Good to Know
- The pompadour works best with rectangular, oval and diamond face types.
- The pompadour is mainly worn by younger men.
- Your hair length will need to be at least four inches to create somewhat of the typical quiff.
- The pompadour is now about 300 years old.
- If you are looking for a practical and quick haircut there are better alternatives, such as the shorter crest or parting.
- Straight hair is the easiest in terms of hair type to style.
If you are looking for a bold hairstyle for your medium length hair, then the pompadour might be the hairstyle for you.
This voluminous do is notable for the volume that is created on top of the head.
You will have to apply different techniques to style your quiff and it is therefore not one of the quickest or most practical hairstyles.
The trade off, on the other hand, is a tough and striking classic that will undoubtedly cause a stir.
Apart from the somewhat extreme variations, the pompadour has two distinctive types: the classic pompadour and the modern pompadour.
This hairstyle has been around for centuries but has come back in the spotlight over the years. When we look back to the rockabilly period in the 50s, we immediately think of Elvis who made this look his own.
James Dean and Johnny Cash also rocked this look during their careers and a little more recently we’ve seen the style on Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber.
More recently, the pompadour was very popular in 2015, before dropping back off the radar slightly in 2016.
Although we don’t know what will happen with the trend this year, hopefully, we can inspire you with this article.
We’ll also share styling tips with you and show the different variants as well as a bit of background on the style.
The pompadour is clearly recognizable by the full, volumized hair brushed back from the forehead.
The sides are sometimes also brought to the back to create a sleek transition between the top and the sides.
This men’s hairstyle is characterized by longer hair on top and on the sides, with everything seamlessly going backwards.
It is a striking hairstyle popular with men who wanted to stand out. Think Elvis Presley or James Dean. So keep this in mind if you choose the pompadour.
Styling the pompadour
There are quite a few trendy variations of the pompadour. This guide focuses mainly on the most common, namely the modern and classic pompadour and how to style them easily.
We’ll briefly run through the steps required to perfectly create the hairstyle.
There are several ways to achieve the desired result, but these steps ensure that you do not spend too much time in the morning styling your hair.
- Dry your hair with a towel until your hair is only slightly damp.
- Then use a hair dryer on a not too hot setting while combing your hair with a round brush. The goal is to comb your hair in the typical pompadour style. You do this by combing from front to back, alternating with diagonal strokes.
- It is best to use a pomade (see below) with a strong hold. Rub a fair amount into your palms to warm up the pomade, then distribute it evenly through your hair. Start with the sides and work towards the top. If necessary, use some extra pomade to get your quiff into shape.
- The next step is to ensure that the pomade reaches as much of your hair as possible so that you achieve a stronger hold. You do this by starting with combing on the sides and gradually working your way up. This works best with a water-based pomade that is not too sticky.
- As a finishing touch you want to add extra volume. You can do this by brushing straight up from your forehead while using your other hand to run the comb along your hair.
Note: If you are interested in the more extreme variants that you read later in this article, we strongly recommend that you have this done by a professional hairdresser or barber.
The classic pompadour
This is the look you should go for if you want to give-off the vibe of a sophisticated, self-aware gentleman. The sides are trimmed but not too short.
These slightly long(er) sides soften the typical dramatic effect of the pompadour itself and work well with a well-groomed, short beard.
For the classic style, your hair should not be cut higher than your crown, otherwise, you will get a steeper look.
This look will work best with men that have the ‘oblong’ face type because the ratio between width and height complements it perfectly.
→ Read more: What shape do I have?
History of the pompadour
The pompadour is named after Madame de Pompadour. A woman that made a fashion statement so strong, her infamous hairstyle is still worn centuries later.
For a long time, the pompadour was only worn by women. They styled their long hair in all kinds of ways with the idea of standing out as much as possible by creating volume.
In the 1950s, Elvis made the pompadour popular again and caused a huge following among his fans, which then spread to the everyday, fashion-minded man of the time. Several decades later, in the 1980s, John Travolta brought it back to life in his movie Grease.
Since the 50s, the pompadour has evolved and today this hairstyle has many different variations.
From fades on the side, textured looks and shaved backs to choppy beards and mustaches.
Nowadays, from college students to businessmen, you’ll find this versatile look just about anywhere, regardless of culture, gender, or background.