Oil Based Pomade

What is an oil based pomade?

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An oil based pomade, in contrary to water based pomades, does not have water as the main ingredient, but often a wax or mineral oil. You can see this when looking at the first ingredient on the list. In most cases you will see petrolatum (petroleum) or a wax, like microcrystalline wax or beeswax. Traditional pomades are usually oil or wax based.

Pomades that are oil based work best for men with normal to thick hair. For men with thin or fine hair these products are usually a bit too heavy and they will weigh your hair down. Oil based pomade can be used for all hair types: straight, wavy and curly. It can help to straighten or smoothen wavy and curly hair.

Properties of an oil based pomade

An oil based pomade does not dry in your hair. The oils or waxes prevent it from being water soluble and they are moisture repellent. That means that you can go through your hair with your fingers and restyle. Oil based pomades usually provide a bit of a greasy or wet hair look.

Most oil based pomades in the shop provide a medium to high hold and a medium shine. Oil based pomades usually provide slightly less shine compared to the water based version, because otherwise it will look too greasy.

The properties of pomades that are oil based are great for hairstyles you see in shows like Peaky Blinders and Boardwalk Empire. The classic looks from the first half of the 20th century.

The last property to mention is the washability. Because they are oil or wax based and water repellent, you can not rinse them out with warm water alone. You will need to use a good shampoo to wash out oil based pomades completely. Sometimes you even need multiple shampoos.

When you only use water or a little bit of shampoo, then there will be residue in your hair and that is called build-up. Some men like to create build-up because you can achieve hairstyles with more hold. Your hair will also be easier to style in the morning again.

What men's hairstyles work best with an oil based pomade?

Pomades that are oil based work best for slick and tight looks. Tousled or messy hairstyles should be avoided. Examples of hairstyles that work best with oil based pomades are slick-backs, pompadours and side-parts. Shiny and smooth looks from the 1920’s to 1960’s should be your go to style when using oil based pomades or hairstyles that really require a heavy hold and some shine.

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