After 96 hours of research evaluating 125 products, we picked Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade as our top choice.
Are you a guy with naturally dry hair that wants to hold a hairstyle? We're about to blow your mind with the best pomade for men, a list so good you can't resist.
These hair pomade products offer medium to maximum hold with low to high shine.
Woah... a product that holds but doesn't feel like gel?
With the best pomade brands, you can create a stylish "bed head" look, as Pomadesblog.com describes as "the perfect 'messy-but-dapper' look to rock on days when you want to go casual."
We've got you covered. Our list includes all the best pomades available. But, when it comes to picking out a pomade that'll put a smile on your face, here's what you need to consider.
Guys with long hair and those with thin hair aren't going to find any happiness with a pomade.
If you (and your hairstylist) wouldn't classify your hair as long or thin, see whether a pomade is right for your style here.
Pomades offer medium to strong hold.
But... there are all sorts of formulas that edge towards, erm, either edge of possibility. And, there are some sweet hybrids out that that will totally tempt you. (And, yes, they're awesome.)
What we're saying is that there's no longer a normal with pomades and you should always check the hold level before you hit the buy button.
Pomades are known for their shine. (Just as gels are known for their extreme hold.) If you're not after a high shine, there are a few pomades that work great for that too (including our #1 pick).
Even with water-based pomades, you'll get a a little shine. Sunlight won't bounce off it or anything, but you should check this aspect, just after you've checked the hold you want.
This Smooth Viking Pomade adds a lovely texture to the hair and is excellent for any style. The formula is not greasy and washes out of hair easily.
This pomade doesn't hold as well for super thick hair.
This pomade has a firm hold and will keep your hair styled for the entire day - it's fuss-free! It's perfect for all different types of hair and a variety of styles. Whether you want a slicked-back look, casual, messy, or formal look - this pomade will hold up.
The ingredients in this pomade are as follows: Water, Steareth-20, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Propylene Glycol, Polyurethane-14, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ceteth-20, AMP-Acrylates Copolymer. PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Zemea® Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, PVP (Firming Agent), Phenoxyethanol 4, Fragrance, Phenyl Trimethicone, Isoceteth-20, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-45M.
This pomade delivers a sleek and dapper shine when applied with water, or a more natural fresh from the barber look when applied to dry hair.
Remember for this pomade that a little goes a long way! Apply a small amount to your hands or directly to your hair and massage into your desired style. For a stronger hold apply this formula onto dry hair, for a sleeker and shinier look, apply to dampened hair.
This is a water based pomade that easily washes out.
This pomade comes in a 2oz container and is priced at $11.35.
This Layrite Supershine Cream creates a gleaming shine combined with a light vanilla scent to leave your hair smelling great all day. It also doesn't harden or leave your hair crunchy, which enables you to restyle it to your liking throughout the day.
This pomade does not have an extremely strong hold.
This pomade holds your hair in place but doesn't give it that hardened crunchy feel. It keeps your hair in place while still leaving it soft, which means you can restyle your hair throughout the day. This pomade acts and feels like a leave-in conditioner and has a medium hold.
This pomade contains water, Ceteareth-25, Glyceryl Cocoate, Polysorbate-20, PVP, Propylene Glycol, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-8 Beeswax, Fragrance, PEG-8 Methicone, DMDM Hydatoin, and Methylparaben.
The Layrite Supershine Cream creates a high shine for an extremely polished look. It's sleek and soft.
This balm has a light vanilla scent to it. It feels more like a conditioner than a gel and is excellent for dry hair as it conditions while also holding the hair in place.
All you need is a small amount of this pomade to easily spread through either damp or dry hair. For a stronger hold, use this balm on dry hair. The drier the hair the stronger the hold.
This is a water-based pomade that also acts as a leave-in conditioner. It is effortlessly easy to wash out with just water.
This pomade cream comes in a 4.25 oz container and sells for $18.
This natural product offers a great hold, even for men with curly or thick hair. It offers low-to-no shine and actually nourishes hair while holding it in place.
The price, if you can even consider that a drawback here.
It’s a medium to high hold, perhaps a little closer to the stronger side.
Because you’re only going to find natural ingredients in this product, you’ll probably want to know what all of them are. So, here you go: water, marshmallow root, calendula, beeswax, flax seed, hemp seed oil, rosemary extract, wheat germ oil, sorbitol, propylene glycol, soy lecithin, aloe vera, tea tree essential oil, essential oils for fragrance, and glycerin.
