Best pomade for men: making the difference between a boy and a man

What is pomade?

Pacinos Pomade
Pomade is similar to other hairstyling products like gel but very different too. It is counted among most usable and safest of all available hairstyling products. It is exceptional for dry hair and styling short hairstyles. From straight hair to curly ones, this is perfect for all hair types. It is the only styling products that make hair shiny and silky without causing any damage.

It became hugely popular between 1920 and 1950 especially with the emergence of “Greasers” subculture. Combed-back hairstyles of Rock & Roll idols like Elvis Presley and actors like John Travolta influenced youth a lot and these styles became a rage. To make the comb-back style, people required some styling product and this product turned out to be the best possible option since it offered maximum hold and shine along with the required greasiness.

This impressive product adds gloss, enhances hair texture and retains the desired shape for longest duration. For smooth styles too, it offers magnified textural effect. Pomades are not moisturizers but moisture sealants, that is, these seal moisture into the hair to prevent dryness and frizz. It can be applied after moisturizers to retain the moisture.

De-greasers like shampoos are used to wash it away, because these tend to be a bit greasy and waxy (if you are using oil based formula). You may also apply common olive oil and rinse with warm water to remove the grease from your hair. It makes a great substitute to products like hairspray and gels, which damage hair follicles and scalp.

Best Pomade 2016

Last update was in: June 27, 2017 9:58 pm GMT

What is pomade made of?

It usually contains ingredients like petroleum jelly, mineral oil, wax, fragrance and coloring agents. For over 100 years people have created it using petroleum jelly. From 1960s, water-based Pomades emerged in stores, which allow the same slicked- back and high-hold look as the traditional pomade.

The key ingredients used in either type include:

Petroleum Jelly: It is a combination of refined hydrocarbons that are extracted from petroleum or crude oil.

Olive Oil: It is used because of its moisturizing and stimulating properties.

Beeswax: Since beeswax is a natural holding substance therefore it is widely used in water-based type.

Mango butter: The reason behind use of mango butter is that it adds moisture as well as offers protection from environmental damage. It also secures hair and scalp from the heating tools used on your hair.

Babassu oil: The purpose of using it is also similar to mango butter, that is, to moisturize hair and protect scalp.

What types are there:

There are basically two types namely oil-based and water-based. Let’s find out the main characteristics and pros/cons of both types.


These tend to be greasy since their primary component is petroleum jelly. The predominant ingredient in oil-based pomade is hydrophobic by weight therefore, it is water insoluble.

This pomade has simplistic formula and is relatively cheaper than the water based version. Oil based version offers more coverage and lasting hold, that’s why it is required in limited quantity and is consumed less than the water based version. Usually a 100ml or 100g jar of oil based type last over 2 months.

In terms of shine and gloss, oil based type is superior because it offers medium to high level shine without making the hair stiff, hard or dry. Another plus point is that it never dries fully and therefore, you can easily re-style your hair throughout the day.

On the lower side, oil-based types are usually difficult to remove from hair and scalp because of the grease. You need to shampoo your hair properly if you want to remove it. Its greasy texture and performance makes it sensitive to hot weather and on an excessively hot day you might feel uncomfortable. Moreover, if your facial skin is oily, then you should avoid using the oil based type because it can cause acne. This issue usually fades away after two to three months but to be on the safe side either use water based type, or do not apply it on your forehead.

Water Based

As the name suggests, its main ingredient is water. This means, water based pomades are water soluble and are easier to wash away from your hair.

The water based type is highly weather resistant, unlike the greasy pomade. You can use it in all sorts of weather conditions. However, you need to be careful during the rainy season.

It offer complete control on the way you style and shape your hair but in terms of shine it offer low to medium gloss. As far as hold is concerned, water based versions are as effective as oil based versions. The main advantage of using the water-based type is that it is easier to wash out from your hair.

Although water based version dries out easily and quickly as well but it does not affect the shape of the hair, To remove the stiffness, all you need to do is slightly wet your hear to revive the shine. The best aspect is that there is no greasiness and no acne breakout.

The main disadvantage is that it dries out after some time and tends to be pricier than oil based type. A regular 100ml or 100g jar will only last a month. The reason behind their expensiveness is that their formulation is quite complex.

Read more about the best water based pomade

Our Recommandation

Developed to replace the wax that greasers would use in the SoCal rockabilly scene, water-based Layrite (see lowest price) holds like a wax, but washes out like a gel!

What other pomades call extreme hold, we just call original.

The same formula greasers have been trusting for 10 years.

  • Holds as strong as a wax
  • High shine for that polished look
  • Water-based formula washes right out just like a gel
  • No drying formula keeps hair soft with no flaking
  • Controls even the curliest and thickest hair out there
  • Keeps your hair in place and looking good all day

Layrite does not dry in your hair so you can re-style as need throughout the day without losing any control.

How to use it:

Because it is water-based, Layrite pomade is versatile – you control the strength of hold and sheen simply by drying your hair to the desired amount:

  • Dry your hair: Layrite Pomade is has the strongest hold when used on DRY HAIR. Blow your hair completely dry for hold like a 90 weight wax or towel dry your hair for hold like a 30 weight wax.
  • Apply Layrite: Rub an ample of Layrite into the palms of your hands until it softens, then rub thoroughly into your hair.
  • Style it: Simply comb or brush into desired hairstyle. Add more Layrite or more water as needed to achieve the style you want.

If still not convinced, read the 785 Customer Reviews from Amazon

What is Pomade used for?

