Pompadour is one of the most easily recognizable hairdos out there. We’ve written about it several times, and we’ve decided to give it the Haircut Inspiration treatment. In this post, we’ll talk about the pompadour hairstyle and its many variations.
What Is The Pompadour Hairstyle?
In a word: Elvis. The King of Rock and Roll sported a high-volume pompadour as part of his iconic style. But rock and roll didn’t give rise to the ‘do: truck driving did. In his youth, Elvis was training to be a truck driver, and the pompadour hairstyle was the cut of choice for truck drivers nationwide.
Today, there are many variations. You can have it short or long, disconnected, paired with an undercut, and more. There’s also tons of products available to help you style it, and we’ve included our favorites for you.
Guys with round faces might want to pass on this one, as it tends to round the face out. However, it’s great for most other face shapes as well as nearly all hair types.
How To Get The Pompadour Hairstyle
As with most hairstyles, we recommend taking pictures to your stylist when you go to get this hairstyle. Surprisingly, the energetic pompadour is mostly style. The cut itself is rather simple: short sides, long on top.
The sides can be buzzed with any razor length. Shorter guard settings (#2) will go well with shorter hair, and longer guard settings (#5) will go well with longer pompadours. This is all up to your preference. Finally, ask your barber or stylist to taper your cut so the hair fades into the skin of your neck.
Products For The Pompadour Hairstyle
To get this truly standing-out hairstyle, you’ve got to use the best product out there. It relies almost exclusively on pomade, and the pomade has to have a firm hold. Pomades can also give your hair a glossy shine, but hold is the most important factor.
Suavecito Firme or Layrite Super Hold are two of the best high-hold pomades. They’re both water-based, so they wash out more easily and don’t make your hair feel greasy. If your hair is lighter, the regular versions of these pomades (Suavecito Original Hold and Layrite Original) should provide more than enough hold. However, if you have really tough, thick, or coarse hair, go for the stronger hold pomades.
How To Style The Pompadour Hairstyle
It’s best to style it right after you’ve gotten out of the shower, since damp hair is necessary. Styling is a three step process. You apply the pomade first, make the part, and then create the pompadour itself. It is quite tricky to style it correctly, so it may take a few times before you get what you’re satisfied with, but don’t give up!
The first step is to coat your hair in pomade. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The easiest approach is to take a few generous scoops of pomade and work it into your hair. Alternatively, you can lift your hair up with a comb and apply the pomade to your lifted hair, working it in and backward.
Either way, to finish the pomade application, take a comb and comb backward, all the way down to your neck. This helps to even out the pomade and gives you a nice coating all over.
If you desire, you can part your hair. This is an optional step, so if you don’t want a part with your pompadour, go on to step 3.
To part your hair, simply pick a parting line (above the left eyebrow is good) and comb the hair in opposite directions there. All of the hair to your left should be combed to your left, and all of the hair to your right should be combed to the right. Both sides should be combed in an outward direction.
Now you’re ready to make the pompadour. There are a few different ways of creating it, but we’ve outlined a fairly basic process that’s easy to pick up.
For the following instructions, you’ll only be concerned with the hair to your right, which is the larger section of your hair that’s parted. Use the comb to lift up the hair. With a rolling motion, comb the hair backward. This should give the curved pomapadour. You can use your fingers (and perhaps a little extra pomade) to lift the hair up and back to further style it. Looking at pictures while you’re styling could be beneficial.
Continue styling in this way until you have a good pompadour going. Depending on how long your hair is, you can go for a short or long one. If you want it shorter, style it more backward than upward. If you want it longer, use the comb to draw the hair more upward than backward.
Alternatively, you can comb your hair upward and then push it down and forward. This might be a better option if you’re going for a shorter hairdo.
If you want more volume to your hair, you can blow dry it in the direction of the pompadour for a taller style.
Scroll below for more examples:
The modern pompadour is a mix of old and new. The sides get an undercut while the top is styled in a wavy way. Like the disconnected pompadour, its modern version is a high contrast style that defines both the sides and top.
Who says guys with thinner hair can’t have lots of volumes? This pompadour style strategically uses hair products to give the hair extra lift.
For a looser, more relaxed pompadour, try this one. The pompadour is finger combed, which results in the visible waves at the front of the head.
Here’s a smart look that’s great for school or the office. The medium length pompadour is combed just right, and the burst fade complements everything wonderfully.
Finger combing (or hand brushing) is a surprisingly versatile hairstyling technique. A little bit of finger combing goes a long way, as shown by this elegant, contoured style.
We think the humble skin fade doesn’t get enough credit. It does a lot more of the heavy lifting than you might think! Here, it anchors the tall pompadour and provides balance.
After a picture-perfect pomp? This style is tidy yet textured, striking a happy medium that not many hairstyles can achieve.
If you want to (literally) turn up the volume, this skyscraper pompadour is for you. Even though it’s one of the most voluminous styles on this list, it’s still nicely proportioned thanks to the skin fade and shaved line.
