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The Best Water-Based Pomades

Kaitlyn Neese
Written by Ashley Neese
best water based pomade

Pomades have been a staple product in the hairstyling industry for a long time now. They offer a lot of versatility, work with practically every hair type, and can give pretty amazing results depending on how you use them. But a big problem with pomades — and other hair products — ‌is that they’re difficult to clean. This is where water-based pomades have changed the game.

These products are formulated with water as the main ingredient, making them incredibly easy to wash out, while still offering the benefits of traditional pomades. If this is something you’re looking for, then look no further, because we’ve curated a list of the highest-quality water-based pomades in 2024 for you to check out. And, to make things simpler, we’ve also added a buying guide to answer any questions that you might have before making your decision.

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Buying Guide: Water-Based Pomades

Water-Based Pomade vs. Oil-Based Pomade

Oil-based pomades

First, let’s talk about oil-based pomades. As their name suggests, these products are made with oily ingredients, like mineral oil or petroleum jelly at their core. This oily base allows these products to have a stronger, more resilient hold compared to water-based pomades. They provide a greasy, slick look, making them perfect for vintage hairstyles.

The biggest disadvantage to oil-based pomades is that they’re a pain to wash out. You’ll need to be more thorough when trying to wash out these products, as any residue could end up causing buildup.

Water-based pomades

Water-based pomades use water as the base ingredient in their formula, making them super convenient to apply and rinse out. They allow the same range of vintage, slick hairstyles that you get with oil-based pomades thanks to their firm hold, just with a little less shine. People with oily hair can benefit a lot from these pomades.

The downside, however, is that these products don’t hold up well in sweltering temperatures or rainy conditions. Also worth noting is that they’re not as pliable and will lose their hold and shine the more you try to restyle your hair.

Choosing a Water-Based Pomade for Your Hair Type

Thick vs. fine hair

People with hair that’s on the thicker side will be able to take advantage of the hold and shine that water-based pomades provide. While water-soluble pomades can work for thin hair, they might make the hair appear even thinner because of clumping.

Long vs. short-to-medium hair

Water-soluble pomades usually work well with all hair lengths. That said, people with medium-to-long hair might benefit a lot more because of the extra hold they offer, allowing them to sculpt those sleek hairstyles that these pomades are popular for.

Straight vs. curly hair

If you’ve got straight hair to style or unruly curls to tame, water-based pomade works well with both. Both hair types can greatly benefit from the hold and shine that these products give.

How to Apply and Remove Water-Based Pomade

Applying water-based pomade

First things first, depending on the look you want to go for, you can use a water-based pomade on both damp and dry hair. Just make sure your hair’s clean! Leaving your hair a bit damp — not soaking wet — will give it that extra shine, while drying it out will provide a more matte finish.

Now start with only a dime-sized amount of your pomade and work it between your palms to emulsify and break it down properly. Once that’s done, start applying the product from back to front, and then to the sides of your hair to evenly distribute it throughout. Avoid the scalp to prevent any chances of buildup.

You can now start sculpting and contouring your hair in your desired direction and hairstyle with the help of either a comb or blow dryer. Add more product if you need to hold down flyaways and you’re done.

Removing water-based pomade

The reason water-based pomades are so popular is that they’re super simple to wash out because they use water as the main ingredient in their formula. All you need to do is just hop in the shower, rinse your hair properly, and you’re all set. With some products, you don’t even need to use shampoo, but this varies from product to product and depends on the other ingredients they use.

Water-Based Pomades vs. Other Hair Products

Water-based pomades vs. gels

Both of these products offer pretty much the same benefits: shine and hold. Unfortunately, gels tend to dry out your hair and cause flaking, which is pretty damaging for your hair. Water-soluble pomades, however, are much gentler than the average hair gel.

Water-based pomades vs. waxes

Waxes are also pretty similar to water-based pomades but offer a much more pliable hold. Hair waxes offer a lower shine with high hold, but are pretty difficult to wash out.

Reviewing the Top Water-Based Pomades of 2024


Suavecito Original Water-Based Pomade


  • Provides a strong, flexible hold
  • Easy to wash out
  • Doesn’t make hair look greasy


  • Some might not like the smell
The Suavecito Original Water-Based Pomade is ideal for people looking for a strong hold that doesn’t leave their hair feeling crunchy. This pick provides a strong hold, yet offers the flexibility to restyle and adjust your hair by simply splashing a bit of water at any time of the day. It has a creamy texture with a slight scent to keep your hair smelling fresh and doesn’t leave any kind of residue upon use. Along with the hard hold, this product gives your hair a healthier look with a bit of shine, without making it look greasy. The water-soluble formula ensures that it’s easy to use and can also be washed out with no fuss. And, since it comes in multiple quantities, you can buy the amount that suits your needs. Because of its excellent quality and appearance, we’ve picked this water-based pomade as the best on our list.

