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American Crew Pomade: Complete Guide And How To Use

January 3, 2021
American Crew Pomade: Complete Guide And How To Use

There aren’t many brands that have influenced the men’s grooming industry as much as this one. Their hair products are some of their most popular offerings. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about American Crew Pomade. 

While it’s a versatile product, it definitely suits some men and some hair types better than others. 

Although choosing the wrong American Crew hair product isn’t an earth-shattering mistake to make, it can be frustrating. 

I’ll be going through what it is, who it’s best for, how to apply it, and more. 

If you eventually decide American Crew Pomade isn’t right for you, I’ll be going through several alternatives you could choose from instead. 

Let’s get to it.  

American Crew Pomade: Key Features 

It’s a water-based pomade with medium hold and high shine. The product is one of the most popular in its range and has been for years. 

1. What Does It Look Like? 

In its container, American Crew Pomade looks like it has an off-white color. When scooped onto the fingers, you can see that it’s actually clear. 

The container is a dark brown with earthy-brown labeling. The neutral two-colored packaging is simple but definitely easy on the eyes. 

Click here to check it out on the American Crew website, or click the image below to take a look at the travel-sized option on Amazon

2. What Does It Smell Like?

American Crew Pomade has a fresh, citrusy, masculine smell that’s very subtle. 

It isn’t overbearing, which will definitely appeal to men who don’t want it conflicting with colognes. 

3. What Does It Feel Like?

As with other water-based pomades, it has a sort of gel-like consistency. 

As it’s scooped out of the tub, you’ll feel a little bit of tug and resistance. Not much though, which definitely makes sense considering the hold is pretty mild (as I’ll soon explain). 

It’ll rub between the palms smoothly and being water-based will leave only a little bit of residue and minimal grease. It breaks down very easily. 

4. What’s It’s Hold Like? 

It’s supposed to have a “medium” hold, but I’d say that was a stretch. The product isn’t known for having a great hold. 

If you’ve got especially thick hair and you’re looking to style a classic pompadour or a different slicked-back look, you may struggle. 

As with other water-based pomades, it does dry quite hard (but not quite as hard as a straight-up gel). 

Having said this, surprisingly, you’ll still be able to restyle and touch up your hair throughout the day without much trouble. 

It won’t be as easy to do this as it would be with an oil-based pomade. But it really isn’t too bad. 

5. What’s It’s Shine Like

The shine on this pomade is impressive. It’s exactly as glossy as a pomade should be. 

It’s great for styling those classic high-sheen rockabilly looks if that’s what you’re into. Contouring, pompadours, tall quiffs, side-slicked, and so on. 

“Greasy”, but not too greasy. Plus, it doesn’t actually contain grease, to begin with. 

What’s great is that it manages to produce this shine despite being water-based. It may not give you as much sheen as an oil-based pomade, but it’s still impressive. 

Plus, it’s way easier to wash out of the hair than an oil-based pomade would be. 

American Crew Pomade: Hair Types

American Crew Pomade works best when used on relatively thick, medium or long hair and on men looking for a glossy finish. 

Let’s dig deeper into that. 

Thick Vs Thin Hair

American Crew Pomade isn’t a good option for men with thin hair because the weight and shine will make it look even thinner. 

Due to its shine and gel-like consistency, men with thin hair will often find that this pomade reveals the scalp too much. They’d be better off going for a clay or a different matte product. 

Having said that, American Crew Pomade isn’t great for very thick hair either, as I explained earlier. Its hold just wouldn’t be strong enough. 

It works best for men with pretty thick hair, but not so thick that you’d struggle to keep it in place. 

Long Vs Short Hair

American Crew Pomade does work for short hair but is better suited to medium-length hairstyles such as pompadours, contoured quiffs, and slicked-back looks. 

At the end of the day, the product is versatile when it comes to hair length. Don’t let it determine whether or not you go for it. 

If you feel as though the hold is good enough to keep your hair the way you want it and you’re also looking for a nice shine, go for it. 

Curly Vs Straight Hair

American Crew Pomade does work well for curly hair, particularly for curly hair Types I – IV. 

It works just as well on curls as it does for straight hair. It’s versatile in this sense as well. 

The shine does add definition to the curls. But remember, regardless of whether you’ve got curly or straight hair, if you feel as though you need a strong hold, don’t go for this pomade. 

Curls that are especially difficult to manage may benefit from a pomade with a stronger hold. 

How To Use And Apply American Crew Pomade

Here’s a simple step-by-step routine you can use to apply this pomade. All you need is the product itself, a mirror, and that glorious hair. 

