Styling Advice: Best Pomade & Wax For Asian Hair
No doubt about it: Asian hair is very specific. It’s a tough beast to tame and style – especially for those with extra thick locks.
Alright, let’s be honest: it can be a total nightmare 🙁
Which is exactly why a lot of your standard pomades or hair waxes won’t really cut it. Especially the water-based ones.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that I wouldn’t recommend most of the styling products for thinning hair like mine. Unfortunately, I see some sites doing that – pretty deceptive, if you ask me.
Here’s the thing:
The best thing you can do with Asian hair is slap a bit of clay pomade on it. Period.
An example: the Baxter of California.
That’s how you turn it from a complete mess to something like this:
Why Baxter? It’s a gorgeous product that works well with extra thick, medium length hair. If you dig matte clays – and with Asian hair, that’s the best thing to do, you’ll love it.
In case you’re a fan of waxes, there’s really nothing better than Gatsby’s. It’s cheap, it’s Japanese (= great quality) and… well, it’s specifically made for Asian hair after all.
Let’s talk more about these two and a few other good styling products. I’d be happy if you’ve found the answers to your questions after reading through my short guide 🙂
1. Best pomade for thick Asian hair:
Baxter of California (clay)
I know, I know: it’s a bit expensive compared to other pomades.
But Baxter of California is also the best thing that can get your hair to behave well.
As I mentioned, clay pomades are your best friend if you have medium or long, thick straight hair. Baxter is pretty concentrated so you need a really small dose to get things going. Think a little dab on your finger tip.
This is a matte, casual style pomade. Given the fact it’s base is clay and beeswax, it’s no surprise it’ll provide a tremendous hold. Put some in the morning, stay happily styled until the evening.
As all quality pomades, this one is also paraben-free. The scent can feel a bit earthy (due to the clay), but it’s not as strong as other similar styling products.
Remember that you definitely need to dry your hair out properly before applying! Regarding styles, Baxter say it’s best for pompadours, but it’s a pretty versatile clay pomade anyways.
If you’re sticking to the intended use, it can easily last you for ~2 months. That makes the price fair, if you ask me.
2. Best wax for Asian hair (short/spiky):
Gatsby Spiky Edge
Let me start with a preface: if you’re looking an ultra strong hold wax and your hair is medium length…Scratch the Spiky Edge.
In this case, you’d want to take a look at Gatsby’s Grunge Mat. It’s specifically made for longer Asian hair that needs more taming.
OK, now back to the Spiky Edge!
Gatsby is a Japanese company and their products are targeted at – surprise, Japanese people. You won’t get a more natural wax for Asian hair considering this.
I’ve gone to Japan several times and literally all the shelves are filled with this wax and other Gatsby products. Japanese men are crazy about that brand!
This is more of a matte wax – Gatsby themselves rate it as 2/10 on their scale. It’s strong, but you might need to reapply it once or twice throughout the day. Can’t beat the price, though.
Where this product shines (heh) is in how easy it is to apply and wash it out. The Japanese value convenience! Gatsby have catered to this by creating a thin, creamy, absolutely hassle-free styling product.
Thumbs up for the scent too: fruity, very refreshing and even – dare I say, tasty. Definitely a unique fragrance among other hair wax brands.
3. Best water-based pomade for Asian men:
Bona Fide Superior Hold
If you find a lot of oil-based pomades to be a hassle (I concur!) then Bona Fide will bring you some water-based refreshment.
Honestly, this is a very underrated brand which is a real crime to me. Every single one of their styling products is a decently priced masterpiece.
Anyways – this is where you get a little bit of shine. Bona Fide doesn’t go for that over the top shine you’ll see with some pomades. It’s very natural and aesthetic.
As you can guess from the name, the hold is pretty strong. It’s actually spectacular, given the fact that this is a water-based product. Can easily say it performs on par with higher-end, ‘extra hold’ petrolatum-based pomades.
Another great thing is the scent. Similar to Gatsby, it’s fruity and refreshing. The aroma here is of citrus fruits, however. Extremely suitable for those hot summer months.
Last but not least, it’s manufactured in the US. Local products are always a welcome thing.
The slightly bad news is that you might need to apply a bit more, compared to a clay pomade like Baxter of California. However, it’s also cheaper overall, so it all evens out in the end.
4. Best natural Asian hair product:
Anchor’s Courage Clay
If you’re into handmade, cruelty-free products that also provide great quality, this will be your jam.
Anchor’s Courage is a take on natural clay pomades with a water-based spin. It sounds as if it won’t provide as strong of a hold as a pure clay product, but you’d be surprised.
It’s just a little bit below Baxter of California in terms of hold. And way better than probably 95% of the standard oil or water-based pomades.
This one can provide you with a little bit of shine if you apply it on damp hair. In essence, though, it’s also focused on giving a matte finish to your straight locks.
The trick here is how it’s manufactured. The clay is softer, very easy to apply compared to other similar styling products. Being water-based, it’ll also rinse out quickly – 2 to 4 washes according to the manufacturer.
A gorgeous thing to behold here is the scent. Anchor’s Courage have used a mix of essential oils to achieve their sweet tobacco cedar aroma. Easily the most distinguishable fragrance you’ll ever get in a hair styling product. Not exaggerating.
The fundamentals of styling Asian hair
It’s tough, it’s stubborn, and it’s a lot.
Asian hair can be a total nuisance to deal with. I guess that’s the price to pay for having extremely lower rates of balding among the population… 🙂
Here are several things you definitely want to do if you’re seeking for some good styling results.
Blending the sides: Asian hair can grow like a tuft. With other types of hair you’ll see growth downwards, but Asian locks grow the sides in no time too. Trim them a bit, and leave them shorter than the top of your head.
Blowdrying: Easily the single most important thing. Asian hair can really lack volume due to being very straight and often fine too. Blowdrying solves this and turns your hair into mane.
Brushes/combs: You’ll want to have some so you can use them, especially during the blow drying process. I’ve written a guide on Kent combs which I use for my beard. In the case of Asian hair, though, boar bristle brushes might be a better choice.
Go for clay: As I said, usually clay pomades work the best with this type of hair. Make sure you get a concentrated, quality one. Always strive to apply it after a thorough blowdrying session. This will preserve the volume and help you get a neat matte finish on your locks.
Here’s a guy on Reddit showing the process with photos!
There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube, aimed at styling Asian hair specifically. You’re free to watch whatever interests you, but I want to recommend a great channel. It’s The Pomp and his pomade reviews or just general styling tips are simply great: