Pomade is a styling product ideal for strong, yet flexible holds as well as both matte and high shine finishes. The best pomade brands for men nowadays are water-based as opposed to wax or oil-based, resulting in a lightweight, soft texture that washes out easily. The other benefit of using a water-based pomade is that you can style and restyle your hair throughout the day because it never dries out or gets super stiff.
However, if you like greaser hairstyles such as slick backs, then you’ll want to consider buying an oil-based pomade that offers a stronger hold and higher shine. Just remember that oil-based products are harder to wash out and not as healthy for your scalp.
When looking for a men’s hair pomade to use every day in casual or professional settings, choose one with a matte finish. Save the high shine for special occasions and nights out. Pomades are great for most styles, including the comb over, side part, slicked back, quiff and pompadour hairstyles.
To use pomade, towel dry your hair, leaving it damp enough to be malleable but not so wet it’s hard to control and style. Scoop some of your favorite pomade into your hand and rub it between both your palms and fingers until evenly coated. Now apply the pomade to your hair from both sides, smoothing into your hair as you gently style it into the hairstyle you want.
Most waxes are oil-based and thus offer a moderate to strong hold with a matte finish that doesn’t harden or stiffen your hair. While hair wax has a thicker feel than gel, it still feels smooth, adds texture and thickness to hair, and isn’t sticky. Further, wax is a little more difficult to wash out than a water-based pomade, so we’d recommend buying a water-based hair wax like American Crew’s Forming Cream.
Furthermore, if you have naturally oily hair, wax can absorb that excess grease. However, that means hair wax will eventually dry out after a few hours, but until then, you can restyle it as you want. This is one major advantage of using pomade you need to consider when comparing pomade vs wax.
Ultimately, wax is ideal for short or medium-length, normal to oily hair. It can also be incredibly effective on wavy or frizzy types of hair. The best wax hairstyles are ones that require strong holds and control without clumping, such as spiky hair, faux hawks, mohawks, etc.
To use wax, style your hair with your hands as you dry it – wax doesn’t work well with wet hair. Take a small amount of wax and rub it between your hands. Once your hair is dry, apply the hair wax to your hair, spreading it evenly throughout. It is recommended you start with the hair in the back to avoid clumping your hair in the front.
Gel is your classic hair product for men. Hair gel provides a strong hold with a “wet” look that is high shine. When pomade and wax don’t offer enough hold, gel may be your only option. Unfortunately, the downside of gel is its hardness, flakiness and inability to be restyled later in the day. Nevertheless, hair gel does wash out easily with water.
Guys can find hair gel in both light and firm holds, and as a general rule, men with thin hair should probably use light to medium hold gels – or even pomade – in moderation to avoid clumping that will expose the scalp. Given the pros and cons of hair gel, in a comparison of pomade vs gel and wax vs gel, we’d recommend gel as a last resort for truly unruly, hard-to-manage hair.
To use hair gel, towel dry your hair till it is slightly damp – gel is best applied on damp hair after a shower. To avoid the dreaded white flakes later in the day, make sure to apply your gel slowly, adding more only as you need it. A quarter-size in the balm of your hand should be enough for most hairstyles, and remember, you can always apply more later.
We recommend pomade as the best all-around hair product for men, giving you hold with flexibility, both matte and high shine options, and the ability to style cool hairstyles for a sophisticated look. With a variety of affordable water-based pomade brands available, guys can buy different products and try them out to find their favorite.