Hair Clay, Pomade, Wax, Gel or Paste? Which is Right for Me?
When it comes to choosing the best styling products for your hair, this can be more complex than many seem to think. While many products work for an array of people, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all hair care regimen. Moreover, as it pertains to men’s hair care products, there are often far fewer options available to them than for their female counterparts. This makes it much more difficult for many men to ever find the perfect products for their hair type and goals. Luckily, in the age of information, some of us aim to eliminate unnecessary guesswork. That said, the following is an overview of the features of hair clay, pomade, wax, gel, and paste, as well as some tips to help you decide which product will work best for you.
Molding Your Style with Hair Clay
Simply put, hair clay is a styling product that typically contains (or at least has a similar consistency to) clay. Therefore, hair clay products are typically thick and creamy in consistency and less sticky than dealing with gels and pastes. (However, oil-based clay products are often stickier and trickier to remover than water-based ones). Moreover, unlike gels, there is no added shine when using clay products. This will allow you to style and sculpt your hair as you wish, without worrying about your hair appearing to be overly shiny. To properly use hair clay, you should ideally start with hair that has been cleaned and dried. Then, the product should be applied to the hair, from back to front, until you feel you had added enough of the product to style your hair properly. This is because experts assert that adding a sufficient amount of product to the back of the hair, makes it easier to style the front.
Who Should Use Hair Clay?
Certainly, a much more natural-looking product, those who choose hair clay do so because they prefer a hairstyle that appears more effortless and natural than when applying holding products such as gels and waxes. This product is for men who prefer their hair to look great without necessarily being the main focal point of their overall appearance. Great for both thick and thin hair, although clay is good for a variety of hair types, how it should be used varies depending on each person and their unique hair type and goals. To make it plain, hair clay is for guys with a more toned-down style but still, like to make sure there is never a hair out of place.
- For Thinner Hair– If you have hair that is naturally thinner, you should apply this product to dry hair. This is because applying it to dry hair better allows you to see and control the amount of product you are adding to the hair. For thinner hair types, adding too much clay can make your hair appear to be dirty and/or greasy.
- For Thicker Hair– For those who have thicker hair or hair that is more coarse, it’s best to apply this product when the hair is still damp. This allows for the product to more deeply penetrate the follicles. Once the hair begins to dry, it will maintain the shape you have sculpted in into.
Perk Up Your Do with Pomade
As far as hair products are concerned, hair pomades are one of the oldest and most trusted around. It has been used for at least several decades to achieve a multitude of styles. They can be oil or water-based and are very slick and relatively lightweight to the touch. A great styling product for those who want the hold without the hassle, pomades can be used to create sleek styles of all kinds.
Choosing the Right Pomade
With the array of pomades on the market, choosing the right one for you can be a bit challenging. However, you can do so with the help of the following tips:
- -Oil-Based Pomades– On the one hand, oil-based pomades can be a tad less expensive but they also tend to have a greasier appearance (which is fine, if that’s what you are going for). Additionally, be advised that these pomades often need to be shampooed away.
- Water-Based Pomades– On another hand, water-based pomades can be a tad more costly but they are also much more user-friendly. Furthermore, these pomades can be rinsed out using water only. For instance, BSG’s HCO1 Pomade is a product that was created by master barbers. This water-based pomade is heralded for being the “first-ever pomade fortified with the BSG Trichoanagenic Factor”, which means it promotes hair health as well as growth. This product offers superior hold but can be easily rinsed out with water as you wish.
- Choosing the Right Strength– Pomades also come in a variety of strengths: light, medium, and strong. Light pomades provide a stronger hold and also leave the hair harder in texture. However, they do not typically work for those with coarse or curly hair. Therefore, medium or strong pomades work best for those hair types.
How to Use Pomade
To properly use your pomade, take heed to the following steps:
- Start with Clean Hair– Pomades work best when applied to hair that has been freshly washed as other products as well as your hair’s natural oils, can interact with, and destroy the quality of the pomade. In particular, if you are interested in a premium quality shampoo, BSG also makes an HCO1 Shampoo. Great for cleansing the scalp while also helping to add moisture, this is a great shampoo to use before you style your hair with the pomade of your choosing.
- Leave Your Hair Damp– However, be careful not to completely dry your hair as pomades work best when applied to damp hair.
- Use a Dime-Sized Amount– Similar to other products, pomades need to be applied a little at a time. Begin by putting a dime-sized amount on your fingertips. If your pomade is especially hard to work with, rub your hands together until the mixture melts and becomes more manageable. As you continue, add small amounts of product as necessary.
- Shorter Hair– If your hair is shorter, apply pomade to the tips as applying it to the entire follicle can cause the hair to become matted down and difficult to style.
- Longer Hair– To style longer hair, apply a small amount of pomade to section your hair, starting at the root and going for about 1-2 inches down; begin with the underside of each section of hair, rather than applying it to the top side.
