A pomade is a substance used for hair styling. The pomade you use can make or break your look. Sometime a pomade you buy can seem to work against you — either it seems to refuse to allow you to shape your hair the way you want, or it holds well for a few hours but then begins to fatigue, letting your hair sink with your spirit.
So what can we do to fight the spread of bad pomades? Well, for one, we can start buying only high-quality pomades. Next, we can learn about our hair, the type of look we're trying to achieve, and how much effort we want to put forth.
Let's get right into it.
Types of Pomades: Choosing the Right One
Pomades are fast becoming the go-to product for sculpting modern men's hairstyles. But before starting to use pomades, you should learn about all the various types to discover which will work best for your hair.
There are a few main types of pomades, including oil-based, water-based, and clay, though they are trying to come out with new types all the time. The type you choose is an important decision because there are significant differences between the types, particularly how you use it, the sort of "finish" (i.e. shiny, matte, etc.) you're going for, and the effort it takes to wash it out.
Water Based Pomade
For the most part, water based pomades are more popular than its oil-based counterpart for the simple reason that it's much easier to wash out of your hair. All you have to do with a water-based product is use water and it washes right out. Don't underestimate the simplicity of this difference. Washing oil-based pomade out of your hair can take forever and be a real pain. For beginners, we highly recommend sticking to a water based pomade product.
(Jump down to our water-based pomade reviews.)
Oil Based Pomade
Oil based pomades are great for those who have experience using a pomade to style their hair. There is definitely a learning curve to mastering the use of pomades, with oil-based products especially. Again, they can be incredibly difficult to wash out of your hair, and it may take several washes before it's out of your hair completely. Tip: A way speed up the process is to use a de-greaser, such as dishwashing soap or a shampoo designed specifically for extra oily hair.
(Jump down to our reviews of pomades with an oil base.)
A relatively newer alternative to the primary two types (oil vs water) is to use a clay pomade. Clay pomades are a combination of clay and beeswax. By using a clay pomade you can mostly avoid the traditional sleekness and shine of standard pomades, instead getting more of a matte finish, while still getting a strong hold.
(Jump to our clay pomade reviews.)
Now that we have all that out of the way, and you've figured out whether you want an oil-based, water-based, or a clay pomade, let's get to our pomade reviews.
Best Hair Pomades on the Market
We've separated our list of the top pomades into the main types:
(Note: If you aren't sure which type of pomade is best for you, then refer the previous section.)
We'll start with water-based pomades, since these seem to be becoming more popular with the modern generation.
Best Water Based Pomades
The following is a list of the top water based pomades we've found. These are great pomades for beginners and experts alike.
Baxter of California is one of the best pomade brands, hands down. They are known for great styling products and have earned a loyal fan base of customers.
Their water pomade has a firm hold, with some shine to the finish. It controls hair without the unpleasant stiffness. Better yet, because it's water soluble, it washes out of hair easily.
This is a great pomade. It's high quality and affordable. It'll be hard to find a better product anywhere.
This is a popular pomade from Suavecito. Easy to comb into hair, providing a firm hold with a moderate amount of shine. It is a water-soluble hair pomade and easily washed out of hair.
If you're looking for an cheap pomade to try, this product may be your best bet. It's a nice balance between quality and affordability. It does have a very particular scent, however, so if you want something less scented you should look elsewhere.
This classy pomade by English Laundry is for more than just the refined Englishman. It is a multi-purpose water-based pomade boasts a medium hold with extra shine.
It has a base of water but also has castor oil in the formula to add more shine. This is a good product if you're looking for some of the shine of oil-based pomades without the involved cleanup.
This product, created by a small Texas-based company, features a medium hold that is non-greasy and produces a shiny finish without flaking.
It's water soluble and easy to apply and rinse out. A very solid product by a young US company.
Best Oil Based Pomades
Pomades that are oil-based aren't for everyone. They're mostly used by experienced, long-time pomade enthusiasts. But they are the type of pomade you should choose if you want your hair to have that shiny look.
Oribe is a luxurious, high-end brand of hair products. They create the type of products that are frequently the top recommended by professional stylists.
This classic oil pomade provides a high shine and a very strong yet workable hold. The luxury of the brand comes with a higher price point, so this product is only recommended for those not on a very tight budget.
This wax-based pomade has less shine than other primarily oil pomades. Going on dry, it creates a matte, natural-looking finish.
It provides a maximum hold without the stiffness and is said to help protect and strengthen your hair. Overall a good product.
This is the only pomade spray on our list. Sprays can be good for when you have more hair, and for when you're trying to achieve a messy style. R+Co is a very high-quality brand of hair products.
This pomade mousse spray may be one of the best pomades for curly hair or wavy hair, and perhaps the best pomade for long hair overall.
Best Clay Pomades
Clay pomade products are the newcomers to the block, but they are holding their own. They can provide a fantastic hold without the extra shine. Here are the top clay pomades:
This is the second Baxter of California pomade product to make our list, and both sit at the number one spots for a reason: the Baxter of California brand is extremely high quality. They consistently churn out great products, and their pomades are no different.
Their clay pomade makes use of clay and beeswax, and has a very strong hold and matte finish. Great for any style, especially casually-messy and un-done looks.
Jack Black is a great brand. Their clay pomade is great at providing control, texture, and definition to your hair with a strong hold. A good choice for hair-sculptors.
Made with all-natural ingredients, this is the top pomade that's environmentally friendly. It provides a long-lasting hold without any crunchiness. Overall, a very good clay pomade.
This clay pomade for men has a strong hold and is ideal for creating styles with texture and separation. It goes on smooth through damp or towel-dried hair and firms into a nice matte finish.
Made with bentonite clay and beeswax, this pomade is for the high-performance individual who wants to maintain a hold for long periods of time.
Conclusion - Try Different Pomades
A pomade can be the final crucial piece to a person's style. There are tons of different pomades to choose from, but don't let this scare you away from trying them. Hopefully our lists of the top pomades by type and their corresponding reviews have made this process easier for you.
The good news is that most pomades aren't very expensive, so it's not too big of a deal if you try one kind of pomade and find out it's not for you. Try a few and you'll find the type and brand that works perfectly for you and your hair.