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The 5 Best Water Based Pomades in 2022

The 5 Best Water Based Pomades in 2022

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best water-based pomade is, then we recommend Imperial Barber’s Classic Pomade as the best.

Best Overall
Imperial Barber | Classic Pomade, 6 oz
Pros:
  • Water-based formula.
  • Impressive 4.6-star rating.
  • Over 1,150 5-star reviews.
  • Controls hair without greasing up.
Cons:
  • A bit expensive (but so worth it).
  • Smell may not be for everyone.
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Even if you’ve just gotten a new haircut from the barber, chances are your hair will require a bit of maintenance to stay fresh. Although every guy may follow a different grooming routine, many of them choose to use water-based pomades as their favorite hairstyling product.

The 5 Best Water-Based Pomades

Picking the right water-based pomade can be tricky—with so many options out there, it can be challenging to know which one to choose. Fortunately, I can help you find the best water-based pomade. After reviewing several products, I’ve listed my favorites.

1. Imperial Barber’s Classic Pomade

Best Overall
Imperial Barber | Classic Pomade, 6 oz
Pros:
  • Water-based formula.
  • Impressive 4.6-star rating.
  • Over 1,150 5-star reviews.
  • Controls hair without greasing up.
Cons:
  • A bit expensive (but so worth it).
  • Smell may not be for everyone.
Check Latest Price
We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

First up, we have a great pomade from a well-known men’s grooming brand. Yes, it’s expensive. But you do want the best, don’t you?

Imperial Barber’s Classic Pomade is a water-based product that offers heavy hold and low shine, and its build-up won’t give up until the end of the day. If you prefer matte pomade with no shine at all, we can also recommend Imperial’s water-based clay pomade.

With over 1,600 guys giving this pomade 5-star reviews, what’s not to like? In fact, this pomade boasts an impressive 4.6-star rating. Users rave about the hold and ease of application, though some say the smell is not for them.

One happy customer even says:

I have to say, I am truly impressed with this stuff. This is the first product I have used on my hair that actually puts me in control! This stuff has a very strong hold but is somehow not concrete stiff like using gel. This stuff will easily last all day. Heck, I have gone to sleep with the stuff still in my hair, wake up, run a comb through my hair and keep going for a second day!

Need we say more?

2. Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade

Runner-Up
Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade
Pros:
  • Easier to rinse out of your hair 
  • Stays soft to the touch 
  • Creamier texture makes the mixture easier to apply
  • Less stiffness 
  • Includes elastic fibers in the formula 
Cons:
  • Might need to reapply this mixture more often 
  • Doesn't provide the strongest hold
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It can be a challenge to find a pomade that gives your hair a vibrant shine and firm hold without all the unnecessary stiffness. However, Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade may be up to the task.

One way the product accomplishes this is by steering clear of alcohol. Some pomades may use small amounts of alcohol in their formula to help your hair dry faster. While this can make the hold stronger, it can also lead to stiffness too.

The Baxter of California pomade may still be soft to the touch even at the end of the day. Not only does it feature elastic fibers in its formula but also its creamier texture ensures that the product is easier to wash out of your hair.

3. Billy Jealousy Lunatic Water-Based Pomade

Runner-Up
Billy Jealousy Lunatic Fringe Water-Based Pomade, 3 oz
Pros:
  • Unique vanilla-peach scent.
  • Impressive 4.7-star review.
  • One of the most affordable options.
  • Great value for the money.
  • Provides all-day hold while fighting frizz.
Cons:
  • Not every guy will like the scent (we do though).
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Just behind Baxter of California’s pomade is the Lunatic Pomade from Billy Jealousy. If you’ve ever bought any luxury shaving products, you know that Billy Jealousy is well-established as a leader in this market.

With so much success in the grooming space, it’s no surprise they expanded into the men’s hair market. And we’re glad they did. Their Lunatic Pomade is one of the best on the market. And we mean that.

It delivers a solid hold, enough vitamins to tame your mane all day, and a water-based formula that makes it easy to apply. While the Vanilla-Peach scent won’t be for everyone, users report it’s muted, so it’s pleasant without being overpowering.

We happen to like it, as it’s a different scent than we’re used to seeing in a men’s hair product. Regardless, enough guys love the product to give it an impressive 4.7-star rating, and we think it’s worth having in your haircare routine.

4. Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

Uppercut
Uppercut Deluxe Hair Pomade, 3.5 Ounces
Pros:
  • Gives off a medium to a high shine
  • May last longer than others
  • Easy to wash off 
  • Usually works well for all hair types and styles
Cons:
  • May provide more shine than some people want 
  • Will only last until your next shower
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Although many men choose to use pomade to hold their hair in place, it’s also a popular product for the shine it gives off. The Uppercut Deluxe Pomade is no exception to the rule.

While it may vary depending on how much product you use, this strong hold pomade typically gives off a medium to a high shine finish as well as providing you with high pompadours, side parts, and a slick back.

Unlike similar products, it’s designed not to dry out or wear off throughout the day. Just apply it to dry hair with dry hands, and you’ll be alright. If you are looking for a low shine, though, this may not be the ideal product for you.

One added perk is that there isn’t any extra fuss when you need to wash it off: all you need to do is rinse your hair off with shampoo and water. Regardless of whether or not you have thick, untamed, and curly hair or a thin, floppy style, it is meant to work well for all hair types.

5. Battle Born Grooming All Natural Water Based Pomade

Battle Born Grooming Co.
Battle Born Grooming All Natural Water Based Pomade
Pros:
  • Has the appearance of an oil-based formula
  • Easy to wash out of your hair 
  • All-natural ingredients 
  • No parabens, petrochemicals, or animal-derived materials 
  • Doesn’t provide too much shine 
Cons:
  • May not give off as much lustrous shine as some other choices
  • Some people may not like the oil-based appearance
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Pomades may help keep your hair in place, but some men may not appreciate the high shine that some pomades can give off. If that’s the case, the hair pomade by Battle Born Grooming with medium shine and matte finish might be best for you.

Although this is a water-based product, one of this pomade’s best features is its ability to imitate an oil-based formula. While you can get the same appearance as an oil-based product, you don’t have to deal with all of the fuss since it is still designed to wash out of your hair after a quick rinse.

Since ingredients can vary from product to product, it’s worth noting that this product is all-natural: you won’t find any parabens, petrochemicals, animal-derived materials or artificial colors in this mixture; it only features natural oils, waxes, and butters. For men that have sensitive skin or hair, the all-natural ingredient list may make this product ideal.

Honorable Mentions

  • Layrite Super Shine Deluxe stays true to its name and gives your hair a luxurious shine while maintaining a high hold without resulting in any stiffness. Does it have too much shine for you? Then the medium shine of Layrite Original Pomade might be the one you are looking for.
  • If visiting a barbershop in Rotterdam is on your bucket list, Reuzel’s Extreme Hold Matte Pomade might take care of that. Moreover, its unique formula based on water and beeswax will give you the strongest hold possible, if that’s what you are after.
  • American Crew Pomade provides a medium hold and a high shine, but its real highlight is the fact that it’s one of the smoothest-feeling pomades out there. In that sense, it’s quite a worthy alternative to others.
  • Suavecito Pomade Original Hold is another hairstyling favorite of many Americans. It has an original hold and medium shine, and it combs super easily.

What Exactly Is a Pomade? 

If you’re just entering the world of male grooming, you’ve probably heard the term “pomade,” but you might not know what it means. Pomades have been around for a long time, but they’ve only recently come back in style.

Traditionally, pomades have been petroleum-based substances made with waxy ingredients to hold your hair in place. It’s important to understand that the word “pomade” doesn’t describe just one product—it’s a category with several different subtypes.

Are All Pomade Water-Based?

No, not all pomades are water-based. There are water-based ones and oil-based ones. There is also a gray area where clay and pomade meet, but nobody is yet sure if that’s another pomade type or not. Therefore, let’s not get into that discussion but see how the two established types of pomade differ.

Water-Based Pomade Vs. Oil-Based Pomade

The two most common types of pomades are water-based and oil-based. Water-based pomades tend to be more popular—and for good reason. The water-based formula turns the pomade into a hair gel-like substance that keeps your hair in place but rinses off easier.

Once it dries, a water-based pomade hardens. Unless you restyle with a wet comb, your hair isn’t going anywhere. Many people often find that water-soluble pomades last even longer: even after spending all day in the sun, it’s unlikely that the pomade will wear off.

