Pomade is a substance that some men use to make their hair look sleek, glossy, and nicely shaped. Of course, you may also want to try on some hair cream, clay, or gel. Of these, the last option appears to be the most trivial. The best pomade for men, on the other hand, tends to give your hair a look of the 1950s or 1960s – very defined and with a high shine.
Best Premium Pomade: Reuzel
Best Cheap Pomade: Murray’s
Most pomades for hair out there contain Mycrocristalline wax and natural beeswax, as both substances are great hair definers and shapers. And precisely because some hair pomades are oil-based, they do not dry hard like gels. This malleability allows you to work your hair into several different hairstyles throughout the day with a simple comb. One thing we’d like to warn you about early on: hair pomades that are oil-based are harder to wash off than hair creams or gels.
Best Pomades For Men
#1. Reuzel Pomades
When it comes to choosing the best pomade for men, Reuzel is the right stop to shop. They offer not one, not two, but seven different pomade products, each providing a different level of shine and hold.
Reuzel Extreme Hold Matte Pomade
This pomade for hair isn’t very shiny, but its hold is super-strong. As its name suggests, this product will keep even the most unkempt shocks of hair in the right place all day long. This pomade is water-based, so you can wash it away with minimum fuss when you need its magic no more. Even a small amount of the product is going to fix your long and wayward hair in place and hold for as long as you need it. You can work it in from crown to tips with your fingers, or use a comb for a more classy look.
Reuzel Fiber Pomade
This water-based pomade features a strong hold (8/10) and medium shine (2/10). Its natural ingredients include Aloe vera and quinoa for added elasticity. Reuzel’s Fiber Pomade features subtle vanilla & mint fragrance and is recommended for short and thick hair. The combination of average hold and low shine creates extra hair volume for a slightly casual hairstyle.
Reuzel Clay Matte Pomade
This zero-shine, medium-hold pomade will surely give your weak, flat hair extra volume and a stylish matte finish. We’ve noticed a bit of contradiction in this product’s description: although it’s been named “clay pomade” Reuzel specifies that it’s water-based and washes down easily. Because of its medium-to-low hold, this pomade works best on short hair. Its no-sweat formula is suitable for adventurers and athletes alike.
Reuzel Blue Pomade
This pomade has a strong hold and high shine and gives out a subtle vanilla scent whenever you open its tiny tin box. Reuzel’s Blue Pomade contains natural oils, but at the same time washes off like gel. It remains pliable during the day without any sign of hardening or flaking.
Reuzel Red Pomade
This high-shine, medium-hold pomade has got a butter-like texture, and yet it’s water-based for easy washing off. The traditional vanilla scent has this time been mixed up with a spec of cola. Even if you scoop out a hefty dollop and work it into your fine hair, it won’t create an unwanted residue or build-up in the hair roots.
Reuzel Pink Pomade
This traditional oil-and-beeswax-based pomade does not wash off very easily. The manufacturer mentions a “brick wall effect” created by the pomade’s average shine and average hold. As natural beeswax provides extra moisture, this styling product is very suitable for thick and straight hair. When you open the handsome tin box, you can expect to feel a delicate apple fragrance with a hint of salsa. This pomade is best washed off with Reuzel’s special Scrub Shampoo.
This oil-based pomade grease easily creates some of the most popular classic men’s hairdos. Its average-shine, average-hold formula uses Tea tree oil to break down excessive product build-up. This pomade features a delicate Pomme fragrance with a twist of peppermint. It’s suitable for long hair, as beeswax has a pronounced moisture-retention effect.
#2. Murray Pomades
In addition to its cream-like Original Pomade (check link) that’s been around since 1926, Murray’s offers three other pomades: eXelento, HAIR-GLO, and Nu Nile. And while Reuzel’s pomades cost about $18 per box, these are in the $3-$5 price range. Muray’s other hair styling products include super strong gel and beeswax-based conditioner.
eXelento’s middle-shine formula has been enriched with lanolin and olive oil for better protection against the hot and dry climate of the Australian Bush. This slicked back pomade makes men’s hair more malleable and easier to control and shape.