Smooth Viking Water-Based Pomade


  • Works with wet and dry hair
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • High shine with no grease


  • Container is pretty small
Looking for the perfect pomade to solve all your hair woes? Then the Smooth Viking’s Water-Based Pomade is your fix. This water-based product provides just the right amount of hold to keep your hair locked in position while also leaving a shiny finish on damp hair. If a high-shine look isn’t to your liking, then you can always use it on dry hair to give a more sophisticated, matte finish to your hair. The medium hold allows you the freedom to adjust, comb, or style your hair as you please, and lets you add thickness and texture to your locks throughout the day. Best of all, this water-based pomade works well with all hair types and is made using a water-soluble formula with top-quality ingredients that keep your hair fresh without damaging it.

Layrite Superhold Water-Based Pomade


  • Firm hold with low shine
  • Perfect for thick, coarse hair
  • Lovely cream soda scent


  • Large amounts required for a strong hold
If you’ve got hair that you just can’t seem to get under control no matter what, then Layrite’s Superhold Water-based Pomade is definitely worth a shot. This formula is ideal for any hair type that’s a pain to manage, whether it be curly, thick, coarse, or anything in between. Further, it has a strong, long-lasting hold while offering low-medium shine because of the matte finish. This water-based pomade is formulated to work well with not just shorter hair lengths, but also longer locks that want a little more volume and an elevated look. Plus, it even has a mild cream soda scent that’s not too overwhelming and leaves your hair with a nice aroma. The water-soluble formula allows you to restyle your hair by just dampening it a bit and also rinses out easily with water.

Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade


  • High shine formula
  • Easy to clean out
  • Strong hold for shorter hairstyles


  • Thick consistency
For the short-haired men out there who’d like a more modern, sleek look, the Rocky Mountain Barber Company Pomade will work incredibly well. This water-based pomade has a strong, firm hold that’s perfect for holding shorter hairstyles like side parts or even a more elevated, volume-based look like the pompadour. The formula uses vegetable-based products like beeswax to reinforce the holding strength and add that extra shine to your hairstyle. Like most water-based pomades, this pick is incredibly easy to wash out and doesn’t clog or stick to your hair follicles. The pomade also has a subtle light and fresh scent that’s not too overpowering or irritating. And, since it comes in a 5-fluid-ounce container, it’ll last you for a long while.

Ocean View Deep Waves Water-Based Pomade


  • Superior hold with low shine
  • Easy to apply and wash out
  • Suitable for all hair types


  • Doesn’t use all-natural ingredients
Want to get the perfect wave patterns? Then you need the right product for the job. Enter Ocean View’s Deep Waves Water-Based Pomade. This pick strikes the ideal balance between providing a stronghold for that wavy look and being easy to rinse out after you’re done. It’s designed to work with all hair types, thanks to the water-soluble formula. So, whether you have thick, coarse, or even super curly hair, this product will tame them all the same. This water-based pomade is an excellent starting point for beginners that are getting into wolfing and even long-time veterans that want to rock that immaculate 360-wave hairstyle. Best of all, there’s no build-up whatsoever on the scalp and it won’t clog pores either. It has a gel-like texture with a faint lily scent and comes in a 4-fluid-ounce container that’ll last you for weeks.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Can water-based pomades damage my hair?

    A:While water-based pomades do have some moisturizing benefits, they can dry out your hair if used excessively. Also, the inclusion of scents and parabens could irritate some individuals.

  • Q: Do water-based pomades have an expiration date?

    A:Water-based pomades have a shelf-life of about two years on average before they go bad.

  • Q: What are unorthodox water-based pomades?

    A:These products are the same as water-based pomades but offer more pliability than standard water-soluble pomades. They’re just as easy to wash out, don’t harden up, and can be restyled all day long.

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Kaitlyn Neese

By Ashley Neese

Hi, I'm Ashley Neese and I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  I'm passionate about all things beauty, fashion, and wellness — specifically skin care, makeup, and natural health. I love writing about things that help people feel like their best selves, whether it's finding their perfect lip color or a supplement to alleviate anxiety. In my free time, I am usually reading a romantic comedy or playing with my two dogs.

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