The hairstyling industry may seem geared towards women, but some products have been specifically designed and used by men for decades. One of the best-known and most essential men’s hair products is pomade. Whether you’re new to prioritizing the look and health of your hair or a well-groomed man searching for your next hair care product, pomade should be considered for the benefits it can offer your hair.
Gone are the days when pomade was only used for hold and shine and the belief that men stopped using it in the 1960s. Pomades have evolved and regained popularity among the current generation. The best pomades for men not only make your hair look better, they are also good for your hair’s health.
In this article, we’ll discuss what pomade is, why you should incorporate it into your hair care routine, and provide a list of some of the best pomades for men to improve the look and health of their hair.
Why Use Pomade?
A pomade is a men’s hairstyling product that’s most often used to provide your hair with great hold while usually making restyling throughout the day easily. This hair product is best for men who seek versatility and value shape in their hairstyles while wanting to remain in control of their hair all day.
Traditionally, pomades have also had the main purpose of adding shine to your hair; however, many matte pomades are available that provide the same level of hold but without the shine.
Pomades usually fit into one of two types:
- Water-soluble pomades: Water-soluble pomades are usually of a creamier consistency and easier to wash out. Water-soluble pomades are your best option if you’re looking for a messier, tousled look. The risk of buildup and greasiness is lower when using water-soluble pomades than with oil-based pomades.
- Oil-based pomades: Oil-based pomades, also known as wax- or petroleum-based pomades, are the original pomade for men that your grandfather used. Think Grease. It has a wax consistency that is a little greasy but allows for a smooth application to your hair and provides optimal shine.
Oil-based pomades are less likely to dry your hair out than their water-soluble counterpart, helping your hair retain moisture throughout the day. They’re best for a consistent, slicked-back look that will hold and allow for a few touch-ups throughout the day. Use oil-based pomades for a classic throwback hairstyle.
You may find several other variations of these types of pomades using different ingredients. There are also pomades that are a combination of oil-based and water-soluble.
Although pomades may not be right for everyone, there are various benefits to this hair product that may at least make it worth a try. Some of the benefits of using pomades for men include:
- Long-lasting in your hair – pomade will last longer than most hair sprays or gels.
- Lock in moisture – this helps prevent dryness and potential damage or breakage in your hair.
- More environmentally – friendly than hairspray.
- Suitable for every hair type – especially thick and/or curly hair.
- It takes very little time to style your hair with it.
Best Pomades for Men
Now that you know what pomade is and what it can do, you’re ready to search for the right one for your hair. In case you don’t know where to start, here is a list of the best pomades for men so that you can find the right one to work with your hair.
Suavecito Pomade Original Hold – Best Overall
Suavecito’s Pomade Original Hold is the best pomade for men looking for a simple product to get the job done. This water-soluble option dries with medium hardness but easily washes out at the end of the day.
If you want to touch it up after a few hours, all you have to do is add some water to reactivate your hairdo. This is a common first pomade that men use as an introduction to the product. However, they may never feel the need to try any other products after using this one.
- Combs easily
- Flexible hold
- Reactivates with water
- Some describe the scent as too strong – not ideal if you’re looking for a subtle fragrance.
Rebels Refinery Classic Pomade for Men – Best for Thinning Hair
If the interesting packaging isn’t enough to draw you in, the properties of the actual product will convince you to try it out. Rebels Refinery Classic Pomade not only adds texture and volume to men’s thinning hair, but also provides versatility in your styles.
This pomade can help you achieve both a natural look or a more refined one, depending on your mood and where you have to be. Just add a little water to your hair for a quick touch-up throughout the day.
- Suitable for all hair types, but well-formulated for fine or thinning hair
- Adds texture and volume to hair
- Aluminum-free, dye-free, paraben-free
- Not ideal if you’re looking for flexibility in your hold – even if applied on damp hair, the hold is on the stronger side
Hair Craft Co. Pomade – Best for Just a Slight Shine
Shine: Semi-Matte Finish
The Hair Craft Co. Pomade provides a happy compromise if you just want to add a little shine to your hair but don’t want it to look too dull.
This water-soluble pomade with a semi-matte finish is suitable for all hair types and provides an all-day hold, so you can just put it in once and forget.
Plus, this pomade for men is made with argan oil, which provides vitamin E to help stimulate hair growth, making it a styling and nourishing hair product.
- Semi-matte finish
- Made with argan oil
- Great smell
- Dries out quicker than other brands once applied, so you have to style quickly
Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade for Men – Best Shine
Shine: High Shine
If you’re all about the classic pompadour look and want maximum shine, then Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade for Men is the best product to help you achieve that look.
Formulated with beeswax, the shine you get with this pomade is more natural-looking than other, greasier brands, but it still provides a noticeably different look. It also washes out easily, so it won’t clog your pores or damage your hair.
- Tin is larger than most brands (5oz)
- High shine but easy to wash out
- Light, non-overpowering scent
- Washes out easily
- Applying it to dry hair may cause a white residue
Layrite Natural Matte Cream – Best Lightweight Pomade
Shine: Matte finish
Layrite Natural Matte Cream is a pomade for men who want the styling benefits of pomade but don’t want their hair to be weighed down by the product.
Formulated with Kaolin clay and waxes from Brazilian palm trees, this pomade adds texture and volume to thinning hair while providing a medium, flexible hold. It also helps keep frizz at bay, so you’ll never have a hair out of place.