The main use is in hairstyling. You can easily style your hair in any shape. You can use pomade for styling your beard, moustache or even side burns. Applying pomade ensures a slicker, shinier and darker look.

People also use pomade with sulfur to grow hair. Also, light version of pomade can prove to be a useful substitute of alcohol-laden hairsprays. Hairspray is actually very harmful for your scalp and hair as it take away all the moisture. Hairsprays are harmful for the environment too due to their high alcohol and toxic content.

Pomades are highly versatile; these are compatible with all types of hair/haircuts. From short to long, mid-length to multi-textured, straight to curly, smooth to frizzy and to slick down edges, pomades are suitable for all. Hairstyles like buns, braids, ponytails and twists direly rely upon pomade to retain their shape.

There are however, some types of pomades that have specific usage. For example, moustache wax is just applied on moustache and cannot be used on head.

Usually, afro-textured hair benefits most from pomade as it keeps them moisturized and doesn’t let them get dry easily. To control frizz, you must use a low-hold-level Pomade.

Pomade is also good for thick and coarse hair as it smoothly glides over the hair and can be applied with palms. It gives your hair additional flexibility due to greasiness.

Pomades are extremely hair-structure-friendly and can be used for styling almost all haircuts. The shine, gloss and flexibility that Pomade gives to your hair are matchless.

Pacinos Pomade

How to use pomade?

Applying on Wet hair or dry hair?

We would say neither! Use pomade on damp hair instead for optimal results. It is a misconception that your hair needs to be completely dry before you apply pomade. Actually, you should damp your hair enough that it becomes malleable. However, damping is different from wetting; if your hair becomes excessively wet then the pomade won’t work because the hair will reject the natural oils of pomade. Perfectly dampened hair is that stage when your hairs are just five to ten minutes away from being totally dry.

How much should you use?

The inconvenient truth is that there cannot be a specific plan. No one can suggest the perfect quantity of pomade that will work on all kinds and lengths of locks. Pomade quantity varies with your hair type (less if oily and more if dry), hair length and hairstyle. However, what we can tell you with surety is that you must always start with minimal quantity and add more gradually. It is a lot easier to add more pomade than to remove it completely from your head.

Application of Pomade:

Start by scrapping only a small amount of pomade, equal to a teaspoon in quantity. Using your middle and pointer fingers transfer it to your other hand. Now rub your fingers with your palm just like you do to wash hands. Let the grease coat your hands and turn them into fully loaded styling weapons.

Start applying from the bangs; make a partition using both hands and massage the pomade slowly into both sides the way you apply shampoo. Spike it straight-up so that hairs at the roots can be coated so that you are able to distribute pomade evenly throughout the scalp and prevent clumping.

Using a comb or your hands part your hair from above the temple and apply more pomade into the crease to work the shorter hair down and longer hair up. After done with the front part, do coat the back of your head with pomade starting from the top and wiping the hands down.

What about hair loss?

Do not stop using pomade just because you have heard that it can cause hair loss. It is just a myth that hairstyling products cause hair loss. It is the overuse of such products and inappropriate cleaning of the head/scalp that causes it. If you don’t thoroughly clean your hair/scalp, you will experience hair loss. Always regularly wash your head otherwise dead skin or scalp’s sebum will accumulate in layers and will block or shrink hair follicles leading to hair fall. If you are already facing hair loss, use shampoos that are formulated to promote healthy scalp/hairs by clearing the coating of sebum or dead skin.

Pomade vs Wax

Traditionally, the main difference between the two styling products was that wax couldn’t offer pomade-like slicker and shinier appearance. In modern times, the difference is becoming more and more ambiguous since various heavy pomades contain beeswax.

Wax offers a matte finish and tends to be thicker than pomade but doesn’t feel sticky.  Both are oil-based formulas but pomade’s hold is higher than that of wax. Both also require a de-greasing agent like shampoo to be washed out of hairs. Wax is also applied in similar manner as pomade.

However, if you have dry hair or you need flexible hold always, use pomade instead of wax. Pomade is a much better option as wax because now water-based pomades are also available that are lightweight and washed easily. The slicked back look that pomade offer cannot be attained through wax, while wax is better option for spikes.

Use pomades with matte finish to get a non-greasy look. Pomade has excellent hold and shine and allows reshaping of your hair throughout the day. This cannot be done with wax as it becomes hard after application. For moderate hold wax is suitable and goes with almost all hairstyles. For oily hair type, wax is better than pomade because pomades are greasy. However, wax isn’t as palliable as pomade but is good for making detailed expression and hairstyle accentuation.

Pomade vs Gel

Gel would give you as strong a hold as pomade but the problem with it is that after some time of application, it makes your hair rock solid. Sometimes, gel may turn into flakes and give away the feel as if you have dandruff. Gel is suitable for styles that need maximum hold such as spikes but even then, everyday application of gel is not advisable. That is so because when gel gets dry it becomes flaky and its flakes fall on to your scalp, blocking excretion of natural oils. So, with gels, the issue of facing hair loss problem is probably the highest in comparison to pomade and wax. These flakes are difficult to be washed completely and keep on shedding from the scalp every now and then. The end result is that you will find flakes on your shoulders and collar all the time.

That being said, the positive aspect of gel is that it is easiest to wash out from your hairs. Gels are available in different varieties ranging from light to firm hold. The selection should be made according to your hair type and style. Generally, the rule is that light variety is suitable for finer hair. Nonetheless, gel gives away an unnatural sort of a look whereas pomade’s appearance is much more subtle and natural.