Should I Use Wax, Pomade, or Gel?
Find the right product for your hair style—and type

October 4, 2017

Choosing the right hair product depends on the look you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s shiny or matte—flexible or firm hold.

Gel is a classic product, often shunned for portraying an old school “wet” look, but it’s good for guys who want an all-day hold—and don’t have time to wait for their hair to dry first. Gel is best applied on damp hair after you shower, as long as you aren’t palming your mane. To avoid the dreaded white flakes that often accompany gel, thoroughly wash your hair first and use only as much product as you need. A dime size will do. Remember, you can always add more later.

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Wax gives your strands a matte finish, and it’s thicker than gel, but doesn’t harden or feel sticky. Most waxes are oil-based and have a moderate hold, which makes them more difficult to wash out. To apply, shape your hair in the direction you style it while it’s drying. Take a small amount of wax and spread it evenly across your hands. Apply it once your hair is completely dry starting at the back to avoid clumping near the front. For extra hold, add hairspray to your waxed finish.

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 If you have dry hair or want a flexible hold, pomade is your ideal product. Many pomades are water-based, so they’re lightweight and wash out easily. For a slicked back look, apply to wet hair and style as desired. Look for pomades with a matte finish for everyday wear, and apply it to dry hair as you would a wax. Once you know what look you want and what products work best for your hair type, you’ll only need to keep one or two products on hand to get the right style every time.