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The Essential Guide to Pompadour Hairstyles: Variations & Styling Options

What’s a Pompadour Hairstyle?

Pompadour hairstyles are often described as the hallmark of manliness. Over the decades, this classic yet modern hairstyle has continued to prove popular among A-list celebrities and sports stars. Icons who have worn pompadour variations include Brad Pitt, Nick Jonas, David Beckham, and Justin Timberlake.

As you will soon see, just about anyone can pull off the pompadour hairstyle. All you need are the right products and a bit of know-how. Keep reading to find out how this striking hairstyle took hold, the various types of pompadours that are trending today, how to request one from your trusted stylist, and the best styling products to achieve a long-lasting look.

Modern Origins of the Pompadour Hairstyle

From 1950 to 1969

Up until 1950, pompadour hairstyles were mostly associated with women. However, things changed as men’s interest in the pompadour soared. The first famous icon to sport this hairstyle was Elvis Presley. Then came other famous stars like Little Richard and James Dean that helped cement the pompadour as a hairstyle for men. It’s believed that the style’s popularity came down to its uneven shape.

From 1970 to 1979

The ’70s were marked by a preference for having a full head of hair. With so many men keeping their hair natural and having only the occasional wash, the rise of the pompadour took a hit.

From 1980 to Today

Pompadours came back with a bang during the ’80s. Interestingly, this was also a period where rock music fusion became popular. Also called psychobilly, it was clear that the music and cultural outlook of the generation’s youth were having a significant influence on hairstyles.

Even after this era passed, the pompadour has remained for many reasons. One is the eternal love of pompadours among celebrities. Icons like David Beckham and Zayn Malik are just a couple of the many ambassadors of this hairstyle.

Types of Pompadour Hairstyles

Classic Pompadour

Classic Pompadour

Want to look exactly like Elvis Presley? Then the classic pompadour might be your best bet. It’s the perfect monument to the pompadour, and it comes with style, too.

The classic pompadour can be easily recognized by the sheer volume of hair as well as its shine. The hair at the back and sides should be shorter than the front. However, in contrast to contemporary versions that use clippers, the classic pomp haircut typically leaves more hair on the sides and back.

However, there are some things you might need to do if you choose classic pompadour. Hair maintenance is one of them, which might be difficult considering the fast times we live in.

Classic Pompadour with Beard

The classic pompadour gets even better when combined with beards. Full beards uniquely complete the look of this hairstyle.

Traditional Pompadour for Curly or Permed Hair

The classic pompadour isn’t just for straight hair. It can also be used for curly (or permed) hair. It looks just the same but styled a bit differently. It’s the ideal style for black hair.

Modern Pompadour

The modern pompadour is the hair of Hollywood royalty. The difference between the classic and contemporary pompadour is the length of hair. With the modern pompadour, the hair on the back and sides is relatively shorter than the top.

Your hair also gets a pomp, which is wavy and delicately masculine. It oozes everything you would want with a hairstyle. There are variants of the modern pompadour to further match your unique style.

The Modern Undercut Pompadour
The Modern Undercut Pompadour

The undercut version offers a much different style from the usual modern pompadour. With the undercut, the hair on the sides looks a bit buzzed. The difference between the form on the sides and the top is more discernible.

Modern Pompadour with Short Sides
Modern Pompadour with Short Sides

This version of the modern pompadour comes out shorter on the sides. However, it maintains a different look from the undercut pompadour.

The Pompadour vs. Other Popular Men’s Hairstyles

The Quiff vs. The Pompadour

The Pompadour and the quiff may appear similar in many respects. For example, both incorporate brushing up the front of the hair to give it volume. However, these classic hairstyles have key differences. It is important to understand these—especially before you go to talk to your barber!

The main difference is the direction of brushing and the quality of the volume created. With a quiff, your hair is brushed to create an airy volume and can be bundled to the side. In contrast, for a pompadour, you would brush your hair back to give it a denser volume in the bangs. The comb gives it uniform direction but more volume at the top.

The Slicked Back vs. The Pompadour

The slicked-back hairstyle is precisely what its name implies. With this style, your hair on top will get pulled back tightly, however, it should not have a line caused by combing your hair into a part. To complete the look, the slick back has to have a wet appearance. This can easily be achieved with pomade. Slicked-back hairstyles have a heavier look and feel—further reinforcing your authoritative gravitas, charisma, and alpha-male aura.

While pomps will usually use pomade, you get more of a high volume of hair on top. Pulling the hair backwards is optional.

Modern Comb-Over vs. Pomp

Modern Comb-Over vs. Pomp

The contemporary comb-over hairstyle and the pompadour are similar in many ways and are considered equally trendy. The difference between these two hairstyles is that your hair is combed, and the hair on top has evenly sized and spaced bundles.

Best Matching Face Shapes for the Pompadour

Simply getting a trendy pompadour is not enough to make a statement. A good barber will always tell you that the hairstyle you choose must be tailored to fit the shape of your face. Men with round faces can pull off any pomp variation. However, the perfect match for timeless pomp is the square face shape. If you have a thin face, the best option would be to go with a shorter pompadour hairstyle.

Wearing the Pomp Hairstyle Like a Pro

While the pompadour hairstyle is truly a classic, it can be even better if you know how to wear it to your advantage. Here are three suggestions that can help you master the pomp.

The Best Scene for a Pompadour

The pompadour can fit into most scenes. It’s all about finding a balance. Most times, the preferences of the social group have to be considered. We recommend rocking the pompadour when you want to make a statement, be assertive, and stand out.

Clothes that Complement the Pompadour

The pompadour goes hand in hand with fashion. Ideal clothes are corporate wear, such as suits. However, jackets, jeans, and denim shirts are also perfect. The bottom line is that while some clothes fit the style more than others, there is no stringent rule about what you can wear with this cut.

Attracting Romance with the Pompadour

This hairstyle oozes confidence. It also signals that you have a high awareness for style and fashion, which means that anyone who is looking for a confident and successful man who is on top of the trends will find your pompadour appealing.

Pompadour Hairstyles by Hair Length

While the majority of the pompadour hairstyles can be lumped into the classic and modern look, there are other classifications like hair length.

Short Pompadour

Short Pompadour

The short pompadour is just what it says it is. Short. While it’s mostly short, the general principles of a pompadour hairstyle still apply here.

Short Curly or Permed Pompadour

The short curly (or permed) pompadour is similar to the short top fade. However, this time, it works well with hair possessing curls—whether they be natural or due to perming.

Mid Pompadour

Mid Pompadour

The medium length pompadour is longer than the short pompadour. The mid pomp is usually styled with other variants such as the mid fade haircut.

Pompadour with Extra Volume

This pompadour comes with added volume. The top is much larger than the short or mid pompadour and can be divided into the full-volume and mountain-high pompadour.

Full-Volume Pompadour
Full-Volume Pompadour

This version is all high and full. It’s taller and longer than other hair lengths associated with the pompadour.

Mountain-High Pompadour
Mountain-High Pompadour

It comes with one side raised in volumes like a mountain, which is really the only main difference between this type and the full-volume pompadour

The Best Pompadour Hairstyle Combinations

The pompadour comes with a lot of variety as you can easily mix and match options.

Pompadour Fade

The pomp fade is a variation of the classic pomp. It combines the more illustrious taper fade hairstyle with the pomp. It also comes with very short sides and a longer top. The pomp fade has many variants itself.

Pompadour with Low Fade
Pompadour with Low Fade

The low fade pomp offers a clean-cut hairstyle. The short sides give the top a big bump and clearly bring out its style.

Pompadour with Mid Fade
Pompadour with Mid Fade

This version is similar to the low fade but a bit showier. Just like the name implies, the fade starts higher up the sides. This toughens the look and offers some more contrast. It also comes with a lot of options. Shorter or medium hair lengths are more ideal with this hairstyle.

Short Pompadour with High Fade
Short Pompadour with High Fade

This is often described as the ultimate hairstyle for barbers. The fade is much higher up, which makes it perfect for a short pompadour. If you wish to style shorter hair, the high fade might be your best choice.

Skin Fade with Textured Pomp

The skin fade is often called a bald fade. The pompadour can be whipped up with this hairstyle as it brings out the stylishness of the top hair. When combined with the textured pomp, it produces a shiny look, which is hard to ignore.

