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Pomade vs Gel: Your Guide To Cream- Or Gel-Based Hair Styler

Last Updated on: February 10, 2024

Everyone wants to sport gorgeous-looking tresses. Whether you tuck it out of sight or wear it with pride for everyone to see, our hair speaks volumes about us.

With the vast array of hair styling products around us, you sometimes don’t know which ones to choose. How do you decide which is the best choice regarding pomade vs. gel?

Several hair styling products available today are costly, so we understand how you’d want to ensure you make the right choice. Please read on and find out if a hair gel or pomade is more well-suited for you.

Main Differences Between Pomade And Gel

The main differences between the two popular hair styling applications are:

  • Hair gel has the strongest possible hold, whereas pomade is more flexible, so you can still style your hair after applying it.
  • The gel may not be ideal for those with dry hair due to its high alcohol content, whereas pomade can make dry, dull hair look sleek.
  • Hair gels have sheer consistency and can be lightweight or heavyweight, whereas pomade has a greasy texture that is harder to wash.
  • Gels are more suitable for individuals who want shiny-looking hair, whereas pomade suits individuals with spiky hairs.

Pomade Overview


Men and women use pomade for styling hair and beards. The pomade is famous for its versatility, allowing users to style their hair any way they want.

It has a paste-like consistency that maintains a greasy feel instead of drying the hair. The best part is that pomade has several variants to meet different styling requirements.

The three variants are water-based pomade, oil-based pomade, and hybrid.

Water-Based Variant


The water-based pomade offers more convenience when hairstyling. Its flexibility allows you to continue working on your preferred style. Despite being water-soluble, such a pomade can hold your tresses in place to help you look and feel great.

A water-based pomade offers more effortless washing. It won’t leave residues that can clog pores, making it the best option for acne-prone skin. However, the water-soluble pomade contains more chemicals than the oil-based pomade.

Oil-Based Variant


Hair experts hardly recommend oil-based pomade since it makes the styling process more complicated, and even washing can be tedious. Nevertheless, it is a hair product that many people are more familiar with since it is a traditional pomade.

Aside from offering users a vast range of options, an oil-based pomade seldom goes dry. Although such a feature can vary per brand, it lets you continue re-working your style even after application.

Only some manufacturers offer hybrid pomades — their contents provide the best features of both the water- and oil-based pomades.

Overall, pomade is best for individuals who like to have a shiny finish and give more life to their updo styles. Due to its diversity, a pomade allows dry and wet hair application.

It is more suitable to apply pomade on damp hair to add more shine to your mane. On the other hand, if less shine but a stronger hold is what you prefer, then dry hair application is better.

Men and women with thick or curly hair will benefit more from using pomade vs. gel. Such hair type can do well with added moisture to help lock in the hairstyle of choice.

Gel Overview


When pondering on pomade vs. gel, you must also consider the hair length. For people with medium-length hair, gels are ideal for adding definition to their mane. 

Even those with thin or fine hair benefit from gel since it makes tresses look thick and straight.

Like a water-based formula, you may apply a dime-sized amount of hair gel to your damp hair. Then, you can start working it through your entire mane. A hair gel must also be at the top of your list if achieving a maximum hold is your priority.

Further, this styling aid creates a coating on your mane to retain the way you styled it. If pomades reduce frizz and can tame flyaways, hair gel is denser and has a strong hold, upkeeping that flawless hairstyle for an extended period.

Although if you have fine hair or prefer to achieve a flake-free texture, try to go for lighter gels to provide better results. An alcohol-free alternative proves to be the best choice to be safe. You can still have that shine you want and not risk the overall health of your mane and skin.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which between pomade and gel is more suitable for me?

Unlike gels, pomades now come with variants allowing you to have a matte finish. A pomade might be more suitable if you sport a bit messy hair-do. But if you like to add more volume to your thin hair and ensure maximum hold, gels are well-suited to meet that need.

Even fine hair gets more texture and maintains a strong hold when using a gel. However, the water-based pomade could be your safest choice if you prefer a better shine for your side-parted or pompadour hairstyle.

Between gel and pomade, which of the two has a stronger hold?

It’s the hair gel that provides the strongest hold that lasts longer. These gels give various hairstyles the most coveted high shine, although they don’t look as natural as pomades.

Which hair product is safe and healthy — pomade or hair gel?

The most popular hair products today can help you get the hairstyle you want. But there will always be disadvantages whether you choose a hair gel or a pomade. Oil-based pomades, for instance, are tougher to wash out.

Despite claims of petroleum-based pomade being non-comedogenic, it can still trap residues, leading to acne. What’s best is to opt for an alcohol-free alternative. Remember that an alcohol-based product can have undesirable effects on your tresses and skin.


Misinformation can lead to confusion about maintaining a sleek, well-groomed mane more effectively. But now that we understand the significant difference between pomades and gels, we can make practical choices more confidently.

A suitable choice of styling product can make our grooming regimens effortless and help us give our tresses more shape and structure.

Your choice depends on the finish and the hold intensity you desire, but whichever it will be, it must allow you the hairstyle well-suited for you. You’ll know you made a suitable choice if your look makes you happier and lets you maintain a perfect hairstyle as you wish.

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