Hair Products » Best Hair Pomade & Pastes

Best Hair Pomades for a Sleek Look

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Whether you already know about hair pomade and paste or hope to achieve the perfect slick-and-wet look from the runway this year, our list of the best pomades can help. 

Pomades are a particular type of hair product to incorporate into any morning or night-out routine. Need some extra lift or shine? Want a strong hold without hairspray? Pomades can deliver. 

It can be overwhelming to find the perfect pomade formula on your own, so use this list of the best hair pomades of 2022 as a shopping guide.

Best hair pomades overview:

Our picks for the best hair pomade

Best overall
OUAI Matte Pomade

What we love

  • Matte finish is perfect for a ‘model-off-duty’ look
  • Works for all hair types
  • Tames flyaways and frizz

What we don’t love

  • Using too much can look greasy
  • Feels sticky

In recent years, OUAI has become a cult classic often recognized as a quality and clean beauty brand. This is one of the reasons OUAI’s Matte Pomade is our best overall pomade pick. The brand itself says it perfectly: It’s a OUAI of life!

From the soft and seductive floral notes to the midweight paste texture for smoothing down flyaways and creating sleek buns, this pomade will speed up your morning routine. Ideal for both short and long hair, it tames frizzy hair and provides gentle shape and texture.

Holding power: Medium | Finish: Matte

Best budget
Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade

What we love

  • Softens and moisturizes hair and scalp
  • Fights frizz and controls unruly hair edges
  • Increases shine

What we don’t love

  • Doesn’t hold hair
  • May look a little greasy

If you haven’t used pomade before, Carol’s Daughter is an ideal place to start. This Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade is a deep moisturizing product for the hair and scalp to increase shine. Plus, its sweet yet citrus scent is invigorating.

The formula is full of plant-based butter like shea and cocoa, which give it a rich texture but can make oily hair look extra greasy. While it’s not designed to hold your hair in place, it works to smooth any frizziness that needs to be controlled day-to-day.

Holding power: Light | Finish: Shiny

Best splurge
Shu Uemura Ishi Sculpt Texturizing and Sculpting Hair Paste

What we love

  • Lightweight
  • Smoothes and fights frizz
  • Workable hold softly sculps hair

What we don’t love

  • May leave a visible residue if not applied carefully
  • If you’re in the mood for a hair lift with little-to-no frizz, this is the ideal product for a splurge. The premium hair paste comes in a small and sophisticated black jar, which we can assure you will look just right next to the rest of your haircare regimen.

    Don’t be fooled by the creamy paste. Even though it seems light, it still successfully controls frizz and softly sculpts the hair. It has a demi-matte finish that’ll suit most looks, and by adjusting how you use it, you can achieve a more texturized or defined effect. Just make sure to work it or brush it into your hair well to avoid a visible white residue.

    Despite this pomade’s medium hold, it feels as though nothing is in the hair. Use it on damp or dry hair to create workable, piece-y, and frizz-free styles.

    Holding Power: Medium | Finish: Demi-matte

    Best versatile
    Virtue 6-in-1 Styling Paste

    What we love

    • Versatile option with medium hold
    • Provides a natural look
    • Contains hair-fortifying proteins

    What we don’t love

    • Pricey
    • Not strong enough for wild nights

    If you want a pomade that does it all, let the name 6-in-1 clue you in. This versatile styling paste can help you create a variety of hairstyles. Depending on how you use it, it can provide a smooth or textured look and medium hold for almost any situation. (The only time it might fail you is if you’re planning a wild night out.)

    This styling paste has a natural finish with a subtle sheen to make the hair look healthy but not greasy. The formula also offers fortifying benefits, thanks to Virtue’s Alpha Keratin 60ku, a protein that strengthens and protects your locks.

    Holding power: Medium | Finish: Natural

    Best for long hair
    R+Co Mannequin Styling Paste

    What we love

    • Perfect for a textured, ‘model-off-duty’ look
    • Light hold for flexibility and movement
    • Prevents frizz and static

    What we don’t love

    • Polarizing fragrance
    • Bottle design can be off-putting

    The R+Co Mannequin pomade provides texture with a matte finish. It has a light hold, so it smooths and controls the hair without making it look like it was styled too intentionally. Your hair will still have some natural movement, but styling paste controls frizz with static-preventing polymers. 

    We like that it comes in a squeeze bottle rather than a jar, but the mannequin design and packaging can be a little off-putting. The formula has a unique spicy citrus fragrance that’s very polarizing — some love it and others don’t.

    Holding power: Light | Finish: Matte

    Best gel
    Suavecito Suavecita Pomade For Women

    What we love

    • Gel-like hold with pomade creaminess
    • Excellent for curls
    • Gives hair a sleek sheen

    What we don’t love

    • Not ideal for natural looks
    • Packaging looks cheap

    This Suavecita Pomade has a gel-like texture but with some of the creaminess we like in a pomade. It provides a medium hold and feels light, especially helpful for defining curls without weighing them down. It offers the hair some shine, which isn’t ideal for a natural look but can be perfect for a sleek style. 

    The white jar and sticker combination doesn’t look particularly elegant, but that’s a minor complaint considering how affordable and well-performing this product is.

    Holding power: Medium | Finish: Shiny

    Best for flexibility
    Pureology Style + Protect Mess It Up Texture Paste

    What we love

    • Provides soft texture with flexible control
    • Excellent non-greasy texture
    • Helps protect color-treated hair

    What we don’t love

    • Not great for more defined styles
    • Not ideal for curly hair

    A bit of flexibility never hurt anybody — especially when it comes to hair styling. There’s nothing more beautiful than hair that looks flowy and bouncy. This pomade has a soft grip that gives the hair sheen and smoothness without restricting its natural movement. But, if your hair is curly, the paste-like texture may not work well with your hair type. 

