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What Is Pomade?

Looking to learn more about pomade? While pomade is a styling product you use and apply to your hair daily, what is pomade? With so many different types of hair products on the market, it’s important to understand what pomade does, the different kinds of pomades on the market, and whether this hair product is good for the cool hairstyles you want to style.

In this guide, guys will learn everything they need to know about pomade, including a list of the best pomades for men. Whether you want to style a classic pompadour or a modern textured quiff, let’s learn more about hair pomade.


What Is Pomade?

Pomade is a liquid cream or paste that men use to style their hair. The word “pomade” comes from the French pommade, or ointment. The French word is derived from the Latin word for apple or fruit: pomum. Though the word pomade seems definitive, the truth is that there are dozens of different types of pomades, and each one is designed for a very specific type of hair or hairstyle.

Pomade usually comes in jars with twist-off lids, though some cream pomades may come in tubes. Hair pomade can be scented or unscented, it can add shine or provide a natural matte finish, and pomades can even nourish the hair with the addition of natural oils, proteins, vitamins, and other organic ingredients.

When it comes to some of the most popular men’s hairstyles you see today, the pomade you choose is just as important as the haircut you start with.

What Is Pomade

What Does Pomade Do?

Pomade does what most hair styling products do – it keeps your hair styled and in place all day. While the primary use is the same no matter what type of product you choose, how you want your hair styled, the strength of the product, and the finish (shiny vs natural) determines which pomade product you should apply. Some pomades add volume, give shine, soften hair, texturize, thicken hair, and prevent frizz.

What Does Pomade Do

The differences between pomade, wax, clay, and cream are small, but certain products are better-suited for specific hairstyles. Ultimately, all styling brands create pomades that are designed to hold your style in place for hours, but there are different levels of strength.

Before you decide on good scent and whether or not you want to add texture and volume to your hair, its critical to pick a light, medium, or strong hold pomade.

Light vs Medium vs Strong Hold Pomade

Here are the differences between light, medium, and strong pomades.

Best Pomade Hairstyles

Light Hold Pomade

A light hold pomade provides definition and texture without weighing your hair down. If you have thin or fine hair, a lightweight pomade can thicken your strands for a fuller hairstyle. Light pomades are also best for styling curly, wavy, and long hair. Medium-length and long hairstyles needs volume, movement and flow, and a light-hold pomade is easier to work through long men’s hair.

Medium Hold Pomade

A medium hold pomade is good when you need extra control. A moderate hold works well with short to medium-length hairstyles like the quiff, comb over, faux hawk, slick back, or spiky hair. Furthermore, men with curly, wavy, and thick hair may need more hold to keep their hair styled and in place all day.

Preview Product Rating Price
Layrite Original Pomade, 4.2 Ounce (Pack of 1) Layrite Original Pomade, 4.2 Ounce (Pack of 1) 3,468 Reviews $19.50

High Hold Pomade

A high hold pomade works best for short haircuts and medium-length hairstyles that require control and an all-day hold. Strong pomades for men with curly, wavy, and thick hair can help style all the best hairstyles, including a slick back undercut, comb over fade, pompadour, fohawk fade, brush up, and any number of modern styles.

Oil vs Water Based Pomades

It may also be helpful to consider the two different types of pomade: oil-based and water-based. Each one has its own unique set of benefits. Here’s a comparison of oil vs water-based pomades.

Oil vs Water Based Pomades

Oil-Based Pomades

An oil-based pomade lasts all day (and sometimes for multiple days), even in high humidity. As the original hair pomade product used to style retro greaser hairstyles, oil-based pomades provide more hold than water-based pomades, give your hair a really shiny look, and make styling very easy for all hair types. Nevertheless, these hair products are difficult to wash out completely and can even cause scalp acne. If you want to use an oil-based pomade, be sure to wash, shampoo, and condition your hair twice in the shower to avoid greasy build-up.

Water-Based Pomades

Water-based pomades are today’s most popular hair styling products for men. A water-soluble pomade can come in many different holds, shines, and scents, and washes out cleaner than an oil-based product. Many are even “reworkable” when you add a bit of water to your hair, meaning guys can style and restyle their hair throughout the day. This means you can style a business professional hairstyle for the day, then completely change your look before heading out with your girlfriend or wife. Most modern hairstyles work best when styling with a water-based pomade.

Matte or shiny, medium or strong hold, the top pomades are versatile enough to help you get all the trendy haircut styles.

Is Pomade Good For Hair?

Determining whether pomade is good for your hair is often as simple as looking at the ingredients. If your pomade contains sulfates and alcohol, it may damage and dry your hair over time. Ideally, you should look for sulfate-free and alcohol-free pomade products that contain all-natural organic ingredients formulated to provide moisture and condition, soften and nourish your hair.