Surprisingly, this has more of a matte finish than a shine, making it appear more natural.
It’s strangely black in the container, but goes on clear, so no worries there. It’s also wonderfully smooth and silky without any stickiness. The light smell comes from a blend of essential oils, including tea tree, which has a distinct aroma (and is also a natural antiseptic).
Some guys find this takes a little longer to get used to applying, though most find that it goes on smoothly and works best with damp hair. Add it to hair that’s wet and it will definitely give you shine, but you’re not going to get any hold. But, that’s the trade off, right?
The base is water. It washes out wonderfully easily.
For $25, you’ll get a 5-ounce container and Prime shipping. Yep, that’s $5 an ounce, which does make this one of the more expensive pomades. But, keep in mind, you get what you pay for and, in this case, it’s quality.
This pomade from Uppercut is one of the strongest products out there. It's water-based and works more like a gel, creating many diverse styles.
If you have very dry hair, it may make it feel a little brittle.
Medium to strong hold – and it should last through the evening.
Sadly, the rather short list of ingredients has plenty of chemicals – though none of them are terribly questionable (except perhaps the parabens, but the jury is still out on that).
Expect a lovely shine; some call it a medium glimmer, while others find it to be a high gloss product. Either way, it’s what most men want from most pomades.
It’s a lighter, gel-like consistency that smells like coconut and vanilla. Not bad, not bad at all.
It’s easy to apply, gripping the hair to keep it high and forward. And although it doesn’t set hard, it’s not one of the easiest pomades to restyle. It’s great for pompadours and side parts, for a classic slicked back look, and even for thicker, shorter hair.
The base is water. You won’t get any residue after a single wash – and that in and of itself happens quite quickly and easily.
The MSRP is $18, but you’ll find it for less on Amazon (with Prime). The sales price does vary however, fluctuating between $12 and $14. At $12, it works out to less than $3.50 per ounce for the 3.5-ounce container. That’s about average.
If you’re after an elevated style with serious hold, you may want to consider this one. It’s got the hold of gel, but all the flexibility of a pomade. And, it remains flake-free.
Some users find this leaves their hair a little dry. Though, some reviewers find it on the sticky side.
This is a really high-hold pomade; it’s almost as if it were wax. It’s also long-lasting, which means you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments before heading out for the evening. If you do, there is still a fair amount of flexibility in this blend.
The base is water. There is castor oil which helps conditions hair, and glycerin and coconut oil to help emulsify and thicken hair.
We’d call it a medium shine, but depending on the hair you bring to the party, it could appear a little less shiny than other pomades would provide.
It’s a smooth, non-sticky pomade that smells like vanilla. The vanilla is an amazing smelling scent that people of all genders will fall for.
It’s super easy to apply and distribute, gripping hair to allow for an amazing range of styles. It’s also easy to restyle with a little water.
Expect zero flakes and an easy time washing it out of your hair. (It just keeps getting better, right?)
For $18, you get 4.25 ounces. It is on the Prime list (but not Subscribe & Save). So, you should expect it to work out to about $4.25 per ounce; that’s on the high end of average. It’s not for people that are ultra-budget conscious, but we’d still place it in the value for money category.
This is great for taming cowlicks and fly-aways and does well with modern styles, while the hold lasts all day and smells divine.
For a start, the price on this product is a touch on the prohibitive side. You should also be aware of it building up in your hair.
The hold here is almost surprisingly high, considering it’s perhaps the most flexible pomade when it comes to restyling it throughout the day.
For a start, you won’t find any parabens inside, which is great. But, it’s the beeswax and the clay that impart great texture to your hair and make the product make this oh-so-usable. (The clay will even make hair appear fuller).
Low, low, low. If you apply it to damp hair, you may get a little more gloss, but if you’re looking for a classically shiny pomade, you’ve come to the wrong place.
It’s a thick, texture-rich formula (more like a clay than a pomade). The almost neutral scent is a mix of wax and clay and there’s no need to wonder where that blend comes from.
If you apply it to wet hair, you’ll get a touch of a shine, but really, it’s quite low. Wet or dry, you should expect a flexible hold. But, you're not going to be able to completely reshape your hair without a little water help.
The base consists of oil, wax, water, clay; it’s kind of like they threw everything into the pot.
