How to Style a Pompadour | The Classic & Modern Looks

How to Style a Pompadour | The Classic & Modern Looks

How to Style a Pompadour

Most likely, if you’ve done any research at all on traditional men’s haircuts, you’ve heard of the pompadour. This gravity-defying “do,” popularized by Hollywood luminaries like James Dean and Elvis Presley—and, more recently, David Beckham, Bruno Mars, and Brad Pitt—offers both high volume and high style.

Did you know that the pompadour hairstyle, with bangs, dates back to the 18th century in history? This iconic look has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular choice for those wanting a stylish and classic appearance. If you’re looking to rock a pompadour with confidence, you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding Pompadour Basics

Key Elements

A classic pompadour hairstyle typically features short sides and back with longer hair on top, styled upwards using the product. This iconic look often includes a voluminous pomp and swept-back top, creating a distinctive silhouette.

Face Shape Significance

The ideal pompadour style is heavily influenced by one’s face shape. For instance, men with round faces may opt for a more elongated pompadour to create the illusion of a slimmer face by combing the sides of their head.

Reflecting Personality

Styling a pompadour goes beyond aesthetics; it can also reflect one’s personality. A bold and daring individual might choose a high-volume pompadour with sharp edges and comb, while someone more laid-back could go for a softer, more natural-looking style with sides.

Step-by-Step Pompadour Creation

Mastering the Technique

To build the perfect pompadour, start by applying a small amount of pomade to your hair and comb the sides back. Work it through evenly from root to tip.

Next, using a comb, step by step, begin to tease the hair at the crown of your head. This will create volume and height for the pompadour.

After teasing, gently comb back and smooth out the top layer of hair to shape the pompadour. Use your fingers to guide the hair upwards and backwards.

Styling with Precision

Utilize a tonic hair spray to set the style in place. Hold the spray about 12 inches away from your head and mist it over the pompadour.

Once you have sprayed the hair, grab a blow dryer and set it on low heat. Build up the volume of your pompadour by directing hot air towards the roots while shaping with your hands, focusing on the sides and back.

Continue to blow dry until the desired height and shape are achieved. The heat helps to lock in the style for a long-lasting look.

Perfecting Your Pompadour

Practice is key when mastering this hairstyle. Experiment with different amounts of pomade and spray for varying hold and shine levels.

Remember, each step plays a crucial role in creating a flawless pompadour. Take your time to tease, shape, and set the style for optimal results.

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Classic Pompadour Look


A classic pompadour hairstyle is characterized by its voluminous top and sleek, slicked-back sides. This style typically features shorter sides that gradually transition into longer hair on the top. The key element of a pompadour is the height and volume at the front of the hair, creating a bold and striking look.

Styling Process

To achieve the classic pompadour look, start by applying a grooming tonic to damp hair to add texture and hold. Next, use a comb to lift the hair at the front and blow-dry it upwards to create volume. Once the hair is dry, apply a pomade evenly throughout the hair, focusing on the top section to keep it in place.

Importance of Scissor-Cut Sides

The sides and back of a classic pompadour are crucial for achieving the right balance in this hairstyle. Opt for a scissor cut rather than clippers to maintain control over length and ensure a seamless blend with the longer top. This technique helps create a sharp contrast between the voluminous top and neatly trimmed sides, enhancing the overall aesthetic.

Modern Pompadour Variations

Texture Differences

Achieving a modern pompadour involves playing with texture. Shorter sides and a longer top create a stark contrast, enhancing the style’s edginess. To achieve this look, consider using a texturizing spray to add volume and definition to the hair.

Styling Techniques

Modern pompadours often incorporate undercuts or fades for a contemporary twist. These techniques create a sharp transition between the longer hair on top and the shorter sides. Use a comb to slick back the hair on top while adding height at the front for that signature pompadour shape.

Extreme Hold Matte Pomade

To maintain the shape of a modern pompadour throughout the day, opt for an extreme hold matte pomade. This product provides the necessary grip and control to keep your hairstyle in place without appearing greasy or shiny. Apply a small amount evenly through damp hair, focusing on the roots and working towards the ends.

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Specialty Pompadour Techniques

Medium Fade

To achieve a medium fade pompadour, start by asking your barber for a fade that gradually decreases in length towards the neck. This style features shorter sides that seamlessly blend into longer hair on top. Use a pomade to slick back the hair on the sides and create volume at the front.

For a more defined look, consider using a hair dryer to set the pomp in place. The key to maintaining this style is regular trims to keep the fade looking sharp. A medium fade pompadour offers a balance between a clean-cut appearance and a bold, voluminous top.

Medium Length

The medium pompadour is characterized by its moderate length all around, creating a versatile and timeless look. This style works well for various occasions, from casual outings to formal events. To achieve this look, ensure your hair is long enough on top to be styled upwards.

Use a texturizing spray like sea salt spray or cream to add texture and hold to the hair before styling. Unlike shorter variations, the medium pompadour allows for more creativity in shaping the pomp at the front. This style exudes confidence and can be customized based on personal preferences.

Products and Tools

For both medium fade and medium length pompadours, essential products include pomade, texturizing spray, and hair cream for styling and hold. Invest in a quality hair dryer to set the desired shape of your pomp.