Murray’s Hair-Glo hair pomade features a light, high-shine, no-wax formula. The added coconut oil and lanolin makes men’s hair stronger and full of energy. This pomade is popular in barbershops around the world for its amazing ability to slick back hair.
Nu Nile is a slicked-back, average-shine pomade that gives your hair a gel-like wet look. Its strong-hold formula makes it the perfect choice for men with thick and unruly hair. Nu Nile facilitates hair parting, lifting, and styling. If your hair allows it, you can also experiment with some waves or curls.
#3. American Crew Pomade
American Crew is a supplier of men’s grooming products that have been around since 1994. On their website, you can even read that “American Crew is the leading professional men’s grooming brand in the world.” We’ll come back to this bold statement in a moment, but first, let’s have a closer look at their pomade.
Selling at over $18 per box, this product is at the high end of the best pomades’ price range. Its water-based texture washes off easily without building up unwanted residue. Its medium-hold, high shine formula is rich in Lanolin, which provides a very pliable hold. Work a small amount of the product in dry or damp hair to create a classic, slicked-back look. Watch out not to overdose, because it’ll make your hair look greasy and heavy.
The product contains mostly natural ingredients, but we spotted at least three “bad guys” among them – PVP, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben. Looking at the reviews of the American Crew pomade, we spotted a tendency for steadily deteriorating quality that has been around for at least two years now. A concerned wife shares, for example, that she’s contacted American Crew in relation to their pomade’s inconsistent quality, and they’ve replied that “basically, it is what it is.”
This does not resonate quite well with their highfalutin statement above. Let’s hope it won’t affect American Crew’s other products. Also, it’s a bit strange for such a big company as American Crew to have developed only one type of hair pomade, compared to Murray’s three and Reuzel’s seven.
#4. Old Spice Pomade
Old Spice’s pomade is called Spiffy. Selling at just under $7 for 2.64 oz, this is one of the best pomades for men in terms of value for money. It’s got a heavy, paste-like texture and requires proper hair washing to go down the drain. For a clean-cut look, you should apply this medium-hold, matte-finish pomade on damp hair. Just rub a pea-sized amount between your palms and all through your hair. Then, you’ll be able to style your hair by just running your hand through it, unless you decide to take an afternoon nap.
This pomade smells like an old man’s cologne. Some users find the smell sexy, others say it’s terrible. Old Spice does not state it explicitly, but from the reviews, we browsed through we assume with quite a certainly that Spiffy is a traditional oil & beeswax-based pomade. One user shares, for example, that it leaves quite a lot of residue after several days of consistent use.
On Spiffy’s label, we could spot quite a few suspicious ingredients like:
- Propylene Glycol
- Polyglyceryl-3 Dicitrate
- Cetyl Alcohol
- Tridecyl Trimellitate
The list goes on and on, so if your scalp is sensitive and prone to irritation, maybe you should not use this pomade. Old Spice also offers other styling products including hair gel and putty.
#5. Suavecito Pomades
Suavecito has developed a wide selection of hair products and offers many different pomades for men and women alike. There are pomades for fall and winter; there are strong-hold and matte-finish ones. The company also sells oil-based and wax-based pomades for every pocket and taste.
Within the word limitations of this review, it is impossible to discuss all of the 50+ types of hair pomade for men (Suavecito) and for women (Suavecita) that this company offers. Instead, we shall focus on their top three pomades – Firme Hold Winter Pomade, Original Hold Winter Pomade, and Matte Winter Pomade.
Firme Hold Winter Pomade
The unique water-soluble formula of this seasonal pomade applies equally well on wet or dry hair and creates the feeling that your head has been wrapped in a soft fluffy blanket on a crisp winter evening. And because winter is often windy, this medium-shine pomade’s hold is quite strong.
As soon as you finish working the pomade on your head with your fingertips, make sure to lock the desired look in place with a comb or a hair-brush. This 100% American product is not cheap, selling at just under $12 for 4 ounces. It features a rich fragrance profile that combines fruit and sandalwood scents.
