And when you start to pay attention to hair care products, you’ll notice one thing: it can be confusing.
What the heck is the difference between a paste called “pomade", a paste called “clay”, and of course, a paste called "paste". Confused yet? Read on.
The Difference between Pomade, Paste, Gel, and Clay
The best way to think about the difference between pomade, paste, clay, and gel is by examining the end result. We could get super detailed here, but we're going to keep it as simple as possible.
Pomade gives your hair direction and usually comes with a high-shine look to it (where you can literally see the light reflecting off of someone's hair). Pomade doesn't have that crunchy or clumpy feel associated with gels, and it won't flake. Pomades are great if you use a hair comb to style your hair.
Texture Paste leaves your hair messy or styled, but it will still move in a gust of wind. Texture Paste is typically shine-free, won't clump up, and can be restyled throughout the day.
Styling Clay is happy medium between Gel and Paste. It has a stronger hold like gel, without the high-shine finish. Clay is great for shorter spikier styles and has great "tack" in the hair.
Gel leaves your hair styled, and it will more or less stay in that style until you wash it out. Gel has a glossy, high-shine look associated with it.
Firstly, it's important to note, there are 2 different types of pomades, there is water-based pomade and then there is oil-based pomade. Oil-based pomade has a much stronger hold, but is almost impossible to wash out of your hair, and for this reason, most pomades you will see are water-based which can be easily rinsed out of your hair.
Men use pomade for a number of reasons. Maybe they live in a very dry climate that leaves their hair wiry, and pomade hydrates it. Maybe they have ridiculously curly hair they don’t like, or maybe their straight hair hangs in their face in an annoying way. All of these problems are fixed with pomade.
Why Hair Texture Paste?
Texture Paste is often the go to choice for anyone seeking the "bed-head" look - where it literally looks like you just rolled out of bed, but somehow you still look good. Bed-head hair is pliable and re-workable but still has slight hold to it. Generally, texture pastes have a thicker texture than pomades. Although it's specialty is the messy look, hair pastes are really ideal for all hair lengths, types, and styles..from short to long, fine to coarse, messy to neat. You really can't go wrong choosing a hair paste.
Why Hair Styling Clay?
If Texture Paste is for the bed-head, than Styling Clay is for the early-bird. Styling Clay is better for a cleaner more professional look, where you need a stronger hold, but aren't interested in the glossy, high-shine finish of hair gel. Hair clays are perfect for any hair style where you need volume & texture without the soppy/wet feeling of a styling product weighing your hair down.
Gel users are what we all typically start out as. It's readily available at any drug store and often times is the only hair care product for men they carry. Sure, if you have an annoying cowlick or want to maintain a clean side part, gel could be for you. The look of gel is more shiny than paste or clays, and it allows you to maintain a wet-looking style all day. Again, it’s good for a cleaner, more intentionally styled look like a hard side part, though we prefer to focus on pomades, clays, and pastes at Rocky Mountain Barber.
So What's the Best Hair Styling Product for You?
At the end of the day, putting stuff in your hair is always kind of like our 10 year old selves playing with mud. You have to try stuff out. Get a pomade, a clay, and a and test which one gives you the effect you want. Stay curious, and find the thing that will take your hair game to the next level (it’s probably not mud).
Check out our full line of hair care products to help make the decision a little easier