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How To Use Pomade For Men

You probably have a decent idea of how to use pomade. After all, most hair products are pretty intuitive. But if you’re forgetting the little steps, like warming up the pomade between your hands and only using it on damp hair, you might be missing out on all its styling benefits.

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What Is Pomade?

Pomade is a hair styling product with medium to high hold and high shine. Most guys think of Elvis and greaser styles from the 60s to the 80s when they think of pomade.

Old-fashioned pomades were oil-based, but more modern pomades are usually water-based. They’re a lot easier to wash out of your hair than they were decades ago. 

I recommend pomade for dressier settings. You wouldn’t want to use it for a day outdoors – your sweat will make your hair sag. But for fancy indoor events, pomade adds volume to your hair and makes you look shiny and polished.

There are a few downsides you should keep in mind before you get into pomade. It’s thick and oily, so guys with sensitive scalp sometimes suffer from pomade acne. And if you’re a pomade collector, bad news: pomade does expire.

But used correctly and in the appropriate settings, pomade is the perfect styling product to give your hair some razzle dazzle.

How To Use Pomade

Before you go through our pomade tips, take a quick look at the label on your bottle. The directions might differ slightly, depending on how strong and shiny your pomade is. 

For the most part, you should:

  1. Damp your hair. Pomade has more hold and shine when you mix it with some water. You can let your hair dry for a few minutes after you’ve left the shower, then get the pomade ready. Or just use a spray bottle to wet down your hair.
  1. Start small. For short hair, you really don’t need more than a pea-sized drop of pomade. You can always add more to your hair if you don’t think it’s enough, but start small so that you don’t overdo it. Too much pomade will make your hair heavy, so it won’t stand up.
  1. Warm it up. Pomade is easier to work with when it’s warm, so rub it between your fingertips and palms. This will also give you an even coat of pomade over your hands, so it’s easier to evenly coat your hair.
  1. Apply and shape. Run your hands through your hair to spread out the pomade. Shape your hair as you go. For a messier style, just use your hands. For a clean, classic look, use a comb. (Some guys swear that you should use the comb BEFORE you apply the pomade instead of after. I recommend trying both to see which works better for your hair.)
  1. Wash it out at the end of the day. This step comes later, when you’re finished with your pomade hair style. Don’t forget to wash it out before you go to bed. All you need is shampoo and conditioner to properly remove pomade from your hair, but if you leave it there, it’ll build up at your scalp and cause irritation.

It’s as easy as that! Some of the best pomades for men are versatile enough to give you anything from beach waves to a greaser pompadour, depending on how you shape your hair.

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.