1. Wash And Dry

It always helps to wash the hair before applying any pomade. 

Although American Crew Pomade isn’t oil-based, you’ll still have some buildup you’ll want to wash out before applying more. 

It’ll easily wash out though – that’s the beauty of it. 

It’s much easier to run the pomade through clean hair than it is through greasy and unclean hair. 

You can wash with shampoo if you want to, but it isn’t strictly necessary. As this pomade is water-based, you’ll quite comfortably be able to rinse it clean without shampoo if you didn’t want to use it. 

Before you apply the pomade, you’ll want to dry it too. You can towel-dry it until it’s just damp, or blow-dry it until it’s completely dry. 

You won’t want to apply it to wet hair, however.

2. Spread It Between Your Palms

Start with a dime-sized amount. You want to start with a small amount and increase it only if necessary. 

Use the minimum amount of pomade necessary to get the job done. Too much will weigh down the hair and cause it to flop down instead of staying the way you want it to. 

Plus, if you’ve got thin or fine hair it’ll lead to too much shine and more of the scalp will show. 

Break the pomade down in between your hands to minimize bits and clumps. You want a smooth spread on your palms, so rub it between them until you’re left with a gentle shine on both of them. 

As it’s a water-based pomade, it’ll break down very easily just like a gel would. 

3. Work It In The Opposite Direction

Let’s say you want a classic, slicked-back look. Pomades are great for these. 

To get a nice even coating and good volume, work the pomade through in the opposite direction first. 

In this case, it would be forward. Massage the pomade into the hair from root-to-tip, while finger-combing it forward at the same time. 

If you eventually want the hair slicked to the right side, you’ll want to comb it to the left first. 

Doing this before you set your style in the desired direction will add fullness and distribute the American Crew Pomade evenly. 

4. Comb It In Your Desired Direction

Now it’s time to set the hair in the direction you eventually want it to stay; whether it’s backward or to the side. 

What you choose to do this is up to you. 

If you want a messier, more tousled look, finger-combing would be best. Having said that, you can still get a pretty neat and shapely appearance using just the fingers. 

If you want a neater appearance or more volume, use an actual comb instead. It’s a lot more versatile and you can use it to add definition and contouring. 

Comb in your desired direction with one hand, following it with the palm of your other hand to flatten things down if you want a nice and slicked appearance. Pomades are great for shiny, glossy, and slicked-down styles.

If you really want big volume and fullness once you’ve applied the pomade, use a blow-dryer and a curling brush. 

It’s particularly useful for styling those rockabilly-style pompadours. 

5. Dry And Assess

If you used a blow-dryer for styling in Step 4, ignore this step. Chances are, your hair is already dry. 

Also, if your hair was already dry before you applied the pomade, you can ignore this step as well. 

However, if you’d originally applied the pomade to damp hair and didn’t use a blow-dryer for styling, wait for it to dry before you really judge the end result. 

The reason for this is that damp hair can look different once it’s dried after applying the pomade. It will probably look fuller. 

So, if you’re air-drying it after applying the pomade, give it 30-60 minutes to dry before judging what it looks like. 

American Crew Pomade: Range Comparisons

American Crew has a pretty wide range of hair products to choose from. It can be difficult to know which one to go for. 

You need to take your specific needs and specific type of hair into account when making your decision. 

Here are some products within the American Crew range that are commonly compared with their basic Pomade. 

Pomade Vs Heavy Hold Pomade

American Crew Heavy Hold Pomade offers a stronger hold than American Crew Pomade, despite also being water-based and easy to wash out. 

Just like the basic Pomade, Heavy Hold Pomade does offer a high shine. 

Heavy Hold Pomade is heavy hold and high shine

But as I mentioned earlier, the hold with the basic American Crew Pomade is pretty mild. If you’ve got thicker or longer hair or you’re just looking to produce a more complex hairstyle, Heavy Hold would probably be a better option. 

Pomade Vs Fiber

American Crew Fiber will produce less shine than American Crew Pomade and is better for messier, more textured hairstyles. Fiber also has a stronger hold than Pomade. 

Fiber is high hold and low shine.

Fiber would be better than Pomade for men with thinner, finer hair because it has less shine and will make the hair look fuller. 

Plus, Fiber definitely has a better hold than Pomade and would be more effective at producing those gravity-defying hairstyles that would flop back down with Pomade. 

Pomade Vs Defining Paste

American Crew Defining Paste will produce a similar level of hold to American Crew Pomade but will lead to more of a matte finish. 

Defining paste is medium hold and low shine. 

