We often get asked about the best pomades and hair products for men. So, here we go…this is what we think you should have in your arsenal depending on what hair type you have or what hairstyle you are trying to master.
The term pomade used to mean oil-based, high shine products for creating slick styles like pomps, side parts and greaser styles. Some pomades still do that but lately, pomade has become a catch-all term for men’s hair products. Some formulas also feature fiber, clay or other ingredients that enhance hold.
Traditional oil-based products have superior hold and shine but are difficult to wash out. Getting oil-based pomades on the skin can also cause breakouts. Most pomades today are water-based for a range of shine and hold options that rinse out easily.
For all types of pomades, all but the creamiest of formulas will need to be rubbed between the palms to warm up and emulsify the product before application. In general, applying to wetter hair will result in more shine while applying to drier hair creates more hold and a more matte finish.
Which one is best for you? That is a combination of hair type, desired hair style and experimentation. Many of the products are comparable while some have unique features. In addition to this list, you can ask your barber or friends for recommendations and styling tips. Most haircuts finish with a product application so if you like the look and feel, buy some.
Or just pick one and go for it. Some brands are pricier than others but most will last for several months. It’s about the price of a t-shirt but something you wear everyday. Totally worth it.
One you have some product experience, you can even mix and match multiple products to get exactly the hold and finish you want.
Best Pomades for Men 2016
This list is based on Amazon’s top-selling styling products. It just goes to show how much product guys are buying and using when styling aids for men occupy 2o slots out of the top 100 (at the time of writing). These are the most popular pomades for men:
Mitch Reformer Texturizer by Paul Mitchell Men is an easy to use, invisible product with strong hold and a matte finish. The hold is strong but not the strongest to this product is best for short hair. The texturizer works best when applied to damp, almost dry hair. This is a great option for this years textured crop trend.
Hair Types: All straight including fine and thick
Hairstyles: Messy, textured, natural
4.3 out of 5 stars
$16.97 for 3 ounces
Each one of Gatsby Moving Rubber series is created for a different styles. Wild Shake, the one in the purple can, is a strong hold, medium shine product designed for wild, messy 3D styles for short to medium-short hair. The wax does provide all day hold but can take a few shampoos to wash out.
Hair Types: All straight or wavy up to 4″ long
Hairstyles: Spikes or messy styles with defined spikes or texture
4.6 out of 5 stars
$9.49 – 2.8 oz
d:fi d:struct Pliable Molding Crème is a medium-high strength product with low shine. The cream goes in easy and holds even the thickest hair all day with a pliable, matte finish. It works for all straight hair types.
Hair Types: Thick, straight, fine, thinning
Hairstyles: Natural looks, spiky styles, combed styles
4.7 out of 5 stars
$12.20 5.3 oz
Mesh-like fibers define and separate hair with a strong, pliable hold that lasts all day. This shaping cream is easy to use and add texture and definition. It dries matte but will have some sheen if applied to damp or wet hair.
Hair Types: Fine to thick straight hair
Hairstyles: Messy styles, spikes, combed styles, textured crops
4.6 out of 5 stars
$14.74 3 oz
In addition to being widely available, American Crew makes a wide range of quality products that are easy to use. With medium hold and low shine, American Crew Defining Paste is similar to their Fiber but is easier to apply and works for short as well as hair longer than 2″. The paste creates volume, definition and texture. It can be applied to dry or damp hair, experiment with which one works best for you.
Hair Types: All straight, wavy
Hairstyles: Anything styled with fingers, textured looks, messy styles
4.3 out of 5 stars
$10.95 3 oz
As the name Layrite Cement Matte Hair Clay indicates, this is a clay product that dries like cement with a matte finish plus the signature vanilla Layrite scent. This is one of the strongest hold products out there and works to control the thickest and curliest locks. Apply to blow-dried or dry hair for best results or slightly damp hair for easier application.
Hair Types: Thick, coarse, curly, very curly
Hairstyles: Messy, texture, defined volume
4.3 out of 5 stars
$18.98 for 4 oz
This traditional pomade from Australia features strong hold without stiffness and medium-high shine with a vanilla-coconut scent. Crafted in the spirit of timeless barbering, this pomade is ideal for all types of medium length hair to create retro styles with plenty of hold and volume.
Hair Types: All hair types up to medium length
Hairstyles: Classic styles like pompadours, side parts, combovers and slick looks
4.2 out of 5 stars
$17.00 for 3.5oz
This is a versatile styling wax with medium control, low shine and pliable texture. It works for a range of hair types, adding volume to fine hair, control to thick hair and definition to waves or curls. Apply to almost dry hair and refresh with a touch of water if desired.
Hair Types: All: fine, straight, thick, curly, wavy
Hairstyles: Spiky styles for shorter hair, slick looks, natural waves, tousled bedhead
4.5 out of 5 stars (179)
$16.00 for 3.4 oz
In the pink can, this is the hardest wax in the Moving Rubber series with the strongest hold and low shine. As the name says, it is made for gravity-defying spiky styles for hair up to about 3″ long. Check out the Gatsby site for more hairstyle pictures.
