mens pomade on male model

How to use Men’s Pomade

Our guide on how to use Men’s Pomade

Men’s Pomade? There are literally millions of hair, beard, and skincare products on the market for men. It can be daunting or confusing to the point you give up and just go with what is first placed in front of you, which is unfortunately usually an inferior or overpriced product. That is why we have compiled the most comprehensive list of information on the internet on how to use men’s pomade, what it is used for, and what to look for in a men’s pomade.

men's pomade
Photo by ANDI WHISKEY on Unsplash

The origins of men’s pomade date back well into 1700 in fact the word pomade originates from the historical male hairstyle a pompadour. Traditional ingredients include lard, petroleum jelly, beeswax, or lanolin. Men’s pomade is typically used to hold the hair in place as well as give the hair more lustre, sheen, and strength as well as assist healthy growth. A lot of ingredients in pomade serve a dual purpose and can improve the appearance as well as strengthen and hold. Which brings us to our first subject of interest. What ingredients should you be looking for in men’s pomade and why?

One of the most popular ingredients for hair pomade is mass-produced petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is made by taking the petroleum the wax substance that forms on oil rigs then distilling the wax into a filtered form using bone char. Generally, we do not recommend using petroleum jelly. We would favor natural-based waxes and oils or butters for their moisturizing and protective aspects to your hair and as such petroleum jelly will not make the list of recommended ingredients.

Thanks to advancements in cosmetic science new methods for combining natural oils and butters into men’s pomade have become available. The most notable improvement is the ability to make natural pomade products that are water-soluble and can be easily washed out of the hair. A premium hair pomade should contain all the natural moisturizing ingredients and still easily was out. For men’s pomade that does this take a look at Black Magic Organics hair pomade made with natural oils and extracts HERE. Some of the most highly recommended popular hair pomade ingredients include the following.

Shea butter

Shea butter is a highly regarded men’s pomade ingredient made from shea seed/nuts. The kernels are removed from the seeds and boiled. The oil or butters then rise to the top where they are separated and purified.

Shea butter is used for all kinds of treatments like dry skin, skin burns, dandruff, or eczema. It is very versatile can be used for cooking and has several beneficial properties and vitamins and fats. Shea butter works as an emollient and can help reduce swelling of the skin also. We highly recommend shea butter as a go-to ingredient in any hair pomade that you wish to sustain healthy hair.

Mango butter

Mango butter is extremely good for hair as is very popular in high-end men’s pomade. It is also very beneficial for the skin. It is made by cold pressing the mango seeds after they have had the shells removed. This requires the seeds to be placed inside a hydraulic press or beaten by hand. An immense amount of pressure is applied in order to extract the oils or butters. Mango butters easily absorb into hair and skin and give a satin-like feel rather than an oily or fatty feel.

Mango butter is incredibly useful and versatile and boasts a large range of benefits in a wide variety of skin and hair treatments. It is considered a more premium product than shea butter and offers a more pleasant feel to the skin and hair than other oils and butters. Mango butter unlike shea butter is limited to use topically and not ingested. It contains several natural vitamins and nutrients for the skin and hair. We highly regard and recommend mango butter as a men’s pomade ingredient.


A common ingredient you will find in most men’s pomade is beeswax. It is a great natural ingredient that is very effective in men’s pomade for hold and protection of the hair. It is useful for both beards and head hair. Historically beeswax was used to hold curls or braids in place. It has been found in these types of preparations throughout ancient Egypt and china dating back thousands of years. One of the main benefits of beeswax for hair is it contains vitamin A which moisturizes hair and has several beneficial properties for locking in and protecting the moisture content of the hair.

bees wax mens pomade
Photo by Lina Verovaya on Unsplash

Not many people know that hair on your body is actually dead. As such it requires constant moisturizing and care to keep it looking healthy and maintain sheen. It is also useful for sealing strands; this is great for hiding and preventing split ends. It has also been observed in a study from 2016 that beeswax is beneficial for promoting hair growth HERE among other remedies like preventing psoriasis or eczema, as well as dandruff.

Cetyl Alcohol

Despite the name, cetyl alcohol is not harmful to the body in the way isopropyl or ethanol alcohols are. In fact, cetyl alcohol is extracted from coconut oil and the only similarity is the name and its definition. Cetyl alcohol has many moisturizing properties and is also used as a whitener for a wide range of moisturizers and balms as well as men’s pomade. In its raw form, it appears as a pearly white wax-like substance that is quite hard. When combined with other emulsifying agents it is water-soluble and creates a creamy pearly texture to pomades. Cetyl alcohol is a drastically versatile cosmetic product with many benefits for hair and skin.


It doesn’t take much explaining for you to know what water is. However, when it comes to ingredient lists the name used can vary. Other names for water that can appear on men’s pomade ingredient list can be words like Aqua, H20, and purified water. They are all the same thing. Having water in the mixture doesn’t mean you haven’t received value. Water is an important ingredient to ensure the active ingredients don’t separate or in some cases expire due to it acting as a carrier agent for preservatives in some products. Effectively water is a solvent, yeah, it seems odd. But a solvent is simply something used to combine other ingredients that are soluble with it. Since your body is mostly water, it makes sense to use water or Aqua as the base for water-soluble men’s pomades.

Oils and scents

Oils are a great way to introduce hydration and vitamins to hair and your scalp. There is a multitude of beneficial oils that can be used to aid growth, protect hair, add sheen, and maintain the strength of hair. Oils for men’s pomade can be divided into four main categories of benefit. Those are oils for scent and oils for nutrients and vitamins and carrier oils, often oils can serve multiple purposes. Oils like peppermint, sandalwood, cinnamon, bergamot, and ginger are popular as scents but can also offer beneficial properties. Oils like sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil are known and effective carrier oils, but also offer other benefits like containing natural vitamin E and vitamin A. Jojoba is highly regarded in particular for its vitamin E content. Other oils that you may find beneficial are sandalwood nut oil and argan oil for their powerful hydrating properties and skin redness and inflammation-reducing properties. These are all great ingredients to have in men’s pomade and will ensure you get the full benefit of a pomade that doubles as a hair treatment and a styling product.

What to make sure isn’t in your men’s pomade

When it comes to selecting a men’s pomade there are several factors you may want to consider. A few of those may be the strength of the hold, the ingredients, natural or organic-based, packaging, shelf life, petrochemicals, PH level, allergies, and skin conditions, but there are a few things you want to ensure are NOT in your pomade.

Depending on your ethics, skin type, and conditions or simply preference you may want to spend some time considering what type of ingredients you DON’T want in a men’s pomade. So as a starting point let’s take a look at the popular active unnatural and non-organic ingredients of hair pomade and what they do.

Silicones like (dimethicone, cyclomethicone ) are popular in a broad range of cosmetic products. They should be avoided, although they can have benefits to the appearance of hair, they are very nasty to the environment. Silicones don’t break down easily and make their way into waterways and animals and plants, even your bloodstream. We are pretty sure you don’t want plastics and silicones in your bloodstream or inside your body at all.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are effective chemicals designed to create a lather, rarely they are added to men’s pomade to assist in washing out oil-based pomades. Although they are rare you should be sure to avoid them as they are incredibly harsh on the hair and will damage it.

Parabens are anti-bacterial preservatives. They are largely discontinued; however, they are still used by some manufacturers. You should always avoid parabens as they have been identified as carcinogenic. Astonishingly it is still legal to include parabens in men’s pomade, and you will have to check the label and google them to identify them. It’s helpful when products identify that they are paraben-free. Natural or organic products are not necessarily free of parabens and you will have to research the ingredients if you want to guarantee they do not contain parabens. Here are some examples of products that are paraben-free. LINK

Ethanol and Isopropyl Alcohol as well as Propanol are alcohols added to hair products to allow them to set quicker. We don’t recommend using them as they can damage the hair. They do this by stripping the hair of natural or introduced oils and damaging cells which can be counterintuitive in products designed to repair or protect hair. Alcohol is also carcinogenic (study) and we should ultimately reduce or remove our exposure was not necessary. Selecting alcohol-free products is a good way to improve your skin and hair overall.