When styling your pompadour, use a fine-toothed comb to create clean lines and define the shape of the hairstyle. Consider adding a touch of hairspray for extra hold throughout the day. These products and tools are crucial for achieving a polished specialty pompadour look.

Pompadour for Different Hair Lengths

Long Hair

For long hair, achieving a pompadour involves trimming the sides and back with scissors. To create height, use a blow dryer and a round brush. A vent brush helps add volume at the roots.

Medium Hair

With medium-length hair, focus on creating height by blow-drying the hair upwards. Use a bit of styling product to hold the shape. A vent brush is crucial for lifting the roots.

Short Hair

Styling a pompadour on short hair requires precision cutting to maintain length on top for volume. Use a blow dryer to lift the hair and create texture. A vent brush helps in achieving the desired height.

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Styling Tips for a Perfect Pompadour


To achieve a flawless pompadour, start by applying grooming tonic to damp hair. This essential step helps in creating volume and hold.

Blow-dry your hair using a round brush to lift the roots and add height. The grooming tonic aids in maintaining the shape of the pompadour.

Key Products and Tools

Invest in a high-quality pomade to style and hold the pompadour in place throughout the day. Look for products with a strong hold for longevity.

A fine-tooth comb is crucial for shaping and sculpting the pompadour precisely. It helps in achieving clean lines and defining the hairstyle’s structure.

Maintenance Routine

Regular trims are necessary to keep the sides short and maintain the length at the top for a classic pompadour look. Visit your stylist every few weeks.

Use a dry shampoo between washes to absorb excess oil and maintain volume at the roots. It refreshes your hairstyle without stripping away natural oils.

Final Touches

Finish off your pompadour with a spritz of hairspray to lock in the style and ensure it stays intact throughout the day. Choose a strong-hold formula for lasting results.

Avoid overloading your hair with products as it can weigh down the pompadour and make it appear flat. Opt for lightweight formulas that provide hold without stiffness.

Maintaining Your Pompadour

Choosing Pomade

When it comes to styling a pompadour, selecting the right pomade is crucial. Look for products that offer long-lasting hold and shine. Experiment with different brands to find the one that suits your hair type.

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for keeping your pompadour in top shape. Use a towel to blot excess moisture after washing your hair. This helps maintain volume and prevents the hair from becoming too flat.


To maintain the perfect pompadour, occasional touch-ups are necessary. Keep your tools handy for quick fixes throughout the day. A small comb or brush can help you lift the hair back into place when needed.

Exploring Advanced Pompadour Styles

Textured Pompadours

Creating textured pompadours involves adding layers and volume to the hair, giving it a more dynamic and edgy look. This style works well for those with thick hair, as the added texture enhances the overall appearance. To achieve this look, use a texturizing spray or pomade to add definition and hold to the hair. Experiment with different styling techniques like tousling or twisting sections of hair to create a textured finish.

Asymmetrical Cuts

Asymmetrical cuts offer a modern twist to the traditional pompadour style. This variation features uneven lengths on either side of the head, adding a unique and contemporary flair to the hairstyle. 

To achieve an asymmetrical pompadour, work with your hairstylist to determine the best placement of shorter and longer sections based on your face shape and personal style. Use styling products like wax or clay to define and accentuate the asymmetry of the cut.

Personalizing Your Pompadour Style

Personalization is key when it comes to styling a pompadour that truly reflects your individuality. Consider incorporating elements that showcase your personality, such as adding a shaved design on the sides or experimenting with different parting styles. 

Choose products that work best for your hair type and desired look, whether it’s a high-shine pomade for a classic finish or a matte paste for a more relaxed vibe. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styling techniques until you find the perfect personalized pompadour that sets you apart from the rest.

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Closing Thoughts | How to Style a Pompadour

You’ve now mastered the art of styling a pompadour, from classic to modern variations and advanced techniques. Your hair game is about to level up with these tips and tricks. Keep experimenting with different styles and find what suits you best. Don’t forget to maintain your pompadour regularly for that fresh look every day.

Now, go ahead and show off your perfectly styled pompadour with pride! Remember, confidence is key when it comes to pulling off any hairstyle. Keep practicing, keep styling, and keep slaying that pompadour look!

FAQs | How to Style a Pompadour

How can I achieve a classic pompadour look?

To achieve a classic pompadour look, start by applying a styling product to damp hair, comb the hair upward and back, blow-dry while lifting the hair at the roots, and finish with hairspray for hold and shine.

What are some specialty techniques styling a pompadour?

Specialty techniques for styling a pompadour include using a round brush to add volume, teasing or backcombing the hair for extra lift, and incorporating hair accessories like headbands or scarves for a unique touch.

Can I create a modern pompadour with short hair?

Yes, you can create a modern pompadour with short hair by keeping the sides shorter and focusing on height at the front. Use strong-hold products, such as pomade or wax, to style your short hair into a sleek and contemporary pompadour.

How do I maintain my pompadour hairstyle?

To maintain your pompadour hairstyle, regularly trim the sides and back to keep the shape clean, wash your hair with a quality shampoo and conditioner suitable for your hair type, use styling products sparingly to avoid buildup, and touch up your style as needed throughout the day.

What are some advanced styles I can explore for my pompadour?

Advanced styles you can explore for your pompadour include adding intricate braids or twists to the sides or incorporating shaved designs for a bold statement. Experiment with different textures, lengths, and finishing techniques to elevate your pompadour game.

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