Pomade or hair gel, clay – which styling product is the right one?

Which styling product is the best? Pomade or hair gel? Any other garbage? So you sit there and ask yourself: "What do I expect from a styling product and which one is right for me?" Then it is important which style you want to have. In this comparison of styling products, I will take a close look at the different types of hair products.

We can sweep a product off the table immediately:

Pomade or hair gel? The benefits of using hair pomade as opposed to hair gel

Standard hair gels from the supermarket, the shop around the corner or from the hairdressing salon are incredibly unhealthy for the hair. Hair gel hardens after application, making hair brittle and hard. Of course, this is the first point and purpose of using styling products: the hair should be firm and the pretty hairdo should last all day.

In principle, pomades do the same. In the end, the result is the same as with the gel, the moisture evaporates from the product and the good stuff keeps your hair in place. A good pomade does this without alcohol. Alcohol is bad for your hair and skin. You don’t want that. Hair gel dries out your hair. This is bad. It dries and damages the skin on the head and leaves unwanted flakes. It is bad and disgusting. It can cause itching and pain. That’s really bad. You don’t want any of this.

Buy a nice hair pomade or many different ones and create a small collection. Good for you, good for your hair, good for your bathroom.

Do not use hair gel. Hair gel is shit!

First: what is pomade??

Think back briefly to the rock’n’roll time. Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, and later John Travolta. In the time of cool, stylish rockabilly hairstyles – great, quiffs, pompadours. Until the 1950s, pomade was almost the only styling product.
The term pomade originated in the 18th century – at that time it consisted of apples, animal fat and fragrant herbs. Incidentally, this is where the name "Pomade" comes from – "pomme" in French and "pomo" in Italian for apple. On the other hand, the packaging of Reuzel pomades also plays with the old tradition, the cans of which are all adorned by a pig.
At some point, the rockabilly hairstyles became out and with them, unfortunately, the pomade as a styling product for the hair. Nowadays you can only find the pomade in specialist shops or in mail order. In the United States, however, the product continues to enjoy greater popularity.

Nowadays, the basis of an oil-based pomade is petroleum jelly. There are also plenty of aromas and fragrances. And to make the pomade a little less firm and around your Oils are then added to give fur more shine. This is often coconut oil.

Why use hair pomade?

Very simple: pomade is wonderful. Pomade is cool. You put them on and your hair obey. The application is simple, effective and without any game work. Okay, there are also hard board pomades that require a little experience, but you don’t have to take the red DAX as a beginner. Pomade has been around for a long time, and for good reason.

Basically, all pomades do more or less the same: they keep the hair in perfect shape, smell fantastic and last all day.

Modern pomades with their offshoots are getting better and better. The formulas are refined again and again and the products are not only able to deliver the desired results, but also contain more and more healthy aspects. They sometimes come packed with vitamins, essential oils and a whole host of other good things for your wool. Modern pomade is cool and inexpensive.

If you spend more money on your hair care products than on your haircut, you’re doing something wrong. The best companies in the industry know how to make these pomades affordable. This is not rocket science.

Water-based? oil based?

Opinions differ on this question. It’s almost a question of belief whether you take water or oil-based hair pomade. I personally prefer oil-based, but we’ll get to that. All of these hair products will keep your hair to a certain extent and with each type you will usually get the desired result. But using too much of the “wrong” product is not the right way and will also become more expensive in the long run. So, first understand what the different types are and what they do.

Water based pomade

A pomade that is water-based or water-soluble is a hair product that uses a formula that contains water. Great, isn’t it? However, the uniqueness is that it is both very easy to use and easy to get rid of. No special soaps or shampoos are required to wash them out. The consistency is creamy and smooth, which means that it can be easily worked into the hair. Our grandfathers would have been happy.

The way the product then hardens is a nice thing. The water in the hair pomade evaporates, leaving the good stuff behind. What is left will keep your hair in place and make you look good. A good water-based pomade also offers a very firm and strong hold. They work well with all hair types and especially well on thick or curly hair that is sometimes difficult to style with other types of products.