    Pureology formulated this pomade with dyed hair in mind, so it also offers color protection. The texture is soft and non-greasy, which makes for a pleasant application experience.

    Holding power: Medium | Finish: Light shine

    Best for frizzy hair
    Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade

    What we love

    • Prevents frizziness
    • Fights humidity
    • Great for textured hair

    What we don’t love

    • A little goes a long way, so be careful of grease
    • Light hold won’t work for all styles

    If your hair is naturally frizzy or has become frizzy due to heat styling, this Aveda product will be the best pomade to tame those pesky little flyaways. It’s a light-hold formula that refines without necessarily controlling the style. 

    It’s a smoothing product that was created to repel moisture from your hair and thus reduce the likelihood of frizz. It’ll be perfect for those who live in humid areas or are planning to travel to somewhere tropical. It can feel a little oily, though, so be careful not to over-apply.

    Holding power: Light | Finish: Satin

    Best for short hair
    American Crew Pomade

    What we love

    • Excellent for smoothing shorter hair
    • Natural shine finish gives hair a healthy look
    • Affordable

    What we don’t love

    • Not ideal for longer hair (except to tame flyaways)
    • Cologne-like fragrance may be too strong for some

    If you’re rocking shorter hair, this budget-friendly pomade provides smoothness and natural shine without looking too textured. If your tresses are longer, it’s effective for reducing flyaways and frizz near your hairline, but it won’t work well through the length of your locks. 

    Keep in mind that this product was originally designed with men in mind, so the fragrance has a cologne-like scent that may not be appealing to everyone.

    Holding power: Medium | Finish: Natural shine

    Best texturizing
    Redken Brews Clay Pomade

    What we love

    • Perfect for textured, piece-y styles
    • Strong, lasting hold
    • Works for both short and long hair

    What we don’t love

    • Malty beer smell isn’t for everyone
    • Not good for smoothing hair

    If you’re aiming for a textured style, this is the pomade for you. Made with clay, it has a matte finish that pairs nicely with textured styles. It’s part of Redken’s Barber Essentials line, so it’s catered toward men, but great hair has no gender. That said, the malty, beer-inspired scent may not work for everyone.  

    If your hair is longer, it’s perfect for defining and creating separation. For shorter hair, it’ll shape it into a more voluminous style. While the hold is strong and long-lasting, the formula isn’t ideal if you’re looking to smooth down flyaways.

    Holding power: Strong | Finish: Matte/gritty

    How to pick the right hair pomade for you

    When it comes to finding the best hair pomade for you, you should keep a few things in mind. First, determine what you want to get out of it. Do you want to tame your hair, slick it back, or hold it up? Some pomades give a little more hold than hair cream, while others offer as strong a hold as hair wax. Understanding your needs will point you in the right direction. Once you’ve determined what you want to get out of a pomade, consider the factors below.

    Pomade type

    • Water-based. Water-based pomades are similar to hair gel. They’re perfect for nights out when you want to do a quick up-do style and rinse it out the next morning. Since water-based products are water soluble, these pomades wash out easily.  
    • Oil-based. Pomades made with oil often have excellent grip and staying power. They create a coating on the hair that locks in moisture and reduces split ends. An oil-based pomade won’t dry your hair out, it’ll leave your hair looking shiny (but sometimes greasy if you have an oily scalp). 
    • Wax-based. Wax-based pomades add texture and volume to your hair. They provide a stronger hold than the oil-based counterpart but without feeling crunchy like gel. 
    • Clay-based. Also known as hair paste or putty, clay-based pomades have a thick consistency that will keep your hair in a firm hold. However, a clay formula can feel tacky, making it difficult to manage.

    Hair type

    • Fine hair. Generally, those with thinner hair should opt for lightweight formulas with a light or medium hold. Thick strong-hold options will make your hair flat and greasy.
    • Coarse hair. Heavier pomade formulas work best for those with thick, coarse, and dry hair.
    • Straight hair. When it comes to straight hair, pastes and water-based pomades work best because they provide a solid grip but are easy to remove. That said, most forms of pomades can be worked into straight hair, depending on the style you’re going for.
    • Curly hair. Curly hair often works best with oil-based pomades because they’ll nourish your hair and enhance the already-existing bounce of your curls. While oil-based pomades can often be trickier to remove, the added moisture will be well worth the few extra washes.

    Holding power

    • Light. Light-hold pomades are perfect for a blowout. They’re best for extra texture and control for a messy, sultry hairstyle.
    • Medium. As you would guess, medium holding power lies somewhere in between the fierce strong-holds and the ultra light-hold pomades. It’s perfect for dulling frizz, adding texture with some movement, or sticking down flyaways.
    • Strong. Strong-hold pomades are best if you want to recreate heavy-duty retro hairstyles or if you’re planning to spend the entire night out on the town. 


    Have more questions on hair pomades or are still unsure about which product to choose? We’ve created a full guide on how to use hair pomades, but we’ll cover the burning questions below. 

    What’s the best pomade for slick back hair?

    If you’d like a pomade for a slicked-back style, choose a product that can provide your hair with a strong hold and shiny finish. Our picks from Carol’s Daughter and Suavecita both offer a gorgeous sheen for a trendy look. 

    Is pomade good for frizzy hair?

    Pomade is perfect for frizzy hair. It helps tame down the frizz and flyaways while nourishing the hair (which often helps address the root cause of frizz). Unlike gel or hair spray, pomades provide a more natural look for frizzy hair. 

    Is pomade better than gel?

    Pomade isn’t better than gel — it’s just different! Pomade differs from gel because it often provides a looser hold. This results in a more flexible, rather than rigid, hairstyle.