The difference between Oil Based and Water Based Pomades



Oil Based Pomade


Oil based pomades are the traditional pomades that have been around since the turn of the century, originally dating back to the 1800’s when it mostly consisted of bear fat, later evolving with introduction of better ingredients such as petroleum, petrolatum, beeswax or soft paraffin. Naturally oil based pomades are unable to be dissolved by water, staying in hair even after a wash, leaving what is called “build up”. Good build up is usually sought after in oil based pomades as it leads to less pomade being used on the days after initial use. The advantages of oil based pomades are that it contains fewer chemicals than the more modern water based pomade, typically oil based pomades never dry, allowing the user to restyle the hair. Another advantage is the variety in which oil based pomades come, some can give off high shine down to a more matte finish. The same can be applied to the hold of the pomade, it can vary from a very strong hold down to a natural hold. Some of the disadvantages of oil based pomades are that it is not easy to wash off, this can lead to possible acne breakouts as the oil in the hair can stay on pillow cases or run down the forehead.

Water Based Pomade


Water based pomade are considered to be the more modern version of the tradition Oil Based pomades. As the name states water based pomades contain water as a part of their ingredients, water soluble is another term closely related to water soluble pomades. The number one advantage of water based/ soluble pomades versus their oil based counterparts is that water based pomades wash out very easily with water, as well that they come in a variety of different holds and shine levels. Many prefer water based pomades in the warmer weather because of the fact that it can stay dry and maintain hold throughout the day. Also since it contains no oil, the chances of acne or break-outs is greatly reduced. Some disadvantages of water based pomades are that due to their complex formulations, water based tend to cost more than the traditional oil-based pomade. The second disadvantage is more dependent on how the user sees it, water based doesn’t seem to last as long because it washes clean off with water so you don’t get that “build up” causing you to use more pomade.