Ah, the humble pompadour. Its dimensions are simple, but its impact is incredibly vivid. The pompadour is the ultimate classic contemporary men’s hairstyle which features trimmed sides with heavier dimensions up top. Be it a longer style with Elvis-esque proportions or a more modest take on this hairstyle, we’ve compiled our essential tips to rocking the pompadour no matter how you want to interpret the look.
What is a Pompadour?
A pompadour is a type of hairstyle that dates all the way back to the 1700s. Although the style is typically seen on males today, it originated as a look for females. Named after Madame de Pompadour, who was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, the style didn’t become popular for men until the 1950s. It was thanks to Elvis that the pompadour became a mainstream look for gents. Today, the style, which features hair that is combed upwards and backwards to make a bulge, has seen a resurgence and gents all over the world are now donning the look in new and exciting ways.
1. The Modern Pompadour
Although the pompadour has proven itself to be an utterly timeless men’s hairstyle, this modern twist can make it more relevant. The modern pompadour exaggerates each of the haircut’s components to construct a look that is striking and edgy. You can truly own this version of the cut, as long as you wear it with confidence. The angles of this cut are more defined than the original versions with the quiff protruding less prominently. The modern pompadour uses height and strong angles to make your face appear longer. This makes the style particularly well-suited to those with rounder faces.
2. The Pompadour Fade
Faded sides are an element of many men’s hairstyles at the moment. The fade’s popularity stems from its ability to bring structure and neatness to what could threaten to be a messy style. Pompadour fades combine the contemporary style of sides with tapered length with the classic pompadour. By tapering down to a short length above the ears, you create the illusion of more weight and length on top. The fade draws the eyes to the top of the head, so keep the pompadour neat and tight for best results.
3. The Side Part Pompadour
For a slightly different take on the pompadour styling, you can bring a side part into the mix. While the classic pompadour is usually a backwards-swept cut, the side part pompadour utilises your part line as the base of the quiff. It’s a versatile look and lets you get away without too much styling when compared to the swept-back pompadour. While the side part can look great with a firm hold wet-look hair product, you can even better results with a matte-finish and some natural-looking texture.
4. The Short Pompadour
Wanting to rock a pompadour without committing to the traditional length and volume of the cut? The good news is that you can still get that look with shorter hair. Short pompadours are a neat yet striking style that can be worn in almost any job or situation. For a more modern interpretation of the short pompadour, style your hair from your temple near the part line. Again, texture is your friend, but for the neatest look opt for a strong-hold wet-finish hair product.
5. The Undercut Pompadour
The undercut is a no-brainer to incorporate its aesthetic into the pompadour. The undercut pompadour offers a similar juxtaposition as faded sides but in a far more impactful way. The sudden shift in length from clipped sides up to the volume-heavy top make for a jarring but strong style. It’s another style that offers great versatility meaning you don’t need to worry too much about always styling your hair. The longer hair on top can look just as good falling over the short sides as a neat style would.
6. The Curly Pompadour
When you think about a pompadour, your mind doesn’t immediately relate curly hair into the mix. But curls can bring a look that you could never achieve with straight hair. Greater texture, bigger volume and much more interesting, a curly pompadour can look outstanding with the right cut. Avoid pretending your hair is straight, you won’t be able to emulate the super neat pompadour styles out there. But by integrating short sides, or even an undercut, you can celebrate your natural curls with this style.
7. Messy Pompadour
While a perfect pompadour comes across as sharp and sophisticated, a messy pompadour feels youthful and fun. Ideal for a fashion-forward weekend look, this style doesn’t take itself too seriously. On top of appearing approachable and easy-going, this look is also much simpler to create than a traditional pompadour. Although you will need to do a bit of blow-drying and styling, you can be as rough and haphazard as you like with the messy pompadour.