Some of the highest-quality pomades have ingredients like argan oil, olive oil, and coconut oil that protect, repair and hydrate hair. Be sure to use a good shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair to prevent buildup that can make your hair appear dull and lifeless.

How To Use Pomade

Learning how to use pomade is not difficult, and because different formulas are made to be used for different hairstyles, most pomade brands will tell you exactly the type of haircut styles their products should be used for. While all hair pomades are used to create some version of slick, textured, messy, neat, or spiky hairstyles for guys, how and when you apply the product can make all the difference in the final result.

How To Use Pomade

For starters, you can apply pomade to damp or dry hair for different effects:

Apply To Dry Hair

Applying pomade to dry hair can be a bit tricky. Pomades are thick, so they can be difficult to spread evenly throughout thick, curly, wavy or long hair. In fact, dry application is best for fine, thin or short hair because a good pomade can provide a thicker, fuller look and feel.

To use pomade, take a small amount and work it between the palms of your hands to warm and soften it up. Now apply it to the desired area, making sure to distribute it from root to tip across your hair.

Using pomade on dry hair will result in a stronger hold, and can help you create a more textured look. However, for guys with thick hair, it will make it harder to style with.

Apply Men's Hair Styling Pomade For Textured Hairstyles

Apply To Damp Hair

Most men find that it is far easier to apply pomade to damp hair; the residual moisture from the shower makes it easier to style hair with pomade and get an even, smooth application. Towel-dried hair results in a high shine, clean finish with a good hold. Even matte pomades can give off a low shine when applied to damp hair.

Just remember your hair should never be wet – just damp. Wet hair has too much water, and will break down the product and completely weaken the hold.

How To Apply Pomade To Hair

How To Apply Pomade To Hair

Here are 5 steps to apply pomade properly.

  1. Towel-dry your hair until slightly damp.
  2. Scoop up a small amount of hair product and spread between your palms. Rub your hands together to heat up the product and make it soft and creamy.
  3. Apply the pomade all over your hair, making sure to work it in evenly throughout. Coat the surface, but use your fingers to touch the roots and lift through to the tips.
  4. For a messy look, use your fingers to push your hair into place and to style your hairstyle. For a neat, classy hairstyle like a hard side part, run a comb through your hair.
  5. To maintain the styling and keep your hair in place all day, blow dry.

How Often To Use Pomade?

Pomades are designed to be used daily – or whenever you need to style your hair. To avoid buildup, greasy skin, or clogging your pores, avoid applying pomade to your scalp. Depending on your hair type, you might find that an oil-based pomade will last up to 3 days without reapplying, but if you choose to go with this type of product, be sure that you invest in a powerful cleansing shampoo made to break those oils down. To keep your hair and scalp healthy, make sure to not use any product at least once a week.

For this reason, we highly recommend guys get a water-soluble pomade – you basically get all the benefits without the drawbacks.

How Much Pomade Should You Use?

Pomade usage depends on your overall hair type, length, hairstyle, and texture. For example how much pomade you should use differs for a short spiky hairstyle versus a textured quiff. If you have long, thick hair, you will need to use far more pomade to style a voluminous look than someone who has short, thin hair and wants a natural crop top.

How Much Pomade Should You Use

Remember to always start with a little product and gradually add more until you’ve achieved your desired style. Adding more styling pomade to your hair is easy, but removing it from your hair without washing and starting from scratch is downright impossible. You’ll definitely have to wash your hair to get it out, and how difficult that is depends on how much hair you have.

Pomade Brands

With so many top pomade brands and new styling products popping up every day, there are plenty of options on the market. If you don’t want to experiment and need something that works with proven results, we highly recommend getting a top-rated pomade from leading brands like Suavecito, Layrite, Baxter of California, Uppercut, Imperial Barber, American Crew and Smooth Viking. With thousands of reviews and testimonials, these pomade brands make the best men’s hair styling products.

Best Pomades For Men

Looking for the best pomades on the market? With so many different pomade brands, it can be tough to find the best pomade for your hairstyle. From light to strong and high shine to matte, these pomade hair products will help you style the top men’s hairstyles of the year, including the comb over, quiff, faux hawk, pompadour, textured crop top, spiky hair, and more.

Best Pomade Hairstyles

There are good pomade hairstyles for all hair types and lengths, including short, medium, long, curly, wavy, and thick hair. With a fade haircut or undercut on the sides and a quiff, comb over, slick back, pompadour, faux hawk, or spiky hair, here are the best men’s pomade hairstyles to get.