Man using pomade of some firm Credit : Ron Lach/Pexels

Hair gel, pomade, and wax all seem like similar concepts, but they're actually entirely different products.

Let's talk about why people think they are so similar. They all hold hair in place and are used for styling, but each product is a lot more different than you might think.

Hair gel, pomade, and wax each have their advantages, but it's all about figuring out what is going to work best for you and your hair. Maybe one of these is going to be the best fit for you, or maybe the worst. Read on for some answers. 

Hair Gel

Gel is used when you don't want your hair to move at all, and it is the longest-lasting of these options.

Hair gels are used to clump your hair together and keep it in place all day long. It will leave your hair shiny and stiff, so it's great if you want a look that will make your hair stand out.

Gel also has the most hold out of any of these options. It also will give your hair a wet look.

According to the Florida Academy, you are only supposed to use gel on wet hair.


Pomade has been around for quite a long time. It can be either water-based or oil-based, and it's a bit gentler on your hair than wax. Typically, you would apply pomade to wet or damp hair and spread it throughout your hair, unlike gel, which focuses on a specific region of your hair.

Water-based pomades have a lighter hold on your hair and are easier to wash out as opposed to oil-based pomades, according to Oil-based pomades have a hold that is more similar to gel.

If you do prefer a pomade formula, it has a stronger hold when applied to dry hair. If you prefer something shinier, this is a great option. It's also the most versatile option on this list. 

Hair Wax 

Hair wax has a stronger hold than pomades and is designed to be reapplied throughout the day. It can dry down, unlike pomade.

Wax can hold your hair in place all day long and helps tame frizzness. The finish of a wax is matte and does not stiffen your hair like gel does, but it is buildable.

Wax applies to hair best if your hair is mostly dry or overall dry, but it can be applied to damp hair as well. It is recommended if you have oily hair.