For best results, work through almost dry hair. When hair is too dry, it can be difficult to work through hair while wet hair will flop down. Spiky Edge can be tough to wash out so use as little product as possible when styling (you don’ t need much) and shampoo multiple times.
Hair Types: Very short to short-medium for all hair types. Especially good for thick, coarse hair.
Hairstyles: Spiky, messy, fauxhawk, texture
4.6 out of 5 stars
We don’t usually recommend hair gel but this alcohol-free formula doesn’t flake, crunch or dry out hair. The high hold, high shine product is easy to apply and wash out. Don Draper’s hair was actually styled using gel, not the pomade you would expect, so try it for retro slick looks as well as modern spiky styles.
Hair Types: Fine, thick, straight
Hairstyles: Spikes, texture, slick styles,
4.6 out of 5 stars
$26.81 – 33.8 0z
Imperial Classic Pomade is industrial strength hold, low shine pomade is water-based to rinse out easily. It dries medium hard but is still flexible and can be refreshed with a touch of water. If you want to style hair in the morning and not touch it for the rest of the day, this is the product for you. The light watermelon scent is unexpected but pleasant and not overpowering.
Guys with brown, black or grey hair can enhance color with Imperial Blacktop Pomade. It’s the Classic Pomade formula plus black iron oxide to darken hair and cover greys.
Hair Types: Fine, thin, straight, thick, wavy, curly
Hairstyles: Slick styles, side part styles, pomps, defined waves or curls
4.3 out of 5 stars
$16.15 for 6 oz
Also known as the brown can,Layrite Super Hold Pomade is their strongest formula plus high shine. Similar to the original formula, it also has water-based beeswax for increased hold. For ultimate strength, apply to dry hair. It can tame the thickest and curliest locks.
Hair Types: Thick, coarse, wavy, curly
Hairstyles: Classic slick styles, combover, pomps, messy looks, defined curls and waves
4.5 out of 5 stars
$18.00 for 4 oz
Layrite Deluxe Original Pomade is a traditional water-based pomade with moderate shine and a light vanilla scent. Their original hold compares to extreme hold from other products. It feels like a thick gel that is easy to work through hair and can be styled with fingers or a comb. The versatile product is great for all those retro styles as well as modern slick looks and messy styles.
Hair Types: Fine to thick, straight hair and wavy or curly for straight styles
Hairstyles: Messy looks, textured styles, classic styles like pomps, quiffs and slickbacks
4.5 out of 5 stars (515)
$17.00 for 4 oz
Award-winning Baxter of California Clay Pomade provides separation, definition and strong, pliable hold that lasts all day. The ultra matte product works for everyone from fine to thick hair and combed to spiky styles. For best results, work into almost dry hair. For more styling tips, check out this video from Baxter of California.
Hair Types: Fine, thick, straight
Hairstyles: Textured, spiky, combed
4.2 out of 5 stars (436)
As the name says, American Crew Classic Fiber products contain resinous fibers that provide a strong, pliable hold with a matte finish that lasts all day. The product goes on smooth and dries matte while adding texture, thickness and fullness to hair.
The key to making Classic Fiber work for you is a touch of moisture that makes the product easier to work with. Work into almost dry hair with a touch of water on the palms.
Hair Types: Straight, short
Hairstyles: Spiky, textured, combed styles
4.7 out of 5 stars
$11.51 for for 3 oz or $19.17 for a 2-pack
Suavecito Pomade Original Hold is a creamy pomade that dries firm but doesn’t get hard or crunchy. Use a touch or water to restyle or even more water for a wet look. Also features that distinctive Sauvecito scent.
4.4 out of 5 stars 930
$11.99 4 oz
Water-based American Crew Pomade provides medium hold with a high shine. The smooth control can be used for a wide range of hairstyles. The pomade is easier to work through damp hair but will has more hold when applied to dry hair.
The flexible formula is pliable enough to work for curly hair too.
Hair Types: Straight, wavy, curly, thick
Hairstyles: All, slick, messy, texture
$11.20 – 3 oz
American Crew Forming Cream has a pliable hold that also conditions hair and washes out easily. For guys with fine, thin or thinning hair, glycerin softens and swells the hair shaft making hair appear thicker. The medium hold, medium shine cream is a good option for guys new to styling their hair.
Hair Types: All types and lengths – straight, fine, thin, curly, medium length, long
Hairstyles: Natural, loose, wavy, curly
712 $11.29 3 oz or $18.89 2-pack
TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax works best for textured styles with a natural matte finish. Made with beeswax, this product is pliable and humidity resistant. It is still water-based though, and washes out easily.
Hair Types: Straight
Hairstyles: Texture, spikes, messy
$10.41 – 3 oz
4.5 out of 5 stars 1,018
Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold is so popular because it is easy to use, has plenty of hold and a pleasant scent. Stronger than the original formula, the popular water-based pomade tames any hair type and stays strong all day. The creamy product dries hard with moderate shine. It can also be used instead of mustache wax. Also available in a 32 oz.
Hair Types: Straight, thick, wavy and curly – for straight hairstyles.