An oil-based formula, on the other hand, is usually greasier, and you may remember them from the “greaser” looks of your favorite hair metal bands from the 1980s, if you are lucky enough to have one. Some men may choose to use an oil pomade for the “lustrous shine” it gives their hair.

But this type has two major disadvantages: not only do you typically have to reapply it throughout the day, but it also doesn’t wash out as easily as a water-based formula. Getting all the oil pomade out of your hair may take a few showers.

On top of that, applying too much oil on your hair and skin might result in unwanted results such as breakouts and acne. If you still need more clarification about the differences, this video does a good job comparing water-based and oil-based formulas.

Are Water-Based Pomades Good?

When compared to the only alternative they have, which happens to be the oil-based ones, I can easily say that they are good:

  • They wash off way easier.
  • They are better for the health of your hair and skin.
  • If you’re not after a “greaser” style, they also provide better looks.

Is Pomade Better Than Wax?

Waxes are not made for giving your hair a lustrous style or shine, but they are versatile enough to go with any hair style and flexible enough to let you change your style any time you want in the day. Moreover, their matte finish might be what you are looking for if you are after a natural look.

Pomades, on the other hand, are more versatile than waxes in terms of the shine and hold they offer. Also, most of the quality ones will last you until the end of the day without budging.

Is It Okay to Sleep With Pomade in Your Hair?

This question was sent to our office in a sealed letter signed by your dearest pillow, and it wants me to answer no. However, I am only concerned for your own well-being and I can say that it doesn’t bear any risks for your own self. 

If you sleep with a high amount of pomade in your hair, though, your pillow will not be happy, and its unhappiness might as well reflect on you.

Are Water-Based Pomades Bad for Your Hair?

Not by themselves, no. Of course, if you apply them excessively or if you purchase a product with an unsound formula, they can be bad for your hair, but, hey, that’s what I am here for and why I carefully picked only the best ones for your hair.

How to Apply Water-Based Pomade to Your Hair

Man applying one of the best water-based pomades to his hair

Vladimka Production/Shutterstock

Applying pomade to your hair can be a bit trickier than just slapping it on. Before you even try putting it on, you’ll want to make sure your hair is damp or dry. Applying water-based pomade to wet hair is counterproductive since this product washes out with water.

Once your hair is dry, you’ll want to put a little bit of the pomade on your fingers and rub it between your palms. Rubbing the product between your hands will warm it up and make it a little easier to spread throughout your hair.

Keep in mind that less is more. It can be tempting to scoop out an entire handful of pomade, but doing so will only make a mess. It’s generally recommended that you use a “pea” amount of pomade when you first apply it.

You may end up needing more, but it’s always easier to add more pomade than it is to take some away.

Your first instinct may be to apply the pomade to the sides or top of your hair but you may want to start in the back instead. Since your hair is thickest at the back of your head, this area usually needs the largest amount of pomade.

After you’ve covered the back, you can then start styling the top and the sides to your liking. Typically, once all the pomade is in the hair, many men use a comb or their fingers to add finishing touches. 

How Often Do I Need to Apply Pomade? 

There aren’t any strict rules about how often you need to apply a water-based hair product, and many users end up putting it on daily. That being said, you may not have to apply an oil-based pomade daily since it can take several days to wash out completely.

Water-based pomades typically need to be applied more frequently. Since these formulas will wash out with a quick rinse, you can apply them after every shower.

Our Pick for the Best Water Based Pomade

Each of these water-based pomades comes with their own advantages or disadvantages but one of them can stand above the rest—and that’s the Imperial Barber’s Classic Pomade.

Best Overall
Imperial Barber | Classic Pomade, 6 oz
Pros:
  • Water-based formula.
  • Impressive 4.6-star rating.
  • Over 1,150 5-star reviews.
  • Controls hair without greasing up.
Cons:
  • A bit expensive (but so worth it).
  • Smell may not be for everyone.
Check Latest Price
We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

With this product, you can enjoy all the perks of an oil-based formula without having to worry about the time-consuming clean-up. Whether you’re trying to style a fresh new haircut or recreate a classic look, the Imperial Barber Pomade is up to the task.