Original Hold Winter Pomade
Selling at just under $10 for 4 ounces, this pomade is slightly cheaper, maybe because of its medium hold. Its water-based formula features a noticeable cashmere scent. This pomade comes in a navy blue pearlescent jar and applies very easily on damp or dry hair.
Use your fingertips to scoop out a small amount of the product and work it evenly into your hair. You may finish with a brush or comb, or just use your hand to style your hair in a more casual way. For better distribution, work the product into an emulsion between your palms before applying it.
Matte Winter Pomade
This pomade features a warm winter scent with notes of apple and pineapple and traditional oil-based formula. Yet, its hold is medium, which allows you to model your hair as you like it, including with a blow-dryer. Albeit not water-based, this pomade washes away easily when you need to give your hair a rest.
Before applying Suavecito’s Matte Winter Pomade, warm it in your hands and work it in from the roots to the tips of your hair. In this way, you’ll get heaps of weightless volume with a low-shine finish.
#6. Axe Pomade
Axe’s classic pomade is a 100% American product. Its medium-hold, high-shine formula allows the user to style different hairdos in minutes – from the edgy ducktails of the 1950s to the slicked-back look of the 1920s. Axe Clean Cut Look Classic Pomade is all about control.
You don’t have to be an actor, a rockstar, or an athlete to experiment with extravagant hairstyles. If you’ve got medium-length hair, you can try the classic Pompadour, or shock your mates with an outrageous, pomade-sculptured punk hairdo.
Axe’s traditional pomade is best applied on dry hair, as it doesn’t stick very well on damp hair. As a rule, medium-hold pomades are great for thinning hair that needs some volume for a livelier look. Some men with thicker hair tend to apply too much pomade in order to sculpture the desired hairstyle.
Axe calls them “modern-day greasers” and advises that one should start with a fingertip amount of their pomade. If you accidentally apply too much Axe pomade on your hair, you’d best use a blow-dryer to melt away the excess. This pomade has relatively few ingredients, compared to some of our previous picks.
The one ingredient that appears to be present in every pomade out there is the Hydrogenated Castor Oil. Although not explicitly stated, this particular pomade appears to be water-based, judging by the absence of beeswax or other oils. For best results, use Axe Clean Cut Look Classic Pomade with their shampoo and hair tonic.
#7. JOHNNY B. Original Brilliant Shine Pomade
This is a classic, oil-based, heavy formula that represents the original old-style pomades. We could not establish why exactly the manufacturer boasts the fact that their pomade is gluten-free. After all, you apply it on your hair, and not on your palate.
As its name suggests, this men’s pomade gives a brilliant shine thanks to its special ingredient – snow-white petrolatum. However, its hold is rather weak, so it’s not very economical. This also means that it works best on short hair to style buzz cuts and other close-to-the-scalp hairdos. For the best look, apply the pomade on dry hair with your fingertips and style as desired.
Bearded users have shared that they occasionally add a small dab of the stuff to their beards, because of its handsome, fruity fragrance. Other not so happy men complain that this pomade is nearly impossible to wash off and has made their hair feel dry. This contradicts the manufacturer’s statement that their product washes out without sticking, although it isn’t water-soluble.
One outraged fellow has even written that “JOHNNY B.’s pomade leaves your hair looking as if you poured a bucket of grease on.” Apparently, the brilliant shine that it gives comes at a price. As this is JOHNNY B.’s first attempt at pomade making, they have plenty of time ahead to improve their formula and come up with the best pomade men have ever seen!
#8. Sportin’ Waves Pomade
The Sportin’ Waves Gel Pomade with Wavitrol is part of SoftSheen-Carson’s selection of premium hair-styling products. The special moisturizing formula of this fix & hold pomade keeps your hair healthy and gives it a natural sheen.
SoftSheen-Carson advertises its hair pomade as suitable for long hair that can be styled into numerous waves with a comb or brush. The manufacturer also describes this product is water-soluble, but a user has shared that it takes three showers to wash the waxy substance off your hair.
