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There are plenty of ways to make a first impression (or a long-lasting impression, time and time again), but let’s go beyond the watch on your wrist or your shoes on your feet. While those should certainly be on point, styling your hair is equally important. A fresh haircut sends a strong, crisp, and polished message, and the best water-based pomades help you put that ‘do in its place – in the best way possible.  The best water-based pomades are an excellent way to style your look for the office, for date night, and for any time of day, you need to put your best foot forward in every respect. 

What are the best water-based pomades for guys?

CRVFT Gel Pomade

Best Overall Water Based Pomade: CRVFT Gel Pomade

  • Non-crunchy, non-greasy formula
  • High shine and all-day hold
  • Sleek, stylish matte black packaging
GO 24 7 Pomade

Best Water Based Pomade for Short Hair: GO 24-7 Pomade

  • Cuts down on fuzz and frizz
  • Suitable for both short to medium-length hair
  • Can be applied to dry or wet hair.
Hair Situation Mr. Slick Pomade

Best Water Based Pomade for Longer Hair: Hair Situation Mr. Slick Wet Look Pomade

  • Delivers plenty of shine
  • Suitable for slicked-back looks with longer hair
  • Tames stray and flyaway hairs in wavy locks
American Crew Pomade

Best Classic Water Based Pomade: American Crew Pomade

  • Trusted pomade from a long-standing brand name
  • Designed to wash out easily with shampoo
  • Modern, flexible formula for everyday use
True All Day Knit Golf Cleats

Best Organic Water Based Pomade: Johnny Slicks Organic Water-Based Pomade

  • Groundbreaking organic formula and ingredients
  • Medium hold with strength
  • Rich scent with notes of cedarwood and tobacco
Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

Best High-Shine Water Based Pomade: Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

  • Excellent companion to Uppercut Deluxe beard balm
  • Provides plenty of shine for styles like the side part
  • Impressive vintage-style packaging
Byrd Slick Pomade

Best or Medium-Shine Water Based Pomade: Byrd Slick Pomade

  • Laidback amount of shine for a breezy feel
  • Perfect for wavy, surf-inspired looks
  • Fun, vibrant packaging

Best Overall Water Based Pomade: CRVFT Gel Pomade

CRVFT Gel Pomade

In search of the hold of a hair gel without the crunchy feeling or build-up, most standard hair gels tend to provide? Then CRVFT’s carefully formulated gel pomade, delivered in a sleek matte black cylinder, is the water-based pomade your hair needs now. 

The water-based formulation delivers a non-greasy hold with a slight amount of shine, and the hold itself is strong enough to last all day and into the evening. Plus, it washes out easily, so you can start the next day feeling fresh and looking your best.

Best Water Based Pomade for Short Hair: GO 24-7 Pomade

GO 24 7 Pomade

When scouring the market for the best water-based pomades, you’ll find plenty of formulations designed to deliver supremely cool style, no matter your hair length. But what if you’ve recently shorn up your cut and have short or medium-length hair? Even a touch of pomade can go a long way towards controlling your hairdo and cutting down on fuzz and frizz, and GO 24-7’s Pomade was made with that exact approach top of your mind. 

The high-shine finish of this wax pomade also delivers a stronghold, and helpfully, this pomade can be applied to wet or dry hair.

Best Water Based Pomade for Long Hair: Hair Situation Mr. Slick Wet Look Pomade

Hair Situation Mr. Slick Pomade

If your hair leans slightly longer yet you still want some control and depth in your ‘do (think of Bradley Cooper’s hair, for instance), just a touch of a water-based pomade can add the right amount of hold. The key lies in not overdoing it: A touch of pomade can tame loose hairs or stray flyaways, and a salt spray can add the texture you need, too.

Plus, a water-based pomade with some shine adds even more definition and refinement to your haircut, especially in situations where your hair should look as polished as possible (for example, when you’re suiting up in tailored clothing).

Best Classic Water Based Pomade: American Crew Pomade

American Crew Pomade

Opt for an all-American original the next time you style your hair with a water-based pomade trusted by style icons for decades. American Crew bills its water-based pomade as a modern, flexible alternative to styling gels,” one that washes out easily with shampoo thanks to that innovative formula. 

Better still is the fact that this pomade offers both a flexible yet strong hold and the sort of shine that might make Elvis proud. Think of it like an everyday pomade that also works well for when you need to style your hair in a classically cool fashion for formal occasions.

Best Organic Water Based Pomade: Johnny Slicks Organic Water-Based Pomade

Johnny Slicks Organic Pomade

The quest to tweak and refine a formula, especially for one of the best men’s pomades, is a never-ending one, yet Johnny Slicks have managed to climb a new summit in the world of men’s hair care. That’s because the company’s impressive water-based pomade is the first fully organic product in the category, featuring distinctive ingredients like beeswax, argan oil, and shea butter for a soft finish with a solid, not overly stiff hold. 