So, you know what the good ingredients in men’s pomades are and now you know the bad. So how do you know what to select for what you are looking for? Here are a few popular terms used to describe pomades that will help you narrow down your selection.

Strong hold, medium hold, lite hold

It’s really in the name and doesn’t need any further explanation. Or does it? The level of “hold” is not a scale, so when some products say stronghold it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than a medium hold however it’s not a bad indicator. Some men’s pomades can break down easily or quickly depending on their ingredients. Generally, most strong hold products contain more artificial ingredients or alcohol. However, there are many natural men’s pomades that have excellent holding properties. Some of those ingredients are xanthan gum, beeswax, cetyl alcohol, and carrageenan. Products like THIS one are 100% natural and easily identifiable as such by their labeling and ingredients list being easy to read and straight forward.


Organic products are products that don’t use common pesticides to treat them. Organic does not mean natural or GMO-free. Organic products do still use pesticides but are limited. They are a good starting point however as they are often less refined and less likely to contain harsh chemicals. Still, it is best to check the ingredients list all the same.


Natural simply means the ingredients were sourced naturally as opposed to combining molecules in a lab to produce the chemical. It doesn’t mean they are any less or more harmful by default, however, they are more likely to be less harsh on your skin in their less concentrated form as they tend to be less refined. They can also carry other beneficial ingredients other than the active ingredient.

Petroleum or petrochemical

This means it has been extracted from crude oil. It’s a good indicator that the product is not from natural sources, and there is a high likelihood it is completely artificial and non-organic.

Water soluble

This means the product dissolves in water. We recommend using water-soluble products as it assists with removing them from the hair while washing. Water-soluble is different from oil-based. Oil or fat-based products can also be water-soluble, in fact, we highly recommend them as they combine both the beneficial moisturizing properties of natural oils and fats to the hair, but also can be removed with ease when it comes time to wash out your pomade.

Hopefully, this acts as a guide to what these common terms mean. So now let’s progress away from the nuts and bolts of what pomade is and what it is made over to how to use it.

How to use men’s pomade

How to use pomade will depend on what type of product you have selected and what style you are looking to achieve. Ultimately the idea of pomade is to form the hair, but they also add to the overall scent you will project and you should consider what type of cologne you will wear with each type. You hardly want to have a bubble-gum and pine needle scent permeating from your body. Scents like sandalwood and cinnamon or pine and frankincense are good combinations for instance.

When it comes to forming the hair, it is dependent on how much volume you want to achieve. Generally, if you want high volume or to “fluff up” your hair you are going to want to apply a stronghold men’s pomade to dry or only very slightly damp hair. To achieve a slicked-back look you will want slight or borderline wet/damp hair. Having slightly damp hair will minimize the amount of pomade you will require to achieve the look, however by reducing the amount of pomade you use you may shorten the duration of the level of hold your hair maintains.

Brushing with a thick solid style brush with pomade applied will give the most slicked back look while combing with a fine-tooth comb or less dense brush will give a less compressed and slick look. You may even want to use two different types of brush or comb or a combination of the two to get the effect you want. If your comb clumps your hair into strands you can run your fingers through just before the hair is completely dry to lessen this effect.

To give the hair maximum volume you want a strong hold hair pomade and completely dry hair. This will give you the maximum lift to your hair and is suitable for thinner hair.

If you wear a hat, you may want to consider a light hold or more moisturizing based pomade that will not form your hair out of place. Many people assume they need to use a stronghold of men’s hair pomade if they use a motorcycle helmet or cap. But the opposite is true. When you wear a hat or helmet your head gets hot and you perspire. Because pomades and all hair products are generally water-soluble, this will distort the hair and it will then re-set as the perspiration is evaporated. We recommend something like THIS as it is a medium hold with an equal balance of water-soluble ingredients and natural oil-based ingredients that moisturize.

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