AskDefine | Define pomatum

Dictionary Definition

pomatum n : hairdressing consisting of a perfumed oil or ointment [syn: pomade]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latinization of pomade (circa 1560) to agree with pomum.





Extensive Definition

Pomade (also called pomatum) is a greasy or waxy substance that is used to style hair. Pomade makes hair look slick and shiny. Unlike hair spray and hair gel, pomade does not dry and often takes several washes to remove - a special shampoo, though, may be used. Other de-greasers include olive oil and Coca-Cola. Most pomades contain petroleum jelly (and in fact petroleum jelly can be used alone as a pomade) and mineral oil, and many also contain some sort of wax. They may also contain perfume and coloring agents. A plethora of pomades are still in production today and vary in factors such as weight, shine and scent. The stiffest will have a higher proportion of beeswax while the lightest may have a higher proportion of oils.

Origin of the name

The word "pomade" has origins in several languages. From French, pommade, meaning "an ointment"; from Italian, pomata from pomo, meaning "apple"; and from Latin, pomum, meaning "fruit, apple", because the original ointment recipe contained mashed apples. Modern pomades may contain fragrances, but they are not often particularly fruity.


Pomades were once much more popular than they are today. They are associated with the slick men's hairstyles of the early to middle 20th century. More modern hairstyles involving the use of pomade include the Duck's Ass, pompadour, and quiff.
An early example of pomade is "Murray's Superior Pomade", originating in the 1920s. Dixie Peach Hair Pomade was a popular pomade in the USA from WWII through the 1960s with teenage boys. In the late '90s, pomade grew from tradition to a general consumer product meaning any sort of solid "hair-styling product"; including waxes, glues, clays, and a variety of substances marketed under the original term.


External links

pomatum in Czech: Pomáda
pomatum in Danish: Pomade
pomatum in German: Pomade
pomatum in Japanese: ポマード
pomatum in Polish: Pomada
pomatum in Swedish: Pomada
pomatum in Chinese: 髮蠟
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