The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (2022)

byDavid Yi

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (1)

Hate to say it, but you’ve probably been putting hair product in all wrong.

Say what? Just like parting your hair or moisturizing incorrectly, chances are you’ve been putting in pomade wrong as well.

How could this be? Isn’t there one way of putting in hair product? You put it in your hair, comb it a certain way and hope for the best?

Nope. If you’ve ever been frustrated by how your hair doesn’t stay up or back, or have to frequently reapply hair product throughout the day, it’s probably because you’re not doing this one move. According to the experts, putting in product from the back to front is how you’re supposed to do it.

(Video) Clay, Pomade, Paste or Powder? | Hair Product Guide | Ep. 6

SEE ALSO: You’re parting your hair all wrong

“When placing your pomade, you want to start where your hair is most dense, usually the back of the head, allowing your hair to absorb more of the product,” says Niko Weddle, a celebrity hairstylist based in NYC who’s worked with Reese Witherspoon, Abigail Breslin and Jamie Chung, among others. “A lot of young men tend to focus on the top, leaving the sides and back looking dry and forgotten or don’t adequately work through the back, leaving product clumps.”

Got that, fellas? You’re supposed to put your hair product in starting from the back and then working your way to the front. Mind. Blown. Ready to get the best hair? Try it out for yourself.

Test it out:

  1. Prep the hair. After washing your hair, blowdry until there’s little to no moisture in your hair. Then, try adding a little hair primer. We like some of the products from Bumble and Bumble Prep
The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (2)

, $26, like this one. Another great one is an Ocean Mist, $34, from the brand Sachajaun. Shop it HERE. Has a little salt that makes your hair a little dirtier. Dirty hair, as we know, is beautiful hair. Spritz just a little (try three sprays getting in all of your strands). This makes the hair malleable, and ready for full product absorption. We’ll get more in depth with this in another post.

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Bumble and Bumble prep spray (Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

From Bumble and Bumble, we also love their Tonic Lotion, $26, that also acts as a primer! Check out the Tonic Lotion HERE.

(Video) Clay, Pomade, Gel or Cream? | Men's Hair Product Guide

  1. Rub-a-dub. Just like how you warm your moisturizer in your hands, you do the same for pomade so that it’s evenly distributed throughout your hair. “Most pomades are waxy in consistency so rubbing it together in your hands helps you heat up the product and make it more pliable. Pro tip: Finding your hard pomade won’t come out of its jar? Try using a blowdryer to melt it a little. Just 3-4 seconds will do.

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Clay pomade from Alterna Caviar hair care line.

  1. Back to front. It’s instinctual to want to put product in your bangs first, or perhaps everywhere. But trust us when we say going back to front will do wonders. “When there is less on your hands move to where the hair is lighter in density, like the top and sides,” says Niko. The trick behind this is that when the back of your head has ample amount of product, your hair will do what you want it to do. A satisfied head is a happy head. Remember that.

If you have…

  1. Thick, coarse or curly hair: “It’s better to put a pomade on your hair when it’s still somewhat damp,” says Niko. “Hair is like a sponge. A damp sponge absorbs more than a dry one. The product will penetrate the hair a little more deeply. As the moisture evaporates your hair keeps that shape and stays more controlled looking.”
  2. Fine or thinner hair: “On finer and thinner hair, dry application is best so you can see the effect of the amount of product you use,” Niko says. “Too much pomade on these hair types can make the hair look weighed down and greasy, so go sparingly. You can always go back for more.”

How much to use:

“Product amount depends on hair density and the desired effect,” Niko instructs. “Thick, curly and coarse hair types can absorb quite a bit of product, while, like I mentioned, thinner types should go sparingly.” We recommend a dime to quarter-sized amount.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (5)

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (6)

Shine or matte pomade, you ask?

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (7)

Good question. There’s a big difference between shine and matte pomades. Shine is usually water-based while matte is clay or oil-based. The latter is usually sticky and needs shampoo to remove. To style these in your hair, Niko says you’ll have to adhere to this rule: “Pomades that are shine-based will stay pliable for longer, where things that are clay or fiber based are drier and set faster so should be styled more quickly.” That means if you’re going for high shine, you can take more time styling whereas a clay-based one you’ll have to go fast – your hair’s going to set in lickity split!