Pompadours and parts have traditionally gone together, but typically, you’ll see side parts used with pomps. This style takes the part nearer the middle of the head for a striking look.
Simple and flexible, this pompadour draws a lot of its style from the sudden drop fade on the sides. It’s a nice twist that shakes up an otherwise classic haircut.
This large pompadour shows how much finger combing can do. Waves radiate in a semicircle from the top of the head down to the side, resulting in satisfying shape.
The classic pompadour is neat and slick, but that doesn’t mean all pompadours have to fit that description. This contemporary take has the hair messy and uses a matte finish for a less shiny appearance.
Grey hair can look especially suave when styled into a pompadour. This look shows how some deliberate styling can bring loads of character out of grey hair.
If none of these styles has to whet your appetite for volume, perhaps this one will do the trick! A fluffy, “bloated” pomp is the centre of attention here (and of course, it’s got plenty of volume).
Matte finish pompadours are quite trendy, and this hairstyle is a fantastic example that shows just why they’re so in vogue. In particular, the disconnected fade does a wonderful job of enhancing the cut.
The layered pompadour is a great choice for guys who want to try something different and get an eye-catching look. Again, the trademark finger combed look is critical here.
This pompadour shows that you’re classy but still easygoing. Instead of being styled into a tight and tidy formation, the hair forms a looser, more relaxed pompadour.
Here’s a narrower pomp that brings the hair to an apex in the middle. A slight fade keeps the hair longer on the sides for a fuller look.
This pompadour takes many of the techniques we’ve already discussed (finger combing, a skin fade, and a disconnect) and gracefully blends them into one look.
The undercut is still as popular as ever, and it can be combined with the pompadour for some amazing results. This style takes the classic undercut approach on the sides while keeping the pompadour the star of the show.
Pompadours can be modified in many different ways. You might try a shaved design like the zigzag line shown here.
This is a very classic slicked back pompadour with a fairly traditional taper fade on the sides. If you’re after an extra retro look, this is a style to consider.
Short and brushed back, this pomp is elegantly unified into one whole by the disconnected fade. If you’re not sure whether the pompadour look is for you, this is a good way to ease into the world of pomps.
Line ups are known for adding definition to any hairstyle, and they work well with pompadours, too. The angular line up offers an interesting counterpoint to the rounded, wavy pomp.
This clean matte finish pompadour is one of the neatest styles on this list. The drop fade accentuates the pompadour and also ensures that no hair is sticking out of place.
This clean undercut is definitely a hot look right now. With short sides and smooth, slicked-back pomp, what more could you need?
Here’s another symmetrical pompadour style, with the addition of a unique pattern trimmed into the sides. Sure, it may be a little high maintenance, but it’s worth it.
This cool style brings together a few contrasting elements: the fresh, long pompadour, the angular line up, and a disconnected fade. The combination works surprisingly well!
Check out this brushed and parted pompadour. The light fade on the sides and scruffy facial hair ties it all together for a hipster-esque look.
Now, this is a cool cut. With an ultra-short fade on the side, a slight part, and a retro style, slicked-back pomp, this is a handsome and manly style.
Pompadours tend to end up quite thick, but it’s more than possible to loosen them up and add some texture. Just check out this great example.
You probably weren’t expecting to see a pompadour this short on the list, but it’s an excellent compromise between form and function!
This long, classic pompadour is expertly blended with slicked-back sides for a complete, well-rounded look. There’s something very Mediterranean about this look, isn’t there?
This modern pompadour is completed with short sides and connected facial hair. The hairline patterns add an extra twist to an already exciting cut.
This combed look features a short pomp on the top and sides faded a few centimeters higher than usual. Combined with the overgrown stubble, it’s young and bold.
Here’s a reserved pompadour look with all of the basics: a long, slicked-back top, short sides, and connecting facial hair. No bells and whistles here!
This cool, rock’n’roll-style pompadour features two parts on the side plus a messy mustache and beard. Sunglasses not optional.
This tall pompadour definitely stands out, adding flare to the remaining, hipsterish look. Personally, I’d keep it a little shorter.
Here’s another pompadour expertly blended with the sides. The loose texture on top makes for a young, care-free look.
This style really demonstrates how a plain pompadour can look great too. A simple slick, a simple fade, and some light facial hair? That’s all you need.
This take on the pompadour hairstyle features a dramatic part in the hair to differentiate the long and short hair. This is similar to the disconnected undercut.
Hello there faded neckline! This is a prime example of an excellent detailing job. The pompadour looks pretty cool on its own but when you add details like this it really adds a little bit more flare.
I’d say this is one of the very relaxed variations of the pompadour, and when I say relaxed I mean that it’s not heavily styled. Even such a pompous style can have a chill side.
Pompadour can be styled in many ways and this one is another version of it. The pushed back quiffed texture makes this look very formal on the top and flashy in the sides especially due to those shaved lines and a very clean cheeky temple fade. Ace it with that taper and you getting those stares.
