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What is the Difference Between Water-Based and Wax Pomade?



Wax Pomade

The worldwide hair care market is expected to be worth nearly $112 billion by 2026. In less than a decade, the industry has nearly doubled in value.

A walk down the drugstore hair care aisle will show you the number of products there are to choose from today. Pomade, styling cream, gel, and mousse are just a few of your styling options.

If you’ve opted for a classic pomade, you still have some decisions to make. Do you choose wax pomade or water-based?

Read on to learn the difference between wax and water-based so you can find out which type of hair pomade is right for you.

Shine and Hold  

While oil-based pomades have been around for thousands of years, the newer water-based alternatives come pretty close in terms of performance. But, oil pomades offer slightly more hold and shine.

Both oil and water pomades offer great hold and shine. Depending on the style you’re going for, you can also find a range of different options for each type of hair pomade.

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Risk of Acne

If you struggle with acne or a greasy scalp, a water-based product is a better choice. Since the formula is lightweight and water soluble, it won’t cause excess greasiness on your scalp and hairline.

Oil-based pomade is heavier and more difficult to wash out. Product buildup can lead to clogged pores and acne on your forehead and jawline. If that happens, try switching to a water-based pomade instead.


One of the biggest benefits of pomade hair wax is its reworkability. Since the oil never dries or hardens you can rework or re-style your hair throughout the day.

With water-based hair products, you’re stuck with your original style. Once the product dries in your hair, you can’t restyle without washing your hair.


Oil-based pomade is more affordable than water-based products. It usually features a shorter ingredient list since it requires fewer synthetic materials.

Since water-based pomade washes out easily, you’ll need to use more product the next time you style your hair. That can also add to the overall cost.


If you like to start each day with clean hair and a new style, water pomade is a better option. You can easily wash it out of your hair with a gentle shampoo and restyle your hair however you want.

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Wax pomades are made with oil which is insoluble in water. That means you’ll need a strong shampoo to wash it out of your hair. The trouble is, that strong shampoo can also strip your hair of its natural oils.

An upside of oil-based pomade is that you won’t need to reapply as much the next day since some of the pomade is still in your hair.

Water-Based or Wax Pomade: Which Is Right for You?

Wax pomade offers slightly better hold and shine at a lower price point. Water-based pomade is better for those who are acne prone and prefer to wash their hair every day.

You can try out both types of pomade to see which one works better for you.

For more ways to freshen up your look, check out our articles on style.

James Smith is the writer for Munchkin Press. He is a young American writer from California and is currently traveling around the world. He has a passion for helping people and motivates others.

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