If you have curly hair you already know: finding the right product can be tricky. Most of the gels, waxes and pomades on the market work best for guys with straight or wavy hair. If you have some serious curls, however, you need something formulated just for you. Here we look at the best pomades for curly hair and explore the special features make them work so well.
We also recommend five of the best pomades for curly hair, so you can hit the ground running. To be fair, not all products on our list a strictly pomades. Some of them are creams and gels. The reason why we list them here is because they will help you achieve similar results as with a pomade but without the weight and grease.
Even among the products designed for curly hair, which one you pick would depend on what kind of curls you have and what style you want to achieve. This is why we start by looking at the different types of curly hair.
Types of Curly Hair
Rogelio from Manly Curls identifies five types of curly hair depending on how many inches the hair has to grow before it forms a curl. Rogelio shares the following guideline:
- Type 1: 2-3 inches to form a curl;
- Type 2: 1-2 inches to form a curl;
- Type 3: 0.5-1 inch to form a curl;
- Type 4: 0.125-0.5 of an inch to form a curl;
- Type 5: up to 0.125 of an inch to form a curl.
Other sources classify curly hair into four types from straight (type 1) to kinky (type 4). Each type has three subcategories (e.g 1a, 1b, 1c), which differentiate nuances of curls and texture. We are not going to get into too much detail here but if you are curious check out this article here.
Most sources on curly hair don’t go as specific as Rogelio. Instead, they generally divide curls into three categories:
- Wavy hair,
- Coiled curls, and
- Kinky curls.
To a large extent what product you use depends on what kind of curls you have.
The nature of your curls, however, is only part of the story. The texture of your hair also matters. In general, curlier hairs tend to be coarser. This is why, kinky hair would require a different hair product than wavy hair. Hair with softer texture would need from light styling creams, while kinky hair would need something heavier and with more moisture-retention qualities.
What the Best Pomades for Curly Hair Have in Common
Unless you go to an ethnic hair store (or the ethnic hair section at a drugstore), you are not likely to find a pomade or a gel formulated specifically for your hair type. The best pomades for curly hair, however, share at least the following three features:
- They have moisture retention properties. Curly hair, especially the kinky type, tends to be dry. This is why, a product that helps retain moisture is key.
- They are water-based. Pomades fall into two categories - petroleum-based and water-based. The petroleum-based pomades are heavier and a pain to wash out. They do last long, however. The water-based pomades are lighter and have more of a natural shine. If you have wavy hair or coiled curls, a heavy product could weigh them down. Coarser hair could handle a heavy pomade better but the petroleum jelly will dry it out.
- They have low-to-medium hold. By definition, the purpose of high-hold products is to keep your hair in a position that not natural for it. For example, if you want to spike up your hair, you will need a high hold wax to keep it standing on its ends - not a natural position for it.
Now, imagine putting a high hold putty through your curls. You will squish their natural form, even if you are able to distribute the product evenly. If your hairstyle calls for straightening your curls (e.g. slicking them back), then a high-hold pomade is the way to go. Otherwise, all you need is a pomade with a low to medium hold.
Our 5 Picks of the Best Pomades for Curly Hair
Finding the best pomade for your curls is a process of trial and error. We are here to help you through the process by recommending five products that work especially well for curly hair.
Ultimately, however, the surest way to find what works best for you is to try a whole bunch. Most stores have testers and give out samples, so finding the right product doesn’t mean buying a slew of pomades that will never work for you.
Layrite Deluxe Original Pomade
The subtle vanilla scent is only the beginning of how great this pomade is. It has a medium hold, which makes it easy to apply on curly hair. Layrite Deluxe Original (Amazon) has a natural shine - a great feature for those of us who are not fans of the overly slicked shiny look.
Some reviewers on Amazon say that Layrite Deluxe Original works especially well on thick hair despite its medium hold.
Imperial Fiber Pomade
One of the most popular pomades on the market is the Imperial Fiber Pomade (Amazon). What makes it different than the rest is the extra long fibers in it. Just like with the Layrite Deluxe, the hold of Imperial Fiber is medium and the shine is natural.
What makes this product the choice of many is its pliability. Even if things get messy, you can always adjust your locks without having to reapply.
Some customers report that the consistency of the pomade differs from batch to batch. Others speculate reformulations that have made the product worse. The best way to know if to try.
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle
This curling gel souffle is especially formulated for kinky hair (type 4 or 5). If your hair is not this type, you still can use it but sparingly. Too much of this stuff will make your hair greasy.
If dry hair is a problem, this curling gel souffle is the one for you. The coconut oil will keep your curls frizz-free and the flaxseed oil will repair any damage and keep your locks shiny.
You can get the Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle on Amazon.
Creme of Nature Pudding Perfection Curl Enhancing Creme
This curl enhancing creme is loaded with argan oil, shea butter and olive oil. It brings on some serious moisture, while it keeps the hair naturally shiny. The Pudding Perfection Curl Enhancing Creme (Amazon) is a great choice to style twist-outs, coils and shingling.
Just like the SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle, the Curl Enhancing Creme works best on type 4 hair (kinky) hair.
Bumble & Bumble Grooming Cream
Sometimes the only thing you need for a great looking hair is a dab of grooming cream. Bumble & Bumble, just like most grooming creams, works best on long hair. It adds natural shine, moisture and definition without weight your hair down.
Bumble & Bumble Grooming Cream (Amazon) is formulated for hair types 1, 2, and 3. If you have kinky hair, you may find this grooming cream too light and not moisturizing enough. The SheaMoisture and Creme of Nature products on this list would be better options for you.