Pomade Vs Wax Vs Clay: Find the Difference

which is better pomade vs wax vs clay

The first thing girls notice in men is perfectly styled hair which serves as a sign of their personality. Apart from oozing out superb style, a well-kept mane also helps in adding to your confidence. If you have been having a daunting experience choosing the best hair styling products, then you have come to the right place. Our experts have conducted an in-depth comparison between pomade, wax, and hair clay to help you make the best choice.



Pomade is a creamy hair product made of a greasy, waxy, or water-based substance which can help you nail the hairstyle you have always desired. You can choose between the slick and oil-based traditional pomade or opt for the modern water-based ones.


  • The traditional oil-based pomades are made of either petroleum or grease making them cheaper in comparison to the water-based ones. Since the ingredients of the oil-based pomades are water-insoluble, it becomes almost impossible to wash them out in the shower. Nonetheless, they deliver long-lasting shine and infinite moldability. Washing them off requires specialized products which are infamous for stripping our hair off the natural oils and rendering an unhealthy appearance. The oil-based pomades have a higher chance of causing acne on the scalp and your forehead. Both your hair follicles and pores might get clogged causing undesirable acne and unwanted build-up if the shampoo and conditioner don’t wash your hair effectively.
  • The water-based pomades are a more user-friendly option since they are designed to deliver similar looks and hold as that of the oil-based pomades but can be washed off easily with water. Though their hold isn’t as firm as the oil-based ones, they are enough to maintain flexibility.

Application: You just have to take a nickel-size pomade on your palm and rub it through your hands to warm the product. Next, you will have to spread it through your hair till you get your desired look. Since most people go for a clean-cut look with the pomade, you need to be patient while running a comb through to tidy it up.

How does it work: It functions by imparting shape to your hair while delivering an excellent look and shine. The main ingredients of pomades are petrolatum and vegetable oils like coconut oil and aloe oil.

Can be used on: Both wet and dry hair according to the look you are opting for. Keep your hair wet before use for a slicked-back hairstyle. If you are trying to nail a casual matte finish, then apply it like a hair wax on dry hair.

Perfect for: High maintenance styles like the puffed Pompadour hairstyle are formed using a comb.

Ease of washing The water-based product feels lightweight on your strands and can be washed out quickly

Hold Offered: Flexible, however, most pomades offer medium hold that won’t turn rock hard.

Final finish: They do not leave your hair hard and crunchy or dry out so you can easily style your hair multiple times throughout the day.

Shine options: Medium to a high shine


  • The superior strength of pomade is the reason behind its secure hold and popularity as a styling product for curly and unmanageable hair.
  • Pomades can make your tresses look stunningly shiny while imparting a gorgeous wet look.
  • Can lock in your hair’s moisture and you can add to its efficacy by applying it either on wet hair or over a moisturizer.

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Waxes are similar to pomades but have a medium to high hold courtesy of beeswax as its main ingredient. It doesn’t dry out and lasts throughout the day. Since waxes have all-natural ingredients, they smell very good. They don’t carry any harsh chemicals like peer hair products. People prefer using hair wax over pomades as the latter tends to make your hair greasier. Hair wax is the best choice for those with sensitive skin but can be a bit hard to distribute evenly on hair.

Application: Dab a dime-sized amount on your palm and rub through your hands to warm up the product. Next, you will have to spread the product through your hair until you get the look you desire. You should start applying the product at the root of your hair follicle and slowly work your way to the ends.

How does it work: The hair wax yields result according to its core ingredients. Wax, specifically beeswax is one of the most effective ingredients of hair wax which delivers adequate assistance in holding your hairstyle for quite some time. It retains the shine on your hair while putting texture and offering adequate control.

Can be used on: Hair wax should be applied on dry hair for a warm and matte finish which can elevate your look on formal occasions.

Perfect for: They are perfect for hairstyles requiring a comb like the slick back uncut, a pompadour, classic side parts, or ducktails.

Ease of washing: Since hair wax is water and oil-based, it can be difficult to wash them off with just water.

Hold Offered: They have medium to hard hold that is better compared to pomades. For greater hold, apply the product when your hair is wet and vice versa.

Final finish: They have a shiny finish and do not harden over time. As a result, your hair will stay both light and flexible so that you can try various styles.

Shine options: Low to medium shine


  • Hair wax has a better hold compared to a pomade making it ideal for trying out spiked hairstyles.
  • You can easily remove hair wax with a simple wash of shampoo.
  • Hair wax can be used irrespective of your current hair length as it works on all hair types whether thin or thick.

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Hair clay is a hair styling product having characteristics similar to hair wax. It aims at making your hair soft and manageable while removing tangles. Hair clay also helps in absorbing excess oil and grease while building hair volume. Some hair clay products are specially formulated to get rid of impurities sans the sticky feeling that hair waxes and pomades usually bring. Clay hair products are a new addition to men’s hair styling range. They have a thick to very creamy consistency.


  • The most commonly used clay is bentonite which is fully natural and derived from the weathering of volcanic ash. The incredibly fine and powdery texture of bentonite clay makes it velvety to touch and allows it to swell 6 times on coming in contact with water. Bentonite packs in calcium, sodium, and potassium which feels lightweight on the hair while delivering a firm hold on most hair types.
  • Kaolin isn’t mineral-rich like bentonite but offers the same experience. It helps clear hair and exfoliates the skin while preserving its moisture and natural oils. Kaolin is also helpful in absorbing toxins from the scalp.
  • Brazilian clay also offers similar benefits like removing toxins and impurities. However, it is heavier in comparison to the other two types of clays. Usually, Brazilian hair clay products come in shades like green and red which can leave streaks on light hair.

Application: You can apply it either pre-style or finished product using a blow dryer for that additional volume and stability without weighing your hair down.

How does it work: Clay adds structure and thickness to the individual hair strands to make them feel fatter. As a result, you can expect optimum stability throughout the day.

Can be used on: It can be used to try out hairstyles requiring tons of volume without having to worry about the product weighing down your hair.

Perfect for: The fullness offered by premium-grade hair clay makes it ideal if you wish to try a hairstyle with good volume such as faux hawks, quiffs, etc.

Ease of washing: Wet your hair and apply some shampoo to easily wash off hair wax. Some waxes leave a strong build-up and need to be washed with warm water.

Hold Offered: Offers medium to high hold.

Final finish: Your hair will be left with a matte to semi-matte finish making your tresses look more natural.

Shine options: Low shine


  • It makes your hair feel fuller by providing additional thickness and body to each strand.
  • Most hair clays are created using a lightweight formula making it easier for your locks to absorb them without any leftover residue.
  • Clay hair products can draw dirt and impurities from your hair without stripping it off its natural oils. The naturally stimulating and healing properties of clay make it the ideal choice for men with skin and scalp sensitivities.
  • Being rich in nutrients and minerals, it nourishes the scalp while conditioning and moisturizing the hair to keep frizz under control.

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A well-manicured mane can boost your confidence incessantly. With an array of styling products in the market, taking the end call can be tricky. But you are bound to find an easy answer after going through the comparison between the three most popular hair styling products listed above.

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Jennifer Taylor

With extensive years of experience in content writing, I got an opportunity to make my way to the big fashion platform -, where my content will speak for my passion. My entry into the fashion world is aimed to guide everyone in creating a killer wardrobe without breaking the bank as well as keeping them up to date with new & next fashion trends.