Our Guide To The Best Water Based Pomade For Your Hair

water based pomade

Looking for the right hair product is always a little tricky.

With all the variations and alternative products on the market today, it’s tough to make the right decision about which product is going to work best for you.

Whether you're looking to achieve a slick-back look, or just a nice matte finish, bed-head hairstyle, a quality water-based pomade is the answer that you've been looking for.

Pomade is a hair styling product that leaves your hair looking slick, neat and shiny. This greasy/waxy substance being a great alternative to other, more conventional hair styling products such as wax and gel.

Pomade has been made popular through the fame of Elvis Presley and others,  with their infamous “rockabilly pompadour” hairstyles.

Let me now take you through the best water-based pomades that we've found on the market today, to give you a better insight into this amazing hair styling product.


Oil Vs Water Based Pomade

Although pomade is responsible for the slick-back hair look, it's more than just a greasy-looking styling product.

It's been formulated to provide that slick-back look, while at the same time expresses its versatility with its dry, matte finish.

There are two main types of pomades on the market today, oil-based, and water-based pomades, and both fulfill very different styling functions.

A good quality pomade should, at the bare minimum, give you the style that you're after without too much hassle.

Easy to work and easy to clean should definitely be a highlighting factor in your choice of pomade.

A quality pomade should also have the ability and strength to last throughout the day. It shouldn't let your style fade or become flat.

Another serious option to consider when choosing a pomade is how easily it comes out of your hair.

Oil-based pomades have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to get out of your hair thanks to their oily texture.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Water-Based Pomade

If you’re new to the world of pomades – welcome. 

I’ll run through some of my favorite things about water-based styling products, as well as some reasons you may want to consider other pomades.

Oil-based pomades are the other main option, which I’ll touch on briefly.

Water-based pomades are great for styling most hair types. If you have thick hair, these can work surprisingly well.

Many people thick that thick or curly hair requires a lot of grease to hold it down. Not so!

Water-based pomades can actually offer amazing hold and will work to keep your hair in place all day. They also allow you to play around with your hair throughout the day, without having to add extra product.

Your hair stays in its style if you want it too, or can be reworked easily. The best of both worlds…

I prefer this type of pomade as it’s a lot gentler on your skin. Oil-based pomades can cause acne around your hairline, so aren’t great if you’re prone to breakouts.

They tend to be matte to semi-matte, too. Apply to wet hair for a sleeker look, or dry hair for a more natural style. I've found a couple of amazing, shiny options, however…

For some, this lack of shine can be a disadvantage of water-based pomades. The oil version of pomades does offer a high-shine look, great for any rockabillies or men who want to look super slick.

Some say the hold is much better with oil-based pomades, but they’re a lot harder to wash out! This can be useful if you want to apply pomade on the first day and not have to reapply on the second.

For me, however, I’d rather be able to wash out a pomade easily and start again fresh the next day…

What To Look For In a Quality Water-Based Pomade

When it comes to buying a high-quality pomade, don’t automatically go for the most expensive option. This is a mistake that a lot of people make when buying beauty or hair products!

There are plenty of options available that won’t break the bank, but will still offer everything you need.

Look for something with a strong or firm hold. This will help you style your hair more quickly, as well as maintain the look throughout the day.

There are many pomades designed specifically for thick, curly and long hair if this is something you need to consider. Some pomades are better suited for 360 waves and known as "wave grease" which is throughly covered by Dapperly Club.

Think about what finish you are after – most water-based pomades will offer a semi-matte look.

If you’re after something with a high shine, try applying to wet hair. There are some products that claim to offer a lot of shine, so there are still options for you!

Consider the ingredients and any extra care you have to take with your skin, such as sensitivity or allergies. There are plenty of natural pomades available, so look for something with coconut and rosemary oils if you can.

I prefer products that are chemical- and cruelty-free. For me, a great pomade is vegan and environmentally-friendly, as well as good for my hair!

Some pomades actively nourish your hair while styling it. Keep an eye out for products containing added vitamins, coconut oil, hemp, and shea butter.

Top 7 Water Based Pomades Reviewed

Imperial Classic Pomade

Imperial Classic Pomade

Imperial Classic Pomade is America’s number 1, strongest holding water-based pomade. It allows for a smooth and even application.

This classic pomade has been manufactured to allow you complete control over your style.

Adjust its strength in accordance with the amount of water you apply to your hair during the styling process.

Imperial’s Classic Pomade is water reactable, allowing you to quickly and easily restyle your hair by just adding a bit of water.

It lets you restructure your style anytime of day. This classic pomade has a very strong hold and is tough enough to last all day long.

Even if you run into some unexpected rain, this pomade will let you return to your original style once it has dried out a little.

This great pomade can be applied to either damp, wet or dry hair. It depends on your chosen style.

Apply to dry hair to attain a matte, more separate finish, or apply it to damp-to-wet hair for a more slick-back look and feel.