It’s not as easy as some other pomades to wash out. You’ll definitely need shampoo and don’t be afraid to wash, rinse, and repeat.
You can get the 2-ounce container from Amazon (yes, Prime) for somewhere between $17-18. That means it normally costs between $8.50 and $9 per ounce which makes this significantly more expensive that the others on this list. Now, it does have a Subscribe & Save option, which could save you around a buck per package. But, price isn’t everything; there are those that believe this is an almost perfect men’s hair product and will absolutely justify the price of it.
This pomade grips as you would expect from a wax, and yet it washes out easily because it's water-based. You'll get a moderate shine with a little more than a medium hold. And it works across all sorts of hair types, including the most unmanageable.
You’ll only get a moderate shine. But, if you add more water to up the gloss levels, you lose the hold. It’s a minor issue and doesn’t bother most guys.
The hold is medium to strong, unless you add too much water to up the shine levels. If you do that, you’ll lose a little hold.
The self-emulsifying beeswax is what gives this product it’s great grip, and the castor oil conditions your hair while taming it and providing a nice, natural glisten.
Medium, it’s neither matte nor high shine.
It feels a little more like a cream than you might expect, especially as it grips like wax. That said, it doesn’t feel greasy. As for the scent, it’s a light, pleasant smell, though it’s difficult to name exactly what it smells like.
You’ll get a strong, wax-like grip here, and yet it’s wonderfully easy to apply this pomade. It dries to a medium hardness, but if you run your fingers under water, you can reshape it as you need. Of course, you won't be able to do much if you dunk your head under water, but it's better than nothing! This isn't a lifting product, though it all depends on your style just how much texture you'll get.
The base is water. Super easy; no need to stress about this aspect.
You can get a 4-ounce tub for around $10 on Amazon (yes, with Prime), making this a super affordable $2.50 (give or take) per ounce. If you’re super conscious of your budget, you can pick up the 32-ounce option (also on Prime) for around $53, for an amazing $1.65 per ounce. Talk about value!
This pomade works great on most hair and hairstyles and is a flexible alternative to gel. It washes easily, smells delicious and has a long shelf life.
It can be a little sticky for some users (we suggest a little more heat to make it pliable before application). There are few, if any, other negatives.
This is a straight-up medium hold, that’s super easy to restyle later in the day.
There aren’t any synthetic ingredients here. You will find sage inside, which is great for reducing the thinning and isn’t bad at stopping the gray from approaching. There’s also ginseng, which is awesome for strengthening and protecting your hair as well as removing dandruff.
Expect a natural sheen when applied to dry hair. If you add a little water to the process, you can expect a higher shine.
This is quite a silky-feeling pomade with a subtle, refreshing scent (that women always fall for) – and the aroma comes from natural extracts.
When you apply this to wet hair, it works in easily, but you should expect a softer hold than you would get when applying it to dry hair. It doesn’t become stiff; you'll get some ability to restyle, but not enough to reshape your hair after wearing a hat for half the day.
The base is water.
Most men find this exceptionally easy to wash out compared to other styling products. It’s not, however, as easy to rinse it out without shampoo as other water-based pomades may be. That said, one wash and you won’t have any left in your hair.
Each little tub carries 3 ounces of product, and will cost in the $10 range on Amazon. (Yes, it’s available with Prime). There’s a 2-pack (for a total of 6 ounces) which sometimes sells for slightly less than a single container. Either way, it’s a little more than $3/ounce which places this on the far lower end of the average price for a pomade.
Hair is slightly stiff without comb through. But will soften with comb through.
This offers excellent control for your hair and reliable hold even for longer hair or fancier, elevated hairstyles.
The pomade is paraben-free and contains natural and organic ingredients rich in hair-nourishing antioxidants.
it is packed with a bunch of organic ingredients, incluing organic beeswax, organic jojoba seed oil, organic argan oil, organic coconut oil, and organic green tea extract. All of which help nourish the hair and give it a healthier shine. It also includes natural ingredients including lemon peel extract, horsetail extract, and burdock root extract.
You get a natural light finish with just enough shine to call attention to your hairstyle. But with a comb through you can remove the shine. So it's very flexible.
The texture is smooth and creamy. It just feels good on your finger and easy to scoop. The smell is a manly scent with just enough freshness. It's a smooth blend of jasmine and cedar with base notes of sandalwood and patchouli.
