The pompadour haircut is a style that consists of lots of volume on top that is either swept back or to the side. It emphasises volume and lush, healthy hair. Meanwhile, there is lots of flexibility as to what you can do with the sides.
In this guide, you will learn about the pompadour, how to style one, and whether it will suit you:
- What Is A Pompadour Haircut?
- Different Pompadour Styles
- How To Style A Pompadour Haircut
- Will A Pompadour Suit Me & My Face Shape?
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The Pompadour or “Pomp” owes its name to the enigmatic mistress of Louis XV of France, Madame de Pompadour. After a renaissance for women in the early 20th century, the Pompadour was appropriated by men during the late 1950s.
It has seen a strong comeback in recent years first among revival vintage enthusiasts and later by hipsters and businessmen alike.
Donned by iconic male figures such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, James Dean and Marlon Brando, the Pomp oozes with Rockabilly vibes. Yet it’s firmly rooted in today’s popular culture.
Celebrities including Bruno Mars, David Beckham, Alex Turner as well as Pink and Rihanna have all been seen rocking a Pomp. A truly gender-neutral style.
Traditionally (in the previous century, anyway), a Pompadour consists of short back and sides. The top is then swept up to create height and then rolled or slicked back. Nevertheless, offshoots in trends have created variants that integrate a modern streak whilst embodying its nostalgic flair.
The classic cut of the Pompadour features medium sides that can be accompanied by a high to medium Fade. Even so, the Fade should not be any higher than the crown to ensure a smooth transition of the top down to the sides.
Alternatively, the sides are neatly scissor cut and combed back with hair product. The result is a cut that is seamlessly assembled void of overstated and angular features.
Extreme variations are in vogue today. They seek magnified features that isolate the different zones of the hair with angular layers. The back and sides are often clipped extremely short with aggressive and tight Fades. The Fades usually disconnected along the side ridges with the use of an Undercut or Hard Side Part.
The Pomp is a conspicuous hairstyle that gets noticed. Nevertheless, the Pompadour’s age-old roots ensure it from being too eccentric for relatively liberal professional environments. In this day and age, it isn’t inconceivable to imagine a banker or doctor adorn a modest classic Pompadour.
That said, its extreme variations aren’t exactly hairstyles suited for the more conservative establishments. In any case, it’s a statement look that you don to be intentionally noticed by your peers. If you want something a little more modest, a Side Part or Comb Over are certainly alternatives worth considering.
Short on side, long on top slicked or rolled back. Sounds simple? Almost! Just be mindful that there is an abundance of factors to consider when pairing the top and sides. The versatility of modern Pomps allows for many ways to obtain one by combining different styles.
Pompadour Haircut Top
Below are a number of styles of pompadour haircuts.
Shorter, tamed top
In combining Crew Cut features, this is a neater, modest approach the Pomp that can blend into conservative environments. It allows the wearer to subtly express themselves with a structured Pomp without standing out.
Long and voluminous, rolled back
In taking a leaf from the 1950’s book, this high-maintenance approach has managed to walk the fine line between timeless and nostalgic. This style requires a lot of work with good quality products and a comb to make sure everything stays in place.
Pomped Comb Over
By combining the Comb Over and the Pomp, you have the opportunity to show off considerable volume with much less product and management. Learn more about the Comb Over here to discover its features.
An approach to the Pomp that modernises the look. The objective here is to combine the Faux Hawk style with a Pomp finish at the front to create a fresh and edgy cut. Read more on the Faux Hawk here to learn more.
Textured, messy top
By adding texture to the top with a messy finish, you can create a low-maintenance form of Pomp. Bear in mind, however, that strictly speaking this is no longer a conventional Pomp.
Pompadour Haircut Sides
Below are a number of sides that can be combined with a pompadour haircut.
Scissor Cut short
Scissor cut sides are longer than other styles to allow the wearer to brush or comb the sides. The nape is often blocked so the hair along the crown and ridges blends together to ensure a seamless transition. This suits more classic and messy styles and requires fewer visits to the barbershop.
Modest, seamless faded taper
A restrained taper such as this pairs well with shorter, tamed tops or even the classic 1950s look. The sides remain appropriate for most occasions and aren’t too avant-garde to stand out.
Hard Side Part, medium Fade
Although it might not be to everyone’s palate, there’s something to be said for razor-sharp sides with a hard Side Part sculpted along the side ridge. It’s a very outgoing finish that completes the look’s ensemble and modernises the Pomp.
