Get Your Look On Point: Understanding the Difference Between Pomade and Forming Cream

By Charles Ford •  Updated: 04/26/23 •  6 min read

If you’re someone who loves experimenting with different hairstyles, then you must have come across hair styling products like pomade and forming cream.

While both these products might seem similar at first glance, there are some significant differences between them that you should be aware of if you want to achieve the perfect look.

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at what pomade and forming cream are, their differences in terms of ingredients, hold strength, shine, texture control and the types of hairstyles they are best suited for.

Difference Between Pomade and Forming Cream

What is Pomade?

Pomades have been around since the 18th century as a hair product that provides hold to styles by adding moisture to your hair without drying it out like gels or hairsprays do.


The primary ingredients in pomades include petroleum jelly or beeswax mixed with natural oils such as coconut oil or castor oil that give your hair shine while nourishing it from the roots.

Hold Strength

Pomades provide a strong hold that lasts throughout the day without making your hair crunchy or stiff like some other products do.


A significant advantage of using pomades is its shine. Pomades provide a high level of shine, making your hair look polished and smooth.

Texture Control

Pomades are highly versatile, allowing you to control the texture of your hair. You can create slicked-back hairstyles or go for a more natural look by using a small amount of pomade.

Types of Hairstyles Best Suited for Pomade

Pomades are best suited for hairstyles that require hold and shine. They work well for classic hairstyles such as the slicked-back look, pompadour or side parting.

What is Forming Cream?

Forming cream is another popular hair styling product that provides hold and texture to your hair. It’s different from pomade in terms of ingredients, hold strength and finish.


Forming creams contain water-based formula enriched with natural oils such as jojoba oil, tea tree oil or castor oil. Unlike pomades, forming creams do not contain beeswax or petroleum jelly.

Hold Strength

Forming creams provide a medium hold that doesn’t make your hair crunchy. It’s suitable if you’re looking for a more natural-looking style that stays in place without feeling heavy on your head.


Forming creams provide a low level of shine compared to pomades. If you’re looking for a more matte finish instead of a shiny one, forming cream might be perfect for you.

Texture Control

Like pomades, forming creams are versatile and allow you to control the texture of your hair. However, it’s essential to use the right amount; otherwise it may not give you the desired effect.

Key Differences Between Pomade and Forming Cream

1. Ingredients – Pomade contains petroleum jelly or beeswax while forming cream is water-based.
2. Hold Strength – Pomade provides strong hold while forming cream provides medium hold.
3. Shine – Pomade has high shine while forming cream provides low shine.
4. Texture Control – Both pomade and forming cream allow you to control the texture of your hair, but you need to use them differently.

Which One Should You Use?

The choice between pomade and forming cream depends on the type of hairstyle you want to achieve.

If you’re looking for a slicked-back look or a classic hairstyle that requires high shine and strong hold, then pomade is the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more natural-looking style with moderate hold and low shine, then forming cream should be your go-to product.

How to Apply Pomade or Forming Cream?

To get the best results from these products, it’s essential to know how to apply them correctly.

Follow these simple steps:

1. Start with damp or dry hair
2. Take a small amount of product (pea-sized) in your hand
3. Rub it between your palms
4. Apply it evenly throughout your hair starting from roots
5. Style as desired using your fingers or comb

Side Effects Of Using Hair Styling Products

Like any other product, overuse of hair styling products can lead to damage and side-effects such as scalp irritation, dandruff or hair fall.

It’s important to select the right kind of product based on your hair type, condition and style preference.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pomades & Forming Creams



Pomades and forming creams are both fantastic styling products that give you complete control over how you want your hair styled. Be sure to choose the one that suits your hair type, specific style and preference.

Remember, always use hair products in moderation, and avoid overloading your hair with too much of anything. Use the right amount of product to get the perfect hold and finish, and you’ll be good to go.


1. Can I use pomade or forming cream on wet hair?

It’s generally not recommended to use pomade or forming cream on wet hair because it can dilute the product and make it less effective. It’s better to apply these products to dry hair for best results.

2. How often should I use pomade or forming cream?

It really depends on your hair type, the style you’re going for, and the specific product you’re using. In general, it’s best to use these products sparingly and only as needed, as overuse can lead to buildup on the scalp and hair.

3. Can I switch between pomade and forming cream for different styles?

Yes, absolutely! Pomade and forming cream have different levels of hold and shine, so you can choose which one to use based on the specific style you’re going for.

4. Do these products cause hair loss or damage?

When used correctly, pomade and forming cream should not cause hair loss or damage. However, if you use too much product or don’t wash it out thoroughly, it can build up on your scalp and hair and potentially cause issues.

5. How do I choose between oil-based or water-based products?

Oil-based products tend to provide a stronger hold and higher shine, but can be harder to wash out and may leave hair feeling greasy. Water-based products are easier to wash out and typically have a more matte finish, but may not provide as strong of a hold. It’s really a matter of personal preference and what works best for your hair type and desired style.

Charles Ford