How Do I Choose the Best Hair Pomade?

Gregory Hanson

The process of choosing the best hair pomade generally boils down to selecting a product with a combination of ingredients, styling effects, and appearance to work with a particular look. Modern pomades are formulated with a wide array of different ingredients, and customers should select pomade with a mixture of styling agents and scents that appropriate for their tastes. Pomades vary widely in their styling effects, and both holding power and duration need to be taken into consideration. The appearance of pomade also varies substantially, from slick and oily to almost invisible, and customer preference is important here as well.

Some hairdressers believe that there is very little difference between hair styling wax and hair pomade.
Some hairdressers believe that there is very little difference between hair styling wax and hair pomade.

Hair pomade is one of several products designed to tame and discipline unruly hair. It is typically the most durable sort of styling product, with some versions remaining in the hair throughout several washings. It is usually more durable than hair gel or hairspray and is most often applied with either fingers or a comb.

Hair pomade is more durable than hair spray.
Hair pomade is more durable than hair spray.

Older versions of hair pomade are typically based on a mixture of mineral oils, waxes, and a variety of scents. This sort of pomade holds extremely well, and is quite resistant to moisture, as oil and wax both naturally repel water. Hair that has been treated with this sort of pomade will often have a moist, glistening, or even oily appearance, an appearance that forms the basis of certain styles such as a 1950s pompadour.

Some hair pomades give hair a greasy look that is difficult to wash away.
Some hair pomades give hair a greasy look that is difficult to wash away.

Contemporary formulations of hair pomade are more often based on soft waxes, and many use natural waxes, particularly beeswax. This sort of pomade still provides excellent hold, but is less visually distinctive. These types of pomade are especially likely to be scented with natural compounds based on essential oils. Oil used in this type of product is generally a mixture of plant oils, rather than mineral oil, and is usually easier to wash out. Such varieties of hair pomade may also be less damaging to hair, which is of particular concern for men and women with sparse or fragile hair.

Older pomades contain mineral oil.
Older pomades contain mineral oil.

A consumer should consider the precise styling effect that he or she is hoping to achieve. Mineral oil hair pomade holds extremely well and is a good candidate for very dramatic hairstyles that require extensive styling. Gentler pomades may be preferred by men or women looking for an alternative to gel or hairspray in more conventional hairstyles, although some formulations do possess significant holding power, and are suitable for the creation of more radical hair styling effects.

Modern pomades are generally less damaging to hair.
Modern pomades are generally less damaging to hair.

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Discussion Comments


I have very fine hair so I use a water based hair pomade instead of an oil based one. The oil based ones are too heavy and just weigh my hair down. Water based pomades are lighter, so when I apply it, it looks as if I used nothing on my hair but it definitely maintains the separation and tames the frizz.


When I told my dad that I bought some hair pomade, he looked a little worried and said "Do you really want to use that on your hair?" I showed him the product and he said that it looks completely different than the hair pomades he saw from when he was young. He said that some boys would use this when he was in High School and it looked like their hair was dipped in grease and unwashed for days.

Hair pomades have come a long way since then! The brand I bought is actually a professional hair styling brand and the pomade is in spray form. It helps define the curls in my hair and also protects from humidity and pollution.

I think the original hair pomade is still available with a slightly different formula. So it definitely doesn't look greasy like its ancestors but a lot of hair brands have changed the look and feel of hair pomade to suit the taste of their customers and I think that's great.

Anyone using the original hair pomade? It's much different now than what our parent's remember right?


I just started using a hair pomade for my hair and it works great! I don't like using gels and hair spray because both make hair extremely hard. After the gel and hair spray dry off, hair is no longer manageable. I can't brush it or fix it later in the day without actually washing my hair. It doesn't feel nice either because it is solid like rock.

The hair pomade I'm using is wax based. I don't use much, I take some on my fingers and rub it on my hair line and top of my head to control fly-aways. This is what I have the problem with most. I can still brush my hair, put my fingers through my hair when I use the pomade. It doesn't take away from my look and it still allows me to make adjustments later if I want. And my hair is so soft! I love this product, it's become my number one hair product in a short time.

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