Pomade 101: Men’s Guide to a Stylish Hairdo

What is Pomade?

The term pomade was rooted in the French word “pommade” which meant “ointment”. A pomade is defined as a greasy hair product best suited for maintaining men’s hairstyles such as pompadours, slick backs, fades and side-parted hairstyles. This kind of hair styling product comes in two varieties such as water-based and oil-based consistencies that when applied, add volume, texture, and structure to dull and boring hair.

Why You Should Use Pomade?

Using a pomade adds a slick, shiny and firm finish to your hair compared to other men’s hair products like gel or hair wax. They come in different hold levels specifically made for your hair type and hairstyle that lasts longer than usual products. Luckily, when you purchase a pomade it comes in a variety of water-based and oil-based ingredients so you can have the freedom to restyle your hair any way you want at any time. It’s a versatile product perfect for men whether they have short hairstyles or long hairstyles.

A man extracting hair pomade on his palm before styling his hair with a comb.
©Photo by Norgal on Adobe Stock

Types of Pomade

Not all pomades are the same. They differ in terms of strength levels, textures, and lustrous. Each type of pomade is specially formulated to cater to your hair’s needs to achieve the hairstyle you desire. Pomades are made into two varieties which could either be oil-based or water-based so we listed them down so you’d know which one could work for your hair.

1. Oil-based Pomade

An oil-based pomade is a traditional pomade made from either petroleum or lanolin ingredients that give your hair that greasy and glossy finish after styling.

This was very popular during the ’50s and ’60s before water-based pomades were made. This is mostly used to create classic men’s hairstyles such as pompadours and quiffs which are considered as timeless hairstyles since the 50s’. This hair styling product works great for men with thick or curly hair since it has a longer-lasting hold that keeps the hairdo in place for hours but can be tricky to wash off.

2. Water-Based Pomade

In comparison to oil-based pomade, a water-based pomade produces a more matte finish. This type of pomade was created to style classic pomade hairstyles like the oil-based types but with the benefit that you can easily wash off the product when you’re done.

Another great thing about it is that it acts like a gel that dries hard after application but not too hard that you wouldn’t have the freedom to restyle your hair numerous times. This hair-product is applicable with a damp comb or wets your hands with water. All you have to do is just run it through your hair, making it as easy to apply as possible.

3. Matte Pomade

A matte pomade is also water-based that will give your hairdo a natural no-shine finish. This type of pomade works best for those with light or gray-looking hair since it won’t have that greasy effect that leaves your hair glossy on the white strands.

4. Clay Pomade

This type of pomade can be easily applied to any hair type but brings out the best in men who have fine or thin hair that needs more texture and fullness. A clay pomade can have a dry finish and a low-shine effect but what’s great about this is that the clay ingredients can add more volume to the hair with the same medium hold.

5. Fiber Pomade

This type of pomade works best for short hair. With its fiber components, it adds volume to men with fine hair and can style thick and curly hairdos. Because of its pliable hold, it gives fullness in styling men with short hair. It also easily washes off since it’s a water-based pomade.

6. Gel Pomade

If you’re worried about getting dry and flaky hair because of using pomades, then you need to try gel pomades. The difference between using gel pomades vs. hair gels is that gel pomades are alcohol-free to avoid such reactions. It’s great for hairstyles that need high hold strengths and works well for added thickness and texture to thin or fine hairs on your scalp with that cool gel-like feel.

The Level of Holds of A Pomade

High Life Pomade
Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

It can be tricky finding the right pomade that works for your hair type, hair length, and your desired hairstyle. Pomades are made with three levels of strengths that range from low, medium and high. Each strength can contain a certain amount of shine but are not the same as other products. So it’s ideal to know your hair type and hairstyle before deciding on a perfect hair product.

Light Hold

Pomade products that have a light strength hold are best for fine to curly hair types. This type of pomade also works for medium to long hair lengths. This allows you the freedom to play around and reshape with different loose pomade hairstyles.

Medium Hold

If you wish to create spiky, textured, and slick hairstyles, you need a pomade that has medium hold strength. Pomades like this are formulated to keep the style intact for most hair types and add thickness to thin hair strands. Such pomades with this kind of strength level are clay or fiber pomades.

Strong Hold

For all-day lasting strength, you would need a pomade with this level of hold. This works for any type of hairstyle you would want to achieve regardless of your hair type.

How to Apply Pomade

There are pomade hairstyles that require a specific way to be done. Applying pomade can be done two ways either damp or dry but it still boils down to what hairdo you’d like to achieve.


1.) Before you start applying the product to your hair, always start with a clean canvass. This means first washing your hair with shampoo. Pomade sticks well to clean and non-greasy hair.

2.) After you’ve washed your hair, don’t completely wait for it to dry. Instead, make sure your hair is still slightly damp but not dripping wet so that the product mixes well with your hair to get that nice sleek texture.

3.) Then get a pea-size amount of the product and rub it between your palms until your entire hand is covered with product. This makes it easier to evenly distribute the product once you start styling.

