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Pomades You'll Find at the Drugstore, Reviewed and Ranked

Our honest look at ones they typically stock.

person using cremo pomade
Cremo

Here's a fair warning about the products on this list: they don't represent the upper echelon of their category. Looking for an exhaustive list of the best pomades money can buy? Here you go; shop there. However, the entries below are best saved for those in a pinch: those fresh out of product and unable to wait for another tin to ship; those touching down in another city with a few items missing from their Dopp kit; or those with a fresh haircut they suddenly need to style. You can find all of these at your local drugstore, big box retailer or grocery store — and, as evident below, on Amazon, too.

Ranked from best to worst, each one is a sub-$20 pomade made by a company you probably already know: Cremo, Axe, Murray's, Old Spice, American Crew and Fix Your Lid. Perhaps you've seen them in the aisles of your favorite convenience store and wondered whether they're worth a try. Hair styling is a highly personal process and thus choosing the right product for your preferred look is, too. Preference plays a role in whether we like how it feels in our hands or hair, how it smells, and, of course, how it looks when applied. I'd be wrong to say absolutely none of these are worth trying. That's simply not true, and a few are actually quite good. Would they be my ideal choice? Certainly not, but if I've forgotten to reorder the stuff I trust, you'll find me in Target copping two tins of Cremo.

This list starts there, with Cremo's Barber Grade Pomade, and ends with an option from a grooming brand every man's familiar with. (It rhymes with Mold Twice.) For those two and the options in-between, we've provided essential details on texture and smell, hold and shine, strength and how easy it is to wash out.

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1 Barber Grade High-Shine Pomade
Courtesy
Cremo
Now 35% off

Cremo cosplays as an old-timey Italian grooming brand when it's really a line of men's products founded in Laguna Beach, California. And it was just acquired by Edgewell Personal Care for over $200 million dollars. Cremo's products are everywhere, propelled to popularity by its convincingly retro aesthetic and its decent quality.

It's water-based, thus easily restyled by rewetting, and has a high shine and hold. It's darker than most and has an almost gel-like feel. The scent proves reminiscent of musky, dark-note fragrances, but it isn't quite as deep as a designer cologne, of course. Our primary complaint is that Cremo's pomade crystalizes like a gel instead of "melting" —essentially softening with wear — like most other pomades. 

Hold: High. As it is a sort of gel concentrate, and maybe less of a pomade after all, Cremo's option holds the hair in place without a problem.

Strength: Cremo's proves easier to wash out, in my opinion, but application is still somewhat of a pain. The product's water-based, so beginning with damp hair will ease the process.

Shine: High. This product is undoubtedly high-shine. Your hair will have a glisten to it well through the end of the day.

2 Smooth Control Pomade
Courtesy
American Crew
Now 15% off

A near household name, American Crew was founded in 1994 by a hairstylist and photographer. Once small, it's now a gigantic label. You can find it in nearly every pharmacy, covering nearly every category: from body washes and specialized shampoos to pomades and balms.

American Crew's Smooth Control Pomade is a malleable option that comes out of the tin a shade of seashell white. In the hands, it's not the tackiest, but its texture lends itself to massaging into your hair quite well. It also has a fresh, clean scent.

Hold: Medium. American Crew admits that their pomade only has a medium hold. Reviewers and myself alike have noticed that it lasts about half a day — even less if you're always in motion or commute via bike to work.

Strength: Although the hold is an issue, the pomade's strength impresses. It holds well immediately, softens through the day, and then proves super-easy to wash out. A win-lose situation, I guess.

Shine: High. This a high-shine product for sure.

3 Superior Hair Dressing Pomade
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Murray's
Now 20% off

Found at both big box stores and pharmacies, Murray's Superior Hair Dressing Pomade is a common first hair product for most men. It's cheap, traditional, and trusted by most — as evident by its countless reviews online. 

Housed in a retro-tinged orange tin, the oil-based pomade smells a bit like baby powder, or a tad like vaseline, and feels like wax. Activating it — aka warming it in your hands — takes a bit of work but it applies well and without crusting over as it sets. Is it the best pomade you can buy? No. Is it the best on this list? No. But it's not the worst!

Hold: Firm. This will stick with you through activity, all-day meetings and errands, and whatever else is on the docket.

Strength: Like I said, this will stick with you — even when you're rushing to wash it out. It's oil-based and requires a clarifying or detox shampoo for proper removal. But, those are easy to find.

Shine: Not the shiniest but most definitely not matte, Murray's is a manageable, down-the-middle option. 

4 Classic Pomade (2-Pack)
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Axe

Ah, Axe. The company best known for condensing cologne into a spray can also makes hair style products, shampoos and beyond. Their Clean-Cut Classic Pomade comes in an ice blue color, housed inside a tiny, twist-off tin. Further, this is a water-based, gel-type pomade.

Activating it is easy and only takes a few rubs together between two hands. Applying is easy, too, as it is only a light hold. It's softer than Murray's and lighter than American Crew's.

Hold: Light. Axe's Clean-Cut Classic Pomade doesn't hold for too long. It says it's intended for short- to medium-length hair, but I'd argue the longer yours is the less likely it is to stay put. Plus, the directions recommend applying to dry hair.

Strength: Again, this Axe option is light. It doesn't crystalize and you can still shape your hair how you want even after you've finished styling it, if that makes sense.

Shine: Medium. There's no extreme gloss here, but plenty of noticeable sheen.

5 Fix Your Lid Pomade
Courtesy
Fix Your Lid
Now 23% off

Available at bigger retailers like Target, Fix Your Lid is a line of made-in-the-US men's grooming products. But, the brand's eponymous mission of "fixing your lid" is certainly not accomplished with their basic Pomade.

Water-based but rather greasy because of "shine fixatives," the company says, it activates easily and applies smoothly. However, the hold isn't all that impressive and the smell's a rather baseline men's fragrance. (Not that you want anything that overpowering anyway.) 

Hold: Medium? Fix Your Lid claims so, but it's lighter than ones medium-hold pomade regulars might be used to. It will last through the day, but will begin losing its definition the second you stop styling it.

Strength: This a weaker pomade, thus easier to wash out. Standard shampoos can handle it.

Shine: High. Fix Your Lid finishes with a shine but it looks greasier — in a less stylish way — than others on this list.

6 Medium Hold Pomade
Courtesy
Old Spice
Now 26% off

With a consistency like lotion and a faint sunscreens smell (thanks, coconut), Old Spice's pomade is off-putting from the start. Plus, who can appreciate a brand with such annoying ads?

All jokes aside, it seems no matter how much you use, there's no real hold here. No shine, either. If you're someone who wants a natural, soft shape this could be an option for you, but its inability to hold it in place for more than a few hours doesn't necessarily make it worth the work of applying it.

Hold: Light. Old Spice says this is a medium-hold product but it doesn't feel like one. The shape it lends hair is soft and flimsy and adding more becomes overkill fast.

Strength: This is a weak pomade. If you have longer locks and simply want something to incorporate into hair that falls naturally, this could work, but again, it won't last beyond the morning.

Shine: None. This may make the hair look wet, but once it dries there will be no shine. 

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