The formula has been specially developed to make short & curly hair more obedient. Its moisture-sealing qualities make the product suitable for places with a dry, arid climate. The gel-like texture of this pomade fits any hair type and gives your hairdo extra volume.
The manufacturer advises that before applying the Sportin’ Waves Gel Pomade, you should first dampen your hair with a hot towel. Then, apply a silver dollar-sized amount of the pomade into the roots and work it gradually towards the tips of your hair. In this way, you’ll be able to achieve lots of evenly-staged waves. After applying the pomade, there may be some waxy film on your fingers that you can easily wipe with a paper tissue.
The manufacturer explicitly states that ” The Sportin’ Waves range is made by Magic – formulated for Black Men”, but our devoted testers have established that this product is suitable for all men, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Warning: the Benzyl Alcohol in this product’s formula is highly-flammable, so you should keep your pomaded hair away from open flames, sources of extreme heat, or lit tobacco products.
#9. Uppercut Pomade
Uppercut Deluxe’s pomade is one of the best pomades for men. The formula has been designed for men who have strong individuality and who want to express themselves through their extravagant hairstyles. At the same time, Uppercut Deluxe’s pomade is perfect for creating timeless, James Bond-like looks.
Being the flagship in the Uppercut Deluxe’s product range, this pomade set the bar for quality and has earnt itself a cult status over the years. Its creamy texture creates a strong hold and gives men’s hair a brilliant shine. This pomade can be used to style thin, thick, curly, or straight hair.
Deluxe Pomade is water-soluble, so it can be washed off without much effort. Still, we noticed some bad guys on the label, including PVP, Peg-75 Lanolin, and Edta. Uppercut Deluxe’s versatile pomade is suitable for any hair type and its highly-prized for its broad styling options. For outstanding effect, use it with the company’s patented CT5 Comb.
The guys who developed this product are professional barbers, so you can trust this pomade with every hair on your head. Uppercut Deluxe offers five other types of pomade: Featherweight, Matte, Matte Clay, Easy Hold, and Monster Hold. Their names pretty much explain each pomade’s characteristic feature.
#10. Baxter of California Clay Pomade
Baxter of California is a world-famous manufacturer of men’s grooming and hair styling products. The brand was created in 1965 to supply the best pomades for men and defy social expectations and prejudices. The company now has an impressive collection of superior hair products designed to unleash the coiffeur’s imagination and creative power.
Baxter of California clay pomade will help you style your hair in the simplest possible way. Its patented wax-based formula has been rigorously tested at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop in Los Angeles, along with all of the company’s other products. This pomade allows men to separate, define, and mold their hair into various classic styles throughout the day.
The texturizing formula of Baxter of California clay-based pomade relies on ingredients like beeswax to creates a strong, pliable hold with minimum shine. To mold your wayward curls into place, just emulsify a small amount of this hair pomade between your palms and work it into your dry hair starting from your forehead and going backward.
Baxter’s Clay & Oil-based pomade is full of natural ingredients such as kaolin clay and beeswax for added texture and volume of men’s hair. Its paraben-free formula is gentle to the scalp and easily shapes one’s hair into a wide variety of casual hairdos.
In winter, you can head Baxter of California’s hair pomade jar with a blow dryer to soften the product a bit before use. If you want an even more pronounced matte finish, use a blow dryer after you’ve finished styling your hair. This strong-hold Baxter of California clay pomade can even be used to give your prominent mustache an even more extravagant look.
#11. Billy Jealousy Strong Hold Medium Shine Pomade
Billy Jealousy’s Plaster Master strong-hold, average-shine pomade vows to keep men’s hair properly-styled all day. Its 100% vegan formula has been developed with zero animal cruelty and is free of sulfates. These facts make this particular clay & oil-based pomade suitable for all hair types, especially for weak and color-treated hair.
