A gentlemen has many options when it comes to choosing a product to create his desired look.  Selecting the best formula comes down to aesthetic preferences as well as haircut style and hair type.

A man’s hairstyle says a lot about him.  Is he a sophisticated professional with a meticulously placed coif?  Is he a carefree creative with free-flowing locks?  Is he somewhere in between or does his hair vibe change depending on the day and his mood?  Regardless of the image you want to project with your hair, the most important step in achieving your desired look is choosing the right product to create it.

Luckily, there’s a perfect styling product for every type of hair and every type of man.  Unluckily, this plethora of options means it can be difficult to understand the differences between them and hone in on the right one for you.  To help comb through (pun intended) the choices a gentlemen has when it comes to hair styling products, we’ve created this simple and quick guide, focusing on the two most useful and time-honored formula types: pomade and gel.


man hair styling 


Before jumping into the specifics of and differences between pomade and gel, let’s first understand the main attributes used to define men’s hair products.  When choosing the right product for you and your locks, it mainly comes down to these considerations:

  1. HOLD – How stiff or malleable do you want your hairstyle to be? Different styling products can provide low, medium or superior hold depending on your preference.
  1. FINISH – Sleek and shiny or matte and natural-looking? The formula you select will determine how glossy or dry your hair will look and how much light it will reflect.
  1. HAIR TYPE – Men with thinner hair will want a styling product that makes hair look and feel fuller and doesn’t accentuate the thinness. Coarser, harder-to-tame strands will benefit from a styling product that takes control and keeps things in check.
  1. LIFESTYLE – Depending on your day-to-day activities, or what you’ll be doing in the time after styling your hair, you may prefer a different level of movement and shine.
  1. HAIR STYLE – Different styling products lend themselves to different desired looks. The combination of hold and style you select will be, in part, determined by what kind of image you are trying to project.

Below, we’ve broken down the comparison between pomade and gel as it pertains to each of these attributes, as well as recommendations of Gentlemen Republic formulas to choose from based on your needs and preferences.



men's hair pomade


Pomade is an old-school barbershop classics and is very versatile.  It can be used to deliver a variety of looks.  These formulas are typically better for men with thinner hair as they allow them to style their desired look, without weighing it down or accentuating thinness.  Pomades can deliver varying levels of hold and shine depending on the product, but generally will be more malleable than gel.  Hair will be moldable but since pomades don’t harden like gels, hair will also remain flexible and separated, enhancing volume and texture.  Since pomades typically provide around 6 to 8 hours of flexible hold, they are the ideal product choice for office workers and professionals who are not engaging in activities throughout the day that will mess up their hair style.  Pomades are also great for styling hair before an event or night out.

Pastes are a type of pomade formula with a creamier texture.  The choice between pomade and paste really comes down to texture preference, although pastes do tend to have a bit more hold.  This makes them better for men with longer hair who want to achieve messier styles, while pomades are perfect for more classic or retro looks like the “rockabilly” style or combovers.

When applying pomades, you’ll want to use a small amount to start as you can always apply more and build up as needed.  Rub the formula between your hands to warm and soften it up, then run your fingers through dry or damp hair (not wet as too much water will dilute the efficacy of the styling product).  This warming step before application is very important with pomade as without this, it won’t distribute through your hair and will accumulate in one spot.




classic pomade

  • Medium hold
  • Medium Shine
  • Good for thinner hair
  • Provides optimal separation and flexibility




Stiff Pomade

  • Similar formula as Classic Pomade but with a stronger hold
  • Good for slightly thicker, harder-to-tame hair
  • Provides hold but maintains separation and flexibility




Sleek Pomade

  • Creamier form of pomade
  • Even more hold than Classic and Stiff pomades
  • High shine
  • Maintains separation and flexibility




 Matte Grooming Paste

  • Creamier form of pomade
  • Even more hold than Classic and Stiff pomades
  • Matte shine
  • Maintains separation and flexibility

All Gentlemen Republic pomades wash out easily because they are water-based and free from oily, pore-clogging ingredients like Beeswax and Petrolatum.


men's hair gel


While pomades are great for men with thinner hair who want to maximize volume, texture and separation, gel is the go-to for men with more hair who want to keep it in place.  Gel joins hair together and provides next-level hold, helping to control volume, rather than build it.  These clear or translucent formulas will harden and provide more shine, more stiffness and less separation than pomades.  Heavier in texture by design, gels are made to tame unruly hair and hold your desired style all day long.  This makes them best for highly active people like athletes, children and those who work outdoors.  Gels typically provide about 24 hours of superior hold.

Applying gel is also a bit simpler than applying pomades.  Simply spread about a quarter-sized amount between hands and distribute it through hair, molding it into your desired shape.  Keep in mind that, as with pomades, it’s best to apply a water-based gel to dry or damp hair as too much water will dilute its efficacy.




Refined GelThis is our best selling formula, loved for its versatility, hard hold, high shine, and cult-classic refreshing and masculine fragrance.




men's hair gel


This is our newest formula, featuring the same superior hold and shine as the beloved Refined Gel, now with a new option for texture, viscosity and fragrance (clean marine air).


Spread the word so other gentlemen can finally understand the difference between pomade and gel, and find the right hair styling product for them!