So what is pomade? Good question. Pomade is a hair styling product that creates a firm, long lasting hold. Traditionally made from lard, petroleum jelly, beeswax, or lanolin, it makes a thick, waxy substance used to create classic male hairstyles like pompadours or quiffs, and for making specialty mens' grooming products. Pomades are also popular to use with Afro-textured, or coiled hair for added moisture and better control over thicker, curly or coarse hair. Today's pomades are generally made with either water-soluble or oil-based products known for their long lasting, multi-use styling ability.
What is Pomade? A Historical Perspective
Continue reading below to find out more about what pomade is used for and made of.
Brief History of Pomade Hair pomades have been in existence for centuries, though traditional pomade products were popularly marketed and sold starting in the late 18th century and remained in popular use throughout the mid-20th century.
Origin of Name: From the French Pommade meaning “ointment,” originally from the Latin Ponum (fruit/apples), it is used to describe the original recipe for pomade which included smashed apples. While today's pomade may contain different scents or fragrances, they generally do not have a fruity smell or contain apples.
8th century: Initially, pomade was made mostly of bear lard and other oily substances, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common to see beeswax, lanolin, and petroleum jelly replace the more oily lard to make the very stiff, shiny, "waxy" look that made pomade so popular with certain hairstyles of the day. These pomades were known for their long-lasting effect and moisturizing ability, making them particularly popular with Afro-textured, kinki, or very course hair. By 1873, a popular hair pomade company from the United Kingdom, Morgan's Pomade Establishment, began circulating their "hair darkening" pomade throughout the western world.
20th century: By the 20th century, pomades in the U.S. were generally made with beeswax, petroleum and lard. From WWII until the 1960's, pomade was especially popular with American teenage boys, until the long-haired, unkempt "hippie" look took hold, largely among the American counterculture youth of the 60's, and the popularity of pomades waned. Common pomade brands in the U.S. at the time included:
- Murray's Superior Pomade, circa 1920's
- Royal Crown Hair Dressing, circa 1936
- Dixie Peach Hair Pomade, circa 1940's
Looking for a deeper dive on the history of pomade? Get more details on "What is Pomade?" on Wikipedia.
What is Pomade today?
After several decades of decline, Pomade use resurged, regaining some of its former popularity in the U.S. In 2010, during a revival of classic hairstyles like the Ducktail, Quiff, and Pompadour, pomade use regained momentum creating modern throwbacks to the greasers and rock'n'rollers of the 1950's. Modern pomades tend to use more water-soluble substances in lieu of the waxier, while oilier pomades are traditionally used to create strong, long-lasting firmness and shine, but can also leave more residue that is difficult to remove. Water-based pomades are much easier to wash out and its more flexible for creating different styles and looks throughout the day. Degreasing shampoo products have also grown in popularity, making even traditional pomades much easier to rinse out.
Benefits of Using Pomade vs. Regular Hairspray or Gel:
- Lasts much longer than normal hairsprays or gels
- Creates a shinier, darker, firmer look and hold
- Better at controlling heavy, coarse or thick curls that can be unruly
- Often used on textured or coiled hair to hold in moisture and prevent it from drying out
- Great for grooming mustaches, sideburns, beards, and other male facial hair
- Better at creating classic mens' hairstyles
Types of Pomades
Depending on hair type, length, style, and use there are different types of pomade products that can be used. Water-soluble pomades are generally more flexible, easier to restyle throughout the day and easier to wash out. Oil-based pomades are generally used for firmer, longer-lasting holds and for creating pompadours, quiffs, and other classic men's hairstyles.
Types of pomades also include specialized products, such as mustache wax, ultra-sheen and Afro-hair products. Reuzel Pomades Reuzel, pronounced "Roo-'zel," provides a line of classic men’s barbering products developed by two avid classic barbers from Holland. Inspired by rock-n-roll, Kustom Kulture and its subcultures amongst the working class of Holland, Leen and Bertus established a classic men’s barber shop, known as Schorem Haarsnijder En Barbier, referring to the "greasers, rockers, psychobillies, ruffians, and other fine gentlemen scumbags," or schorems, that frequent their shop.
They specialize in "traditional, classic, signature haircuts, hot towels, and straight-razor shaves," and now provide their own specially designed line of men's pomades and other grooming and styling products. Men's hair pomade by Reuzel fall into two main categories, water-soluble and oil-based pomades.
Reuzel Water-Soluble Pomades:
- Fiber Pomade: Strong, pliable hold with natural, low-shine finish. Best for shorter, medium to thick hair.
- Clay Matte: Heavy, stronger, more flexible hold with a matte finish. Contains antiperspirant qualities for shorter hair and a more active lifestyle.
- Reuzel Blue: High-shine with strong, firm hold that is easily washable and great for styling thicker, coarser hair types due to its no-dry formula, adding extra moisture with less flaking. Has a warm, vanilla wood scent.
- Reuzel Red: Medium-hold, high shine, no-dry formula for easy rinse-out and all-day shine. Good for all hair types. Has a slight vanilla cola fragrance.
- Reuzel Pink: Pomade grease made with beeswax for strong, all-day hold with medium shine. Great for pomps, quiffs, contours, and controlling cowlicks, unruly, thick, or coarse hair.
- Reuzel Green: Medium shine and hold, made with beeswax and Tea Tree oil to breakdown build-up and make it easier to wash out. Best for trying different styles on normal to thick hair.
For a more in depth view of Reuzel Pomades and other styling and grooming products, tonics, and shampoos, shop our pomade hair products today!