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How Much Pomade Should You Use? (7 Things It Depends On)

February 21, 2021
How Much Pomade Should You Use? (7 Things It Depends On)

When it comes to pomade, a little can really go a long way. Use too much and you risk excessive shine and weighing down your hair. So, how much pomade should you use? 

A dime-sized amount of pomade would be enough for the average man with medium-length hair. However, you may need a little more or a little less depending on the style you’re aiming for, as well as the length and thickness of your hair. 

Although that’s the quick answer, I wanted to dig a little deeper. 

I want to go through the factors you should consider when deciding whether you should use a little more or a little less than a dime-sized amount. 

Doing so is also a good way of getting to grips with how a pomade works, what it can do for the hair, and why it’s important to get the quantity right. 

Let’s get to it. 

7 Factors That Influence How Much Pomade To Use

Here are seven things you should consider when deciding whether or not that dime-sized quantity is right for you. 

A couple may sound obvious but they’re important not to forget. Others may be less obvious. The bottom line will ultimately be that you should consider all of them when deciding how much pomade to use. 

1. Type Of Pomade

There are two main types of pomade; water-based and oil-based. As you’d expect, the main difference between them is the core ingredient. 

Water-based pomades have water as their core ingredient and have a smooth, gel-like consistency. They’re very similar to gels and provide a medium-to-high shine and a stiff hold. 

Oil-based pomades usually have petroleum, petrolatum, paraffin, beeswax, or a different oily ingredient as their core. The main way they’re different from water-based pomades is in the nature of their hold. 

The hold they provide is pliable and flexible; ideal for restyling throughout the day. In comparison, they’re also harder to wash out. 

So how does this impact how much pomade you use? 

Well, it usually doesn’t – again, a dime-sized amount of either one should be alright for most men. However, you can generally expect a small amount of oil-based pomade to go further. 

My Murray’s Pomade (oil-based). A dime-sized amount will go a long way. 

So, start low and go slow. Too much will weigh down the hair, cause excessive shine, and be a pain to wash out.

2. Hair Length

This may sound obvious, but the longer the hair, the more pomade you can expect to use. 

Longer hair is heavier and usually requires more support to keep it where you want it. This is reflected in the amount of pomade (or any product) you can expect to use. 

Men with longer hair may require more than the average, dime-sized amount of pomade. Men with shorter hair may require less. 

The main risk with short hair, particularly thin and short hair, is showing too much of the scalp when pomade is applied. 

The famously high shine of pomade can lead to gaps between hairs looking more prominent and the scalp showing through as a result.

3. Hair Thickness

Pomades and thin hair usually don’t go great together. 

When you’ve got thin hair, you want a product that builds volume and fullness. Pomade is often too heavy and glossy to do that. It’s better for definition and slickness than it is for adding fullness. 

Pomade and other shiny products like gels and even waxes will usually make thin hair look thinner due to the shine. 

So, if you’ve got thin hair, you could get away with using pomade by using a very small amount. There’s a good chance a dime-sized amount might be too much – so start lower than that and increase only if necessary. 

Be wary of your hair looking even thinner (if you’re bothered by this) and use less if you think this is the case. 

Pomades are better suited to men with medium-to-thick hair who are looking for that glossiness. 

The thicker the hair, the more pomade you’ll need to use to keep it in place. Length and thickness are the two most important features of your hair that determine how much pomade you’ll need to use. 

4. Shine 

The more pomade you use, the more shine you’ll get. 

Pomade is one of the shiniest products you can get hold of. This is perfect for certain styles like pompadours and slick-backs; I’ll be talking more about these styles shortly. 

Both water-based and oil-based pomades can give you a lot of shine – each of them ranging from medium-to-high shine. 

But in general, you can expect the shiniest pomades to be oil-based. Those ultra-slick and glossy pompadours in those movies from the 1950s were styled using classic, oil-based pomades. 

Murray’s Pomade is a classic oil-based pomade that does produce a high shine. 

As you’d expect, the more you use the shinier it’ll get. 

If you find that the average dime-sized amount of your pomade produces too much shine for your liking, tone it down and use less. 

Again, the thickness and length of your hair may play a role here. Men with short and thin hair should be more cautious with pomade because the excess shine may reveal too much of the scalp. 

