A pompadour haircut is a hairstyle that features length and volume at the top, with the front hair rolled over the forehead and swept back, while the side hair and back are up and kept short.
The pompadour haircut has quickly become the staple of the suave modern gentleman, belying its origins as a predominantly female’s haircut. Named after one of King Louis XV’s mistresses, Madame de Pompadour, the haircut was only recently popularized as a man’s haircut by no other than the rock n’ roll’ god Elvis Presley.
The haircut has retained much of its distinctive shape since then, featuring long, swept back hair on the top and short sides. Over time, it spawned a variety of different versions that still hinted at the original design but incorporated new aspects such as faded sides, crisp side-parts, and much shorter tops. Each version of the pompadour was created to suit a lifestyle or fit an emerging style niche. So, whether you’re looking for something classic and sophisticated or edgy and modern, the pompadour haircut could be just what you need.
Types of Pompadour Haircut
1. Modern Pompadour Haircut
The pompadour haircut has been evolved slightly to meet the fashion demands of today’s modern man. Not much has it changed in terms of shape since the top is still worn long while the sides are shortened. However, a lot of attention to detail has been paid to the modern pompadour, resulting in tops with more volume and a lot of stylish texture. Using a medium hold styling cream leaves it looking wet and shiny while locking in the pompadour haircut superbly.
2. Japanese Pompadour Haircut
The Japanese pompadour haircut is a much neater, more reserved look that enhances the macho appeal of the look significantly. Unlike the modern pompadour, the sides and the top are all swept uniformly towards the back. The top is still more pronounced than the sides and neatly styled to mimic the original pompadour haircut design. Despite its lack of fades and lineups, the Japanese pompadour is still considered a “rebel” look that is as classy as it is masculine.
3. Undercut Pompadour Haircut
This is one of the more popular versions of the pompadour haircut largely because it combines the classic appeal of the age-old gentleman’s look with new-age trends such as fades and undercuts. To match the crisp, geometrical symmetry of the razor-faded sides, the hair on top has been neatly swept back and tapered backward towards the undercut that runs around the sides of the head. Adding in a side part is a good way to add a crisp finish to a look like this.
4. Short Pompadour
A few years ago, people with short hair would have never dreamt of rocking the pompadour hairstyle. However, this crossover between a military-grade buzz cut and the pompadour haircut is one that is well-worth a second look. When working with short hair, the best way to ensure that the shape of the look is maintained is to buzz the sides as short as possible. The hair on the sides stylishly thickens gradually towards the top, giving it a more polished look. Short pompadours are easier to maintain and can look just as attractive.
5. Side-Part Pompadour
Nothing classes up a pompadour haircut better than a crisp side-part on one side. Nowadays, people spice up their pompadour haircuts using side-parts of different lengths, thickness, angles, and visibilities. A simple side-part is also just as classy. The thick hair on top will, however, be swept backward and slightly to the side to give the side-part a more pronounced appearance. This dramatically enhances the look.
6. Pompadour Comb-Over Fade
The comb-over fade pompadour haircut is arguably the classiest of the lot. A favorite for both casual and formal occasions, the look combines the neatness and sophistication of the classic pompadour with the modern appeal of sharp fades and line-ups. The comb-over’s distinguishing feature is the way that the hair on top has been swept more to the side than to the back. Pairing it with a nice fade gives it a clearer shape and a much-needed modern finish.
7. Curly Pompadour
Not only is the curly pompadour a practical hairstyle, it bears a much more relaxed appeal that still has exudes confidence and style. Other than the curly texture of the hair on top, not much else changes—the sides can be shortened or buzzed to a razor fade depending on how crisp you want it to look. The curliness softens the macho appeal of the look slightly but makes it look more rugged and masculine.
Tutorial: How to Style A Pompadour Hair
For this tutorial, you will need a comb (preferably medium tooth but should depend on the length of your hair) and styling product (pomade or medium-hold cream).
Step 1: Wash and Dry Your Hair with a Towel
Wash your hair like you normally do using shampoo and/or other hair cleaning and restoration products that you use. Rinse it thoroughly then dry it with a towel until damp.
Step 2: Blow Dry Your Hair
While blow-drying your hair, angle the nozzle of the dryer upwards so that your hair is combed around the shape of your head while you dry it. This is an important part of creating the look since it helps with the overall neatness of the hair on top.
Step 3: Comb Your Hair
Depending on the specific pompadour style you’re going for, you can either comb it backward or to the side (away from the side-part, if any) while it is still relatively damp. The size of the comb you use will depend on the length and thickness of your hair.
Step 4: Add in Pomade
Hair pomade and hair clay are the two best hair products to use when creating the pompadour hairstyle. They offer a nice hold to keep the style locked in all through the day and also give it its distinctively glossy finish. Warm a bit of pomade or clay in your hands before smoothing it over your hair (don’t rub it in, just pass it over your hair) as gently as possible. Ensure the product is evenly distributed to all parts of the head.
Step 5: Style Your Hair
Using the comb, style your hair backward or to the side before the pomade or clay dries. Make it as neat as possible. You can use bigger combs to create sharper textures on your hair or keep it plain, smooth, and simple.