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What is the difference between Hair Milk, Pomade and Smoothies?

Ebena | Wed, 01/24/2018 - 08:40

The natural hair market is chock full of serums, honey, creams, pomades and other styling products, all claiming to be the quick fix to any hair woes you may have. These products come with descriptors like “moisturizing,” “strengthening,” and other words that sound great. But an uneducated choice could lead to disappointing results and the dreaded “product junkie-ism.” In order to know what’s best for your hair, it is important to know the difference between products. In this article, we’ll explore hair pomades, milks, and smoothies.



Where hair milk can be suited for prepping or reviving a style, and smoothies can moisturize and condition hair, pomade is intended for setting a style in place and may not be the best for giving life to an old hairdo or preparing hair to be styled. However, if you’re looking to smooth down your edges, set your frohawk up for success or simply give your 'do a final touch of shine, pomade is definitely the answer. Pomades used to be hair's worst enemy as they were made primarily with mineral oil enemy number one, petroleum jelly.  Over time, as naturally occurring ingredients have become more popular, beeswax, essential oils and natural butter like shea butter have taken the place of petroleum oil.

Popular pomades on the market include:

Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey

Cantu Shea Butter Hair Dressing Pomade

Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste Sculpting Shine Pomade


Using a smoothie to care for your hair may seem odd, but smoothies have quite a few benefits for natural hair. First of all, hair smoothies aren't really "smoothies," in the traditional sense. Smoothies typically have an airy, almost soufflé-like quality to their texture making them a mix between the solid waxiness of a pomade and the wateriness of a hair milk. Smoothies like Carol’s Daughter’s Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie are excellent for deep conditioning and hair masks but there are also a few smoothies made for defining curls or adding moisture to the hair. Hair smoothies can also fit right into an existing LOC, LCO or other wash day product lineup. The main reason why smoothies are so heavily moisturizing is that they are water-based. Outside of water, hair smoothies also typically contain shea butter and oils like coconut, macadamia or other seed oils. 

Some of the best smoothies for natural hair are:

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Curls Unleashed Coconut and Avocado Hair Smoothie

Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Curl Smoothie


Hair Milk

Hair milk, as their name suggests are lighter in density and have more of a liquid content like, well, milk. Because of this, hair milk tends to lend themselves better to people with looser curl patterns. That’s not to say they can’t be useful for someone with type 4 or thicker, coarse hair, but if your hair is of a coarser grade, a hair milk is likely to be insufficient to fully moisturize and strengthen your hair on its own. Naturally Curly notes that hair milks are also excellent for revitalizing day 2 hairstyles. This is likely due to the lighter composition of hair milks, which makes it an easy product to spritz on a twist out or wash-n-go without over-saturating or weighing down the hairstyle. Like smoothies, hair milks are also water-based and can contain naturally occurring juices and oils including agave nectar, aloe vera, coconut milk and aloe leave juice.  


Some popular hair milks are:

Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Line

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk