Hairstyling products are a must-have in any hair care routine regardless of your length, texture, or hair type. Think of it as applying a top coat to your nail polish. Of course, you don’t need it, but it provides a beautiful smooth finish and long-lasting hold.
Some of the most common styling products are gel and pomade. Both of these products will lock your hairstyle into place so you can have flawless hair 24/7. However, many brands now sell multiple versions of gel and pomade.
What is the difference between gel vs pomade? For starters, gel usually has a thick consistency, and it can harden when it dries down for a long-lasting hold. Pomade is more like a malleable cream that offers hold, eliminates frizz, and moves with the hair.
We may think that gel and pomade are boring products used on men’s hairstyles or shorter hair. However, these products will be helpful regardless of your gender or hair length because they can also enhance your hair texture.
For example, those who have naturally curly or coily hair can reap many benefits from incorporating a gel or pomade into their daily hair routine. Overall, both of these products are excellent to have on hand. So what else makes gel and pomade different?
What Exactly Is Hair Gel?
As the name suggests, it is a thick-gel-like product that offers extreme hold to the hair. The gel is usually used to ensure your hair stays in place no matter what you’re doing. Once it’s on the hair, it won’t be going anywhere.
Gel can harden once it’s applied to the strands, which is why most people find gel to leave a crunchy finish. Sometimes gel can feel uncomfortable, but thankfully, it washes out easily and offers maximum hold to your hair all day.
The gel can also add texture and fullness to your strands or define your hair to create a structured finish. If you want an all-day hold that is absolutely budge-proof, gel is the way to go. However, gel doesn’t offer flexibility, and it can feel stiff.
When To Use Gel
When is the best time to use gel? Well, if you have an all-day event or are training for a high-impact sport, gel will make sure your hair stays. For example, if you are a cheerleader or a runner, using gel for your hair can lock in your style all day long.
You can also use gel to add texture and fullness, which can be ideal for those people who have hair that is fine in texture or that lacks density. However, it’s crucial to use gel sparingly because it can create a wet or greasy effect if you aren’t careful.
You can also use gel to hold intricate hairstyles. For example, you can create spiky hair, lay down edges if you have curly/coily hair, create a sleek pony or bun, or even a complex editorial hairstyle. Gel will ensure it will last until it’s time to wash.
How To Use Gel
Each gel will have its own instructions and guidelines to help give you the best result. However, most gels should be used sparingly because it’s pretty easy to go overboard. Instead, start with a small amount and build up to your desired hairstyle.
Some people find that gels can be flaky and uncomfortable, and this is because gels can have drying ingredients like alcohol, so double-check the ingredients list. It can sometimes work the best on hair that is wet or slightly damp.
Gel can be an excellent tool for shorter hairstyles that are fine in texture to gain fullness. Gel can also be ideal for curly or coily hair to define curls, eliminate frizz, and lock in your hairstyle.
You never know when gel can come in handy!
What Exactly Is Pomade?
Pomade has a whipped, creamy texture that offers hold and flexibility. Pomades can be water-based or oil-based to serve your styling needs. Gel, on the other hand, is usually water-based. Pomades have a thick balmy texture to keep hair in place.
Pomades are more forgiving than gel, and they can be easier to work with if you are a beginner. For example, pomades can offer shine, hold, and flexibility. Because they are malleable, you can move around your hairstyle as needed.
Surprisingly enough, pomades share many similarities to gel in the sense they both offer hold, eliminate flyaways, and leave you with a put-together finish. However, pomades also leave you with a soft, nourished feel, and they don’t harden like gel.
When To Use Pomade
Almost anyone can use pomade or find a use for pomade. Pomade isn’t as harsh as gel, so it’s ideal for beginners who are experimenting with hair styling. Also, if you mess up with pomade, you can easily redirect the hair to your desired look.
Pomade is a fantastic product to use daily for casual hair styling. It can also add texture to your strands, and it can add a slight shine. Like gel, pomade is available in different strengths and holds, so you can always customize its intensity.
You can use pomade for curls, short hair, thick hair, fine hair, hair that’s long, or really anything that needs to be styled. However, pomade is great, especially for thick and curly hair that needs extra shine and smoothness.
How To Use Pomade
Like gel, a small amount of pomade will get the job done. Controlling the amount of product you use can ensure you don’t go overboard and ruin your hairstyle. Also, oil-based pomades are very balmy and waxy, so it can be challenging to wash them out.
Pomade can be applied to damp or dry hair. However, each pomade will provide instructions and guide you to achieve the best result. Pomade is also ideal for dry hair and lacks moisture, frizzy hair, or hair that is dull and needs shine.
One of the most effective methods to use pomade is warming up a small amount of product in your palms. This will ensure the pomade will be evenly distributed through your hair and that it will spread easily because it’s warmed up beforehand.
Gel Vs Pomade
Gel and pomade share some similarities, which is why most people can confuse the two. As mentioned earlier, they both style the hair into place, offer hold, create texture, and eliminate frizz. You can find gel and pomade in different strengths.
For example, when shopping for gel, you can find a light hold, medium hold, and strong hold. The same goes for pomade, except pomade can also advertise shine and flexibility. It will also state whether it’s water-based or oil-based.