A great feature of this pomade is that although it has the strength to hold your hair up proud all day, getting it out is even easier.

A simple rinse under some water and this water-based pomade is done for the day.

No need for a heavy wash and shampoo, this pomade comes out clean and easy, every time.

Imperial’s Classic Pomade comes with a lovely clean-laundry scent. It's finished off with a mild hint of watermelon fragrance.

If you're looking for an amazing pompadour or cool slick-back hairstyle, Imperial Pomade is undoubtedly the one for you.

With the good comes the bad, that’s just the way things are.

Luckily this pomade doesn’t come with too many downsides, at least not enough to put you off.

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Pomade By Percy Nobleman

Pomade By Percy Nobleman

This is one of the best water-based pomades available, and offers fantastic hold throughout the day. 

This product offers medium shine, so is great for anyone who wants a sleek look without adding extra oil to their hair.

It blends in really nicely and won’t leave you with any dodgy clumps or flakes in your hair.

It’s super easy to wash out, so you don’t need to worry about feeling greasy or having to use olive oil to rinse it out.

You can easily restyle your hair during the day if you need to, or just relax and let it hold everything in place for you.

This pomade has a mild cocoa scent to it, and won’t leave your hair feeling stiff or brittle.

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Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold

Suavecito Pomade Firme Hold

This water-based pomade from Sauvecito is one of my all-time top styling products for men.

It offers extra firm hold so will keep your hair in whatever style you choose for the whole day.

This is the perfect option for anyone with hard-to-manage hair, who wants a low-maintenance style.

You can create pretty much any look with this pomade, without worrying about it getting greasy.

It washes out really easily and won’t leave a sticky residue on your hands or hair.

It offers medium shine, so is pretty versatile.

Use on wet or damp hair for a shinier, sleeker finish or go for a more relaxed vibe by using it on dry hair.

This is one of the best water-based pomades for thick or long hair.

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Anchors Hair Company Teddy Boy Original Water Based Styling Pomade

Anchors Hair Company Teddy Boy Original Water Based Styling Pomade

This quirky little product is a great pomade for pretty much all styles of hair.

While it’s at the top end of my price spectrum,  I think it’s worth going for if you’re already committed to the pomade life.

This offers a medium hold, so isn’t the best option if you have thick or curly hair. 

That said, it’s great for fine to medium hair thickness, and will keep your style in place all day.

It’s lightly scented and doesn’t feel greasy to apply. It won’t leave a sticky residue on your hands and washes out easily.

This is a pretty natural product, and it contains no parabens or alcohol, so won’t do anything nasty to your hairline or scalp!

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Mythical Pomade Hair Paste (Medium Hold, Matte Finish, Water Based)

Mythical Pomade Hair Paste (Medium Hold, Matte Finish, Water Based)

This mythical pomade is indeed the stuff of dreams. It offers a medium hold so will work for most hair types.

It has a lovely matte finish to it, so is great for anyone after a more natural, loose look. If you’re after some high-shine, this isn’t for you.

Its USP? It’s full of natural goodness!

This pomade is water-based and packed with argan and jojoba oils, which work to improve the condition of your hair.

The vitamins that have been added will nourish and encourage your hair to grow longer and more luscious - what’s not to love?

This is more of a paste than anything else, but applies really easily to hair and allows you to run your fingers through it to style it.

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Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade (Firm Hold)

Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade (Firm Hold)

Those of you who’ve been waiting for a high-shine product – your time has come. This is a super shiny pomade but is still water-based.

You’re getting the best of both worlds here, as it’s really simple to get that pompadour or rockabilly look, but it can be washed out effortlessly.

The hold with this product is incredible. 

It’ll work for pretty much every hair type and allow you to experiment with a number of styles.

It’s also a craft pomade (possibly the most hipster thing I’ve ever written) and is very high quality because of it...

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Smooth Viking Hair Care Pomade (Medium Hold, Supreme Shine)

Smooth Viking Hair Care Pomade (Medium Hold, Supreme Shine)

I thought I’d end these reviews on a high (-shine!) note, with this product from Smooth Viking that ticks pretty much every box on my list.

It offers a medium hold, so works well on most hair types. If you have thick or curly hair, this should work for you, too!

If you’re after a sleek, slick look, this is the pomade for you. It gives that shiny look that most people associate with oil-based pomades, but without the hassle.

You can apply this without it feeling sticky or greasy and it washes out really nicely.

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I’ve offered up some of the best water-based pomades out there, so hopefully you’ve seen something you like the look of.

The products I’ve chosen cover a variety of styles, budgets and hair types, so there’s something for everyone.

Buying a pomade isn’t as tricky as it may seem, so follow our advice if you fancy branching out.

Remember what style you’re after as well as the hair you have.

It can be easy to get confused and end up with a product for thin hair when you actually need to tame a huge mane!

At the end of the day, your hair is a way of expressing your personal style.

It should be fun to play around and experiment with new products, so enjoy the learning curve and find what works for you…