Customers also love the cedarwood and tobacco fragrance, and it’s no stretch to say you’ll feel the same way.

Best High-Shine Water Based Pomade: Uppercut Deluxe Pomade


Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

Like its fan-favorite beard balm, Uppercut Deluxe is quite literally a cut above and steps ahead of the game with its water-based pomade. It was the first pomade in the Australian company’s grooming line and was engineered in classic fashion as a result. That means it’s fit for what the brand calls “timeless, classic looks,” including the side part, which is driven home nicely by a high amount of shine. 

Plus, it smells great, comes in a cool vintage-style tin, and is able to be styled with ease with a refined grooming comb from the brand – your hair will never look the same again, in the very best way possible.

Best Medium-Shine Water Based Pomade: Byrd Slick Pomade

Byrd Slick Pomade

If you want to style your hair with a sense of laidback California cool, Byrd’s aptly named Slick Pomade might be just what the doctor ordered. It’s got a medium-shine formula, the kind that gives your hair the sort of windswept look you’d be apt to find on the sunny beaches of SoCal. 

Byrd describes its effect as a “casual, all-day slick,” and it’s hard to argue with adding a touch of those vibes to your grooming routine. Plus, the packaging is vibrant, colorful, and just plain fun.

Best Water-Based Pomade FAQ’s

What Is a Water-Based Pomade?

A water-based pomade differs from oil-based pomades, which often take the form of a cream or paste. In terms of texture and look, water-based pomades have more in common with gels, yet they’re designed to interact more easily with water and wash out when using shampoo. They also offer medium to high shine, yet because they interact easily with water, they feature a less “crunchy” hold than traditional gels and are often more pliable and easy to work with as a result. 

What Pomade Is Best for Short or Medium Hair?

There are all kinds of pomades out there designed for all sorts of different hair types, so you should certainly be using pomade in your short-to-medium-length hair. In terms of the best pomades for short to medium hair, we appreciate GO’s 24-7 Pomade. It’s designed to deliver a polished high-shine finish, but the real key is the fact that the formula can cut down on fuzz and frizzy stray hairs that sometimes accompany short-to-medium-length haircuts. 

What Pomade Is Best for Longer Hair?

Yes, you can still use pomade even if your hair is on the longer side. Crucially, a pomade that delivers a slicked-back look and some dressy shine works best to tame a longer, curly mane (like we said, just look at how one Mr. Bradley Cooper tends to slick his hair back when suited up on the red carpet). In that regard, the aptly named Mr. Slick Pomade is perhaps the best pomade for longer hair. Try it yourself and see how your hair responds. 

Why Should I Use Pomade? 

If we’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that a pomade can work well for pretty much any guy with hair that goes beyond a close-cut buzz or a bald dome. Pomade can add the right amount of control and depth to longer or wavy hair, and especially with spiked, textured or slightly choppy hair, pomade can add even more visual interest.

Plus, pomade is flattering when used properly in a classic haircut, like a side-part or even a more bold pompadour for dressier situations. Find the right water-based pomade for your look, then dress to impress from there, and you’ve already won half the battle. 

What’s the Best Overall Pomade?

The market for the best overall water based pomade is a close competition with plenty of frontrunners, and while we personally love CRVFT’s Gel Pomade, the best water based pomade really is the one that works best for your hair length (short, medium or long) and desired effect (as in, a medium or high shine, and high or medium hold).

With CRVFT Pomade, simply use more or less pomade to get the desired amount of shine and hold for your hair type and hair cut – you can’t go wrong with a water based pomade like CRVFT Gel Pomade. 

How Should I Use Water-Based Pomade?

When in doubt, we think using a water based pomade properly comes down to starting with the proper amount of product – follow the instructions on your pomade of choice, like using a dime-sized amount of pomade worked through your hair from the root to the tip, front to back or vice versa. 

Preferences are going to differ based on your desired haircut and look – for example, a dressier, high-shine look will require a slightly larger amount of pomade than a look with medium shine and a less firm hold. Be sure to apply pomade to either damp or wet hair (although some pomades also work perfectly well with dry hair), then comb through and style with a comb or your fingers accordingly. 

Then, wash (the best water based pomades will rinse out easily with shampoo!), rinse and repeat – your perfect haircut is well within reach.

More from The Guys List

Looking for more of our favorite brands? then be sure to check out the rest of our grooming category or any of our other categories to find the best products for guys in each one. We also work with brands like Mugsy, State and Liberty, and Organifi to bring you the best deals. Be sure to check out our coupon page to never miss our on savings!

Beau Hayhoe, the fashion guy, is our expert in all things men's fashion and grooming. Over the years Beau has written for some of the largest men's magazines and gained a deep understanding of the best brands, styles, and products for guys. You can catch Beau on his social media listed on his author page or by reading the rest of his catalog here on The Guy's List.

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