You can think of Defining Paste as being similar to Fiber. It has more of a wax-like consistency though and distributes through the hair a little easier. 

Much like Fiber, Defining Paste would be better than Pomade for men with thinner hair because it has less shine and will lead to less of the scalp showing. 

Pomade Vs Grooming Cream

American Crew Grooming Cream is similar in consistency to American Crew Pomade but has a better hold with a similar level of shine. 

It’s high hold and high shine. 

Grooming Cream is a good alternative to AC Pomade if you find that the hold with Pomade simply isn’t good enough, but you still want an impressive shine. 

Having said this, the hold you’d get from Grooming Cream still isn’t as good as the hold you might get from a good oil-based pomade. It definitely wouldn’t be as good as a solid clay. 

But for a shiny, water-based hair product that’s easy to wash out, the hold is impressive. 

Pomade Vs Molding Clay

American Crew Molding Clay has a stronger hold than American Crew Pomade and also produces less shine. 

Molding Clay is high hold and medium shine. 

AC Pomade and Molding Clay are very different, but not as different as you might expect. 

Traditionally, clay is known for two things; a matte finish and a heavy hold. 

American Crew Molding Clay definitely does have a good hold, similar to that of Fiber. However, it also markets itself as having a “medium shine”. 

For a clay hair product, this is unusual. Shine and clay usually don’t go together. 

But you’ll notice that as the Molding Clay breaks down in between your hands it just feels greasier and oilier than a normal clay would. 

Because of this, the shine level is more similar to that of Pomade than you might expect. Definitely not as shiny, but still shiner than you’d think. 

If you were hoping for an American Crew product with a high hold and matte finish, you may be quick to figure that Molding Clay would be the best option. 

Don’t make this mistake. Go for Fiber instead. 

But if you were happy with a product that has a little less shine than Pomade but a better hold, go for Molding Clay if you don’t think that Grooming Cream would give you the hold you need. 

Alternatives To American Crew Pomade

Let’s talk about some alternatives to American Crew Pomade outside of the American Crew range.

I’ve specifically chosen other common, water-based pomades that you could buy at a similar price point (or cheaper). 

American Crew Pomade Vs Suavecito

Suavecito pomades will generally produce a better hold than American Crew Pomade, with similar levels of shine. Being a water-soluble pomade, it will wash out just as easily. 

This is true of both the Original Hold Suavecito pomade (Amazon Link), which has a “medium hold” and Strong Hold Suavecito pomade, which has a “high hold”. 

Both of them would give you a better hold than American Crew Pomade. 

But other than that, the products are very similar in their effects. They will give you enough gloss for effective slicked styles and side parts. 

However, it’s important to note that the smell of Suavecito pomades is stronger and more noticeable than American Crew Pomade. Some men love it, but others find it tough to get used to. 

American Crew Pomade Vs Old Spice Spiffy

Old Spice Spiffy produces less shine than American Crew Pomade but a similar level of hold. 

Although it says it gives a “matte finish”, you should still expect some shine; just not as much as with AC pomade. 

It would be unusual for any pomade (water-based or oil-based) to produce a matte finish in the same way a clay would, for instance. 

The hold is similar to that of American Crew; light-to-medium and not something you can count on for very thick hair or more complex styles. 

Spiffy has a nice, smooth, creamy texture that’s easy to distribute through the hair. It doesn’t feel overbearing or heavy to apply. 

As with most water-based pomades, it also washes out very easily. 

A great feature that shouldn’t be ignored is its price. It’s one of the more affordable pomades that’s actually worth using. 

Check it out on Amazon by clicking here

American Crew Pomade Vs Pacinos

Pacinos Pomade is water-based and has a similar level of hold and shine to American Crew Pomade, but has a more noticeable, cologne-like scent. 

When looking at Pacinos Pomade (Amazon Link), you’d be forgiven for thinking it was oil-based as it has a pretty Vaseline-like texture when sitting in the tub. 

But scoop it out, rub it in between your palms and you immediately realize just how easy it breaks down, just as a water-based pomade should. 

Pacinos Pomade seems to have more of a gel-like consistency than American Crew Pomade and dries a little harder. It washes out just as easily, however. 

What sets Pacinos apart is its scent; it isn’t overbearing but definitely more noticeable than AC Pomade’s. Plus, its black packaging is very stylish. 

Ultimately, there isn’t much difference between the two products when it comes to hold and shine. Pacinos has an impressive shine but a pretty light hold, just as you’d expect with AC Pomade. 

