Styling Gel vs Pomade: Choose Your Best Hold

styling gel vs pomade

If you’re looking to achieve a stylish hairdo, you may have heard of styling gel and pomade. But which product is right for you? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two hair styling products and help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Styling gel and pomade have unique benefits and vary in hold strength and shine level. Styling gel tends to provide a stronger hold, while pomade offers a more natural look. Furthermore, styling products come in both water-based and oil-based formulations, each with its own set of benefits.

So, whether you’re looking for a sleek, polished style or a casual, tousled look, understanding the difference between styling gel and pomade is crucial for achieving your desired look while also nurturing your hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Styling gel and pomade offer different levels of hold strength and shine.
  • Styling products come in water-based and oil-based formulas, each having its benefits.
  • Choosing the right product requires considering your hair type and the look you want to achieve.
  • Styling gel gives a sleek and polished look, while pomade gives a more natural style.
  • Experiment with different options and styles to find what works best for you.

Understanding Styling Gel

Styling gel is a popular hair styling product known for its exceptional hold strength and shine level. Unlike oil-based pomades, styling gel is water-based, making it easier to wash out.

The hold strength of styling gel varies from light to strong, depending on the brand and type of gel. Most styling gels have a medium hold strength, making them a versatile option for a range of hairstyles.

When it comes to shine level, styling gel provides a natural, matte finish. However, some brands offer gels with a higher shine level for a more polished look.

water-based styling gel

When using styling gel, it’s essential to apply it evenly throughout your hair to achieve the desired hold and style. You can either apply it to damp or dry hair, depending on the hold you want to create.

To ensure maximum hold, use a comb or your fingers to style your hair. It’s also advisable to avoid using too much product, as this can weigh down your hair and make it look greasy.

Unveiling Pomade

Now, let’s take a closer look at pomade, another popular hair styling product. Pomades are typically oil-based and offer a strong hold while adding a classic shine to your hair. Unlike water-based gels that dry out and harden, pomade remains pliable, allowing for easy restyling throughout the day.

When choosing a pomade, consider the hold strength and shine level that you desire. Unlike gels, pomades typically offer a medium to strong hold, making them great for achieving slicked-back styles or for taming unruly hair. Additionally, oil-based pomades provide a higher shine than most gels, giving an attractive, classic-looking finish to your hair.

While oil-based pomades might require a bit more time and effort to wash out than gels, they do come with their advantages. The oil-based formula delivers moisture to your hair and scalp, preventing dryness and flakiness.

When applying pomade, start small and gradually add more if needed. Remember to rub the pomade between your palms to warm it up and make it easier to apply evenly throughout your hair. You can also use a comb or your fingers to style your hair, depending on your desired look.


For best results, apply pomade to dry hair. Wet hair will dilute the pomade, making it less effective. In addition, avoid applying too much, as this can lead to a weighed-down, greasy look. With the right amount, oil-based pomade will provide a long-lasting, natural-looking hold with a touch of old-school elegance.

Hold Strength: Styling Gel vs Pomade

Choosing the right hair product can make all the difference in achieving your desired hairstyle. Two of the most popular products on the market are styling gel and pomade, each with its own unique hold strength. It’s important to understand the difference between these two products to determine which one is best for you.

Styling Gel:

Styling gel is known for its incredible holding power. It’s water-based, making it easy to wash out and less likely to leave residue in your hair. Styling gel provides a firm hold that lasts throughout the day. It’s perfect for individuals who want a strong, sleek look that stays in place. However, if you have dry hair, styling gel’s high alcohol content may exacerbate the problem.


Pomade is an oil-based product that provides a more flexible hold, making it easier to restyle throughout the day. It’s ideal for individuals who want a natural, matte-looking finish that doesn’t dry out their hair. Pomade is great for individuals with curly or thick hair, as it offers a more workable hold without clumping or drying out the hair. However, pomade may be difficult to wash out and can leave residue behind.

