Hair Care Guide: Pomade Vs. Wax

​​​​​​​​​​​​It's a question that has been around since their invention when it comes to guys that like to keep their hair looking dapper and fresh- should you use pomade or wax?

Sometimes people even throw gel into the mix. Before you can determine which one is best for you in the rivalry of pomade vs. wax, it helps to know a little bit about each of these two hair styling gems.

What Is Pomade?

In general terms, pomade is a water-based creation that helps with hair styling. It has a waxy and greasy consistency. Its ingredients include wax and/or petroleum.

It gives your hair a shiny appearance and is often used by guys that like to do certain types of styles with their hair. This product creates a slicked back style (think greasers from The Outsiders or the guys in Grease).

Unlike hairspray, gel, and mousse, it's a lasting product that doesn't always wash out with one wash (unless you're buying the water-based version without the wax). However, because of its ingredients, it does add moisture to your hair. In the beginning, People used fat or lard from animals, often bears, to make pomade. Now the product consists of more “normal” ingredients, like beeswax.

These days, you can buy pomade that has colors in it that works as a temporary hair dye. Colored pomade is a healthier option for your hair than spray in coloring or permanent hair dye.

What Is Hair Wax?

Wax could be confused with pomade in the way you buy it, in a container that allows you to finger out what you need to run into your hair. Wax has an even thicker consistency than pomade. Like pomade, it works to help keep your hair from drying out, which would happen if you used gel.

While you can buy hair wax, putty, pomade, and paste, they're all essentially the same things going by different names. If the main ingredient is wax, it's pretty much hair wax (right?). It's often just the consistency of each of them that varies, and the different ingredients included with the wax in them. Of course, as previously mentioned, pomade is sometimes water-based.

If it says “wax” in the name, you can assume it's going to give you great hold. Wax is used to hold up mohawks and start dreadlocks.

Why Not Gel?

Hair gel isn't the only alternative option to pomade and hair wax, but each of them does something different when it comes to hair styling. One of the biggest negative aspects of hair gel is that it often contains alcohol, which dries out your hair and scalp.

Clay, paste, and putty are all other “alternative” options when it comes to keeping your hair where you want it. Pomade is the best choice if you want more diversity, but wax trumps pomade if you want a stiff hold.

No matter what type of hair styling products you are using, you want to make sure that you are washing them out well at the end of the day. Buildup from hair care products leads to dandruff. You can invest in shampoos and conditioners that are specifically made to assist in the removal of hair care products.

Which Do You Pick When It Comes Pomade vs. Wax?

Pomade is probably the most common term you hear when it comes to hair waxes and other rub-in products for your hair (like putty, paste, etc.).  It's the best choice when you want your hair to shine when you want a slicked-back look, and when you want to look well-groomed. It's also great for anyone wanting a vintage hairstyle, like a pompadour.

If you have dry hair, the grease from pomade will give your hair some much-needed moisture. How much shine and how much hold you want will help you determine how you apply your pomade. More shine comes with applying it to wet hair, but you'll get less hold. The opposite results happen when you use it on dry hair.

What ingredients are in your pomade matter too.

Petroleum-based will become stiffer as they dry, while water-based will be more malleable. People with spiked hair use wax, rather than pomade (unless they want their hawk falling mid-day).

Wax, on the other hand, will let you get even more drastic with your styling because it has a firmer hold. It's also better for people with naturally greasy hair. The downside of wax is that it dries out after awhile.

So, when it comes to pomade vs wax, the choice is really up to you and the look you want to achieve.

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