Wax, Gel or Pomade - Which One Should I Use?

Posted by Aaron Nadler on

How many times have you gone to the barber, been fixed up with the freshest cut, styled to look like a GQ model…

…Only to fail miserably when you tried to recreate the look yourself, back home?

It’s ok. You’re not alone. And the problem may actually lie with the type of products you’re using.

You see, most guys don’t know the difference between a wax, a gel, a fasché or a pomade…

…You don’t even know what a fasché is, do you? No, because we made it up. And it proves our point.

You grab whatever you find in the bathroom to style your hair and are consistently disappointed with the abomination you’ve created…

…but don’t worry.

Below, we’ve listed three of the most common hair products for men, how to use them and the styles they’re best suited for; helping you to fix up, look sharp, and get the hell on with your day…


When we’re talking wax, we’re talking the lanolin wax or beeswax used to hold short to medium length hair in place, providing texture, thickness and a matte finish - without the greasy feel of a gel.

Wax is best applied to dry hair, as applying it to wet or damp hair can be disastrous for hold and distribution.

To apply, simply take a small amount and rub it between the palms of your hands, warming it up to make it pliable. This will give you more control over the style of your hair and reduce clumping.

Key points:

  • Apply to dry hair
  • Rub in hands before applying
  • Best for medium or short hair
  • Can be applied and reshaped easily
  • Dry, matte textured finish
  • Apply to the back of the head first and work evenly throughout
  • Great for spikes, bed hair and other dry styles


Gel should be your go-to product for supreme hold when wax or pomade just doesn’t cut it.

Gel is perfect for holding up spikey hairstyles, but for guys with finer hair, a heavy gel will only weigh it down. If you have finer hair, don’t get too crazy slapping fistfuls of the stuff on your “Do”; instead, opt for a gel with a lighter hold and less density.

Key points:

  • Great for times where hold is a priority
  • Guys with finer hair should use a lighter strength gel and apply in small amounts
  • Best applied to damp hair



The jack of all trades for men’s hair. It can be applied to both:

  • Dry hair - providing a matte finish, giving volume and hold for pompadours
  • Wet hair - for glossy side parts and that slicked back look.

When applying pomade to wet hair, be sure your hair is damp and not dripping wet. This will help the pomade spread evenly and avoid people spreading rumours about the way you look like Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary

…you know what I mean.

Petroleum Jelly based Pomades are perfect for those who hate reapplying product to their hair, as it is sweat and water resistant and requires a thorough wash to remove.

However, if you’re looking for easy removal at the end of the day, a water-soluble pomade will be your best bet.

Key points:

  • Can be applied to dry hair for a matte look
  • Can be applied to wet hair for a slick, glossy look
  • Styles: pompadours, slicked back & side parts
  • Use petroleum based for more resistance and durability
  • Use water soluble for easy removal

For a wide range of high-quality men’s hair care products, make sure to check out our online store, where we carry a variety of trusted brands such as King Brown, Modern Pirate and the Barber’s favourite, Uppercut Deluxe.

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