An aggressive Undercut paired with a Pomp works best when volume is the look’s centrepiece. A well-defined Undercut marks the transition between the top and sides often letting the volume on top fall back down. It distinguishes the different parts of the hair with an angular finish and allows the wearer to concentrate on only maintaining the Pomp itself.
Tight Fade with hard lines.
The lines of the sides are sculpted to accentuate a face’s features with sharp Fades and create precise and angular details. Like a hard Side Part with a medium Fade, a hard-lined tight Fade is a bold style. It modernises the appearance of a Pomp with extravagance and panache.
Needless to say, both classic and extreme approaches are relatively high maintenance in that they need regular trimming and styling. The natural elements such as wind and gravity are daily challenges that can put even the perfect Pomp in peril.
A floppy Pomp that loses its structure is a daunting experience for the wearer and measures need to be taken to ensure that this does not occur.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily require a stack of products that entails a daily hour-long routine to sculpt the Pomp into place… Nor does it have to be the source of bad hair days and tearful despair in front of the mirror.
How To Style A Pompadour Haircut
- Prepare the hair by heavily dampening it or lightly towel drying it after a shower.
- Leading with a brush, cold blow-dry the sides and top back using a directional nozzle from the roots to the ends.
- Using the brush to hold the front of your hair, quarter-turn it to fold the front back as your blow-dry.
- With only a pea-sized amount, rub some pomade or wax into your hands until smooth. Apply starting with the sides, along the top and finishing at the front. Don’t hesitate to reach for more hair product as you go along.
- Using a comb, sculpt the sides and top back.
- Once you reach the front, comb the fringe up and pat it down. Repeat if necessary.
Shorter Pomps need only a decent comb and a pot of strong pomade or wax if you want a matte finish. Yet, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in a blow dryer with a cold setting for bigger Pomps as this will create the necessary base shape and elevation essential to achieving the desired look.
Easier said than done, sure, but practice does make perfect! Although the routine will be a pain at first, you’ll be pomping hard in no time after a few attempts!
Will It Suit My Face Shape?
With a plethora of ways to style to Pompadour, there are a variety of solutions for men and their different face shapes. We’ve identified 7 individual face shapes, which play a vital role in determining how well certain styles may suit different men.
If you don’t yet know your face shape, we strongly recommend you quickly follow out guide here in order to identify it before you continue reading this section.
The following face shapes will be able to easily wear a pompadour hairstyle but may benefit from a few styling tips!
Diamond Face Shapes
Diamond face shapes can really shine with a Pomp but ought to aim for a relatively wide top to add build to the forehead as well as maintain a low fade if one is desired. Sharp cuts can look particularly high fashion but be wary that this will overly expose your angular features.
Oval Face Shapes
Oval can experiment freely with Pompadours. With the height, there’s little risk of over-rounding the face. In many ways, an Oval face is the ideal canvas for a Pomp.
Round Face Shape
Round face shapes benefit the most from the Pomp. The volume offered on top adds height and reduces width whilst working the sides provides an angular finish.
Triangle Face Shapes
Triangle face shapes can enjoy how the Pomp reveals the forehead but should avoid high fades that risk narrowing the head. Keep it wide to straighten the cheek bones with the jawline.
The following face shapes can usually wear a pompadour but will benefit from a few styling tips beforehand.
Heart Face Shapes
Heart-shaped faces can try different varieties of the Pompadour but ought to make sure that the sides are relatively well filled-out if they want to add some height. Try harder edges to goffset your jawline with some hardness.
Square Face Shapes
Square face shapes ought to be careful that the Pomp on top isn’t narrow on the top given their wide forehead. Otherwise, they can try some softer styles that beldn in well with their features.
Incompatible Face Shapes
The following face shape may struggle to successfully style a pompadour haircut in a way that flatters their face shape.
Oblong Face Shapes
With all that height, Oblong faces run a risk of severely elongating the face even with the smallest Pomp so it’s best to steer clear entirely.
You mention Oblong face shapes as not being well-suited for Pompadour hairstyles, however, I’d like to counter with the legend Elvis Presley who’s often identified as having an Oblong face shape along with his classic haircut.
That’s a good point, however, I’d argue that while Oblong, Elvis’ face also had a strong jawline/chin that also gave it the look of a triangle/round face shape. This helped him rock the pompadour quite well. With that in mind, our categories aren’t cut-and-dry, as men’s face shapes themselves are not cut-and-dry.