The Best Types of Men’s Hair Products + When to Use Them

Regarding hair styling products, pomade shouldn’t be left off your station. Its name comes from the French word for ointment, which was how it was used before becoming a go-to hair product that helps provide definition, hold, and shine. Unlike gel which leaves your hair stiff and crunchy, pomade gives you a more touchable, manageable finish

Typically packaged in a small jar or tub, pomade is scooped out with your fingertips and warmed up in your hands before being applied to clean damp hair. While pomade for men’s hair is among the most popular on the market, there’s no stopping a woman sporting a short ‘do from reaping the benefits of hair clay, too. 

Pomade is an umbrella term that encompasses products such as gels, pastes, waxes, fibers, and balms. Which pomade hair gel is suitable for your clients? It depends on hair type and style. Let’s take a closer look at each so you can make an informed decision. 

Pomade Types and When to Use Each

Back in the day, the predominant ingredient in pomade was bear fat, which was eventually replaced with more cutting-edge ingredients to formulate various pomades to address different hairstyling goals.  

Oil-Based Pomade

Petroleum is the critical ingredient in oil-based pomades, so it’s a good option for those looking for shine and a more slicked-back hairstyle that can easily be retouched during the day. Oil-based pomades are also effective in helping to straighten wavy, coarse, or curly hair. The only caveat is that this type of pomade can be difficult to remove, so it will require more than one shampoo to wash out all of the product. Start with a deep cleansing, purifying shampoo before using your daily formula. 

  • PST Pick: Johnny B. Original Pomade features a classic oil-based formula designed to add brilliant shine and light hold while helping to tone the yellow from gray hair with regular use.  It’s ideal for lighter or shorter-to-the-scalp haircuts. 

Water-Based Pomade

Water-based pomades provide a medium-to-strong hold, so ensure you’re satisfied with the style you’re creating before setting it with the product. They’re best for hairstyles combed up or over, including those with a bit of height. As water-soluble pomades are easily removed (one shampoo will do the trick), opt for a different type of pomade on rainy days.  

  • PST Pick: Suavecito Original Medium Shine Pomade w/ Medium Hold is formulated to keep hair in place all day — and night, if need be. Suitable for most hair types, the creamy formula is easy to distribute evenly and provides excellent hold for side parts, slick backs, or any style needing control. This pomade washes out easily with or without shampoo. 

Clay Pomade

Also referred to as hair paste or putty, clay-based formulas amalgamate a pomade and a gel. They provide a firm hold but leave behind a tacky feel. Texture-wise, clay pomades are dryer and clumpier than their counterparts. 

Wax Pomade

Wax-based pomades are perfect for casual, “bedhead” type styles. They provide a firm hold but without the crunchiness of hair gel. Wax-based pomades are ideal for simple, “bedhead” type styles. They provide a stronger grip than oil-based pomades but without the crunchiness of hair gel. 

  • PST Pick: L3VEL3 Spider Wax possesses a unique, fiber-like consistency that is strong yet pliable, keeping hair manageable, not molded. The wax leaves a medium-shine finish that’s not too matte or glossy but just enough to highlight your style. It’s an excellent choice when you’re looking to create a lot of volume because it lifts the hair and securely holds it in place.  The water-based formula also washes out easily, leaving no residue that could make hair look dull and unhealthy. 

Paste Pomade

Unlike other pomades, pastes have a thicker texture and provide a more natural, matte appearance with a touch of shine. Texture paste is a good choice for messier styles and can be restyled throughout the day. Hair pastes provide a medium to very firm hold and are incredibly versatile, making them an asset to almost any hairstyle despite length and thickness.

  • PST Pick: 18.21 Man Made Sweet Tobacco Soft-Hold Medium-Shine Hair Styling Paste can smooth and refine texture while controlling frizz. It leaves your hair soft with a semi-glossy authentic finish, helping you achieve an effortless look. It’s ideal for shaping haircuts either at home or by professional hairdressers — leaving your mane smooth, refined, and frizz-free. It’s great for molding and directing hair while adding moisture.

Other Men's Hair Styling Products


Hair gels are an excellent styling product for men's hair because they provide hold and control at different levels to help provide definition for a variety of cuts and looks. Some formulas also provide texture while enhancing shine and keeping frizz at bay. 

  • PST Pick: Woody’s Styling Gel for Men is the perfect styling aid for every day use. Its light to medium hold makes it the perfect blow dry or non-tacky styling gel to put unruly hair in place without stiffness. The formula creates an abundance of volume and is perfect for fine and medium texture hair.

Texturizing Powders

Texturizing powders are perfect for adding definition and hold to all of your client’s desired hairstyles. Additionally, they coat the fibers, which makes the hair appear thicker and healthier

  • PST Pick: Slick Gorilla Hair Styling Powder is the brand’s best-selling product as its touted to be a texturiing formula like no one else’s on the market. The medium to strong hold helps you to create texture with added staying power. And most importantly, the powder helps your client’s style and individuality to remain unique.


Hairspray is particularly useful for men starting to go thin on the top yet still need some hold that won't weigh the hair down like a heavier wax or pomade. The secret is choosing a formula that still provides flexibility and movement, minus a crunchy feel. 

  • PST Pick: L3VEL3 Hair Spritz helps boost shine, protect hair, and lock fibers in place. Finishing with a pro-level spray helps to shield hair against the elements while adding natural shine. The formula is lightweight and non-sticky but still keeps strands where they should be. It delivers flexible yet secure styling hold, protects against damage, tames frizz, and gives gloss for days. It’s a versatile spray suitable for natural hair and freshly-applied hair fibers.  

Hair styling products of all kinds can take your client’s hairstyles to a new level by adding hold, texture, volume, and shine. There are a variety of textures and holds to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. What are some of your favorite formulas to use?


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