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How To Remove Pomade From Hair

Pomade is like your friend who always overstays his welcome. At first, you’re excited to have him around, but then he’s stuck on you like glue. It’s a problem that guys everywhere have – how to remove pomade from hair. 

Do You Need To Wash Out Pomade?

Leaving built-up pomade in your hair can cause itchiness, flakes, dandruff, eczema, and other uncomfortable scalp conditions. So yes, you do need to wash out pomade.

That rule goes for most hair products. Your scalp is tough, but it’s also sensitive. It has more oil and sweat glands than anywhere else on your body, so there’s a greater chance that products you put on your scalp will clog your pores or cause irritation.

You should always wash out any hair product you apply within 24 hours, or you’ll end up needing a bottle of the best shampoo for scalp acne.

Besides protecting your scalp, washing out pomade is always a good idea so that you don’t give yourself a bad case of bed head. Leave it in overnight, and pomade will help cause tangles, knots, and hair breakage. Some men attribute pomade to their hair loss.

How Do You Remove Oil-Based Pomade?

Luckily, it’s easy to remove pomade from your hair. First, try shampooing and conditioning like normal in the shower. Most of the time, all you need is a good wash to remove pomade. But if that doesn’t work, try this:

  1. Get your hair wet and apply conditioner. Use a generous dollop that covers your whole head.
  2. Leave the conditioner in for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Run a comb through your hair while you’re waiting on the conditioner. Be gentle and patient, and keep going until you have mostly de-tangled your hair.
  4. Rinse out your hair.

Hopefully the conditioner puts you in a better spot. If you find that your hair feels duller or stringy afterwards, add on these steps:

  1. Mix one-part apple cider vinegar with one-part water and apply the solution to your hair. The easiest way to do this is with a spray bottle, but you can also step into the shower and soak it into your hair.
  2. Leave it in for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse.

Don’t worry about the smell. Apple cider vinegar is neutral once it dries. It’s known for helping with hair texture and shine. In fact, lots of women use apple cider vinegar rinses 2-times per week to keep their hair healthy. It’s something to consider, especially if pomade is starting to wear on your hair.

If these at-home solutions aren’t working, the next step is to visit a hair stylist. DO NOT use dish soap or detergent on your hair. It will damage your scalp even more than the pomade.

What You Should Never Do To Remove Pomade

Pomade that won’t wash out is often doing damage to your hair. The key is to find a way to get it out without doing more damage to your hair. These “life hacks” will do more harm than good:

DO NOT Use Dish Soap

Dish soap is awful for your scalp, even if it does dissolve oil-based pomades. It’s filled with chemicals that will dry out your hair, causing more breakage and frizziness.

DO NOT Use Detergent

Detergent has all the same issues as dish soap. The ingredients are similar – both are meant to dissolve oils on your kitchenware and clothing. Neither is made for your hair.

Both of these have circulated as ways to get pomade out of your hair. Both are horrible for your scalp and hair health.

If none of the solutions we talked about earlier are working for you, see a hair stylist before you resort to dish soap.

Which Shampoo Is Best For Removing Pomade?

Clarifying shampoos are universally known as the best shampoos for removing pomade. You don’t necessarily need to use a clarifying shampoo every day. They’re so deep-cleaning that if you wash with them too often, they’ll dry out your hair.

One thing to be aware of: clarifying shampoos do contain sulfites, an ingredient that hair care experts avoid. If you’re using pomade, it’s a necessary once-in-a-while evil.

As an alternative, you can use the best shampoo for oily hair. The key to removing pomade is dissolving the oil-buildup from the product, which oily-hair shampoo does perfectly.

Are There Any Easy Ways To Wash Off Pomades?

Switch to a water-based pomade if you’re tired of scrubbing away at oil-based pomades.

The problem with oil-based pomades is that they don’t just rinse out of your hair nicely. Oil repels water, so you need a good shampoo that can dissolve the oil and rinse it from your hair. And that takes a lot of scrubbing.

Water-based pomades rinse out easily with warm water. You should still use a shampoo, but you don’t have to get a specific pomade-rinsing shampoo. (Use one of the best luxury shampoos for men instead.)

The downfall to water-based pomades is that they typically cost more, and they’re not long-lasting. But it’s a very fair trade-off, when you consider the damage an oil-based pomade could be doing to your hair.

How To Get Pomade Out Of Hair Without Washing

Unfortunately, you do need to wash your hair to truly remove a pomade. Water-based pomades might feel like they’ve dissolved after you rinse with warm water, but it’s likely that some buildup is still sitting on your scalp.

It’s part of the reason you shouldn’t necessarily use pomade every day. You’re putting your hair through a vicious cycle, pomade in the morning, shampoo and conditioner in the evening. In the long-run that causes a lot of damage.

Part of keeping your hair healthy is giving it a break from hair products, including all-natural products (as much as we love them). Think of it as a long-term investment in your health and hair.

What Can I Use Instead Of Pomade?

If you don’t want to learn how to remove pomade from hair, then waxes and gels are some of the most popular alternatives to try. They have the same glossy finish, and they’re just as good at holding their shape.

But if you’re looking for more of a wild card, hair clays are the new kid on the block when it comes to hairstyling. Hair clays are easy to use, and they have a nice muted finish that looks natural and full. 

Whichever alternative you choose, you can use the same steps and tricks to wash waxes, gels, or clays out of your hair. Really, any hair product will wash out with a nice enough shampoo, good conditioner, and some elbow grease.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.