Who Should Use Hair Pomade?
To make it plain, hair pomade is more for men who have a vintage sense of style. These are the guys who are super comfortable rocking a three-piece-suit and who like their hair (much like the clothes they wear) to be stylish yet subdued.
Light Up Your Style with Hair Wax
A hair care product that is awesome for creating excellent hold, hair wax is a staple product from many men around the globe. Known for its waxy texture, hair wax is a very thick mixture that is typically bereft of the drying components contained within most hair gels (often caused by alcohol). Moreover, hair wax also provides users with a superior hold without making your hairstyle feel hard or brittle to the touch. A great option for men who are seeking great hold without the excess moisture contained in products such as gels, hair wax has a shinier finish that many users have come to rely on. To use this product, be sure to use the following steps:
- Use A Small Amount of Wax– Begin by putting a pea-sized amount of the product on your fingertips. While this may not necessarily be enough for your hair, in particular, it is better to use too little than to add too much wax as you can always add more but it is next to impossible to simply remove the excess from your hair without washing the product out and starting from scratch.
- Melt the Wax – Since wax is a very thick product, you will likely need to warm it up some before using it. One way to do this is by simply rubbing your hands together until the product is melted. Alternatively, if you store your hair wax in a warmer room, it may always be melted on its own.
- Apply from Back to Front– Much like hair clay, you need to apply hair wax from front to back to better style your hair. By applying a thinner layer to the top of the hair, you will avoid unsightly clumping.
- Style as Desired– Style your hair as desired. Feel free to gradually add small amounts of the product as necessary.
- Add the Finishing Touches– Lastly, be sure to fix stray hairs and make sure the style looks as polished as possible.
Who Should Use Hair Wax?
Those who are seeking a product that provides a high-level of hold and shine without the hardening or drying effects of a gel should certainly try hair wax. In particular, hair wax is great for those who prefer spiky styles, slicked back, comb over styles, pompadour styles, and much more. Moreover, this product works best for those who enjoy wearing textured hairstyles overall. To make it plain, hair wax worked best for those who have a more modern sense of style. These are men who can easily rock a pair of skinny jeans with a button-down shirt and some Oxford shoes, and pull it off like you would not believe.
Set a Solid Style with Hair Gel
A styling product that has more of a jelly-like consistency, gel is the go-to product for many men when it comes to overall styling. Also commonly found in liquid or spray form, gel is preferred by people of all walks of life for different reasons. Moreover, choosing the right pomade can also be a tad challenging, in general. Often water-based, many gels have alcohol, which can be a tad drying to the hair. However, hair gel is preferred by many men because it offers superior shine and hardens the hair so it can remain locked in place for hours and hours on end.
How to Use Hair Gel
Since hair gel is one of the most commonly used products, we will keep the tips short and sweet. On the whole, one of the top mistakes being made by men using gel is that they tend to apply it while it is still wet. This will not only dilute the product, but it will make your hair take longer to dry overall. Additionally, hair gel should be applied to the entire hair follicle, rather than just the root or tips, like other products we have discussed. Also, remember to use your comb before you apply the gel and not after. While some seem to prefer to rock a style that appears to be in the combing process all day, your style will look much sleeker if you do all your combing before the gel is applied. Lastly, as with all other hair products, less is more. Gel gets incredibly hard once it is dried and if you apply too much, your hair could end up flaky or with a whitish overtone.
Who Should Use Hair Gel?
To make it plain, hair gel works best for guys who are active and concerned about maintaining a style all day long; this could be anyone from a construction worker to a pro athlete. Additionally, gel is more for those who have a retro sense of style. If you enjoy rocking fanny packs and funky patterns, gel-covered spiky do or a nice throwback-slicked backed style, gel just might be perfect for you.
Making Your Style Stick with Hair Paste
A product that offers a medium to high hold, hair paste is quickly becoming a go-to styling product for men. A product that can be applied to wet or dry hair, hair paste is a great addition to any man’s hair care regimen. Helping to add texture and shine to hair, hair paste is often used in conjunction with other products such as gels, pomades, and more. Moreover, it leaves your hair light to the touch and can last all day, depending on your style of choice.
Who Should Use Hair Paste?
Trickier to define, the various hair pastes on the market all seem to have different consistencies, yet and still, all of them seem to have a semi-to-very sticky consistency and are thicker than most (if not all) gels, and pomades. Hair paste works best for those who have short or medium-length hair. Moreover, this is also great for those who have thinner hair is it helps to add volume to your styles and make it appear fuller. To make it plain, hair paste can either be a supporting part of your hair care regimen or it can be used to help those who suffer from thinning hair to make their styles appear to be fuller. It gives your hair a more natural appearance and also offers a matte finish, which will draw less attention to your hair than a shiny one.
Overall, choosing the right hair products for you does not have to be a pain. Simply take heed to the tips in this guide and you will be well on your way to styling your hair like a pro.