When comparing the hold strength of styling gel and pomade, it’s important to consider your hair type and styling preferences. If you want an ultra-strong hold that lasts all day, styling gel is the better choice. If you want a more flexible hold that allows for restyling, pomade is the way to go.

Product Hold Strength Shine Level
Styling Gel High High
Pomade Medium Low

Table: Comparison of hold strength and shine level between styling gel and pomade

As shown in the table above, styling gel offers a higher hold strength and shine level compared to pomade. However, pomade offers a more matte finish and a more flexible hold, making it a great option for restyling and working with thick or curly hair. Whichever product you choose, be sure to read the label carefully and apply it in accordance with the directions for optimal results.

Hold Strength Comparison

Expert Tip:

For the best results, experiment with both styling gel and pomade to determine which one works best for your hair type and styling preferences. Mix and match products to achieve your desired look, and always remember to use a quality shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair healthy and looking great.

Shine Level: Styling Gel vs Pomade

When it comes to achieving a shiny hairstyle, both styling gel and pomade have their distinct strengths. Styling gel typically has a higher shine level and gives a more wet look, while pomade offers a more natural, low shine finish.

The key difference lies in the ingredients. Styling gel is water-based, while pomade is oil-based. Water-based products tend to dry out and harden, which contributes to the high shine effect. Oil-based products, on the other hand, are more versatile, allowing for more natural movement and texture.

If you’re looking for an ultra-shiny, defined hairstyle, styling gel may be the way to go. However, if you prefer a more natural, textured look, pomade is the better choice. Consider your hair type and desired outcome when selecting between these two products.

Product Shine Level
Styling Gel High
Pomade Low

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Hair Styling Products

When it comes to hair styling products, two main categories dominate the market: water-based and oil-based. Understanding the distinction between these two can help you choose the best styling product for your hair type and desired style.

Water-based products are generally preferred by those who want a lighter hold that won’t leave their hair feeling greasy or heavy. Styling gels are typically water-based, making them a go-to for those looking for a slick, polished style that doesn’t weigh the hair down. They also provide easy washout without leaving any residue. Additionally, water-based products are often better for those with fine hair that tends to get weighed down easily.

Oil-based products, on the other hand, are ideal for those who want a stronger hold and a more natural look. Pomades are the most popular oil-based hair styling products on the market, and for good reason. They provide shine, texture, and hold, creating a classic, old-school look that can be restyled throughout the day. Additionally, oil-based products can help to moisturize and nourish the hair, making them a good choice for those with dry or damaged hair. However, they are notoriously difficult to wash out, often requiring a deep cleansing session.

It is essential to note that the base of the product isn’t the only factor that affects the final result; other ingredients also play a vital role in determining the product’s characteristics, such as the strength of hold and shine level. So it’s essential to read the label and look for products that align with your specific hair needs.

Differences Between Styling Gel and Pomade

The primary difference between styling gel and pomade lies in their hold strength and shine level. Styling gels generally provide a stronger hold and a more polished finish, while pomades tend to have a lighter hold and a more natural look. Furthermore, styling gels are usually water-based, making them easier to wash out, while pomades are oil-based, providing a firm hold and lasting shine, making them more difficult to wash out.

When choosing between styling gel and pomade, consider your hair type, the final look you want to achieve, and the level of hold you need. Balancing these factors will help you choose the right product for your hair and personal preferences.

How to Choose the Right Hair Product

Choosing the right hair product can be a daunting task, especially with so many options on the market. To help you make an informed decision between styling gel and pomade, consider the following tips:

  1. Determine your hair type: Different hair types require different products. If you have fine, thin hair, go for a lighter hold product like a styling gel. Thicker and coarser hair needs a stronger hold, and a pomade may be a better option.
  2. Consider your desired look: If you want a sleek, polished finish with some shine, try a pomade. For a messier, more textured style and a matte finish, choose a styling gel.
  3. Assess the hold strength: Styling gel and pomade provide different levels of hold. Styling gel offers a firmer hold, while pomade provides a more flexible hold. Decide how much control you need for your hairstyle.
  4. Compare the shine level: Pomade is known for its shine-boosting properties, while styling gel imparts a more natural-looking finish. Think about how much shine is appropriate for your desired look.
  5. Take your personal preferences into account: Do you prefer water-based or oil-based products? Are you sensitive to fragrances or certain ingredients? These factors can play a significant role in determining which hair styling product is best for you.

