If you’ve done any research whatsoever on classic men’s haircuts, you’ve almost certainly come across the pompadour. Rocked by Hollywood icons such as James Dean and Elvis Presley—and, more recently, David Beckham, Bruno Mars and Brad Pitt—this gravity-defying ‘do’ offers both high volume and high style.
The pompadour (or “pomp” as it’s sometimes called) is making a serious comeback as of late. If you’re thinking about adopting the look for yourself, you probably have two burning questions:
What should I ask my barber for?
How do I style a pompadour?
Don’t stress, gentlemen. We’ll explain what to tell your barber to get the pomp’s classic shape and how to style a pompadour to achieve sleek, rockabilly perfection.
The Pompadour Haircut
The pompadour has undergone many iterations since it was first introduced in the 1700s. Today’s most popular pompadour styles are largely inspired by the 1950s, with the majority of guys adding undercuts and fades to give the classic hairstyle a more modern edge.
Which variation of the pomp should you choose? That ultimately comes down to personal preference. A lot of guys like to give the sides a heavy taper or a fade. Others prefer to leave more hair on the sides for a fuller look.
Once you have a better idea of which pomp style you prefer, find a good barber who knows how to style a pompadour. Older barbers who have done plenty of pompadours are generally a good bet, but failing that, you can just ask your regular barber to trim the sides and leave at least four inches of length on top.
How to Style a Pompadour: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are several different ways to style a pompadour. However, most pomps will require the following tools and products:
- Pomade, putty or clay
- Round brush
Step #1: Take a Shower
To get a full and luscious pomp going, you need to have clean hair. Start by washing your hair and scalp with a moisturizing shampoo. If you're looking for extra volume with your Pompadour, opt for a specially formulated volumizing shampoo instead. Allow the product to really sink into your scalp so it can work its magic. Rinse it out and repeat the process using a nourishing conditioner.
Step #2: “Pomp” Up the Volume
Using a quality sea salt spray can help you achieve AMAZING volume and give your pomp some extra oomph that the “King of Rock and Roll” himself would envy. All you do is spritz it on your hair right after you’ve taken a shower and towel-dried your hair.
Step #4: Blow-Dry Hair
If you don’t already own a hairdryer, then get one ASAP. Preferably, one with a diffuser attachment to help reduce frizz and damage. Applying a product like Protect that includes the special ingredient Keratin can also help protect your hair and its volume before you apply the heat.
To create gravity-defying volume, blow-dry your hair on medium heat in the opposite way it falls naturally. Then, blow-dry the front of your hair while using a round brush to roll hair backward into the classic, pompadour shape.
Step #5: Finish with Product
Finally, it’s time to apply hair product to lock your hair into place. When it comes to styling a pompadour, we recommend one of the following hair products:
- Pomade. If you want that classic, rockabilly look, you’ll want to use a high hold, high shine pomade, like our Power Pomade. Unlike oil-based pomades, our water-soluble pomade is easy to wash out in the shower. Apply it to damp hair to achieve a kick-ass pomp that won’t budge.
- Putty. Prefer a pompadour that has a more natural look? Pick up a quality putty that provides a matte finish and a flexible hold. Our best-selling hair putty is perfect for short and medium-length hairstyles and offers the right amount of hold with just a touch of shine.
- Clay. Similar to hair putty, a quality hair clay can make your pomp more pliable and natural—not to mention, more touchable for the spicy senoritas. If you have thin hair, this miracle worker is particularly great because it will help maximize volume and give your pomp a fuller-looking appearance.
Got your hair product? Good. Now, rub the product into your hands and work it thoroughly into dry hair—first with your fingers, and then with a comb. It should cover every inch of your hair. Then, just fiddle around with it until you achieve the look you want.
High Volume, High Style
There you have it, gentlemen: how to style a pompadour that is simultaneously classic and modern. If you’re not quite ready to embrace this comeback style, consider rocking the quiff haircut instead. It’s basically the pompadour’s laidback, hipster sibling.
No matter how you style your hair, using the right hair tools and products is key to achieving the hairstyle you want. Feel free to check out the rest of our hair and grooming products to take your look to the next level!
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