How To Wash Out Pomade (& 5 Easy-to-Remove Pomades)

How do you remove pomade from your hair? Every man has their story. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on our merry way to spend a long weekend in Barcelona. At the airport, I discovered I’d forgotten to pack one of my many tubs of ludicrously expensive wax, clay, paste and pomade, so I made a detour to buy another one to tide me over. 

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The problem of oil-based pomades

The old-school pomade I picked up was one of those tins of oil-based, heavy duty gloop that goes in and doesn’t come out. At least, not without a fight. If I had half of its persistence, I’d be a far more successful man. 

These old-fashioned pomades are along the lines of the Dapper Dan that George Clooney used to plaster his hair to his head in O Brother, Where Art Thou? They’re made to hold your hair dead still, which they do with aplomb, and they certainly look the part, but they’re not designed to be washed out.

I spent an hour in the shower when I returned home, washing my hair with dish soap. My scalp and I only recently patched up our differences.

How to wash out oil based pomades

Most people who use oil-based pomades don’t worry about washing them out because they’re intending to apply a load more once they get out of the shower. But if you’ve a sensitive scalp, that build-up of products will wreak havoc on your skin.

There are plenty of alternatives to oil-based pomades that will do the job without taking a weekend to remove. See the list at the bottom for a few of our favorites.

But if you’ve already loaded up your pompadour with some hardcore oil-based pomade, that advice has come a bit too late. You’ll need a little guidance to figure out how to wash out pomade.

Which shampoo is best for removing pomade?

Beware miracle cures. Many shampoos will claim to have been created for just this predicament but we’ve yet to find one that actually does the job in one wash. That said, they’re useful as part of a process but they’re not the solution on their own.

The most effective way we found was indeed the hard way. Look for a bottle of liquid dish soap, one that claims to be especially talented at cutting through grease. Lather it up in your hair and leave it for around half an hour.

Rinse thoroughly – seriously, make sure it’s all gone – and then follow up with a pomade shampoo (Dax, Suavecito and Uppercut all make good ones) and conditioner.

If you’ve sensitive skin, you might find that you’ve now got a bit of dandruff to deal with. Mix one part of apple cider vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and spray it onto your scalp. Leave for 15 minutes and wash it out. Do this twice a week until the flakes are gone.

5 Best Pomades That Are EASY to Wash Out

Finally, throw away that pomade and buy something that won’t lead to you waging war on your own head. Here are some of our own favorites:

Baxter’s of California Clay Pomade

Nice scent and good hold. Combine with the cream pomade for a bit more natural shine.


Imperial Classic Pomade

Strong hold and easy to rework and wash out. Smells like watermelon Jolly Ranchers.


Sachajuan Fibre Paste 

More of a matte finish and not technically a pomade but this paste holds well, smells lovely and washes out easily.


Uppercut Deluxe Pomade

Another water-based pomade that grips like a vice but washes out easily. Smells like old-fashioned barber shops. Best applied to damp hair.


Davines Forming Pomade

Less rigid than most others here, Davines’ pomade gives a natural shine and a bit more movement. Apply to dry hair.

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