Best Pomades For Men 2024, According to GQ Editors

Of course, the amount of product used will have an impact. Adjust your use based on the volume and density of your hair, as well as how long you want the product to maintain its hold.

Lastly, pomade can be used as an additive to your other hair products. Pomade mixes well with most other water-based products, too. So maybe your best choice in a pomade is the most universal one of them all (like, from our list, Blind Barber, Uppercut, or American Crew), and then just mix in a smidge with your usual styling product.

How We Tested

Tested and reviewed by Adam Hurley

caucasian man holding blind barber in black jar

AI-Generated with Google

I’ve been testing grooming products for over a decade, and in that span, my hair has gone from thinning to thick (thank you, hair transplant and hair retention efforts), as well as from short to long and back again. I use them on the regular, taking note of how each pomade interacts with my hair and how it holds up throughout the day. Any time a product doesn’t meet my hair needs, I pass it off to someone with different hair variables, like my partner with his wavy/curly/fine strands. For options we couldn’t test for this guide, we consulted experts. Otherwise, I carefully cross-check my picks with general feedback around the web, and GQ’s general knowledge of reputable labels.

Your Pomade FAQs, Answered

What’s the difference between oil-based and water-based pomades?

In a nutshell: Oil-based pomades offer a strong, long-lasting hold and shine, and they’ve been around for decades. Water-based pomades are relatively new and offer a range of holds and shines, and are easier to wash out because they contain water-soluble ingredients.

“It seems like any shine paste in a jar is labeled as pomade now, but in reality, a traditional pomade is oil-based, usually petroleum jelly, and offers stronger, longer-lasting hold designed to build up in your hair over time,” says Ortiz. “For that reason, oil-based pomade will not wash out as easily at the end of the day but will have a strong hold while still staying soft allowing you to restyle it throughout the day. Water-soluble pomades offer high hold and can be restyled throughout the day while also washing out more easily,” she adds.

Is pomade good for long hair?

Pomade is great for all types of hair. It’s just a matter of choosing one that suits your hair’s density, length, and styling goals. For long hair, try something water based, and err on the light side with application, unless you’re able to slick it back entirely. Pomade makes for a nice slicked man bun look, if you want to tie everything back.

Is hair pomade better than gel?

No two hair gels and no two pomades are the same, so it becomes impossible to define either of them. In fact, compared to hair gel, pomade has similar results these days: They are largely water based, provide medium or high hold and shine, and rinse clean at the end of the day. It’s just that old-timey pomades were oil based, while gels were crustier and would flake away. So, it’s good to consider both products for your needs.

About Our Expert

Jessica Ortiz is a celebrity groomer, so she gets A-List talent ready for their closeups—think photoshoots, red carpets, awards shows, press junkets, and more. Her roster of clients includes Matthew Macfadyen, Donald Glover, Daniel Ricciardo, Jay Ellis, and Joe Keery.

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