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It may surprise you to learn that the original pompadour was flaunted by none other than Madame de Pompadour, a powerful 18th Century noblewoman who commanded all eyes on her. Today, the likes of Janelle Monae and other celebrity hairstyle icons have reclaimed the pompadour and inspired women to step out of their comfort zone. Clays, pastes, waxes, and pomades are just some of the sculpting products that might make up your ideal collection. Discover the differences between each product, some styling techniques, and ways to unlock your inner diva.

Clay, Paste, Wax, and Pomade — Oh, My!

So what exactly is the difference between these four great products? They’re all designed to hold and sculpt, right? Not quite. Learning the nuances between each product can help you select the perfect miracle potion for you and your hair. Schedule a consultation with a professional stylist to find the best products for your hair, and keep reading to learn the basics.


Pomades are the classic go-to when it comes to achieving shine and texture. A high-quality pomade can be reworked throughout the day, remaining soft and flexible. These products won’t leave flaky residue, harden, or dry out hair. They typically provide the strongest hold and the most radiant shine.

Best of all, you don’t need to use a lot to achieve your desired result, making pomades a budget-friendly beauty option.


Perfect for those with sensitive skin, waxes typically contain fewer harsh chemicals. These products feature an oil base that nourishes hair to achieve medium hold. They may not leave your hair as shiny as a pomade, but waxes are great for bringing out the natural color of each lock.

Oribe’s Rough Luxury Molding Wax is a solid option for creating soft curls or glamorous updos. It’s also a great go-to product for super-short haircuts and pixie cuts.


Not ready to embrace the greaser life just yet? Opt for a product that gives hair more of a “matte” finish. Clay has gained popularity in recent years due to its versatility. You’ll find that clay has a more relaxed vibe than pomade or wax. Made with ethically sourced bentonite and hair enriching minerals, this product is ideal for maintaining a natural aesthetic.

Try Kevin Murphy’s ROUGH.RIDER for a messy pixie chic or long boho curls.


Like clay, paste is a good option for leaving your hair shine-free and naturally beautiful. Paste offers a medium hold that allows for movement and dimension. If you’ve tried pomades and found them to be too “heavy,” paste may be a good solution for your hair care needs. Your locks will still flow wildly in the wind while you’re exploring Colorado’s hills and mountains. But with a dab of paste, they’ll also retain their shape for an evening out in downtown Denver.

Kevin Murphy’s FREE.HOLD is the ideal product for free spirits everywhere when it comes to non-greasy sculpting.

Why Sculpting Products Are Your Style BFF

Now that we’ve covered the in’s and out’s of each type of product, it’s time to take a closer look at how this magic goop can rock your hair. We’ve already covered the glory of the pompadour. But if a retro aesthetic isn’t your dream design, there are many other uses for sculpting serums.

Clays and pastes are excellent for taming frizzy hair with less damage than daily straightening. These products are ideal for creating a sleek, textured look. If you’ve recently treated your hair to an Olaplex or keratin treatment, a dab of product is enough to help maintain your style at home.

Pomades and waxes can take short hair from dull to vibrant by creating dimension and flair. Working with your hair’s evolving style is a great way to make the most of the “in-between” phase when growing out a pixie or bob.

From curls to slicked-back chic, the possibilities are endless! Join the ranks of glam bosses who are taking back sculpting products, and visit your stylist to learn more about rocking your best hair ever.


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