Remember, finding the right hair product may take some experimentation. Consider trying out a few different options until you find the perfect fit. And don’t forget to use these hair styling tips for optimal results.


Choosing between styling gel and pomade can be challenging, but understanding the differences in their hold strength and shine level is key. Whether you are looking for a water-based hair styling product like gel, or an oil-based option like pomade, it’s important to consider your hair type and the look you want to achieve.

Both hair gel and hair pomade offer unique benefits, which is why they are popular men’s hair products. By following some hair styling tips and experimenting with different options and styles, you can confidently choose the perfect hair product for your needs.

With the right hair styling products and technique, you can achieve any hairstyle you desire. So, don’t be afraid to try new things and have some fun with your hair. Remember to choose a high-quality styling gel or pomade and to always apply it evenly for the best results.

Overall, we hope this article provided some valuable insights into the world of hair styling products, and helped you understand how to choose the right hair product for your needs. Whether you prefer styling gel, pomade, or another hair care product, always keep in mind the key factors that determine your hairstyle success: hold, shine, and hair type.

Good luck on your hair styling journey, and don’t forget to check out our other hair styling tips and tricks for more helpful advice!


What is the difference between styling gel and pomade?

Styling gel and pomade are both hair styling products, but they have different characteristics. Styling gel provides a stronger hold and more control over your hairstyle, making it ideal for sculpting and shaping your hair. On the other hand, pomade offers a more flexible hold with a natural-looking shine, making it suitable for achieving more textured and relaxed hairstyles.

What are the benefits of using styling gel?

Styling gel offers a strong hold, allowing you to create and maintain precise hairstyles throughout the day. It provides control over your hair, taming flyaways and frizz. Additionally, styling gel is water-based, making it easy to wash out and leaving no residue behind.

What are the benefits of using pomade?

Pomade provides a flexible hold, allowing you to restyle your hair throughout the day without losing its shape. It also adds natural-looking shine to your hair, giving it a polished appearance. Pomade is often oil-based, providing nourishment and conditioning benefits for your hair.

How do I choose between styling gel and pomade?

Choosing between styling gel and pomade depends on your desired hold, shine level, and the style you want to achieve. If you prefer a strong, structured hairstyle, styling gel with its stronger hold is a better option. However, if you want a more laid-back, textured look with a natural shine, pomade is the way to go. Consider your hair type and desired style when making your decision.

Is water-based or oil-based hair product better?

The choice between water-based and oil-based hair products depends on your hair type and personal preferences. Water-based products like styling gel are lightweight and easy to rinse out, making them suitable for daily use and all hair types. Oil-based products like pomade provide more nourishment and hydration, making them ideal for dry or damaged hair, but they may be slightly harder to wash out.

What are some hair styling tips when using styling gel?

To get the most out of your styling gel, start with damp hair for easier application. Rub a small amount of gel between your palms, then evenly distribute it through your hair. Use a comb or your fingers to style your hair as desired, and let it dry naturally or use a diffuser for added volume. Avoid using too much gel, as it may weigh your hair down or create a stiff appearance.

What are some hair styling tips when using pomade?

When using pomade, it’s best to start with dry or slightly damp hair. Take a small amount of pomade and warm it between your palms before evenly spreading it through your hair. Use your fingers or a comb to style your hair, creating texture and definition. For a more natural look, avoid applying too much pomade, as it can make your hair appear greasy or heavy.

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