Disconnected Pompadour

The disconnected pomp can be identified by the clear break between the sides and the top. What this achieves is more emphasis on the height and length of the pomp. This hairstyle gives you a fun and badass look.

Side Part Pompadour

Side Part Pompadour

The side part pompadour is a combination of traditional pomp and a side part. This hairstyle can be combined with several other variations including facial hair. Whether you rock it clean-shaven, with a thick yet beautifully sculpted beard, or somewhere in between, your look will be bold and distinguished.

Side Part Pompadour

Slicked Back Pompadour

This hairstyle combines the slicked back hairstyle with pomp. It’s delicately precise and looks good too!

Wavy Pompadour

Wavy Pompadour

The wavy pompadour gives off a vibe that is fresh and youthful. You can keep your wavy hair while turning most of the top into pomp, for a look that exudes calmness and cheerfulness.

Loose Pompadour with Shaved Sides

This cut comes with a large volume of hair. However, the pompadour is a bit loose, which gives a different feel. Combine this with completely shaved sides and you have an exciting look.

Textured Relaxed Pompadour

Textured Relaxed Pompadour

This variation is best described as the “hazy waking up from sleep” look. You get full-volume pomp combined with a touch of messiness. Most times, the textured relaxed pompadour is perfected by applying a bit of pomade to it.

How to Get a Pompadour

Communicating with Barbers and Stylists

Interested in getting a pompadour? You should be! If this is your first time trying this hairstyle out, you might be wondering how to go about it. The first step will be to request a pompadour at your barbershop or salon.

When visiting a barber, hairdresser, or stylist, it helps if you bring a picture of the specific pompadour variation you want. However, be aware that the model in the picture will likely have a different shaped head, face, and hair type. Thus, it will help if you can also be ready to describe any specific things that the stylist needs to know in order to achieve the look you want.

The DIY Pompadour Styling Process

Sure, your hair looks incredible when you first walk out of the barbershop, but how do you achieve the same effect the next morning? Here is the complete process on how to style your pompadour

Styling: Apply a small amount of styling product, mainly on the bangs and the top. Make it stand upwards and then run it to the back. After that, grab the bangs and emphasize the volume. Once you are happy with your hair, feel free to apply a bit of hairspray to keep everything in place.

Tip: Before styling, it is recommended to create the base shape of your hair by blow-drying with a hairdryer.

While drying, brush the hair back from your temples towards the back of your head. If you have a roller brush, use it to roll up your bangs in an up/back direction. This makes it easier to create a more voluminous base.

Products for Your Pompadour Hairstyle

An essential part of the pompadour hairstyle is the use of products that make the pompadour. Without them, your pomp won’t truly look like a pomp. Fortunately, there are several types of products that can make this magic happen. The products you choose will depend on the type of pompadour you are aiming for and the properties of your hair

Pomade - Recommended by GATSBY

An essential part of the pompadour hairstyle is the use of products that make the pompadour. Without them, your pomp won’t truly look like a pomp. Fortunately, there are several types of products that can make this magic happen. The products you choose will depend on the type of pompadour you are aiming for and the properties of your hair.

Styling Wax

Styling wax is the go-to product for most pompadour aficionados. It holds your chosen style while keeping your hair pliable.

Hair Gel

The role of hair gel in these hairstyles is to stiffen the hair and keep it together for the perfect pompadour look while providing shine. The end result is more robust and firmer pomp. Hair gel is not sticky and can easily be removed.

Styling Clay

If you have fine hair and are seeking to style your pompadour in a natural-looking way, our styling clay is for you. Spread it evenly on your palms and apply it all throughout your hair and hair ends. You should find that it spreads evenly and has a nice hold.

Hair Spray

After you have applied your styling product of choice, we recommend applying hair spray to finish it off. Why? Hair spray, the iconic styling product for men of style throughout the years, helps to keep your style stiff for longer.

Complete Your Look with the Perfect Pompadour

The pompadour look is going to be around for quite some time. The good news is that there are so many options to choose from! With the right products to back you up, you can have the pompadour hairstyle of your dreams.