Shiny and glossy products like pomades are great for more formal styles that require more definition. You may find that pomades are just too shiny for your liking. If this is the case, it’s quite likely that gels would be too. 

Waxes are usually less shiny than pomades and gels but do still provide enough gloss to be noticeable. They could be a reasonable alternative you could try out. Just like oil-based pomades, waxes produce a pliable hold. 

5. Hold

Both oil-based and water-based pomades can range from low hold to heavy hold. 

As I mentioned, the difference is in the nature of the hold, with oil-based pomades giving you a pliable hold and water-based pomades giving you a stiff (and sometimes crunchy) hold. 

So, how does the hold of the particular pomade you’re using influence how much of it you should be using? 

Well, your initial thought may be that the more pomade you use, the stronger the hold will be. 

This isn’t correct. 

To a point, it’s sort of true. If your hair just isn’t staying in place, using a little more pomade will often be a good way to sort it out. 

Using a tad more than the average dime-sized amount may, in this case, be appropriate. 

However, at a certain point, using more pomade will actually reduce the amount of hold you get because the product itself starts to weigh the hair down. 

Heavier hair finds it harder to stay in place. 

The point at which pomade starts to weigh your hair down will depend on the length and thickness of your hair. 

It’s important to find this tipping point and ensure you don’t go beyond it. If you’re finding that the more pomade you use the harder it is for you to keep your hair in place, this is probably why. 

It happens with both oil-based and water-based pomades. So, use the minimum amount of pomade necessary to produce the shine you want and keep your hair in place. 

6. Style

If you’re chasing that vintage, ‘50s greaser look with a glorious pompadour, slick-back, or side-part, you’ll most likely need to use more pomade than the average user. 

From Shutterstock

These styles are defined by their glossiness and definition; in order to achieve them and make them look authentic, you’ll want to use enough pomade. 

If you’re looking to style a classic slick-back with medium-length and medium-thickness hair, you’ll most likely need to use just over a dime-sized amount of pomade. 

More modern styles are typically less shiny and aim for more of a natural finish, with less definition and more texture. If you want this, think long and hard about whether pomade is really the right product to use. 

There’s a good chance that a hair paste or a clay may be more appropriate. 

However, you may still be drawn toward pomade. You may just like the way it feels, or still want some shine despite also wanting some texture. 

In this case, go for a light pomade and also use less of it. The more you use, the more difficult it will be to build texture. 

There’s a good chance you’ll end up using much less than the average dime-sized amount. 

To sum that up, use more pomade if you’re styling a glossier and more defined style. Use less pomade if you’re looking for less shine, less definition, and more texture. 

7. Washout

Finally, if you’re not a fan of spending time in the shower trying to scrub out every last ounce of pomade out of your hair, use less pomade. 

This is definitely more important with oil-based pomades, as the beauty and main advantage of water-based pomades is the ability to wash it out with ease (just like a gel). 

But oil-based pomades can be trickier to get out of your hair. If you’re finding that this is the case, you may be using too much for the length and thickness of your hair. 

Yes, even the average dime-sized amount may be too much for you. 

Believe it or not, a lot of men actually like the fact that oil-based pomade is difficult to wash out. The reason for this is that the residual product that’s left in the hair even after a shower can be used to style the hair the day after. 

In fact, one application of oil-based pomade could allow you to style your hair for even a few days in a row, despite multiple washes in between. 

This is called “buildup” and allows men to get great value for money from an oil-based pomade. If you think about it, the ability to restyle their hair using a small amount of pomade allows you to make a single tub last a long time. 

In general, you can expect a tub of oil-based pomade to last longer than a tub of water-based pomade for this reason. 

But if you prefer the pliable hold of an oil-based pomade and aren’t a fan of buildup, use less of it. 


There you have it. Although the average amount of pomade a man can expect to use for each application can be answered in a single line, there are multiple different factors to consider that may lead you to use a little more or a little less. 

Some of these factors are to do with the pomade itself, while others are due to your specific hair type or the style you’re looking to create. 

As with most hairstyling questions, the important thing to note is that experimentation is the key to finding out the specific answer for your specific hair. 

Hopefully, this information will guide you in the right direction to finding it out.