Hairstyles: Pomps, slick styles, combover, messy looks
$13.10 – 4 oz. or $30.00 for a 3-pack
Best Pomades For Thick Hair
Smooth Viking Pomade for Men – With “super hold and supreme shine,” this highly ranked pomade is excellent for thick and coarse hair as well as curly. The water-based product is easy to apply and wash out and never feels sticky, greasy or waxy. It is known for all day hold for tough to style hair and can even create a mohawk. Apply it to wet or dry hair.
Union Firm Hold Pomade – This USA-made product provides a natural shine that never looks greasy and all day hold. The water-based can be re-activated with a touch of water and rinses out easily. And satisfaction is guaranteed so you can’t go wrong giving Union a try.
Project M Epic Mint Pomade – Not your usual hair product, this subtly mint-scented pomade can also be used on facial hair. The medium hold tames thick hair for slick or moveable styles or apply to dry hair for more strength. With UV protection, soy proteins, and B5, Mint Pomade protects and conditions hair.
Suavecito Brilliantcreme – This brilliantine and hair creme softens hair with lanolin and holds with beeswax. With a light hold, this styling cream is for looser looks, especially this summer’s trendy textured crops. Apply to damp hair for even more shine. Also works well for fine and curly hair.
Murray’s Light Pomade & Hair Dressing – Created in 1929, this is a true vintage pomade. Oil-based pomades have stronger hold than water-based ones but tougher to clean hair. Containing aloe, lanolin and coconut oil, it is a lighter alternative to Murray’s Original Pomade and easier to work with and wash out. The wax can be difficult to remove from the tin so rub well between hands before use. At only $2.49 a tin, you can’t beat the price.
Best Pomades For Curly Hair
Styling products work best in tandem with the right shampoo and conditioner. Curly hair tends to be dry because the scalps natural oils can’t move from root to tip the way the day with straight hair. A combination of minimal shampooing, as infrequently as once a week, and a leave-in product like Baxter of California Daily Moisturizing Conditioner, will keep hair moisturized and tame frizz.
Now you’re ready for some product. Heavy hold products can be used for slick styles with plenty of wave while lighter hold products define curls.
Baxter of California Cream – The light hold and pliable finish is ideal for setting curls in loose styles. Apply to dry hair for a matte finish or wet hair for shine. For more hold, try award-winning Baxter of California Hard Creme.
Bumble and bumble Semisumo – This high shine, light hold product is all about workability and definition without weighing hair down. For guys with curly hair, it is the perfect tamer and finisher, defining curls and fighting frizz. Use Semisumo for styles that maintain curl.
Suavecito Firme Pomade – This is the product for slick styles like the combover oromp. The maximum hold makes it easy to comb out curls and adds some shine. It also can be used for loose, messy looks. Just use your fingers to style instead.
REUZEL Red “shines like a fresh coat of paint on your favorite vintage car.” The medium hold product is strongest when applied to blow-dried hair and lightest when used on damp locks. The water-based formula rinses out easily and can be reformed with damp hands.
O’Douds Heavy Hold Traditional Pomade – For something different, O’Douds features a forest scent. Another great product for creating slick looks. Curls won’t form after the product is applied to for straight styles, apply to straightish, wet hair. Towel dry hair, comb hair into place and finish with more product.
This is an oil-based product so does not wash out easily. It is also hard in the jar so use a nail to get product out and rub well between hands to warm it up before applying.
Best Pomades For Fine or Thin Hair
Styling aids will have the most impact when you start with a good shampoo or conditioner targeted to your hair type, whether it’s fine, thin or thinning. Used consistently, they will densify and strengthen hair.
Styling also makes the most of fine or thin hair. Blowdrying adds volume that makes hair appear fuller and guides hair into place. The final product will lock down your look.
Guys with fine, thin or thinning hair should look for matte finish products. Usually lightweight products are the best option but stronger hold styling aids can thicken up hair and add texture.
Here are our top picks in order form lightest to strongest hold.
Imperial Barber Matte Pomade Paste – With a matte finish that doesn’t weigh hair down, no one can tell you are wearing product. It provides texture and definition, making it work for tousled or slicker styles. This is perfect for guys new to using styling aids.
Lock Stock & Barrel Pucka Grooming Creme – This products hits all the key points for fine or thin hair – volume, texture, and thickness with a pliable light to medium hold. It creates invisible hold with a touch of shine so this is excellent for combed styles as well as natural looks.
Krieger + Söhne Forming Cream – A rare combination of lightweight and strong hold, simply apply more product for more hold. This forming cream gives all day, touchable hold with no shine and a whiff of piña colada.
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shaping Cream – Flexible resins create a moveable texture with long-lasting hold. This product can be used for slick styles, natural looks or texture. The product dries matte but will have some sheen when applied to damp hair. Try it with Paul Mitchell Thickening Shampoo for even more thickness and volume.
Baxter of California Clay Pomade – This award-winning product adds texture and pliable definition to fine hair. Apply it to dry hair or almost dry hair for a natural matte finish. Clay products work best for messy or textured hairstyles.