For more shine, It works best when your hair is just a tad damp. For less to no shine apply on dry hair and comb through. We loved that you can achieve either look, which covers most preferences.
It washes out easy and is water-soluble.
At 2.5 ounces, the cost is $19.
This is probably the best pomade we've ever tested. It is ideally balanced. The hold is strong and flexible, giving enough power to do just about anything you want. Yet with a soft with, elegant look. It's really the best of both worlds. Having a great hold but with a natural look is one of the most difficult balancing acts a hair styling product can achieve.
You can have a bit of a shine with minimal comb through. Or you can have a more natural look with a comb through. The flexibility is nice.
The smell is amazing—a manly scent with just enough freshness. Plus it is packed with a bunch of organic ingredients
The cost is reasonable at $19. When comparing it to Hanz de Fuko Heavy Made, it's less expensive and the jar has 20% more product. It's more expensive than a lower cost brand like Suavecito, but you get so much more value both with the organic and natural ingredients as well as a nicer look.
The pomade is suitable for most hair types (thin to thick), and it works great to keep longer hair styled. If you want an elevated hairstyle (updo, tightly-controlled man bun, spiked tips, or even a Mohawk), the pomade gives you the hold you want.
Yet it doesn’t leave your hair looking greasy or shiny like a lot of gels or pomades. Instead, you get a natural look with just enough of a light shine to make people sit up and take notice.Learn more:Mack for Men ShapeShifter Pomade »
You’ve heard of pomade before - even if you’ve never used it. Pomade is a classic styling product, that feels a little like creamy wax that gives guys plenty of shine and control over hair styles. Though the original pomades were very oily, we’ve come a long way over the years. Today, this styling aid is absolutely indispensable for certain styles - and it works on more hair types than you might suspect.
Absolutely. Indeed, you’re unlikely to find another styling product that offers such a range. You’ll find differences in hold and shine levels. There are plenty of hybrid products (that include wax or clay for a different finish and hold). But, even when you just consider pomades, you’ll find major differences in composition and ingredients.
The first pomades are the sort of products used to create the slicked looks you’d expect to find on Mad Men. Made with a mineral oil base, men have been using these pomades for a long time to get the shiny, groomed look. And, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are still plenty of these products on the market.
But, oil-based pomades aren’t the only ones you’ll find on the market. There are also water-based pomades that offer the same range of hold and shine that you can find in oil-based products.
Besides the obvious difference of the foundational ingredients between the two types of hair pomades, there are a few more distinctions between them.
Pomades with an oil base are usually way less expensive than their water-based counterparts. But, oil pomades can clog pores while stripping the natural oils from the hair. You’re also going to find that they’re way more difficult to wash out of your hair than water-based products. (Which is the case with every styling product out there; a water base is always easier to wash.)
On the other hand, you’ll need to work harder to find a water-based pomade that holds as firmly as an oil-based one. However, some guys prefer that as it allows them to restyle their do throughout the day. You’ll pay more, of course, but these are usually less prone to leaving your hair looking greasy (though you’ll certainly get the shine you want).
Pomades fall somewhere along a range of holds. There are definitely those that provide a high hold similar to gels, though you should expect your hair to feel crunchy as you’ll get with a gel. You will always have some flexibility to move and restyle your hair when you’re using a pomade.
However, there are also pomades that provide medium-to-low hold. These are usually water-based and more expensive, but are absolutely the right choice for some men. That said, the majority of pomades offer a medium to medium-high hold. Your hair won’t be stiff, but it shouldn’t move unless you want it to (or you chase tornadoes for fun - in which case, which styling product to use is likely not high on your priority list during those moments).
There’s no doubt about it; pomades offer plenty of sleek shine. Some give low shines, some give high shines - but you’re always going to find it in a pomade. If you’re not a fan of your hair glistening in the sun, you want to stay away from this product. You’re better off with a clay - and perhaps some hairspray if you need a serious hold to go with it.
You may need to do some personal testing when it comes to the shine you want. One reason is the type of hair you have (and the speed at which the natural scalp oils travel from the roots along the shaft of your hair). Another is the amount of moisture on your hair when you apply it. If your hair is a little more damp, the final product will appear wetter and shinier.
The new classic example of styles that make the most of hair pomade can be found on David Beckham. It is a slick, neat appearance that you’ll find with this product. (If you’re looking for a truly classic example, look no further than Bing Crosby.)
