Pomade vs Gel vs Wax – Which is Best?

Nobody wants to have a bad hair day. We all want to look our best whenever we go out of the door. Unruly hair can cause a great deal of stress on many people, but there are several ways of taming each strand. The only problem that you will probably encounter would be knowing which hair styling product will work best for you.

You will see waxes, gels, and pomades when you look through the shelves of your local store or browse an online shop. These products can leave you overwhelmed and confused because they all serve different purposes. If you are clueless about their differences, then you are on the right page. This article will give you a look at each of these hair styling products and which will most likely be best for your needs.

Pomade vs Gel vs Wax


Pomade has been around for decades. It has been the go-to product of men who want to look their best in front of the ladies. This product is best known for the luster and shine it gives. If you are going for a slick hairstyle, then the pomade is most likely the best option for you. It is also a great choice for sporting a pompadour, quiff, or ducktail.

Key Points:

  • Pomade will make your hair a bit greasy, which is why it is the perfect choice for those with naturally dry locks.
  • This hair styling product lets you change the effect with the amount that you use.
  • It can be used on wet or dry hair. Using it on wet hair will produce less hold with more shine, while applying it on dry hair will give more hold with less shine.
  • This product comes in two options: petroleum and water-based.
  • Water-based pomade produces less shine. The finish is more stiff, but offers added versatility. It is also easier to wash out, and is better for your scalp.
  • Petroleum-based pomade, meanwhile, is greasy to add more shine and stronger hold. This traditional formula has the ability to let you comb and reshape throughout the day, but does not easily wash out with water.
  • Water-based pomades cannot give the same amount of shine that petroleum-based ones provide. They do, however, offer a stronger hold to keep your hairstyle in place the whole day.

How to Apply:

Simply apply a small amount of pomade onto your palm. Warm it by rubbing the product against your hands before applying to your slightly damp or dry hair. You can style it as desired.


Wax provides a quick fix for those who want something that can hold a hairstyle longer. People with naturally oily hair can benefit from using a hair wax. It works great in creating detailed hairstyles, like spikes.

Key Points:

  • Hair wax is great for normal to oily hair
  • It is best used on short to medium hair length, as well.
  • This product does not last as long as the pomade.
  • Re-application is easier than pomade.
  • It does not harden or stiffen your hair.
  • It should only be used on dry hair or it will not work.
  • It is thicker than gel, but does not feel sticky or grimy.
  • It has a smooth texture, in fact.
  • The finish may be less shiny, but gives a more matte appearance.
  • It is perfect for adding thickness and texture.
  • It offers more control.

How to Apply:

Applying hair wax is easy. The application is done in the same way as the pomade. This means you need to warm a small amount of wax on your hands. The only difference is that you can only apply this to completely dry hair, and never on wet strands.


A hair gel provides a stronger hold than the pomade and wax. However, you can expect to have rock-solid and flaky hair after every use. A gel may be your best option to achieve that maximum hold. The good news is that you can easily wash it out with plain water.

Key Points:

  • A hair gel will give you the strongest hold on your hairstyle.
  • It will give you a shiny, wet look that can last throughout the day.
  • Restyling might be difficult because of the rock-solid hold. You might end up combing through the sticky hair strands, and having a messy hair.
  • Restyling will often require washing the gel out before proceeding.
  • Hair gels come in both firm and light-hold versions. Usage will depend largely on your hair type and preferred style.
  • The finer the hair, the lighter the hair gel that you need to use for best results.

How to Apply:

Applying the hair gel is easy. All you need to do is to place a small amount onto your fingers, and rub gently before applying to your damp hair. This hair styling product works best on slightly wet hair.

More Important Points to Check

  • Before proceeding to the verdict, here are more important points that you will want to take note of:
  • Pomade does not dry out and become extremely stiff like gel.
  • Some gels will harden your hair, until it becomes rock-solid.
  • Pomade provides a strong hold, but not stronger than a hair gel.
  • People with dry and dull hair should go with the pomade.
  • Wax offers more control, while gel tends to clump everything together.
  • Gel will give the strongest hold that lasts throughout the day, but does not look as natural as a wax or pomade.
  • People with fine hair should go for the lighter hair gel for best results.

Verdict: Which is the Best?

Pomade is the best option for most hair styles. It provides an all-around solution for most hair styling needs because of its strong hold and nice shine. It can give you a different look, depending on how much you apply on your hair. The gel and wax will work great on certain styles, but the pomade can always give that sophisticated look. It would still be best, however, to try all three to help you make a better judgement.

Also read: Best Flat Iron Heat Protectant Sprays