(Video) WAX, POMADE, CLAY, OR GEL? | WHATS THE DIFFERENCE? & WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR HAIRSTYLE?

Three products to try…

  1. Alterna Caviar Style Grit Paste
The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (8)

, $16. Alterna Caviar Style Grit is a medium hold styling paste that has a clean smell to it. Goes on best with fully dry hair and will hold in place for a good amount of time. Though when we tested it out, it needed to be reapplied mid-day. Best for thinner hair. If you have thick or coarse hair, look for something stronger. Get it here: Alterna Caviar Style Grit Paste

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (9)
  1. Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade
The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (10)

, $20. If you hate residue and grease, this is definitely for you. It’s water-based, translucent, super light and has a shine to it. Goes on best with damp hair. Try it after blowdrying a little, then put in and blowdry some more. Get it here: Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade

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  1. Uppercut Deluxe Pomade, $20
The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (12)

. If you’re in need of extreme hold (aka have thick, unruly hair), look no further than Uppercut’s Deluxe pomade. Warning: This is for an extremely slicked back style, only. If you’re not looking for high shine, avoid. It’s also super heavy and sticky, if you’re not into that, pass. Get it Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

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.

Here’s an easy step by step guide:

  1. Start from the back and rub it in.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (14)

Suede jacket and pajama shirt by Topman. (Photo by Carolyne Teston/Very Good Light)

(Video) Johnny’s guide to Hair Clay, Matt Paste and Pomade – what’s the difference?

2. Then move to the middle.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (15)

3. Toward the front, you’re almost finished.

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4. Then go side to side.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (17)

5. Finally, style up, comb it over, or make it messy with your fingers. Twist the ends or lay it flat. Your choice.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (18)

6. Done. Did. Conquered.

Handsome AF.

The ultimate guide to styling your hair using pomade or clay (19)

Master this move.

Makeup by Joseph Carrillo; Hair by Britt White; Styling by David Yi; Market editing by Christopher Kim; Photos by Carolyne Teston; Produced by Liz Denton; Special thanks to Donna Kang and Team Timo Weiland

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in Hair, celebrity, coarse, curly, Niko weddle, pomade, thin, tips

FAQs

Should you use pomade or clay? ›

Clay - Great for shorter to medium hairstyles. Helps to add texture and volume to the hair. Will contain a clay. Pomade - Most commonly will have a medium to high shine.

How do you style your hair with clay pomade? ›

How To Use Hair Clay
  1. Scoop a small amount out the pot. Try going for a very thin spread - the equivalent of a nickel's worth of product.
  2. Dampen and warm between your palms. This makes it easier to spread the product. ...
  3. Start by applying to the ends of damp hair. ...
  4. Evenly distribute the product. ...
  5. Repeat.

Is clay pomade good for hair? ›

Clay has properties that are naturally healing and stimulating of the hair shaft and scalp (making it good for men with sensitive skin and scalp) and promotes hair growth. It nourishes the hair and scalp because it's rich in mineral and nutrients.

Is hair clay the same as pomade? ›

The major difference between clay and pomade styling products for men is the finish and the strength of hold that they give.

Can clay damage your hair? ›

One amazing feature of styling clay is its ability to heal your hair shaft. Over-washing your hair with shampoo will lead to damaged hair and a clogged scalp. On the other hand, applying clay to your hair results in healthier, damage-free strands.

Can you use hair clay everyday? ›

For best results, apply daily and go a few days between shampooing and conditioning your hair. The natural minerals and vitamins in our Matte Hair Clay will keep your hair looking healthy between washes without stripping its natural oils.

Do you put clay pomade in wet or dry hair? ›

Towel-dry your hair (and leave it slightly wet)

There are a few exceptions, but generally pomade is best applied to towel-dried hair. That's because pomade is activated by water, which differentiates it from dry-application products like waxes and fibers.

Do you apply clay to wet or dry hair? ›

Clay is typically best applied to dry hair. Prep the hair beforehand with a hair dryer, pre styling product or whatever you use for your desired style. For a lot of the best styles for a clay hair product, a hair dryer is best used to get your hair into shape and help add volume or texture to the hair.