The beeswax and castor oil in Plaster Master’s formula gives this pomade its distinguishing strong hold. As a rule, clay-based pomades not only style and fix your unruly hair into place, but also boost its growth and make it look stronger. To avoid excessive grease or flaking, emulsify a dollop of the product into your palms and gently work it into damp hair with small circular motions to achieve a light shine.
Plaster Master is part of the beeswax-based pomades’ family and features a thick, gel-like texture and a distinct musk & vanilla fragrance. The firm hold of most clay-based pomades is perfect for styling long and thick hair. Plaster Master allows you to easily create pompous pompadours or retro-looking quiffs without worrying about excess grease.
The castor seed oil contained in Billy Jealousy’s hair products is rich in vitamin E that intensifies blood circulation in the scalp and makes hair follicles healthier and stronger. Castor seed oil’s anti-fungal properties reduce dandruff and prevent hair loss
#12. Layrite Pomade
Layrite was founded in 1999 by Donnie Hawley, who wanted to find a water-soluble pomade formula that holds like wax and washes off like gel. The result was Layrite’s Original Pomade, the flagship of their line of products. It includes a Strong-hold pomade, High-shine Cream, Natural Matte Cream, and a Cement Cream.
Layrite Original is a medium-shine pomade with an average hold. Its ingredients include kaolin clay, charcoal, and waxes naturally-derived the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree that give men’s hair a structured finish. As a rule, medium-shine water-based pomades make men’s hair look healthy, not greasy. Therefore, this product is very suitable for use in hot countries, as it does not melt and turn into waxy grease in the sun.
Selling at $4 per ounce, this is one of the more expensive water-based pomades that sell online. It makes your hair extremely malleable and obedient and feels very smooth to touch. For best results, use Layrite’s Grooming Spray as a primer before applying their best pomade on your damp hair. If you want a stronger hold, apply Layrite’s Original Hair Pomade on your dry hair without using the primer. If you need to refresh your look, just wet your palms with tap water and restyle your hair with your fingers.
#13. Imperial Pomade
Imperial Barber Products has been making some of the best pomades for men since 2009. Their Classic Water-based Pomade provides a strong hold and low shine. This workhorse pomade has been a staple in barbershops across America ever since it was first launched for sale.
Customers still consider it one of America’s best pomades and the strongest water-based one. The product applies easily to a wide variety of hair types to create impressive, classic-looking hairdos. At the end of the day, you can just wash it off with water. Its strong, consistent hold and low shine make this water-soluble pomade the perfect companion of every active and energetic man.
For weaker hold and stronger shine, dampen your hair a bit, and then apply a silver-dollar amount of the product in the roots. Then, use the tips of your fingers to achieve the desired look. If the pomade becomes too dry, sprinkle it with cold water and reshape your hair.
For an extreme volume, you can apply Imperial Barber Products’ Gel Pomade as a styling primer and then apply a coat of their traditional, water-based pomade for an all-day hold.
Is Pomade the Right Choice for My Hair?
Men with delicate, fine hair should choose some of the more modern pomade formulas that are water-based. They are lighter and easier to remove and provide medium hold throughout the day. If, on the other hand, your hair grows in thick, coarse strands, it can hold a classic pomade formula like the ones produced by Baxter of California. They feature stronger hold and traditional high shine.
Water-based pomades will allow you to easily achieve a softly-polished hairstyle and are great at taming wayward locks of hair. Traditional pomades give your hair a matte finish and should be used to deal with dramatic pomps, ducktails, and mighty quiffs. As a rule, the classic, heavier formulas are more suitable for thick hair.
When choosing the right pomade for your hair type, you should always read the label, lest the pomade might be some ingredients you’re allergic to. The best pomades for men reviewed below contain mostly natural ingredients and are cruelty and paraben-free.
When Not to Use Pomade
You should stop using the pomade you’ve chosen if you spot any of the following ingredients on the product’s label:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- PVP/VA Copolymer
Also, pomade may not be the best styling solution if your hair type is a bit oily, because it can add extra oil and exacerbate the problem. If you’re fighting dandruff or you’ve got an over-sensitive scalp, you should only use hair pomades that your dermatologist has approved.