Water-based pomade (Uppercut deluxe)

The disadvantage of water-based hair pomade in my eyes, however, is that it hardens – similar to hair gel. Elsewhere it is claimed that it can be combed again and again immediately, but I have not had the experience myself. Water-based pomade is not as bad for the health of the hair as gel, but cannot be combed per se for the time being, water must be used here and the hair must be moistened again. Then the hairstyle can be brought back into shape, but it will never be as hot as the first time.

Two very good examples of water-based pomades would be the Suavecito Original and the blue Reuzel.

Use water-based pomades for:

  • Strong, long-lasting hold without strange side effects such as itching or flakes and easy washing out.
  • For medium to difficult to tame mats
  • For tight hairstyles like pomps or slickbacks

Oil based pomade

This is the good old type of hair pomade that grandpa already wore under his hat. Has been around for ages and is still very popular for a reason. It has a unique hold and a unique formula that give a look that many people really want. The consistency is smooth, often a little greasy and very smooth when applied to the hair. Due to the fact that oil-based pomade does not dry like water-based pomade when it is in the hair, the shag can be combed again and again throughout the day. There was a reason that the greasers of the 50s always had a comb in the back pocket. They used it to get their hairstyle back in shape. And it was awesome. Is it still.

Oil-based pomade (Murray’s Superior Hair Dressing Pomade)

If you are looking for a hair wax product that gives a more traditional or old school look, then you should use an oil based product.

Use oil-based pomades for:

  • Unique vintage hairstyles like pompadours, tight slick blacks and solid quiffs.
  • In any case, it is charming to retouch your hairstyle with your favorite comb.
  • Oil-based pomade is slick in both application and appearance.

Matte hair pomade (paste)

Matte pomades or pastes are available in all possible variations, but the main focus here is on styling without giving the hair shine. Some people don’t like this slick oldschool shine – yes, there should be! – and for those are matte pomades. You want know if that’s for you? Wash out everything that has ever been in your hair, let it dry and look in the mirror. Matte products tend to give you a medium-firm hold. Many prefer this hold if they are more casual on the go. Of course there are exceptions to this Uppercut Matt Clayor the Layrite cement pomade. But, as is well known, exceptions confirm the rule that most matt pomades move in the middle area, the can usually contains matt, dry or neutral surfaces.

Matte hair pomades come in a more pasty shape. The formula is a little drier than what you are used to from traditional pomade. These matte hair paste pomades generally have a medium hold and are perfect for a casual or casual look. They are ideal if you want to come across with a casual style without being seen to have spent a quarter of an hour in front of the mirror.

Even matt pomades can be combed all day and always give the opportunity to process the fricke if necessary. And – as with any styling product – if you take more of it, the hairstyle becomes tighter and harder. The right amount can only be found out by experimenting.

Some examples of matte pomades (I haven’t really tested any, so here are links to amazon): Layrite Natural Matte Cream, REUZEL clay mat pomade or Uppercut Matt Clay Pomade.

Use a paste / matte pomade for:

  • Easy to comb all day long.
  • No to very little shine.
  • Healthy, natural looking hair.


Oh no. Modern game stuff in my eyes. Basically like hair gel in the result, the mat becomes hard and crumbly, maybe not quite as bad as with gel. Clays are not as versatile as the pomades listed above, but have similar side effects to hair gel. And stink of drugstore.

Hair Clay (got2b Mann-O-Mann Texture Clay)

I smeared one into the wool for a test: got2b Mann-O-Mann Texture Clay


My declared favorite is oil-based hair pomade. It’s old school, looks old school, rocks. I also use water-based pomade from time to time, if it should go quickly, a hair appointment is due in the near future or because I just feel like doing it in between. But that would be nothing to me as the sole basis for a smooth rockabilly-style hairstyle update. And somehow I think that water-based pomade is damn close to hair gel. Or am I wrong? Comb over it!

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