The word doesn't take significance in culture (that we can tell) until the 19th century when it begins to describe not just an ointment but one specifically made for the hair. During this time the main pomade ingredient took a weird turn from apples to bear-fat. Not only should that seem strange to a 21st-century reader but just imagine the process it would take just to make the product! The things people did for good looking hair.
By the early 20th century either they realized that risking their lives for the sake of their hair or that the killing of bears just wasn't worth it. At this time we begin to see pomades and pomade companies pop up making their pomades from petroleum jelly, beeswax, and lard. During this time companies like Murray's and Royal Crown come on the scene with their signature greasy pomades that give the hair an extremely shiny look and ushered in the famous greaser hairstyles we saw pop up in the mid-20th century.