Pomade, Styling Cream, Hair Wax, Hair Gel, Clay, Paste: What’s the Difference?

You take a look in the mirror and decide that your hair’s looking a bit limp, or just simply could do with a bit of a new look after months (or years) of the same approximate way of styling your mop. You head to the nearest drugstore thinking of picking up something and stop stock still when you see the aisles of hair care products. Even taking away noxious smell hairsprays you still have tubes and pots of mystery substances to bewilder you!

People of every gender have faced this at one point or another. First, let’s take away the mysticism of the varying styling products. Afterwards we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type.



There are actually two types of pomade: petroleum based and water based. The former is the ‘classic’ pomade, and one that most people opt for. Pomade is for people who want a neat, slick, shiny hairstyle or for retro hairdos like quiffs. It provides a wet sleek look and comes in a light to high shine. Neither type of pomade hardens or dries on the hair, leaving you with touchable, restyle able hair all day long. However, applying too much pomade may provide a greasy look.


Styling Cream


Hair styling cream is very versatile and can be used on straight, curly, fine, thick or coarse hair. Styling cream provides a natural look, and it’s a light and soft substance that doesn’t create a greasy or stiff feel.  It helps make hair more manageable and can add anything from a light to high shine depending on the precise product. Styling cream is also a great styling product for thin or thinning hair, because it doesn’t clump hair together, thus providing fuller thicker looking hair.  If you want to calm frizz or tame a few unruly areas, this would be the product for you. If you are looking for something with a strong crispy hold, then this would not be the product to use.


Hair Wax

Unsurprisingly, one of the major ingredients in a hair wax is wax, whereas most hair products involve an alcohol or two. The texture and consistency will vary depending on the brand and specific product. The main difference between a hair wax and pomade is that a pomade adds shine whereas a hair wax can range from matte finishes to ones with a medium or high shine. If you like smart, almost formal styles, a wax would be ideal for you as they’re meant to hold a style in place.


Hair Gel

Gels are typically translucent and thinner in consistency than most hair products because they usually contain a lot of alcohol, which can dry and irritate your scalp. Some gels also create a flaky white residue that provides the appearance of having dandruff. Depending on the product you can get a light or heavy hold. Generally speaking, fine or thinning hair works best with a lightweight gel, and a firmer gel for curly hair.



The main ingredient in hair clays is usually a type of clay known as bentonite. They usually have a matte finish and are good for everyday styles or people who want a nice, casual look. As a loose rule of thumb, hair clay is the way to go if you want a naturally textured look.



This one is a little harder to define, but in general, a paste has quite a thick consistency and its texture varies from a gel-like toothpaste to glue that’s starting to dry. The hold is medium to strong and you can get pastes with a matte or slightly shiny finish. Paste is pretty versatile in terms of uses and it washes out easily.


Pros and Cons

Every hair product has its pros and cons as a matter of course, most of which are determined by what you want out of a product as well as the hair type you have. There will never be a product truly suitable for all hair types and purposes, so if you find one, avoid it. It may not do anything as well as it says it does.



Pomade - pomade doesn’t leave your hair immovable; you can restyle it throughout the day