Let’s go over their major characteristics so you can get a better idea about which one may be better suited to you.
Gel and pomade have different textures. Gel is, of course, a gel, and it can feel thick and sticky. Most people struggle with using gel because it can leave the hair feeling crunchy, dry, or flaky. Opt for a gel without alcohol to reduce dryness and flaking.
Pomade also has a thick consistency, but it’s much more creamy, malleable, and forgiving if you mess up styling. Pomades can offer benefits other than hold, like shine and moisture. However, just like gel, pomades can also reduce frizz and flyaways.
A pomade’s texture can vary if it’s water-based or oil-based. Oil-based pomades are balmier or resemble wax because it acts as an occlusive. Water-based pomades can simply rinse out with water, like a gel, but oil-based pomades need a little more help.
Both pomade and gel are offered in various strengths and holds. However, gels will provide the most intense, stiff hold for anything you need because they harden into place. Gel is available in low, medium, and extreme holds to serve your needs.
Pomade can still offer a strong and long-lasting hold, but it won’t be as budge-proof as gel. Pomade is also available in low, medium, and strong holds, but each strength is still flexible and can be moved around as needed. It can leave your hair feeling soft.
Also, the longevity of pomade can vary if it’s water-based or oil-based. Pomades are great for daily use, but gels can also be used if you need something long-lasting or your hair struggles to stay in place. Overall, both are good to have on hand.
Next is flexibility. Pomades do offer more flexibility over gel. So depending on your personal preference and your hair’s needs, this can be good, or it can be negative. Some people prefer the flexibility to keep molding their hair, and others want the opposite.
Gel is easy to apply, but it can be challenging to shape your hair into something new once it fully dries down. However, those who struggle with their hair staying in place may actually prefer this over the flexibility of a pomade.
Pomade is also easy to apply, but pomade can offer so much more than just hold. Even a strong hold pomade can eventually be transformed into a new style because pomade is a casual product that allows your hair to still look and act like hair.
What To Use For Your Hair
Now that you know the main differences, how do you know which product is right for you? Regardless of your hair length, gender, hair texture, or hair type, both gel and pomade can work for you.
Use whatever works for your hair and what makes it look the best. However, if you are looking for a few guidelines on what product is beneficial for each hair type, follow along!
Short hair can benefit from both gel and pomade. Gel is great to create funky and intricate styles that need to hold a distinct shape or height. In addition, gel is great if you constantly exercise, play a sport, or need your hair to hold for an event.
Pomade is great for daily styling. It’s ideal to reach for a pomade if you want a “woke up like this” look. It keeps the hair natural while still adding hold, texture, thickness, moisture, and shine. Pomade is fantastic for casual hair styling.
Most people assume that pomade and gel are only ideal for short-haired men. However, that’s simply not the case. Both products can work for long hair and for women who also have shorter hairstyles.
Surprisingly enough, both gel and pomade can work for medium and long hair too. Some may even agree by saying a wider variety of styles can be achieved through long and medium hair lengths.
Again, gel is ideal for more intricate styling, while pomade offers more flexibility for daily use. Both gel and pomades are excellent for styling ponytails, buns, updos, and more. You’ll be surprised how both products can work for long hair!
Curly, coily, and wavy hair needs to be cared for differently than straight hair types. If you struggle with styling curly hair, you can benefit from incorporating a gel or a pomade in your hair routine. They both can keep your curls in place and looking beautiful.
Gel is a great product to ensure your hairstyle isn’t going anywhere. It’s beautiful for sleek looks. Gel is one of the best products to lay down edges and create shapes and styles that don’t budge. So you can kiss flyaways goodbye!
Pomade is ideal for curly types that need moisture and definition. While pomade offers hold, they may not be that strong for some curly people.
However, it will eliminate frizz, define your curls/waves, add moisture or shine, and keep your curls bouncy.
Lastly is straight hair, which has completely different needs than curly hair. However, even those with straight hair can find a use for gel or pomade.
One thing to note is that people with straight hair may only need a tiny amount of product to get the job done.
Gel may not be the best option for straight hair because it’s incredibly harsh and can leave the hair feeling stiff. However, for specific events or sports, it can be best to use gel. Gel will ensure that fine, straight hair will stay in place and not budge.
A light hold pomade may be the best option for straight hair, so it doesn’t weigh down your hair, and it can still offer all the benefits pomade has. Pomade can style straight hair with ease, adding shine and moisture to dry/dull strands.
Gel and pomade share many similarities, so, commonly, most people can confuse the two. However, regardless of gender or hair characteristics, having a pomade and a gel in your hair routine can benefit your strands.
If you are looking for a bullet-proof and long-lasting hold, then gel is the product for you. However, beware of its stiff texture and flakiness if it contains alcohol. Gel is easy to apply, and because it’s water-based, it can wash out easily with water.
Pomade is an ideal choice for daily styling, and it still offers a good hold. Pomade can also provide more than just a strong hold. It gives flexibility, shine, and moisture, and it can also eliminate frizz. Pomade will style your hair and keep it natural and feeling soft.
Overall, it can be helpful to keep a high-quality gel and pomade in your hair cabinet. You never know what style you will feel like creating!
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