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The Difference Between Oil-Based & Water-Based Pomades

In general, there are two different types of hair pomades, oil-based and water-based.  Similar to alcohol-based aftershaves and alcohol-free aftershaves, there really is no optimal choice.  The quality of every kind of pomade at the end of the day comes down to personal preference, which might also have to do with your certain hair type.

If you are a newbie when it comes to hair pomade and are not sure where to start, this article is going to start you off on the right path by teaching you certain differences between a water-based pomade and an oil-based pomade.  This article is to serve simply as a guide and is not intended to have you select oil-based over water-based or vice versa.  Instead, give both types of pomades a try to see which one you like best.  You may even like both for various occasions and varying styles.

What is Pomade?

Pomade is a hairstyling product that could be made be of a greasy and/or waxy consistency permitting you to attain your desired look.  While water-based and oil-based happen to be the two general categories of hair pomade, all pomades differ in shine, grease, texture and hold.  Pomades have been utilized for over many years to achieve a variety of looks for both men and women.

Hairstyling products like pomades became very trendy from the 1920s to the 1950’s particularly when the subculture of “Greasers” came about.  These groups of teens were affected by rock and roll idols like Elvis Presley, and were coined with the term “greaser” as a result of their comb-back hairstyles slicked with styling products such as hair wax and pomades.

Oil-Based Pomade

Oil-based pomades are the classical pomades that have been around for a very long time.  When searching for an oil-based pomade be sure to read the first ingredient listed and if it is written petrolatum, petroleum, soft paraffin, or mineral oil, then it is an oil-based pomade for sure.  As opposed to water-based pomades, oil-based pomades are not able to be dissolved by water.

Thus even after you rinse out your hair, you are still going to have some pomade left over for the following day.  As a consequence, there is no need to apply a large amount during the second day again since the pomade from the previous application still remains in your hair.

Oil-Based Pomade Advantages

This more classical type of hair pomade consists of lesser chemicals than the more modern water-based pomade.  While quality and consistency of pomades differ from product to product, usually oil-based pomades never dry, permitting you to continuously be able to rework your “do”. Another benefit of oil-based pomades is that they come in a variety of selections.

Certain among them give off some extraordinary shine while the shine finish in alternatives tends to be more subtle.  The same also applies regarding the “hold” of the pomade.  Certain oil-based pomades offer a very strong hold while others may provide a softer hold.  Finally, since it’s tougher for oil-based pomades to wash out, it is simpler to get more of your money’s worth considering that you won’t have to reapply as much for the next day.

Oil-Based Pomade Disadvantages

As was already mentioned, in comparison with water-based pomade and other hairstyling products, oil-based pomade is not easy to rinse out following your initial application.  If you do not desire to have the left overs of pomade left in your hair a day or 2 once you have styled your hair the first time, then the hydrophobic quality of an oil-based pomade can be regarded as a disadvantage.

Acne is yet another negative effect that can come about if you are not careful when applying your pomade.  You can also be more vulnerable to breakouts if you are just beginning to utilize an oil-based pomade for the first time.

Water-Based Pomade

Water-based pomades are seen as being the more “new age” or modern version of the classical oil-based pomades that were particularly popular between the 1920s-1950s. Even though the name says everything, when looking for a water-based pomade, if the first ingredient reads water, then you are likely dealing with a water-based pomade (should be obvious right?). Also, do keep a look out for the term “water-soluble”.

Water-Based Pomade Advantages

The main benefit of utilizing a water-based pomade over an oil-based pomade is the fact that it can be easily rinsed out with water once you are done using it for the day.  Similar to oil-based pomades, water-based pomades may be found in a number of options ranging in consistency, hold and finish.  A lot of people during the warmer months prefer using water-based pomades since they have the ability to dry and maintain any hairstyle they want throughout the entire day.  Another benefit of using a water-based pomade is that even though everyone’s skin varies, the likelihood of acne and breakouts are notably reduced as the level of greasiness is usually little to non-existent.

Water-Based Pomade Disadvantages

There are two negative characteristics that a lot of people tend to agree on when selecting a water-based pomade.  First of all, because of their more complex formulations, water-based pomades tend to be more expensive than classical oil-based pomades. Of course prices do differ from brand to brand but in general oil-based pomades are set at a more affordable price.

The second shortcoming is that a tub of water-based hair pomade tends to not last as long as oil-based pomade since it can be removed from your hair with just a single wash.  This then requires you to utilize more pomade the next day so as to recreate your desired look.

All in all, they each have their pros and cons. So it is really up to you to choose the type of pomade that suits you and your needs best.

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