pomades, edge tamers, and balms

Product naming can be tricky, and understanding the names can be all the trickier. When it comes to edge-slicking formulas, here is a guide to understanding the meaning behind an edge tamer, pomade, and hair balm. While it is important to knowing the similarities and differences, it is equally important to know what is best for you and your hair’s needs.  Jade Kendle explains her edge taming solutions, "When I’m looking for pomades or edge tamers, I am looking for a product with natural moisturizers that have a medium hold without any buildup or alcohols. My favorites are the CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste and LottaBody Edge Tamer. Both have really sleek textures so they do not feel super sticky, but still give me long lasting hold.” While this is perfect for Jade’s curls, what is best for yours?

With so many on the market, it could appear they all do the same thing. So, you logically think you could choose any one and get the same result. That may or not be true. Nevertheless, each formula has one major goal in mind, which is to tame the frizz along the perimeter of your head. Let’s see which one is best for you. 

Edge Tamer

Design Essentials Honey and Shea Butter Edge Tamer

  1. Add nourishment
  2. Add brilliant shine
  3. Add long lasting hold

Fab 5 Ingredients

Water (aqua), calendula officinalis flower extract, goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis), lawsonia inermis (henna) extract, humulus lupulus (hops) extract, and equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract.

To my surprise the ingredients match its claim. Each of the fab 5 ingredients is nourishing extracts that strengthen and enhance the hair. The styling polymers are further down the list. For best results, apply to your edges with fingertips and chase it with a boar bristle brush. This product is best used on along the hairline for Type 3 and Type 4 curl patterns.

Pomade

Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade

  1. Provide nourishment (all-vegetable pomade)
  2. Provide protection
  3. Provide a long lasting, glossy finish

Fab 5 ingredients

Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, hydrogenated glycine soja (soybean) oil, organic virgin cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, and olea europaea (olive) oil.

Like the edge tamer, this formula is also chock-full of nourishing agents to support its purposes. From beginning to end, the formula uses natural ingredients for results, like cocoa seed butter for dual nourishment and holding agent. This product is best used to impart sheen, lubricate the scalp, and maintain stretched styles. Women who love using natural and gentle products will find this product comforting and effective for enhancement and mild styling.

Balm 

EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Hair Balm

  1. Nourishing
  2. Strengthening, less breakage
  3. Soft and smooth

Fab 5 Ingredients

Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cera alba (beeswax), glycine soja (soybean) oil, microcrystalline wax, and PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil.

This product should be used on dry hair to protect, strengthen, and enrich the hair shaft. Not just for the edges, this product can be used throughout the hair. Utilizing beeswax as a holding and styling agent, this will also be effective at protecting, enhancing, softening, and smoothing the hair. It can also be used for all hair types.    

Best Practices

Mild holding formulas may use oils and natural butters like shea, cocoa, and mango seed as their primary holding agents. Products with a medium to strong hold may use a combination of natural waxy esters and/or polymers in varying degrees as well as herbal or vegetable based gums like cellulose gum to hold the hair in place. Many polymers will begin with "poly " such as polydimethylsiloxane and polyquaternium 11. However, it is important to know that the addition of the ingredients does not guarantee it will meet the estimated hold. The hold factor is also determined by the amount of the particular ingredient within the formula.

As you can see, all three formulas have one thing in common, nourishment. You can count on edge tamers, pomades, and balms to protect the hair and enhance it with nourishing ingredients. The differences will be in the hold. Study the intention of your product selection before purchasing. If you have looser curls or a soft, fine texture, choose a lighter, mild holding formula. On the other hand, if you have high density, or tighter curls, choose a stronger holding formula.

Which one do you think is best for you?