10 Best Water-Based Pomades

Water-based pomades are the newer answer to the more traditional oil-based pomades of old; though of course, you can still get oil-based pomades. However, water-based pomades come with a few advantages over their predecessors. For one, they are much easier to wash out after use. Additionally, chances of breakouts are lower, thanks to not using an oily product. There are a few things to consider when choosing a pomade:

  • Hold Strength
  • Hair Type
  • Sheen

The hair type determines hold strength, generally. Let’s take a look at our top picks.

10. American Crew Pomade

american crew water based pomade

This pomade is a medium hold product, so it is versatile enough to work on most hair types that aren’t extremely thick or thin. Additionally, it can be used to slick straight hair or offer a greater degree of control over unruly curly hair.
In terms of longevity, some users claim there is no noticeable hold. Others find it a bit greasy. However, it leaves behind no residue.

9. Fiber Grease Pomade

fiber grease water-based pomade

Although the name certainly implies a greasy product, prospective users will be glad to know that Fiber Grease does not, in fact, leave grease behind. It’s actually a light to medium hold pomade that works well for most hair types. It provides hold all day long and has a tropical sort of fragrance as well, with a somewhat shiny sheen.
Note that the light hold is easy to restyle during the day. While this is a plus, it means that longevity might suffer depending on use.

8. Blind Barber 90 Proof Hair Pomade

blind barber water-based pomade

This pomade is for those who want to achieve a max hold on their hairstyle of choice. It has a protein-infused recipe to help revitalize your hair while looking good, as well. The finish for this one is matte, so it’s ideal if you’re not looking for extra shine.
It’s actually ideal for most hairstyles of the previous century, though more modern looks are a bit tough to pull off with this pomade.

7. John Allans’ Pomade Matte

john allans water-based pomade

We like this excellent light hold pomade as it will help to style the hair, yet remain flexible enough to work with it if necessary. Best for thinner hair.
As the name implies, it has a matte finish that still includes a bit of shine, for those who want something in between. Features a host of natural compounds that both smell great and treat your scalp at the same time, too.
A small number of users do report that this pomade can seem sticky and hard to rinse at times.

6. Baxter of California Soft Water Pomade

baxter of california water-based pomade

A light hold water-based pomade that is ideal for fine or thin hair. It’s a good choice if you’re not after a very strict hold and simply favor a somewhat more relaxed look.
Note, however, that many users caution using too much of the product. A very small amount will usually suffice; using too much will give your hair a very stiff, brittle feel. Although it is easy to wash out, it’s best to start small and add in very small increments if necessary.

5. Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

uppercut barber water-based pomade

This pomade features a moderately shiny sheen for those interested in a classic throwback look or a standout hairdo. It has a strong hold that lasts all day (as does the shine). This pomade is best for thick hair or those wishing to achieve some of the more difficult looks that require a greater degree of control.
Despite its strength, it isn’t greasy and washes out surprisingly quickly at the end of the day.
In rare cases, some users had issues with the product drying out before they had finished the container.

4. Imperial Barbershop Blacktop

imperial barber water-based pomade

From Imperial, this strong hold pomade is full of surprises. It’s actually relatively light on shine but not quite matte, either. The added bonus here is, it has a slightly darker finish than most, as the name suggests. This makes it ideal for covering up unwanted gray hairs should they appear. And although you won’t know it by looking, this pomade smells like bubblegum.
Take caution when using, however; the black finish can stain pillowcases and the like.

3. Redken 03 Water Wax Pomade

redken water-based pomade

Although it is a water-based pomade, this product from Redken also allows you to achieve a certain waxy consistency. You’ll get the greater performance and control of wax, but you’ll still retain the flexibility and versatility of standard water-based pomades. This makes it suitable for most hair types, however the difference in consistency means the hold is fairly light. So you won’t be able to attempt more daring styles with this one.

2. Layrite Original Pomade

layrite water-based pomade

There’s no talking about pomades without at least one mention of a Layrite product. The Orignal does offer medium shine for those wanting to achieve great control with that shiny look. It has medium hold and performance, yet doesn’t leave hair feeling stiff at the end of the day. Can be used with nearly all hair types with the right amount of water. Really, very few downsides to this or similar Layrite products for your needs.

1. Imperial Barber Grade Products Classic Pomade

imperial barber water-based pomade

The strongest holding pomade by Imperial, and probably one of the strongest water-based pomades anywhere. The beauty of this product is that you can count on it to hold your hair in the style of your choice no matter the thickness and as long as you need.
Even better, you can reduce the holding power if necessary by adding a bit more water to your hair routine for the day. This makes it not only a very strong, long-lasting product, but a fairly versatile one as well.

Our Summary

Water-based pomades come in a variety of strengths and finishes, with extras such as natural ingredients for scalp treatment or certain fragrances. It’s really just a matter of deciding what sort of shine and hold is right for your hair type and the look you want.

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