8. Quiff Pompadour
Combining a pompadour and a quiff is an excellent way to create a stylish appearance. The look, which still boasts plenty of volume up top, places more focus on the front section of hair. Featuring a wave shape, this combined hairstyle is eye-catching and awesome. It can also easily be adjusted to create a more dramatic or simplistic style by making the quiff larger or smaller. Likewise, a neat and tidy quiff pompadour will appear more structured and intense while a messier style will come across as softer.
9. Mini Pompadour
Even smaller than the small pompadour, the mini pompadour is a barely-there version of this big-haired trend. The look is particularly suited to two types of men. The first is gents with short strands whose limited length leaves them unable to rock a proper pompadour. As such, the mini pompadour makes a great option and can slowly be built up as locks grow longer. The second is gents who want to try this trend but prefer a more subtle style. While a mini pompadour won’t garner much attention, it will still appear stylish and on-trend, making it ideal for minimalistic modern men.
10. Straight Pompadour
For a sharp and classic look, a straight pompadour makes an excellent option. While the style can be achieved on wavy hair with the help of a hairdryer and a round brush, it tends to look best on naturally straight strands. So, if your locks are free from kinks and curls, consider giving this pompadour style a try. For a great professional look, try creating a neatly combed back pompadour with understated sides. If you want a look that’s a little bolder for the weekend, consider a voluminous straight pompadour instead, and pair it with contrasting short sides.
11. Pompadour and Beard
Pairing a pompadour with a beard is an easy way to create a stylish standout look. The combination of the bold hairstyle with a beard is sure to catch some eyes and make your presence known. While the partnership is also great for boosting your confidence, you should be aware that it’s not the easiest of looks to pull off. To start with, you should tailor the length and width of both your pompadour and beard to suit your face shape. Then, once you have your ideal look, you’ll need to regularly style, trim, and maintain both the hair on your head and your face to keep this combination appearing sharp and sophisticated.
12. Single-Length Pompadour
While many of today’s pompadours are partnered with an undercut to intensify the style, some still feature longer sides. The single-length pompadour, which is characterised by little to no distinction between the length of hair on the top of the head and the sides, provides a more classic take on this trend. The style can be achieved by combing the side sections of hair back during the process of creating the pompadour. The result is a polished and traditional look that also has a little attitude. For a more youthful and slightly preppy look, you can consider adding a side part to this style.
13. Full-Volume Pompadour
If you believe in the saying “Go big or go home,” the full-volume pompadour may just be the hairstyle for you. Taking the original pompadour to new heights (and widths), this look is eye-catching and impactful. Although the style may be out of the question for gents with fine strands, those with thick locks will be able to don the look with confidence. All it will take is a bit of skill with a blow dryer and the right amount of product, and you’ll be able to produce a full-volume pompadour with ease. By shaving the sides of your hair short, you can also help to create the illusion of a fuller pompadour without any extra work.
14. Textured Pompadour
While super sleek and straight pompadours often appear traditional and a little rockabilly, textured pompadours are completely modern. The less structured look adds a contemporary element to this hairstyle without verging on messy territory, meaning that it’s ideal for both the office and after hours. If you have naturally wavy hair, then a textured pompadour is easy to create. If you have straight strands, on the other hand, you may find creating this look a little more challenging. To nail the style, invest in a texturizer or sea salt spray and spritz on damp strands before styling into a pompadour.
How to Style a Pompadour
- The first step is to towel dry your hair.
- Next, blow dry your hair while combing it with a round brush.
- Grab a decent size amount of pomade with your fingers, and warm it up in the palms of your hands.
- Work the pomade through your hair with your fingers. Start with the sides then the top. The front portion of your hair will require the most product as you will need the added strength to hold up this hairstyle.
- Comb your hair to get the product to the roots and create a better hold.
- Brush the front part of your hair up to spread the pomade through your hair. With one hand holding the comb, brush the front of your hair up and into your free hand. Your free hand will act as a guide for your hair to fold over and to also serve as a limit to how high the front will go.
- Finally, comb your hair up, and pat it down. Finish with a hairspray for extra hold.