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Difference between pomade and hair wax?
05-08-2015, 11:02 AM
Post: #1
Difference between pomade and hair wax?
I'd like to ask any of the forum experts what's the difference between pomade and hair wax? I use both pomades and waxes to style my hair. But the way I have seen it is that I use pomade for classic hairstyles like the side combover while I use the hair wax to style modern mens hairstyles.

That itself would be my experience and difference with pomade vs hair wax. I got that from reading the forum alone but I wanted to ask if there's any more to it than just that simple explanation. Thanks!
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05-10-2015, 07:00 AM
Post: #2
RE: Difference between pomade and hair wax?
Hey man I think you have summarized it really well when it comes down to the main difference between hair wax vs pomade. Pomades offer that slicked look regardless of whether they offer some ultra high shine or some low shine. You will still get that slicked look.

I would describe the slicked look achieved with pomades as a texture that looks like your hair is indeed coated with a product. So this would be the reverse of a natural texture which is what hair styling waxes achieve on the other hand.

The general slicked look that you achieve with pomades also gives a wet hair look. This is because the pomade traps the moisture of the hair when you style it wet. Actually more than wet itself the hair should be damp which is basically wet but without dripping water. If you style your hair when it's so wet that it drips water you will find that the pomade just runs through the hair and drips down with the water. That's not what you want.

Some hair waxes will also provide the slicked wet hair effect of pomades. But from what I have seen and from reading this forum these waxes are rare and they usually are based on a pomade formulation but with additional hairstyling ingredients to get the texture of a hair wax. See the following post if you want to know about some great waxes with high shine and slick You can see that many hair styling products are made to behave like styling waxes but they're based on pomades or on hairstyling cream formulations. It's done this way so that you can still shape and slick with high shine despite the hair wax texture that comes with these quasi hair wax products.

Going back to the slicked hair with pomades, with a slicked style your hair groups together so you can do some clever shaping with a strong hold, for example you can get a good pompadour hairstyle with pomade. You have the hair grouped in different parts and going in the same direction within the same groups of hair so that you can create the quiff in the pompadour and then slicked the rest of the hair back.

I think this picture below defines really well what a pomade can do. The pompadour hairstyle has that high shine slicked look and it also has the strong hold to keep the pompadour hairstyle in check despite the hair being curly. As we know curly hair does have a tendency to coil back into its natural place so you need a really strong pomade for curly hair to keep a hairstyle like a pompadour in place.

[Image: c2Kaqkh.jpg]

Now with hair waxes, you can achieve many more different textures than with pomade. I would say that the standard texture of a hair wax is a natural texture. What this means is that when you style your hair with a hair wax it will barely look like you've used any hair product to get your hairstyle. This is good since you can style updo hairstyles like the mythical brush up hairstyle, spiky hair, pompadours, blowout hairstyles, volume hairstyles and any type of hairstyle that is tousled and messy. You get to style these hairstyles and shape them but it won't look like you've used a hair product to get that shape and hairstyle.

By the way if you're interested in knowing about the brush up hairstyle then read its hairstyle guide The brush up hairstyle goes really well with a good hair styling wax.

See the following pompadour hairstyle to compare the natural texture of a standard hair wax with the slicked texture of a pomade. Granted the guy in the picture used another type of styling product for his pompadour but I'm just posting it to give you an idea of how the texture of a styling wax would look just as the texture of the pompadour looks. Compare the texture and look with the previous pompadour hairstyle picture styled with a pomade. Big difference and you could outline this as the main difference between a pomade and styling wax.

[Image: 67G0whj.jpg]

Another picture of a pompadour hairstyle. This time the pompadour was styled with a hair wax. You can see the natural texture and brushed look, as if the pompadour had been styled with no product at all. That's the result of using a good hair styling wax! Smile

[Image: 4b823fefabd8347921870d71d772b7d7.jpg]

Most hair waxes give a clean finish compared to the finish of pomades. Again this is because of the natural texture from hair waxes. Also from what I know most hair wax products are water soluble which adds in their cleanliness and in their ease of styling. For example compare the water soluble Tigi wax with something from Dax and you will soon see the difference in texture, finish and cleanliness. With a Dax hairdressing wax you will need to shampoo your hair a couple of times whereas with the Tigi wax you won't even need to use shampoo to get it off your hair.

It doesn't help that there are also different marketing names used for some of the different hair wax products. This is what some of those terms usually mean but I have seen some companies label their products the other way round. Why they do that? Dunno...
  • Hair clay: a type of matte styling wax with a low to medium hold.
  • Hair fiber or putty: a type of medium shine styling wax with a strong hold.
  • Pomade wax: since high shine hair waxes with a strong hold are rare, they label these waxes as pomade waxes. Like I mentioned above the pomade waxes are basically a blend between a pomade for the high shine and a styling wax for the hair wax texture.
There are so many hair styling waxes it can get crazy. So you can choose a hair styling wax that leaves your hair feeling natural as it gives you a matte finish or a low shine finish with a strong hold. This then allows you to shape your hair in any hairstyle that you want while still keeping that natural texture intact.

You can go to the other side of the spectrum and get a pomade wax that has a strong hold but which also gives you that shiny slicked look which also gives a wet hair effect. You can think of any combinations that you want in terms of holding strength, shine and texture and you will find at least one available styling wax. Here in the forum they usually recommend styling waxes with different levels of hold strength/shine/texture so it's always a good idea to search the forum for hairstyling waxes.

You can se the ongoing discussion at the thread discussing the best hair waxes for men as the range of hair wax products with different textures and strengths are mentioned and recommended. That's just one of the many threads discussing hair waxes and the guys here have helped me too when I've opened a thread asking questions about hair waxes.

As a last comment there is a post by one of the forum moderators (see the following link) that gets referenced a lot in the forum as it covers the range of moving rubber waxes from Gatsby Moving rubbers are hair wax products that remain active on your hair thru the day so that you can re-style your hair at any time. So you can have a side part in the morning at work and then you can spike your hair when you finish work and you go out to a party. There's no need to re-apply the product again or to wet the hair, you just re-style again and you're ready to go.

That was a long post! It's actually fun to learn about the different hair products for men, and you have in this forum a huge resource that covers all mens hairstyles and products and how they're used together to achieve different textures, looks, shapes and styles.
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