Pomade and Gel
Q: What is the difference between pomade and hair gel? What is the best thing for a girl to use to style her hair back and away from her face?
Petroleum-based pomades are the original type, which is slick and shiny in appearance. This is the typical stuff that men used in the golden years to slick their hair back in those ultra shiny and structured styles. Petroleum pomades are made of primarily grease and fatty acids, which also means that it is hard and might be impossible to wash out of your hair. Consider yourself duly warned.
Water-based pomades tend not to be so greasy, and in turn are better for the overall health of the hair. Basically pomades keep the hair in place without going hard. The style stays intact irrespective of the fact that the hair is still pliable. This isn't recommended to use on long hair though, as it is really greasy, hard to wash out of your hair, and will leave you hair looking wet and shiny.
Gels tend to be thinner and translucent in consistency when compared to pomades. The biggest difference between gel and pomade is that gel hardens on the hair, creating a wet or shiny look, while feeling hard to the touch. It is always recommended to use a gel that is alcohol-free, as gels that contain alcohol tend to cause flaking.
Gels can be classified as light-weight and heavy-weight. Light-weight gels should be used on thin or sparse hair, while heavy-weight gel is intended for heavy or thick hair. Gels are also used to create rigidly structured styles. Waxes can also be classified as part of this styling products family.
Waxes are thicker in consistency, and tend to be white or creamy in color. Wax has a more natural appearance when applied correctly. Wax has the ability to create a structured style without looking wet or feeling hard. Wax is the product used to create wildly popular styles such as the "bed-head" look or sexily wind-swept hair in short to medium hairstyles.
What you may realize is that all the above products are really intended for short or medium length hair. Girls don't usually use these products on their hair to keep it back, because it is popular to have long, shiny, moveable hair. There are exceptions, such as ballerinas or dancers who slick back their hair tightly away from their faces, and tie it up at the back. In this case, gel is usually used.
Girls usually use hairspray to keep their hair back away from their faces. Hairspray has a natural look, and can be brushed out to an extent. Even when you brush it out, it keeps on holding the hair back. Hairspray can also add shine and dimension to hair, which means it is preferred by most girls and women, as wax can make hair look dull and gel looks wet and too shiny.
Hairspray comes in a variety of light-hold, medium-hold and strong-hold types. If you have thin hair or want a super natural look, use light hold. For rigidly styled hairstyles such as bridal-curls or up-styles, a strong-hold hairspray will be used. This looks way less natural, but its holding factor is much higher.
Thus, make your own choice based on your own hair-type and desired look.