Pomade vs Wax: What to Choose for Your Hair Type and Style

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We all know the advantages of looking well groomed. You want to appear mature, attractive and modern, whether for work or for a hot date. You want your hair products to support the style you choose. When it comes to your hair, it’s your rules. So what products are the best for your hair? Read on to learn about pomade vs wax.

The Importance of Choosing a Product That Won’t Let You Down

Today, guys are spending a lot of their hard-earned money on products that make them look good. It doesn’t matter if you have a great haircut—the wrong product will result in a bad hair day. No one wants to see that.

By choosing the right product, you can avoid greasiness, flakes, damage, and outdated styles. Two of the most popular products to help you get the best look for your hair are pomade and wax. The question is, which one is better?

Why Are So Many Men Switching From Gel to Pomade or Wax?

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The truth is, gel is not very healthy for your hair. There are many cheap versions that you can buy in the supermarket or drugstore. Honestly, most guys start with gel as teenagers when they are first experimenting with their hair. There is no shame in this, but here’s why gel is not usually the best option:


Gels give an incredibly strong hold to your hair, but they do so because they contain alcohol. The alcohol makes the moisture in the product dry out your hair, leaving only the ingredients that keep your hair in place. There are several resulting problems. First, the alcohol can dry out and eventually damage your hair. Second, the alcohol can dry out your scalp, causing the dreaded appearance of flakes. Third, the firm hold you get can look unnatural, even cheesy.

In life, sometimes a great strength can also be a great weakness. As we just mentioned, the ultra-strength of the hold you get from gel is a disadvantage to most guys because it is crunchy and inflexible. However, if you want to spike your hair or achieve an extreme hairstyle, gel might actually be a good option for you. In that case, look for a gel that is alcohol-free.

All About Pomade

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What is Pomade?

Pomade is a popular hair styling product that is either water or petroleum-based. It can provide more movement than other styling products and will deliver more shine.

Petroleum-Based Pomade

The original pomade formula is petroleum-based. It delivers a higher shine and a stronger hold. Your grandfather may have used it, and it is excellent for creating retro looks.

One advantage is that you can re-style your hair throughout the day. That’s why when you watch movies from the 1950’s, you always see the cool guys with combs in their back pockets. We don’t blame you if you want to revive this habit for yourself! The disadvantage is that it can look a little greasier than water-based pomade.

Water-Based Pomade

The invention of water-based pomade is one of the reasons pomades are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. First of all, they are easier to wash out of your hair then petroleum-based pomades. Secondly, they hold your hair and offer shine without overdoing it. The result is a modern look that is tasteful.

How Do You Use Pomade?

You can use pomade on wet hair or dry hair. If it is wet when you start, you will get a more flexible hold and more shine. If it is dry, you will get a stronger hold and less shine. A dime-sized amount is enough.

Use your fingers and start from the underside of your hair. Work your way to the tips, spreading the product until it has thinned out and is colorless. To avoid greasy hair, make sure you don’t apply your product to your scalp. To get your hair into the right position, use your fingers to twist and lift it.

Unless you are making a side part, you won’t need a comb. You can use your fingers from the start of the process to the finish. Of course, if you enjoy the retro ritual of carrying a comb in your back pocket for mid-day use with your petroleum-based pomade, go for it!

Who Should Use Pomade?

Pomade offers more shine than wax. Therefore, if you want more shine, choose pomade. It is also good for people who have naturally dry hair. Pomade is suitable for many differenttypes of hair: curly, straight, short, or medium-length. Hairstyles that benefit from pomade include:

  • Pompadours
  • Slick backs
  • Side parts
  • Fades

What Are Some Good Pomade Products?

Several highly rated pomades you can try are:

All About Wax

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What Is Wax?

Hair wax is usually made from lanolin wax and beeswax. It delivers less shine than pomade, which can be a good thing if you want your hair to look matte. It typically provides a medium to strong hold without hardening your hair at all. Say goodbye to the crunchy gel days, gentlemen!

How Do You Use Wax?

When comparing how to apply pomade vs wax, there is a key difference. You hair must be dry in order to use wax, otherwise it won’t work. Also, you should warm it up in your hands a little before you apply it to your hair. One thing to note is that after a few hours the product will dry out; however, until that happens, you are free to restyle it whenever you want.

Who Should Use Wax?

Wax is pretty versatile and can be used on short to medium-length hair. It is great for guys who have oily hair, because it doesn’t have the same shine as pomade. In fact, the wax can actually absorb some of the excess grease. Guys with frizzy hair can tame it with wax.

If you are looking for a stronger hold, wax is the way to go. In some cases, it can even be used to style spikey hair. Here are some styles that do well with wax:

  • Spikey hair
  • Faux hawk
  • Quaff
  • French crop

What Are Some Good Wax Products?

Several highly rated wax products you can try are:

Pomade Vs Wax: What Are The Key Differences?

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Both wax and pomade have their place, however the product that is right for you will depend on the look you are trying to achieve and your hair type. When choosing your product, keep in mind the key differences between wax and pomade.

Pomade gives a shinier finish, while wax is matte. Wax provides a stronger hold than pomade. Wax will dry out more quickly than pomade. Pomade can be used on hair that is wet or dry, while wax can only be used on dry hair. Wax is good for guys with oily hair; pomade is good for guys with dull, dry hair.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Different Options

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Picking up that tube of supermarket gel wasn’t a mistake—it was your first step towards finding the product that works best for you. These days, the stuff we put in our hair has come a long way. Rather than drying you out, causing scalp irritation, and producing flaky situations, modern products often contain ingredients that are actually good for your hair, such as moisturizers, vitamins, and essential oils.

Don’t be afraid to try a few different products before you make a commitment, and, you should never be afraid to change up your look and try something new. The modern man can reinvent himself…and his hair!

Talk to Your Barber If You Want to Leave the Decision to a Pro

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When in doubt, you can always talk to your barber. They are experts on hair care, and will likely be able to tell you whether you should go for pomade vs wax. Your barber can probably even recommend specific products.

Pomade vs Wax: The Conclusion

Hair pomade vs wax; what’s the deal? Both are great products that come in modern formulas which will make your hair look great. Both can contain ingredients that will benefit the health of your hair. The main difference is that while wax is usually made from beeswax, pomade is either water or petroleum-based.

As with many situations in this world, it is important to know thyself. Understand your hair type and your styling preferences. Then, try a few different products to find the one that works best for you. Maybe you could even pick up some samples or buy trial sized versions. Soon, you will find a pomade or wax that gives you that well-groomed look you want.

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