What Is Pomade?

Pomade is a generic term for a creamy hair product. Wikipedia sums it up as a “greasy, waxy or a water-based substance that is used to style hair.”

Pomade Definition

The English word “pomade” comes from the French pommade meaning “ointment,” which originates from the Latin pomum (fruit, apple). The original ointment recipe contained mashed apples. Modern pomades are often scented but can also be fragrance-free.

How To Use Pomade

There are basically two ways to use pomade, on damp hair or dry hair. The differences are subtle but there is a difference:

  • Damp application – Shinier finish, lighter hold, smoother finish
  • Dry application – More matte finish, stronger hold, separated and textured finish

For longer hair or wavy and curly hair, pomade is easier to apply to damp hair. Dry application can be best for fine or thin hair and short hair. For guys with thick hair, it depends on the style and look you are going for.

Try your favorite pomade both ways though. You can get two different looks out of one jar of pomade or apply pomade twice for even stronger hold.

Pomade can be easier to apply to damp hair because there it spreads through hair smoothly and thoroughly. Hair should be damp, never wet. Too much water breaks down the product, weakening it. Air or blow dry hair until there are no more drops but hair still has some water in it, about 90% dry. Now, work product through hair.

For dry hair, work fingers through hair a few times to make sure hair gets evenly coated. Usually this will create a more textured, separated look, which is on trend today.

How To Apply Pomade

1. Air or blow dry until damp or dry.

2. Dig out a small amount of product and rub between palms. This warms up the product and helps it spread through hair. For extra thick pomade that can’t easily be removed, blow dry the product for a few seconds to make it easier to remove.

Always start with a small amount of product, less than the size of a pea. It is much easier to add more than take it away.

3. Most people apply pomade only to the top and sides of hair. Instead, apply hair product from back to front.

Hair is densest at the back of the head. Starting there makes sure the the most product is where hair is thickest. When there is less pomade on hands, move to the top and sides where hair is lighter in density. Finish pushing hair into place with fingers or a comb.