Pomade vs Paste vs Hair Clay: Everything You Need to Know
When Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army in 1958, the big debate was whether he would be able to keep his famous pomade-supported pompadour hairstyle. The Army gave him no special treatment. Photographs of him receiving the regulation buzz-cut circled the world.
When it comes to your hair, there are more than a few products to choose from. Read on to learn everything you need to know about pomade vs paste vs hair clay.
Pomade vs Paste vs Hair Clay
Take a look at the range of styling products available today. The options can be bewildering. The names are confusing and it's not always clear what product is best for what style.
You may want a wet look or something more natural. Do you need paste or clay? Are they so different?
But, wait. What about pomade? It sounds exotic but what is it and what kind of hairstyle uses it.
When you see a guy with a ducktail or slick back hairstyle they are probably using pomade on their hair. That distinctive comb-styled high-shine finish is what pomade is famous for. The extravagant pompadour and the simple side parting can both be created with pomade.
There are two kinds of pomade. Oil-based pomades and water-based pomades. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Oil-based pomades are the original rock and roller's styling product of choice. Elvis's greased-back style is a prime example. Oil-based pomades give a high gloss shine that lasts and lasts.
The downside of an oil-based pomade is the long-lasting shine makes it difficult to wash out of your hair. It's not soluble in water and so you have to use lots of shampoo to remove it. This can strip out the natural oils and lead to split ends and lack-luster hair.
If you have a tendency towards acne, having oil-based pomade on your skin may encourage your skin to breakout.
Water-based pomade can create a very effective slick and shiny look. It may not be as iconic as the oil-based product but it has certain advantages.
The water-based pomade washes out easily and so it is less damaging to your hair. It is less problematic for acne sufferers.
Water based-pomades may not hold as strongly as oil-based pomades. With practice, a water-based pomade can be as effective at creating firmly held styles as an oil-based pomade. They also have the advantage of being able to be restyled during the day without washing.
Hair paste is thicker than a pomade. Use it when you need a medium or firm hold. Some products give a matte finish while others provide a cool sheen.
Hair pastes are generally water-based so they are easy to wash out. This is especially useful while you're learning to style your hair. Try it and if you get something wrong quickly rinse and start again.
Hair paste works well when you want a non-greasy product. Choose natural wax paste. It's free from petroleum and alcohol and is kind to your hair and skin.
This product works best when softened between warm hands. Rub it between your palms and then stroke it into your hair making sure you evenly spread the paste throughout your hair. As the wax cools, it re-hardens and holds your style in place.
What's Hair Clay?
Does your hair do what you want it to? If so, perhaps you need hair clay.
Hair clay helps style hair but it isn't paste or pomade. It gives a firm hold but not so firm that it is hard to the touch. It allows your hair to move yet keeps it in the style you have created.
Hair clay is especially popular because of the ability to retain your style while being invisible. Your hair is relaxed, soft and full. The matte finish helps achieve this natural appearance.
A key feature of hair clay is that it contains clay in the formulation. Look for bentonite or kaolin in the list of ingredients.
This powdery substance absorbs water and swells up making your hair feel fatter. This extra body helps create the structure for you to style. The result is volume without a heavy styling product and no risk of collapsing your hair.
Use a small amount of clay on your fingertip and then place it onto the palm of your hand. Rub your palms together and warm up the clay to make it soft and pliable. Apply it to wet hair by rubbing your hands through the strands covering your whole head.
Create your style with a comb or brush. For a little less defined look, use your fingers to shape your style.
Hair clay has the added benefit of being inherently good for your hair. It can draw impurities out of your hair without removing the natural oils that protect your hair.
The minerals in clay can also act as a conditioner, moisturizing your hair throughout the day. This is especially good for frizzy hair or easily damaged long hair.
Selecting a Hair Styling Product
With a little knowledge about the different hair styling products, you may be beginning to suspect which products are right for your hair. There is no substitute for experimenting a little. You may be surprised by the results.
Experiment with different looks. Explore the characteristics of each product.
Try comb styling and softer finger styled looks too. Practice using the products and understanding how they respond to being warmed on your hands. Use them on wet and dry hair for different effects.
You may find that you settle on one product that is right for you. Alternatively, you may find that you sometimes want the wet look and firm hold of pomade and at other times you prefer the subtler matte finish of hair clay.
It's Your Look
Your hairstyle is a major factor in your appearance. It's worth the effort to get it right. The pomade vs paste vs hair clay debate might only be finally resolved by trying each product.
Read more styling tips here.