Orthodox VS. Unorthodox Water Based Pomade

Recent advancements in production and formulation techniques have allowed manufacturers to create newer and more innovative pomades that are too different to remain in the same class/category. Below we will focus on Orthodox VS. Unorthodox Pomade.

Orthodox Water Based Pomade

Orthodox, by definition, means "of the ordinary or usual type; normal." After Layrite Deluxe and other similar water soluble pomades (also known as gel-type, and "ringing gels," by some) came out, people got use to calling and identifying them as water based; sharing characteristics of both hair gel and oil based pomades. Unlike traditional oil based pomades, special (and sometimes controversial) ingredients within these pomades allowed them to be washed off easily and conveniently with just water. 

Orthodox Water Based Pomade is basically a combination of hair gel and traditional oil based pomade; giving you the style ability of an oil based with the wash ability of a hair gel. Examples of Orthodox Water Based Pomades include: Layrite Deluxe, Blvd Nights, Steadfast, and more.

  • Washes out easy with just water
  • Stays put; dries hard and sets
  • Generally low initial costs; cheap
  • Less occurrence of breakouts 
  • Great for beginners, easy to use
  • Good against heat/sun
  • May leave hair and scalp dry
  • Requires water to re-comb
  • More frequent use increases costs
  • Washes away your natural hair oils
  • Often harsh, complex ingredients
  • Generally regarded as unhealthy

Unorthodox Water Based Pomade

Unorthodox, by definition, means "contrary to what is usual, traditional, or accepted." Anchor's Teddy Boy Original and O'Douds Water Based Pomades were some of the very first unorthodox to be released. Technically they are water based pomades because they use water as their main ingredient, but although they wash out easier than traditional oil based pomades, they are not water soluble like orthodox Water Based. This caused a bit of confusion among the pomade community and therefore a new term needed to be created in order to differentiate between these pomades that are too different to be classified or categorized together.

Unorthodox Water Based Pomade is basically an oil based pomade; giving you the style ability of an oil based yet easier wash ability without the potentially harmful ingredients most orthodox pomades are known to use.

  • Washes out easier than oil based
  • Does not dry; can be re-combed
  • Use less if you build up
  • Can condition and protect hair
  • Less occurrence of breakouts 
  • Good for beginners, easy to use
  • Generally regarded as healthy
  • May not wash out with just water
  • True strong holds are uncommon
  • Considerably more expensive
  • Can spoil fast; low shelf life


The choice you make depends on so many factors, including your lifestyle. If you are a beginner trying to venture out in the Pomade World, want your hair to stay put, and like to be able to wash out product everyday, start with a good quality Orthodox Water Based Pomade like Blvd Nights Pomade, Iron Heritage, or (if you can spend a bit more) The Daimon Barber No.1. If you have thicker or wavier hair, there is also stronger holds like Steadfast Anchor hold or The Daimon Barber No.5. View all here.

If you don't want your hair to be as stiff, and be able to re-style it without water, or if you want a product with less chemicals and more natural ingredients that will be easier on your hair and scalp, choose a good holding Orthodox Water Based Pomade like Shear Revival Crystal Lake, O'Douds Water Based Pomade, Or Flag Ship's Black Ship Pomade. View all here.

If you are still not sure, check out our Pomade Box, which offers a good selection of pomade samples you can try out.

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