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Pomade Vs Gel: Which Is Better And What Is More Preferred?

If you recently got a haircut, the next step is styling. After all, the way you style your hair can significantly impact how you look. Some guys simply style with a comb or their bare fingers.


There are some products that open a world of possibilities for your looks! Two of the most common hair products are pomade and gel. Knowing what to use can be a bit confusing, as each product caters to a specific hair type and style.

We have provided a basic breakdown of pomade vs. gel so you can achieve your desired looks!

Main Differences Between Pomade vs. Gel

The main differences between pomade vs. gel are:

  • Pomade provides a more natural look, whereas gel has a more wet look.
  • Pomade is flexible for restyling, whereas gel hardens the hair rock-solid.
  • Pomade is beneficial for thick or curly hair, whereas gel is better for thin or fine hair.
  • The moisture from pomade can help with dry or frizzy hair, whereas gel may cause flaking.

What Pomade Is Best At



Pomade is a creamy hair product that provides volume and a characteristic shine. It's also an alcohol-free alternative to gel that provides a flake-free texture.

Another excellent quality of pomade is flexibility. Whether your pomade has a light hold or strong hold, it won't harden your hair. This means that you can still restyle your hair, unlike gels. Of course, some brands are easier for restyling than others.

Pomades come in two varieties:

a. Water-Based Pomade

The water-based formula of this pomade is water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water. Therefore, you can rinse it off quickly the next time you shower.

b. Oil-Based Pomade

An oil-based pomade is made of "greasy" components, such as beeswax, petroleum, or lanolin (wool grease). As such, it provides a greater shine than water-based pomades. This is an excellent option if you want to have that greaser look.

However, the problem is that you can't easily wash it off. This only makes sense as grease and water don't mix. You may need multiple shampoo washes to remove all the grease or use specialized shampoo for oil-based pomades.

The oil-based formula isn't good for acne-prone or sensitive skin, as the grease can potentially clog pores.

Ideal Uses

Pomades are suitable for any hair. However, they're especially beneficial for guys with thick or curly hair, as the hair will still look healthy while being held in place.

If you have dry, frizzy, or dull hair, then pomade offers moisture that can help tame your flyaways.

You can use pomade in just about any hairstyle. For example, if you want to rock a pompadour or a slick back, some pomade will do the trick!

Of course, each type of pomade has its benefits in achieving a specific look. For example, messy or less-polished hairstyles look best with a drier appearance, so you want to use a water-based pomade with a matte finish.

How To Use

Using pomade is pretty simple.

First, take a dime-sized amount of the product and warm it up using your palms. Apply it to your hair and style it the way you like, adding more pomade if necessary.

Remember that pomade can have different effects whether you have wet or dry hair. Apply pomade on wet hair if you want less hold and more shine. Conversely, apply it on dry hair if you want more hold and less shine.

What Gel Is Best At



As the name suggests, this is a thick, gel-like hair product known for giving your hair a wet look. Gels vary from light to extreme hold, but they all harden your hair. Out of all the hair products, the gel has the best maximum hold that lasts all day. You can work out or have an entire dance routine, and not a strand will fall out of place.

Hair gel is also water-based, so you can easily wash it. This is best if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, as it's less likely to clog pores. However, the hardness of gels is also a downside. Some guys don't like their hair feeling hard as a rock. You also can't restyle it once you have it on - you'll just be combing through stuck hair strands.

Gels may also cause flaking and dryness, primarily if you use too much. We recommend you avoid alcohol-based gels, as they contain harmful ingredients like isopropyl alcohol.

Ideal Uses

This product is best if you have a thin or fine hair type, as it can create texture and thickness. You also don't have to worry about your hair looking flat if you use hair gel.

If your hairstyle requires the strongest hold possible, like a spiked hairstyle, it's better to use gel instead of pomade. Gels also do well for more complex hairstyles, such as a ducktail.

However, remember that the finer your hair, the lighter hold you should use to prevent the gel from weighing your hair down.

How To Use

Just like pomade, hair gel is also pretty simple to work with. You can only use gel on damp hair after showering or splashing some water on your head. If you want to shower first, ensure that you thoroughly wash your hair.

First, apply a dime-sized amount of product to your hair, adding more only when necessary. Remember to use hair gel sparingly because going overboard may cause flaking. Afterward, use your fingers to work the product into your desired hairstyle.

Read Also: Best Pomade for Waves

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is pomade or gel better?

Pomade is better for curly or thick hair while the gel is better for fine or thin hair. Both products can work well whether you have short or medium-length hair. It all depends on your hair texture and what hairstyle you're trying to achieve.

Is pomade healthy for hair?

Yes. Pomade can add moisture to dry hair, making it appear and feel healthier. However, avoid using oil-based pomades if you have reactive skin.

Should I also use hair wax?

Wax is another hair styling product that you can consider. This is useful for oily hair, a smooth finish, and easy restyling. However, it doesn't work on wet hair and doesn't last as long compared to pomade or gel.


Men's hair has a lot of possibilities - some guys like a style that has a high shine, some want their hair to be a bit messy and casual, while others prefer having more texture. No matter how you style your hair, it's essential to use the right products for your hair type and goals. Doing otherwise can lead to a bad hair day, no matter how good your haircut is.

With that being said, we hope this article helped you decide between pomade vs. gel!

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