How long can hair clay last? ›

With everyday use it should last about two months.

Is clay pomade easy to wash? ›

The Suavecito Firme Clay Pomade is a great example of a clay product for your hair that is super easy to use and also very easy to wash out.

How long does clay pomade last? ›

While pomade can last for a year or more, some types can go bad after six months. If your favorite product is starting to smell funky, then it has probably gone bad.

Is hair clay good for thin hair? ›

Clay gives your hair volume and makes it fuller. With the matte finish, this is the ultimate styling product for a tousled, casual look with thinning hair.

Does hair clay thicken hair? ›

The most commonly used clay is bentonite, a completely natural substance that usually forms from the weathering of volcanic ash. Bentonite can make the hair follicle look and feel thicker; whilst adding volume to all types of hair. If you use a hair dryer, you can boost the volume even more in the hair.

Is hair clay good for messy hair? ›

Light and medium hold clays work with short hairstyles; while strong hold hair clays are good for medium-length hairstyles. You are looking at loose, messy hairstyles, including Quiffs, Spikes, Pomps, and Undercuts. Take note: Styling Clay is not ideal for longer hair; anything that goes past the shoulders.

Should I wash my hair after clay? ›

You won't need to shampoo when you do your clay treatment because the clay is so cleansing. However, the great thing about bentonite clay is that it can give you a clean slate to apply your products. You'll find that your products work a lot better after using the clay because they can effectively reach the shaft.

Can I sleep with hair clay in my hair? ›

Having some product in while you sleep is harmless, unless you have scalp issues. Sometimes though, there can be too much product in your hair or it can be in your hair for too long. The product can clog your pores on your scalp. This can cause the hair follicles to start growing weak and thinner hair strands.

Can you wash hair clay with water? ›

Wash the clay out with shampoo and warm water.

You can also condition your hair after you wash out the clay if you'd like to.

Does hair clay add volume to hair? ›

As well as offering medium-to-strong hold, hair clay can add volume, help to repair damage and even prevent a dry scalp.

Do you need to wash your hair after using pomade? ›

Yes, you should wash your hair if you're using pomade.

Pomade is thick, and cleaning it out of your hair will keep your locks healthy and soft. With water-based pomade, just shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would. Oil-based pomade isn't water-soluble, so you'll need to take an additional step.

Do you apply pomade everyday? ›

As long as you use a pomade without harmful chemicals and wash your hair at the end of the day, it's safe to use every day. A water-based pomade will also wash out easier than an oil-based one.

Can you sleep with pomade in your hair? ›

Can I go to sleep with pomade in my hair? Yes, you can, especially when you want to build up a style by adding a small amount of product the next day. You may be one of those blokes who can get away with degreasing once or twice a week and not have any problems (like clogged pores).

How often should you clay wash your hair? ›

When we say you NEED this product in your clean and curly hair routine, we mean it. Get ready to elevate your wash day experience and give your curls, coils and waves a new lease of life after just one wash. Our clay wash is a treatment that will need to be used every 3-4 weeks.

How often should you clay your hair? ›

You'll need 3 parts of water for 1 part ACV. How Often Can I Use My Clay Mask? We use the same rule of thumb for bentonite clay masks for both your hair and skin. When it comes to how often you should use the clay mask on your curls, start with once per week.

Does hair clay make your hair shiny? ›

Clay: You'll get high hold and medium shine when applying clay to towel-dried hair. However, when used in dry hair, both of those levels go down a notch: You will instead get medium hold and low shine.

Is hair clay better than gel? ›

Clays are better for a cleaner more professional look, where you need a stronger hold, but aren't interested in the glossy, high-shine finish of hair gel. Hair clays are perfect for any hair style where you need volume & texture without the soppy/wet feeling of a styling product weighing your hair down.

Is hair clay better than wax? ›

Put it simply, once you've set your hair with a clay, there's no looking back. They are slightly harder in texture as compared to gels and waxes, so the product needs considerable warming up (by rubbing in your palms) before application to ensure that it spreads evenly.

Which clay is best for beginners? ›

Air dry clay is a type of clay that is perfect for those new to making pottery and is great for hand building and making pottery at home as it does not require a kiln.