4.) When styling, start from the roots and work your way up to the tip of your hairs. Once you’re able to cover your hair with the product, take a damp comb and begin styling your desired look. Make sure to have pegs made available so that you can have a basis on the kind of hairdo you would like.

5 Must-Try Pomades 

For men who are just starting out, we’ve got 5 Best Pomades that you should try to achieve that stylish look.

Old Spice Men’s Pomade

Old Spice Pomade
Photo from Amazon

Spice Men’s Pomade is the one to purchase to achieve that desired hairstyle. This works with any type of hairstyle by providing a medium hold with a slick matte finish for that clean-cut look you’d want to have.  Even the most coarse and thick hair is no match for this astounding product.

Try out Old Spice Men’s Pomade

AXE Clean Cut Look Classic Hair Pomade


For men with short to mid-length hairstyles, this product is ideal for your needs. Just a tiny pea size from this will surely go a long way for an easy clean-cut style. This pomade delivers a medium hold to keep your locks in place with a matte finish.

Try out AXE Clean Cut Look Hair Pomade, Classic

Suavecito Matte Pomade


Suavecito is an essential hair product for any man’s grooming kit. If you’re into classic and retro pomade hairstyles, then you’ll effortlessly achieve that with this product.

What’s great about this water-based pomade is that the product grips well to your hair to keep the style intact for long hours. The best part, it can be easily washed out with water, unlike any oil-based pomades. It’ll work for hairstyles with side parts, slick backs, faux hawks, and messy looks.

Try out Suavecito Shine-Free Matte now!

Uppercut Deluxe Pomade


For a pomade that doesn’t dry out to keep that medium to high shine gloss, the uppercut deluxe pomade can do the job. Aside from being a reliable pomade for pomps and slick-backs, this hairstyle product is actually suitable for all hair types.

Try out Uppercut Deluxe now.

Strong Hold Matt Clay By Dapper Dan

Strong Hold Matt Clay By Dapper Dan
Photo from Amazon

If you’re looking at a long day ahead of you and you worry that your pomade hairstyle might go down, then worry no more because with the Strong Hold Matt Clay by Dapper Dan, it offers a strong hold level to keep your hairdo intact while adding a non-greasy feel to your hair strands.

Try out Strong Hold Matt Clay By Dapper Dan.

5 Most Popular Pomade Hairstyles 

Ready to style it out but can’t decide which hairstyle to try first? Well, worry no more because you can start with these 5 hairstyles we got for you.

man looking off to the side with sunglasses and wearing a pomp hairstyle
Photo by Aasil Shaikh from Pexels

You would need a pomade with a strong strength level to maintain the top volume of the hairstyle. First, you need to add products over slightly damp hair. Use a blow dryer and a round brush to push the hair upwards and forwards while focusing upfront with some added volume. With just a bit of pomade, you’re all sleek and set to rock and roll.

The Faux Hawk

Faux Hawk
Photo from Wikimedia

If you’re more of a rebellious spirit but want to keep it low-key well you should give the Faux Hawk ago. This is known to be the Mohawk’s little brother with a short back and sides but with more hair at the top for styling spikes. It’s edgy but modernly sophisticated at the same time. There are a variety of Faux Hawks so it would depend on your hair type if you’re curly or straight.

The Comb Over

man standing in an office and smiling at the camera with a comb over hairstyle
Photo by Marius Ciocirlan on Unsplash

Thought this hairstyle can appear similar to the Faux Hawk, but there’s a distinct difference. This look is more suited for the sophisticated modern man. From the cuts at the back, it seems as if it’s almost faded while leaving a fair amount of hair on the side for combing.

What makes this hairstyle timeless is the distinct clean hairline on the side. If you’ve seen Mad Men, then this will give you the confidence of Don Draper and the gang.

Messy Pomp

Messy Pomp
Photo by Wassim Chouak on Unsplash

You can get away with being stylish on a lazy day with messy pomp. It will give you that messy bed-head look girls are dying to tousle but you should know the difference between a good-looking messy hairdo as compared to an actual messy hairdo. This works best for round and square-faced men to balance out the look. For this, you’d need a pomade with a heavy strength hold to keep the structure intact throughout the day.


Quiff Hairstyle
Photo by Prajjal Biswas on Unsplash

Judged by women as one of the sexiest hairstyles on men, this 1950s pomade hairstyle is a combination of the pompadour and the flattop with a hint of edge from the mohawk. This style works best for men with round and prominent facial features. This classic look comes in different styles from combed back to messy hair tops. A versatile look fit for any personality.


Before you head-on with styling your hair, remember that it should start with the way your hair is cut. Ask your barber what kind of hairdo suits your face or look up online.

Do your research on what hairstyle works for your face shape so you can narrow down the choices on what pomade hairstyle to do. Your choice of pomade is highly dependent on your desired hairstyle, hair texture, and hair length, so stick to a single hairstyle for the meantime before you can transition to other styles. And when you finally found what works, try other pomades that can cater better to your hairstyle’s needs.

Mr Maxim
Mr Maxim is your go-to guy for all things men's lifestyle. If you need help getting your mojo together, Mr Maxim has all the tips you need to survive as a modern man in the 21st century.


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