Who doesn’t like that fluff on the top especially for someone with thin hair, that is a dream come true. This is one of those versatile looks that go well on formal and casual occasions. The key is that taper fade on the sides with a beard blend that is a cherry on top.
So someone said, “I want a pompadour but can I also have some flat-top vibes?” and the barber carved out this gem of a look. The longer strands on top compliment the look very well with sides being taper faded. The temple is faded as well but it does give some drop fade tinge to it.
This one is quite a slingy style with and especially hair with a straight texture and possibly silky texture would make this a jewel of a cut. The sides here are slightly trimmed and not tapered for that emphasized look which brings more focus on the top.
Thick hair with dry texture has an advantage when it comes to styling as it can look good on volume. This is no different and especially with that undercut taper fade on the side all the attention goes to the top and that fluff makes it pop real good. The beard comes as a good balancer between the top and the bottom.
Pompadour doesn’t have to be always fluffy and thick, here’s an example of a slim pompadour with a very formal look to it. The whole side-parted look makes it very elegant with that hard part making it all clear. The sides are very neat that helps with fading the beard and the temple for a wholesome approach.
Introducing the royal pompadour with a well-defined hair strand pattern. In order to rock this look, one will definitely need some hair wax and a wide teeth comb. Next, have enough volume on the sides and not taper it so that the lines look clear all around. Next, have a pushed-back look and the rest is history.
Pompadour is all about boasting that volume and here it is also pushed back which makes it twice the better. The sides are not parted which gives it a very whole look with a mid fade that brings trend to the table. The lineup is also faded halfway which makes things so much more interesting.
Short pompadours can be confused to be quiffs but if you look closely it is a unified fluff ball which usually is a pompadour. The sides are gradually taper faded which gives it a very clean look but the clean shave approach is the best as it gives another layer of a clean dapper look.
Is it just me or this gives very retro vibes in here? The ginger color not only makes it obvious but also adds life to it. Especially after that side part, it looks very royal. The sides are mid faded with the top very thickly side-parted, how can one look so elegant yet so chill?
If you mix a soccer-inspired hairstyle with a pompadour, this will be the end result. The trendy attitude in that haircut is over the roof and the cleaner approach just makes it better. The sides are undercut tapered with size 1 clippers or even less for that stubble look as there is very beard to balance it.
This style just sits in the border of formal to casual. The top is straight-up pushed back to give a slicked-back feel to it with the twist of pompadour. However, the sides are taper faded which is a very modern look element. The line up is faded as well but this all makes the clean look even cleaner.
50 shades of blonde! This one is very poppy yet too subtle at the same time, the dye makes it stand out while the pompadour is the cooling element here. This mature look is quite simple, concentrate the volume on top and make sides tapered or even faded at times. And voila!
This might very well be the look from Harvey Spectre in season 1 where he rocks a pushed-back pompadour except this has fluff and taper on the sides. The key is don’t copy-paste the style, tweak it like here with that sharp and tapered lineup. The fluff is just a good bonus to the look.
For once I thought it was Beckam! Jokes aside, the sharky pushed back makes this pompadour a slimmer one which gives a good chance to side part it. Moreover, the mid fade makes it look sleeker. All of that with a beard in the bottom anchors the whole look with horizontal symmetry,
The classic “I love to ride bikes” look is here! The top is a very round and thick fluff with sides being tapered just enough to blend it with beard slightly. Also, if you notice there is a widow’s peak that makes this a very unique cut especially for the fluff. Have a thick beard, by the way, to make it a denser look.
This is a layered slicked back but since there is fluff to it, it is also a pompadour with a slim hard part which makes way for taper fade. The fade however is quite low helping the top to shine bright. Don’t forget the 2 fold line up, not very common these days.
This can be called 4k of hairstyles, especially with all those distinct hard parts and fades. The top is thin-haired pushed back with fluff which we call pompadour but this one is quite retro. The thin hard part is hard to miss and helps taper sides which are then followed by fade.
If this is not totally retro, I don’t know what is. The whole style is quite rigid with the top being popped up quite well. The sides are drawn back with combed patterns all over for that stubborn look. The best part is the mustache which seals this look to be quite a retro one.
We haven’t seen many angular looks with especially a pompadour. Well, here it is, the top front is a round fluff while the top back is an angle, it also feels like a cowlick which is very well might be. The sides are low faded with a sharp line up that goes with it.
Layered pompadour is surely the trend but make sure your hair is thick enough for the layers to look good and not glide. The volume contrast here on the sides is what makes this a very special one especially with the pattern on the side with temple fade that goes with the beard, which makes this one example to look upon.
Thick hair layers come in a different form and this is a brushed up version of the same. The top is brushed up and then pushed back for a thick look with a cowlick at the back. Not only that the sides are tapered with a pointy temple for more styling and then comes the beard to balance the whole look.
Do you see some fine horizontal symmetry with a side-swept pompadour and a thick beard running parallel on the face? Yes, I do too, the sides are taper faded with 2 fold line up. The face however helps the beard to blend in and that in whole makes the look quite wholesome.