Have you taken a good, hard look at the amount of men’s hair products that are on the shelves today?

It is so much more than in times past.

You’ll see lines of everything from mousse to gel to wax to pomade. The key, though, is how do you know what to get?

Not to mention, how do you learn how to use it if you’ve never used it before?

Read through this quick primer to learn about the differences between pomade vs. gel, and make a difference in your personal appearance with the right hair product.

Comparing Pomade vs. Gel – See What Works Best With Your Hair

What Is a Pomade?

Pomade is like a gel but is not a gel in that it does not harden or get flaky. You can think of it as a hair grease that doesn’t leave your hair greasy as long as you don’t overdo how much you put in your hair. Pomades can make your hair look beautifully shiny, too.

There are two kinds of pomades available on the market. They are either oil-based or water-based. Each has its own specific pros and cons.

Water-Based Pomades

Water-based pomades are water-soluble. That means that these will wash out pretty quickly without much effort.

Oil-Based Pomades

Oil-based pomades are made from ingredients that are oil-based like petroleum, think Vaseline, or possibly lanolin. These pomades do not wash out very easily, and can sometimes cause a build-up on your hair if you don’t wash them out thoroughly.

Who Should Use a Pomade?

If you like a classic look without any fuss, a pomade could be precisely what the doctor ordered for your hair. Pomades will keep your hair in place and give you some extra shine, too.

If your hair happens to also be thick or curly, pomade is perfect for you, too. As a bonus, pomade also does a stellar job at keeping flyaways to a minimum.

You also don’t need much more than a dime-size amount worked throughout your hair.

Keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin, you’ll want to avoid any oil-based products because they can irritate your skin.

What is a Gel?

Most of us remember using hair gel in our high school years to get that really spiky look that kept our hair in place forever.

Of course, with those memories comes remembering that your hair would look so flaky if anyone ever touched it.

Gel also has the bonus of washing out with water really quickly, which makes it an excellent choice for the right hair type.

Who Should Use a Gel?

If you happen to have thin or fine hair, the gel would be perfect for your hair.

Gel tends to give hair more thickness, which is great if you have fine hair, but not so great if you have thick hair.

Also, don’t overdo it with the gel either, or you will end up looking like your hair is being weighed down as opposed to being styled.

Unlike oil-based pomades, a gel is water-based and so is less likely to cause skin irritation or clogged pores.

Pomade vs. Gel – The Drawbacks

We already know pomades can be greasy if you use too much. Depending on how much you end up using, you may need to purchase shampoo specially made for removing pomade from your hair.

When it comes to gel, you will probably end up with flakes at some point. There is no real way around that, but you can at least ward them off a little by using what you need and no more than that.

Remember, you can always add, but you can’t take away what is already there once you get started.

In both cases, make sure the products don’t contain alcohol because that is one of the worst things about your hair.

Pomade vs. Gel – How to Apply

When you’re using pomade, the key is to not use too much. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a greasy head of hair regardless of whether or not you use an oil-based or water-based pomade.

Start with a dime-size dollop rubbed between your palms and work it into your hair. If you want your hair to be shinier, use pomade while it is still wet. If you’re looking for hold, then use it on dry hair for the best effect.

For gel, use it on wet hair. The best time to use it is on your hair right after your shower while your hair is still damp. If your head is dry, splash some water on your hair first, and then use the gel to achieve the look and hold you want.

The same amount goes for gel, though, so start with a dime-size dollop and go forward from there. Too much will leave your hair looking really thick or too weighed down, so add a little at a time.

Your Product, Your Look

Take a good look at your hair to see what is going to be best for you and don’t be afraid to experiment. You can always wash it out and start over, so see what works best with your hair and go from there.


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