American Crew Pomade Vs Cremo Pomade

Cremo’s Pomade has a slightly better hold than American Crew Pomade with a similar level of shine. Cremo also has a more noticeable coconut scent, while American Crew Pomade has a mild citrus scent. 

Cremo Pomade is water-based and has a smooth texture. It has a little more resistance than AC Pomade as you spread it between your palms. But it still does break down easily. 

The shine is impressive; perfect for slicked-back looks. Its hold is alright; a little stronger than that of AC Pomade but still wouldn’t allow for anything gravity-defying. 

Stick to simple pompadours, contouring, slicked-back, and side-slicked looks. 

Overall, the two products are very similar. Cremo’s Pomade comes in a 4oz tub which is great for the price. It’s better value for money. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I wanted to round things off by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic. 

Is American Crew Pomade Good Or Bad For Your Hair?

Used in moderation, American Crew Pomade shouldn’t be bad for the hair as it does contain some moisturizing ingredients. Always do a patch test before applying. 

Does American Crew Pomade Expire? 

Yes. American Crew Pomade does expire and must be used within a reasonable period of time after opening. 

It may not have an expiration date, however, but it will eventually go sour just like any other pomade. This will almost certainly take more than a year but does depend on the environment it’s in as well. 

If you’re using the product daily, however, this shouldn’t really matter. You’ll most likely use up the tub well before this becomes a problem. 

In general, water-soluble pomades have a shorter shelf life than oil-based ones. 

Is American Crew Pomade Good For Grey Hair? 

American Crew Pomade can work very well for grey hair, especially for greying men looking to style classic, slicked-back styles. 

However, it’s important to note that if the hair is thinning as well, pomade may be too heavy and have too much shine. It will cause the hair to look even thinner and might reveal some of the scalp as well. 

How Long Does American Crew Pomade Last? 

On average, you can expect a standard 3oz tub of American Crew Pomade to last around 2-3 months. 

However, this does depend on how much you use and how regularly you use it. This, in turn, depends on how long and thick your hair is, as well as how complex or shiny the style you’re looking to create is. 

Some men would blaze through it in a few weeks, while others could make there’s last a couple of months longer. 

On average, though, 2-3 months is a safe bet. 

Is American Crew Pomade Water-Based Or Oil-Based? 

American Crew Pomade is a water-based, water-soluble pomade; not oil-based. This is what gives it a gel-like consistency and makes it easy to break down, smooth to apply, and easy to wash out of the hair. 

It is also what makes it dry a little harder than an oil-based pomade would, making it harder to restyle during the course of the day. 

It also may not have quite as much shine as an oil-based pomade, but as I mentioned earlier, the shine on this product is impressive for a water-based pomade. 

Is American Crew Pomade Vegan? 

No, American Crew Pomade is not vegan. It contains lanolin which is extracted from wool-bearing animals. 

If you’re looking for a vegan pomade, check this one by Seven Potions out on Amazon

Should American Crew Pomade Be Used On Wet Or Dry Hair? 

American Crew Pomade should be used on dry or slightly damp hair. It should not be used on wet hair. 

Using it on wet hair will be a waste of product, as the water will dissolve the water-soluble product. You won’t be left with much. 

If you want less shine, apply it to dry hair. If you want more shine, apply it to slightly damp, towel-dried hair. 

It’s important to remember that if you’re applying it to damp hair, it will look different once it’s completely dried. 

So, wait an hour or so before judging the final result. 

Is American Crew Pomade Good For Undercuts? 

American Crew Pomade works very well for undercuts, especially where the longer hair on top is slicked back or to the side. 

An undercut is defined by long hair on top, with buzzed down back and sides. What gives it the characteristic undercut look is the sharp transition from the back/sides to the top. 

No blending or fading into the top. 

You can do as you please with the hair on top; flop it forward like a French Crop, sweep it back and tie it into a top knot, and so on.

If you’d like to give it some gloss and slick it back or to the side, pomade is great. If the hair is thin, however, a clay or cream may be better. 

Is American Crew Pomade Clear Or White? 

American Crew Pomade is clear when it’s applied to the fingers, although it may have an off-white, translucent cast when it’s in its container. 

What Are The Best Hairstyles For American Crew Pomade? 

American Crew Pomade is great for styling classic, slicked, and glossy styles with a characteristic “wet look”. 


The product has become a classic. It may not be every pomade connoisseur’s favorite, but you have to admit it has a very wide appeal. 

The hold may not be anything to write home about, but the impressive shine and ease-of-application make it a worthy contender for guys looking for something straightforward.  

Hope you found this useful. Enjoy.