripsport.com

  17. The Best Pole Dancing Classes in the Bay Area to Try Today

    […] You can purchase many different grip aids from your pole studio (they all usually at least have Dry Hands, which is liquid chalk), but if you want to get fancy, Aerial Amy has a good starter list of grips. […]

  18. Emily
    Emily February 9, 2017 at 6:01 am · Reply

    Powergrip Grip Enhancer is much like mightygrip although you get over double the quantity for the same price. It’s UK based and there are no nasty shipping charges. They currently have a sale on http://www.powergripsport.com

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