The Flamboyant Pompadour Is a Hairstyle Classic

Like fashion, hairstyles come and go. Remember those big hairdos that became popular during the 1980s and people’s obsessions with hairsprays in the 1990s? They might be dead—for now—but some styles seem to stay, like, forever. One of these is the pompadour.

What Is the Pompadour Hairstyle?

Madame de Pompadour, the chief mistress, and advisor of King Louis XV of France, inspired the pompadour hairstyle. This style became popular in the eighteenth century, especially among the aristocrats.

The pompadour is a hairstyle that creates a lot of volume on top of the head. It also features hair parted on one side while the rest is smoothed out and hangs straight down. Men who wear this style often have a volume over their forehead and some at the back of their heads.

The pompadour has evolved throughout history, but modern versions still have the same features. The hair is still parted on one side and smoothened out on the other, with some volume over the forehead and some at the back. It’s also a hairstyle that one can create on straight or curly hair.

Variations include:

  • Classic pompadour: It is the original pompadour style where the hair is styled high on top of the head and is very voluminous.
  • Pompadour with a side part: This variation has a side part instead of being parted down the middle.
  • Pompadour with bangs: This variation includes bangs styled swept over to one side.
  • Pompadour with undercut: This variation includes an undercut, where the sides are much shorter than the hair on top of the head and are highly slicked to one side instead of being smoothened out.

The pompadour hairstyle has been prevalent throughout history but has recently seen a resurgence. Some of the most well-known celebrities who wear this style are David Beckham, Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake.

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Products and Tools Needed

  • Gel or pomade: A good choice is American Crew Fiber for a classic pompadour style and Bumble and Bumble Styling Lotion for a more modern pomade-like finish.
  • Razor or barber’s scissors: This is optional, but if you want to add details to your hairstyle, using either razors or barber’s hair scissors can give you that sharp edge.
  • Hairspray: A strong-hold hairspray like L’Oreal Paris Elnett Extra Strong Hold Hairspray is perfect for keeping your style in place.
  • Comb: Use a comb to evenly distribute the product through your hair and create partings when needed. 
  • Hairdryer or hot airbrush: To speed up the styling process, use a hairdryer or hot air brush while blow-drying your hair.
  • Detachable hair clippers: If you want to maintain an undercut pompadour, use detachable hair clippers with a #2 attachment to create the fade effect.

How to Style a Pompadour

Styling a pompadour is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are some tips on how to get the look:

1. Use Gel or Pomade to Style Your Hair

Start by applying some water to dampen your hair and then towel-dry it before applying the gel or pomade throughout. Remember that your hair should be mostly dry before styling it into a pompadour hairstyle.

Distribute the gel or pomade evenly throughout your hair from root to tip. Depending on the type of pompadour you’re going for, some parts may require more gel or pomade than other areas. For example, a classic pompadour requires a higher concentration of product near the crown and more minor at the sides.

2. Make a Part on One Side of Your Head First and Then the Other

A pompadour hairstyle usually has a feature created on one side first—usually down the middle or toward the back of the head—before another part is made on the opposite side. This will create more volume on top of your head and a more defined look.

Create height and volume at the top of your head by styling your hair in a way that pushes it up and away from your face. You can use your hands or a comb to achieve this look.

Then, using a comb, smooth out the hair at the sides and back of your head, pushing it away from your face. Use some gel or pomade when doing this for extra hold.

3. Secure the Pompadour in Place

To keep your pompadour hairstyle intact, use a strong-hold hair product or hairspray to secure it in place.

The pompadour hairstyle is a versatile look adapted into many styles. You can go for a classic, side-swept pompadour, a modern slick-back pompadour, or even a faux hawk with a pompadour-like effect. You don’t need to be a professional barber with the right products and tools to achieve this look. Try it out and see what style works best for you.

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