Of course, you’ve seen pomades on the likes of the Hemsworth brothers and Justin Timberlake in the past as well. If you’re thinking about Zac Efron whenever your mind considers pomade, then you’re totally on the right track. And, if you’re rocking a tamed afro, a small amount of pomade scrunched into the ends can make a big impact.
Basically, when it comes to slick, sleek, super-groomed styles, you want a pomade. And you’re in the right place to find the right one for you.
Pomades may not be for every style, but they work really well with a wide range of hair types. There are even a few of you that breathe a sigh of relief when you realize a pomade falls on your go-to list. That said, given the range of pomades on the market, you many need to spend some time finding the right product for you.
And, we’re just going to warn you now (though we’ll do it again a little later) - using too much pomade isn’t good for anyone’s style. A fingernail scratching of product could make the difference between your well-groomed power style and looking like a stoner in any 1990s movie.
And, for the men that may shed a few tears…
If you’ve been using a wax that really makes you work for it, you’re going to be really happy with the texture of pomades. They’re ever so much creamier.
But (and please pay attention here), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to warm pomade between the palms of your hands. Not only are these products not creams, but you’ll find it’s easier to disperse throughout your hair when you do; plus, the heat activates the holding ability.
There are a couple of really terrific pomades (such as the Baxter of California Clay Pomade) that use a mixture of ingredients, so it’s difficult to classify them as specifically one type of product. Most often, you’ll find clay and wax mixes, though there are a few gel hybrids floating around.
If you want a little more texture with your shine, we strongly suggest working with a clay or wax pomade hybrid; it’ll give you the best of both worlds.
As with any styling product, it’s way easier to add more than it is to take some away. When it comes to using too much pomade, taking it out could mean that you’re forced back into the shower to wash it all off. And, as you can’t have sopping wet hair when you apply pomade, you’ll also need your hair dryer.
So how much? Start with a fingernail’s worth of product as you would with a wax. Even if the instructions call for a dollop of pomade, you don’t want a quarter-sized dollop, merely a dime-sized one. Remember, you can add more. And, you can always increase the amount you grab when you become more familiar with the product.
In case you want a warning, we’ll give it to you: use too much pomade and your hair will look greasy. Even if you’re going for a super-slicked look, you don’t need that much.
There are enough products on the market that we don’t want to be too prescriptive here; you can (and should) check the manufacturer’s instructions before using a new pomade. But, we can give you some general tips that will make your life a little easier.
Pomade works best with damp to dry hair; perhaps more on the dry side. (Really, double check that you haven’t been told to use a particular product only on dry locks, though; there are a few of those.) The wetter your hair is, the less likely you’ll get the hold you want, even if it’s way easier to apply. That said, most men with curly or wavy hair will find the best finish and application happens with damp hair, rather than dry hair.
As long as you’re using the recommended small amount of product and your hair is clean, primed, and ready to go, you shouldn’t experience that much difficulty applying pomade to your hair. It’s one of the easier products to apply - as long as you don’t rush it.
Take your fingernail-sized dollop of hair pomade and rub it between your fingers and palms. Although it doesn’t need it as much as wax, a little heat helps the process along. Yes, that’s both application and the final finish. So, rub vigorously, even if you don’t love the texture.
Pomade is best applied from roots, working out to the tips of your hair. To do this, you’ll want to work as though you are washing your hair. Feel free to spike your hair out so you can reach lower pieces of hair and to be certain it’s applied everywhere. (Please gents, don’t miss the back of your head; with pomade, it’s totally noticeable when that happens.) Work until you’ve got the product distributed and you’re certain there aren’t any clumps of product in your hair.
When it comes to styling, there are a couple of different approaches. For pompadours, begin slicking back your hair on the sides, then push up your bangs and begin combing it all into place.
For side parts, draw a line from the crown to your forehead using a point on your comb. It’ll be obvious which hairs should go up and which should go down. Use your comb to get everything into the right spot. If you need a dab more hold, use what’s left on your hands - or warm a sliver of product on your hand. If you just apply product from the tub, you will regret it immediately.
You’ll probably need to spend some time perfecting your look - as you would with any styling product - but, this video should help you with some visual reference if you need the help.
Yes and no. It really depends on the formulation here as some pomades are made with oil and some with water. If you’re very concerned about the difficulty of washing, go for a water-based formula. That said, regardless of the formula, you shouldn’t need to spend hours scrubbing this product out of your hair.