Grooming

The Best Hair Products to Use to Get That Perfect Pompadour (and More)

Everything from gel to fiber explained.
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Men's hair styling has come a long way since the heavily gelled Jose Rizal look done by many a schoolboy in the past. If you're sticking to the same old routine, then you could be missing out on the best hair product for your hair type and style.

We get it, the choices for products on store shelves these days can be overwhelming but don't fret. We've rounded up the most popular products for men and their different results, as no two hair products are the same. Firstly, try to understand your hair: Is it thick? Does it lay flat? Is it curly? Knowing these details will help you narrow down which products to use. 

 

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Pomade

Hold and finish: Medium to high hold, medium to high shine

Use on the following hair types: Thinning or wavy to curly hair, with short to medium styles

While technically a catch-all to mean "hair styler," true pomades contain essential oils and are the stuff of old-school ‘dos. Pomades give a more natural look than gel, with that signature wet finish. Use for classic slicked back styles like the pompadour.

The most conventional kind is the oil-based pomade, made from grease or petroleum, which is great if you want to achieve the '50s greaser look. This can, however, be harder to wash out.

For oily hair types, we recommend using a water-based pomade like the one above, which is easier to wash out with water though it may not provide the same hold as its oil-based counterpart.

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Wax

Hold and finish: Medium to high hold, medium shine

Use on the following hair types: Thicker hair, short to medium lengths

Unlike pomade, wax doesn't have the same shine that pomade has, with a medium hold that can easily be re-molded later on in the day. Although it's best for shorter styles, you can use it to tousle medium hair as well. Apply on dry hair.

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Fiber

Hold and finish: High hold, no shine

Use on the following hair types: Thinner hair, short to medium styles

If you're looking for the ultimate bedhead, then fiber is your best bet. It keeps your hair in place with zero shine. It's not as pliable as clay or putty, though, so skip it if you're using a hat or if you're planning to switch up your hairstyle within the day.

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Clay

Hold and finish: Medium hold, low shine (dry hair) ; High hold, medium shine (damp hair)

Use on the following hair types: Thicker hair, short to medium styles

What's great about clay is that it's a versatile product. It has medium hold and low shine when applied to dry hair, but on damp hair, it provides a stronger hold and a shinier finish. Clay is also more manageable for those with thicker hair.

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Putty

Hold and finish: High hold, low shine

Use on the following hair types: Thin or thick hair, short styles

For those with shorter hairdos, putty allows for strong hold with a slight sheen, as opposed to clay, which has higher shine.

Gel

Hold and finish: High hold, high shine

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Use on the following hair types: Thicker, short hair

While the gel was once every guy's go-to hair product, times have since changed. Now, you wouldn't want to be caught dead with an overly stiff and crunchy ‘do that just seems glued to your scalp and causes flaking. Yikes. That being said, today's gel has a much-improved formula that is more forgiving on your head. Use sparingly to tame stray side hairs.

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Cream

Hold and finish: Low hold, low shine

Use on the following hair types: Thin or thick hair, with medium to long styles

For those sporting longer manes and want to keep frizz and unruly hairs at bay, consider a grooming cream. This allows longer hairstyles some direction without getting it stiff; perfect if you're gunning for a neater, more polished look. Definitely not for those looking for a "just-rolled-out-of-bed" look.

 

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Sea Salt Spray

Hold and finish: Low hold, low shine

Use on the following hair types: Thin or thick hair, with medium to long styles

A trip to the beach usually results in effortlessly tousled locks. Replicate the seaside look and bring the beach in a bottle with sea salt spray, the easiest hair styler to work with. It absorbs the excess grease and adds texture to your hair.

 

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Hairspray

Hold and finish: Low to high hold, no to low shine

Use on the following hair types: All hair types and hair styles

While many guys may find hair spray frivolous, don't be quick to dismiss hairspray just yet. Although usually marketed towards women, there's no reason men can't benefit from a can of aerosol. Use the hairspray as a finishing touch, and in addition to another product such as wax or pomade, especially during humid days.

 

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Texture Powder

Use on the following hair types: All hair types and hair styles

A secret of hair stylists yet relatively unknown on the market, texture powder is a great addition to your grooming arsenal. As implied by the name, the product offers minimal hold yet provides tons of volume that are great for limp or thinner hair. Apply some on your tresses before styling with another product.

Pompadour Haircut Guide: How to Apply Pomade

1| Start small. As with most things in life, a little goes a long way. You can always add more pomade if you need, but you can't take away what's already in you hair. Fish out a small dollop on your finger. (If you have thick hair, however, get an extra dose.) 

2| Then, rub on your fingertips. This makes the thick consistency of the pomade easier to work with.   

3| Now, apply the product on your (damp) hair. There is wisdom in applying pomade from back to front, just so you don't end up with too much product up front (which leads to that hard hat look). Also, make sure to apply at the base. Good luck.

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