The process of choosing the best hair pomade generally boils down to selecting a product with a combination of ingredients, styling effects, and appearance to work with a particular look. Modern pomades are formulated with a wide array of different ingredients, and customers should select pomade with a mixture of styling agents and scents that appropriate for their tastes. Pomades vary widely in their styling effects, and both holding power and duration need to be taken into consideration. The appearance of pomade also varies substantially, from slick and oily to almost invisible, and customer preference is important here as well.
Hair pomade is one of several products designed to tame and discipline unruly hair. It is typically the most durable sort of styling product, with some versions remaining in the hair throughout several washings. It is usually more durable than hair gel or hairspray and is most often applied with either fingers or a comb.
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Older versions of hair pomade are typically based on a mixture of mineral oils, waxes, and a variety of scents. This sort of pomade holds extremely well, and is quite resistant to moisture, as oil and wax both naturally repel water. Hair that has been treated with this sort of pomade will often have a moist, glistening, or even oily appearance, an appearance that forms the basis of certain styles such as a 1950s pompadour.
Contemporary formulations of hair pomade are more often based on soft waxes, and many use natural waxes, particularly beeswax. This sort of pomade still provides excellent hold, but is less visually distinctive. These types of pomade are especially likely to be scented with natural compounds based on essential oils. Oil used in this type of product is generally a mixture of plant oils, rather than mineral oil, and is usually easier to wash out. Such varieties of hair pomade may also be less damaging to hair, which is of particular concern for men and women with sparse or fragile hair.
A consumer should consider the precise styling effect that he or she is hoping to achieve. Mineral oil hair pomade holds extremely well and is a good candidate for very dramatic hairstyles that require extensive styling. Gentler pomades may be preferred by men or women looking for an alternative to gel or hairspray in more conventional hairstyles, although some formulations do possess significant holding power, and are suitable for the creation of more radical hair styling effects.