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Does Pomade Cause Hair Loss? Is It Good or Bad? Plus, How to Prevent Hair Loss

Beautiful young African American lady with thinning hair edges rubbing fingers through her long hair

Most Black women have used pomade to lay down their hair or slay their edges. It’s one of the most popular hair styling products out there for anyone who wants to transform their frizzy hair into sleek and shiny tresses.

Yet, there’s a rumor spreading around the web that pomade can cause hair loss. Could the rumor be true? Could your pomade be ruining your hair? Keep reading, and you’ll see!  

What is Pomade?

Pomade is a hair product that can slick down and freeze your hair in place all day. As far as the consistency and appearance go, it’s a rich, sticky substance typically manufactured from lanolin, lard, beeswax, or petroleum jelly (though some don’t contain these ingredients).

Every pomade is formulated a bit differently, and you’ll notice this if you glance at the ingredient list on pomades from different brands. There are several types of pomades: oil-based, wax-based, and water-based. 

Black woman wearing a black dress with curly healthy hair treated with a good quality pomade

Does Pomade Cause Hair Loss?

There’s no evidence that pomade causes hair loss. Perhaps that’s because very little research has been done on pomades. At the same time, it’s not that hard to understand that excessive use of a heavy, oil-based substance on your hair and scalp can cause damage.

If you’re a regular user of hair pomade and always see strands of hair in your comb, sink, or shower after using it, you’ve probably wondered if your pomade is the culprit. A specific claim you might have heard is that using pomade can cause dandruff, make your scalp dry, or even make you go bald.

The Truth

Here’s why there could be some truth to that claim. If your hair is already dry, for instance, using a pomade that further dries out your hair can contribute to hair brittleness and subsequent hair loss.

Also, when your scalp and hair follicles become clogged with pomade, this could prevent your hair from growing at its normal rate. And on the topic of dandruff, pomade buildup can resemble scalp flakes, so to the untrained eye, flakes from built-up pomade may be mistaken as dandruff. 

Black girl with hair gel on top of her head giving her curls a shiny appearance

Not only that, if you’re already experiencing baldness or hair thinning, using pomade may not be a good idea. Depending on how much pomade you use and how you style your hair afterward, it can expose your receding hairline or accentuate your bald spots. 

Lastly, the way that you treat your hair after applying pomade can lead to hair loss through excessive shedding. If you comb the pomade out of your hair instead of washing it out with shampoo, you may indeed notice more hair in your comb.

Also, pomade can leave behind a sticky film on your hair, making it impossible for moisture to penetrate your strands and for natural oils to travel down the hair shaft. This can lead to hair dryness and breakage over time. 

Let it be known that wax-based and oil-based pomades are more likely to cause adverse effects than water-based pomades. 

Cute African woman with thicker hair that wearing a black hair and orange shirt

How to Minimize Hair Loss with Pomade

Now that you understand the risks involved with using pomade to style your hair, what do you do going forward? The good news is that there are tons of things you can do to avoid damaging your hair when you’re using pomade. Let’s take a look at them in the following list: 

  • Oil-based pomade can be harder to wash out than water-based pomade. To remedy that, apply some olive oil to your hair before you wash it. It will break down the pomade and make it easier to wash out. 
  • Don’t use pomades every single day, especially if you don’t wash your hair often. 
  • Be careful when sleeping with pomade in your hair. Tossing and turning with a strong holding product in your hair can cause stress on your scalp, leading to breakage at your roots. To minimize hair movement while you sleep, tie your hair down with a satin scarf or bonnet.
  • Always make sure you thoroughly clean your hair and scalp so that no pomade remnants are left behind. To do so, use a clarifying shampoo, which is meant to deep clean your hair and scalp. Opt for one that’s sulfate-free so your hair won’t end up stripped of all moisture. 
  • Avoid wax-based pomades as they pose a greater risk to your hair than water-based or oil-based ones. Yes, they often provide a stronger hold, but they also cause buildup and can suffocate your scalp. 
  • When applying pomade, make sure your hair is damp or wet, which will aid in product distribution. That way, you won’t accidentally use too much of it. Use the product sparingly.

Pros and Cons of Pomade

Beautiful African American lady with an oil-based pomade in her natural curls

Every product has good and bad qualities, and pomade is no exception. Understanding the pros and cons of pomade can help you assess whether you should use it going forward. 


  • The water-based varieties make your hair look shiny and sleek without making your hair greasy.
  • They can help keep your hairstyle in place for an extended period of time – for days or even weeks. 
  • Water-based pomades are frequently used to seal in hair moisture. Keep in mind that not all pomades can be used in this way. Oil-based/wax-based pomades are more likely to have adverse effects on your hair. 
  • Some pomades are formulated with hair-loving ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, and avocado oil. Others may contain honey and aloe vera, which are fantastic hair moisturizers. If you use a water-based pomade with great natural ingredients like these, your chances of experiencing hair loss are very slim. 


  • Anything that pomade-styled hair comes into contact with can become sticky – think the collars of your clothes, your couch, etc. Of course, the amount of stickiness will depend on the pomade’s formula. 
  • It may take multiple shampoo sessions to get pomade out of your hair, especially if it’s wax-based. 
  • There’s a risk of hair loss with regular pomade use (this applies mainly to wax-based pomades). 

If you want to give pomade a try, we recommend water-based ones like Carol’s Daughter Moisture and Shine Edge Control, Style Factor Edge Booster, or Layrite Superhold Pomade

Alternatives to Pomade

Black female with wavy hair with a soft and flexible quality styled with an oil-based pomade

Pomade is not the only option you’ve got to slick down your hair and keep it in place. Here are some pomade alternatives to consider: 

Styling Mousse

Styling mousse has been used by Black women for decades and helps to lay down even the coarsest hair. And the best part about it is that it doesn’t easily build up in the hair and won’t leave your hair looking unnaturally greasy.

All you need to do is apply the mousse to your hair, put on a silk or satin scarf, and then remove it after 10 or more minutes. 

Here are a couple of options to consider: 

  • No Nothing Strong Mousse – This is a strong hold mousse that’s been formulated without many of the ingredients curly girls try to avoid. It’s free of fragrances, alcohol, gluten, and parabens. The mousse is moisturizing to the hair without being sticky or causing buildup. It’s a win all around! 
  • Maui Moisture Flexible Hold Mousse – This is a super popular flexible hold mousse formulated without alcohols, parabens, or silicones. It also has coconut milk and aloe vera to keep your hair moisturized as it smooths away frizz and keeps your hair in place.  

Holding Spray 

Black woman talking an iPhone 13 to a friend about hair fall and scalp causing dandruff

Holding spray is another great product to consider as an alternative to pomade. It can freeze your hair in virtually any style, and if you choose one with a flexible hold, you won’t have to worry about unnatural stiffness.

But, as with pomade, you should be careful to wash holding spray out of your hair and refrain from combing or brushing your hair while holding spray is in it. 

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Now you know what pomade is, the risks involved with regular use, pros and cons, and much more. We hope this article was helpful to you whether you decide to use pomade or not. Good luck with your hair!