- Formulated with clay and wax from Brazilian palm trees
- Adds texture to hair
- Controls frizz
- Not ideal for a medium hold for thick hair
Baxter of California Clay Pomade – Best for No Shine
Base: Wax (Oil-based)
Shine: Matte finish
Shine is not for everyone; sometimes a matte finish is all that’s necessary to get the hairstyle you desire. A wax-based pomade, Baxter of California Clay Pomade will provide your hair with maximum hold and zero shine.
Formulated with clay and beeswax, this pomade helps define and mold the hair while helping ensure that it holds into place.
A suggested tip from the brand: Heat up the pomade with a blow dryer to soften before use.
- Oil-based but matte
- Great for a natural, tousled hair look
- Can be mixed with other pomades from the brand to customize the hold and finish
- Not ideal for fine hair
AXE Clean Cut Look Classic Hair Pomade – Best Drugstore Choice
Shine: Shine finish
Many men are familiar with AXE products, as they can be found at almost any local drugstore and have a distinct smell. If you’re an avid user of AXE, you should try the Clean Cut Look Classic Hair Pomade.
It’ll provide your hair with a medium hold and great shine, allowing you to achieve that classy look pomades are known for. If you’re already a user of AXE, you will not be disappointed with this pomade.
- Ideal for short- to mid-length hair for men
- Ideal for creating structured styles
- Helps prevent flyaways and frizz
- Not ideal for thicker hair
- Strong distinct smell that may be overpowering
Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade – Best for Kinky/Afro-Textured Hair (4C)
Shine: Shine finish
Afro-textured or kinky hair has unique properties that require specific methods to maintain. Therefore it requires unique products. Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade adds shine while providing kinky hair, which is more prone to dryness, with nourishment and moisture from its natural ingredients, such as shea butter and coconut butter.
This pomade does not provide much hold, as kinky hair often requires excessive product to keep its shape. However, it is still sure to be beneficial when styling your hair. Plus, it smells amazing. This is also a unisex product, making it one of the best pomades for men and women alike.
- Oil-based but petroleum-free
- Great scent
- Nourishing ingredients
- Targeted toward men and women
- Does not provide hold – not ideal for all hair types
Blind Barber 90 Proof Pomade – Best for Conditioning
Hold: Strong hold
Shine: Matte finish
Blind Barber 90 Proof Pomade provides a long-lasting hold for all hair types, leaving your hair with a no-shine finish. The most unique feature about this pomade is that it uses hops, which, outside of beer, is known as an effective conditioning and thickening agent for hair.
Hops also create more hair volume and help defend against dandruff, so this pomade will have your hair looking and feeling its best.
- Contains no oil
- Helps condition hair
- Provides strong hold
- Some dislike the consistency of the product
Imperial Barber Grade Products Gel Pomade – Best Pomade-Gel Hybrid
Hold: Strong hold
Shine: High shine
Imperial Barber Grade Products are known for their quality, and this pomade is no exception. You usually have to decide between using gel and pomade, but this product eliminates the need to make that decision.
Combining the properties of both gel and pomade, this product is light and smooth, drying into the hair for an all-day hold. This pomade is especially good for men with finer hair as it will thicken and enhance volume.
- Pomade-gel hybrid
- Does not melt or flake – ideal for hot weather
- Available in a large quantity (12oz)
- Although this is a hybrid product, if you don’t like the properties of the gel, you may not find this pomade ideal
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Grooming Pomade – Best for Wavy or Curly Hair
Hold: Flexible hold
Shine: High shine
If your hair is wavy or curly, you may best benefit from a pomade that is specially designed for your hair type by defining your curls.
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Grooming Pomade adds shine to your hair while providing a flexible hold, making it great for curly or wavy hair that already has a texture. The light texture of the pomade will have you feeling like it’s barely there but still helps you achieve the hairstyle that you desire.
- Great for defining curls and waves
- Great smell
- Uses tea tree oil for additional hair benefits
- Not as effective on straight, fine hair as it provides minimal hold
Black & White Genuine Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade Ultra White Blend – Best Heavy Duty Pomade
Hold: Strong hold
Shine: Moderate shine
Black & White Hair Dressing Pomade is made for men whose hair is on an extreme end of the spectrum: course, thick, and unruly.
Formulated with wax and coconut oil, this pomade will be able to tame, mold, and sculpt any man’s hair, no matter how coarse it is. The thickness of this product provides a maximum hold that will last you all day.
- Heavy-duty enough to control thick, coarse hair
- Fragranced with coconut oil
- Long-lasting hold
- May weigh down fine or thinning hair
How to Use Pomade
Using pomade is simple and makes styling completely up to you:
- Start with either wet or dry hair. For best results, you’ll want your hair just a little damp before applying the pomade, but this may vary based on what type of style you are trying to achieve.
As a general rule of thumb, if you want more shine and less hold, apply pomade to wet hair. If you want less shine and more hold, apply pomade to dry hair. Of course, this depends on what brand of pomade you use. If your hair is washed and you use a leave-in conditioner, make sure to apply that to your hair first.
- Take a dime-sized amount of the pomade and warm it up by rubbing your palms together. If you have longer or thicker hair, you may end up needing more, but it’s best to start with a smaller amount and gradually work your way up.
- Work the pomade through your hair, being sure to distribute it evenly and gently massage it from the roots to the tips. Style as desired.
- Depending on the pomade you use, if you need a touch-up during the day, all you need to do is add water to restyle.
The best hair pomades for men are the ones that provide desired hold and shine, without damaging the hair follicles or causing excessive buildup. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of pomades that are suitable for all hair types, meaning the best pomade for you is out there.
Once you find the right pomade for your hair, you’ll always be able to achieve the look you want that will either last all day or provide you with the flexibility for adjusting your hairstyle.