What is the strongest hair clay? ›

Moroccanoil Texture Clay is at the top of the list, and we recommend this brand if you have particularly thick hair. Sometimes when you have uber-thick heaps of hair you can have a rough time keeping it slicked back and the frizz in check, but luckily this hair clay will not let you down.

What is the benefit of hair clay? ›

Clay's fine powder-like texture can help gently exfoliate the scalp. Bentonite clay's drawing properties can also cleanse follicles. Clay may be able to pull hair product buildup from dull strands, acting as a natural and more gentle alternative to clarifying shampoos.

How do you wash pomade off? ›

Douse your hair with a tablespoon of Ajax Super Degreaser Dish Liquid Detergent or Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and let it soak for a while. Then rinse out with warm water. Follow with a pomade shampoo (like Schmiere Rumble 59 Ex Shampoo 250ml) to get the last bit of slick out.

What happens if you use too much pomade? ›

Too much pomade can leave your hair looking oily and weighed down, so it's better to layer the product in your hair until you have the desired result. Wet or dry application? It depends on the product and desired look. If your hair is wet, it can dilute a water-soluble pomade by reducing its hold level.

Should I use clay or paste for long hair? ›

For a lighter hold and more natural look and feel, or if you have thin or curly hair, Paste is a good go-to. If you're looking for more hold and volume, Clay is great to take things up a notch. A lot of people like to keep both on hand for different styling needs or to change things up as their hair grows out a bit.

Is pomade better for your hair? ›

Pomades are especially beneficial for guys with thick/curly hair, since they'll hold your style in place while keeping hair looking healthy. Pomades also add moisture and shine to dry, frizzy hair, taming flyaways.

Is Clay or hair gel better? ›

Clay is great for shorter spikier styles and has great "tack" in the hair. Gel leaves your hair styled, and it will more or less stay in that style until you wash it out. Gel has a glossy, high-shine look associated with it.

What hairstyle is clay good for? ›

Which Hairstyles Is Hair Clay Good For? They are great for short to medium length hairstyles that require texture or volume. A clay normally has a medium hold and a matte finish, so you want to use it on styles that you want to keep looking fairly natural.

Is putting clay in your hair good? ›

"Bentonite clay can offer deep moisture to the hair and scalp. It also deeply cleanses the scalp, removes dead skin cells and toxins, while strengthening the hair and preventing hair loss by clarifying the hair follicles so that they can absorb water, which can contribute to growing thicker, healthy hair," says Friese.

Does pomade go in wet or dry hair? ›

Towel-dry your hair (and leave it slightly wet)

There are a few exceptions, but generally pomade is best applied to towel-dried hair. That's because pomade is activated by water, which differentiates it from dry-application products like waxes and fibers.

What happens if you use pomade everyday? ›

Is it bad to use pomade every day? As long as you use a pomade without harmful chemicals and wash your hair at the end of the day, it's safe to use every day. A water-based pomade will also wash out easier than an oil-based one.

How do you wash Clay pomade? ›

Douse your hair with a tablespoon of Ajax Super Degreaser Dish Liquid Detergent or Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and let it soak for a while. Then rinse out with warm water. Follow with a pomade shampoo (like Schmiere Rumble 59 Ex Shampoo 250ml) to get the last bit of slick out.

How long does hair clay last in hair? ›

Depends on how often you use it. With everyday use it should last about two months.

Is clay good for thin hair? ›

Clay gives your hair volume and makes it fuller. With the matte finish, this is the ultimate styling product for a tousled, casual look with thinning hair.

Does clay thicken hair? ›

The most commonly used clay is bentonite, a completely natural substance that usually forms from the weathering of volcanic ash. Bentonite can make the hair follicle look and feel thicker; whilst adding volume to all types of hair. If you use a hair dryer, you can boost the volume even more in the hair.

Do you have to wash your hair after using hair clay? ›

There is no need to wash your hair every day and the clay and wax that you use could be damaging as well. There is no need for washing with water. Just stop shampooing and using hair gunk every day and soon your scalp and hair will adjust to this and be healthier for it. You are better off leaving it dry.

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