                        - Water based pomades are as easy to wash out as shampoo

                        - Perfect for people with a cool, retro style

                        - Has a very high shine range

                        - No more crunchy hair

                        - Works very well with combs

                        - It can provide a good amount of volume

                        - Can be applied to wet or dry hair in order to create different looks


Styling Cream

                        - Creates natural, effortless looks

                        - Easy to wash out

                        - Neither dries nor damages hair

                        - Excellent for low style needs like smoothing down frizz 

                        - Can offer some moisturizing properties to dry hair

                        - Soft, touchable hair

                        - Good for thin or thinning hair                      

                        - Well suited to curly hair

                        - Not as greasy or messy as products like pomades or gels

                        - Restyling on the go is possible

                        - Can be layered with other products


Hair Wax

                        - Good for natural looking hair styles

                        - Fantastic for short hair

                        - Easy to restyle throughout the day

                        - Only one application is needed to last the whole day

                        - Perfect for sleek, professional styles

                        - Just a small amount is needed for each application

                        - Holds the style all day


Hair Gel

                        - Creates the wet look

                        - Offers the strongest holds of all the products listed here

                        - Good for extreme styles such as Mohawks

                        - Very flexible when it comes to creating a variety of different styles



            - Clay absorbs plenty of water, boosting the thickness of your hair

            - Clings to follicles making it look and feel thicker and more voluminous

            - Doesn’t dry

            - No crunchy hair

            - Brilliant at making casual, slicked back styles

            - Excellent for making texture

            - Very solid hold

            - Good for all hair lengths

            - Has a medium hold

            - Perfect for a matte, natural look



            - Doesn’t harden like a gel

            - Fantastic for texturing hair

            - Great for creating volume in shorter hair

            - Good for creating messy hair styles

            - Medium hold and light shine if applied to dry hair

            - High hold and medium shine if applied to damp hair

            - Ideal for short or medium length hair

            - Flexible and versatile, you can restyle your hair throughout the day

            - Good for straight, wavy and curly hair





- Petroleum based pomades take a very long time to wash out,

- Anything that you use to wash out the pomade will strip the natural oils  out of your hair; something which can make it look unhealthy and flat

- Oil based pomade can lead to acne outbreaks on the hairline and forehead

- May stain pillows


Styling Cream

- Not water resistant

- May not be suitable for very long hair

- Not suitable for crunchy spiked up looks


Hair Wax

- The best products tend to be the most expensive

- May cause oily scalp is used to excess

- Many waxes are water insoluble, so wax can build up on the scalp if not washed properly

- Wax that builds up on the scalp may oxidize leading to the release of irritants. These irritants may cause itching alongside other symptoms of irritation

- If not washed properly, dandruff  may result from wax build up


Hair Gel

- Gives your hair the crunchy look/feel

- May harden your hair, giving it the emotion of being glued in place

- May leave white flakes in your hair

- May not be suitable for certain professional jobs

- The alcohols in the product may dehydrate your hair

- May cause damage to the scalp or hair follicle and cause thinning



- May be difficult to wash out depending on the brand bought

- The best clays tend to be more expensive, and the budget options can be grainy

- May be difficult to wash out with special attention

- It is not the best for finer hair because the product is rather heavy   



- Not ideal for longer hair styles

- May not be as effective on extremely curly or coarse hair

- Has a weaker hold than other products

- May leave a sticky feel on the hands


Which Hair Product is Best for Me?  Which One is Best for Me?

That, unfortunately, isn’t something we can specifically answer because there’s no such thing as a universal hair product. As much as we may wish it, all we can do is experiment and find out what works best for us. However, we can provide some general advice that will probably suit most hair types with one caveat: we are assuming that, as you came to this website, you’re looking for something to boost the volume of your hair. That said, we believe that most people would enjoy a little extra volume in their hair.

Firstly, avoid hair gels. Hair gels are usually seen as the worst of the hair products (perhaps alongside some types of hairspray) for several reasons. Many low-to-mid quality gels can leave residue behind and create that flaky, white look that no one ever wants. In addition, once a gel has set, that is usually the only way it can be styled until it’s washed out. The wet look style that gels are most well-known for creating may accentuate the thin patches of your hair unless styled correctly.

The thing that we are most concerned about though, particularly for people with hair loss is the alcohol content: alcohol can and will dry out the scalp and hair follicles. This will weaken the hair’s structure by depriving it of its natural moisture and oils.

Hair gel does not cause hair loss. We want to make this perfectly clear. Any hair product used to excess can cause problems with your hair. What does cause hair loss is the drying effect that certain products have on your hair.


Volugenix Anti-thinning Styling Cream

As a result, we believe that your hair products should always contain a moisturizing element to help compensate for the other ingredients in the styling product. If we want our hair to look thicker and have more volume, we need to find something that has a decent amount of weight to it without flattening our hair, therefore the best bet would be choosing something like a paste, cream, pomade or wax. The caveat for the pomade is that a water based one would be more convenient for washing.

Volugenix hair styling cream is not only anti-thinning, but it is free of alcohol, paraben,and sulfates, and it is full of nutrients like baobab oil and vitamin B5 that help combat the drying effects of the atmosphere and pollution. Volugenix contains ingredients such as Biotin, Keratin, Saw Palmetto, which nourish and strengthen your hair follicles. The styling cream leaves you with a natural looking matte finish and amazing texture. More importantly, it leaves your hair looking thicker and fuller.

Thanks to our combination of specially chosen ingredients designed to encourage hair thickening and preserve it as long as possible along with Redensyl. Based on a study, Redensyl is twice as effective at encouraging hair thickening when compared to minoxidil, so we are positive that you will enjoy our styling cream and all the benefits that it can give you, because there are few styling products, if any, that are as effective as Volugenix.





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