Hairstyles for Men: How to Style a Modern Pompadour

In our series, hairstyles for men, we’re going to look at different dos, from the modern and trendy to the iconic, vintage and downright zany, offering an insight into what makes each style so unique as well as practical tips on how to sculpt them in the most effective way possible.

That said, we’re going to start with a hairstyle for men that is not only incredibly versatile, but it’s also smack bang on trend right now: the modern pompadour.

Let’s dive in.

Hairstyles for men: what is a modern pompadour

The name pompadour derived from Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764), a mistress of King Louis XV, who is said to have pioneered the big, bold hairstyle (in its most extreme form) centuries ago.

So, this iconic and ever-evolving men’s hairstyle that boasts an awesome name may have been around for hundreds of years, but it was made internationally famous by the one and only Elvis Presley. Elvis may not have been the first person on the planet to sport a slick pompadour style haircut by a long shot, but he certainly put the do on the map.

At its core, the pompadour involves trimmed, neat sides with a long top or center that’s swept backwards to create a voluminous quiff. The modern pompadour is a take that basic framework, with variations of the style that often involve shorter, more cropped or buzzed sides, as well as smaller, larger or more textured quiffs.

Different types of pompadour

As we always say, with hairstyles for men in particular, you can modify any look to your personal preference, letting your creativity run wild, but as a rough guide, here are the three most common types of the modern pompadour.

The fade: A clean, sharp look that accentuates the cropped sides of the pompadour by taking buzz cutting them. The middle section (or quiff) of the hair can vary, with some men keeping it long and sweeping, building a bold contrast between the top and sides, while others opt for a short middle, creating an overall look that's more subtle and simple to manage.

Short and sweet: More akin to the textured quiff style you see worn by many a celebrity, actor and athlete, the short and sweet aesthetic is a far more subtle version of the face, with the sides usually cropped with scissors rather than buzzed, with a quiff that is shorter, often pushed upwards rather than slicked back.

Side part: The side part is best achieved by having a medium-length quiff and centre section, and it works with both with buzzed or scissor cut back and sides. The striking difference here is that the quiff, rather than being pushed straight up or swept back, is swept sideways in a neat ‘Mad Men’ fashion, following the natural curve of the head. This particular style is a great way of taming hard to manage hair - it looks as sharp as nails too.

How to style your modern pompadour

Now that you’re up to speed with what a modern pompadour is, as well as the three most popular types of pompadour, let’s take a look at how to style one of these iconic dos to perfection:

●  To start, ensure you’ve blow-dried your hair to make it as straight as possible, angling the dryer up, so your hair sits around the curve of your head. For professional blow drying tips, check out our tip-top guide.

●  Depending on the particular look you’re trying to achieve (long, short or side parted), start to comb your hair back over your head, or to the side to preference as the remainder of it dries, either naturally or with a cold blast of air from your hairdryer.

●  Take a little clay, paste or pomade, warm it in your hands liberally, and smooth it over your hair, applying as much as you need. If you're going for a slick look, apply a healthy dose of product; if you're going for a more natural look, apply small amounts, topping up as needed.

● Use your fingertips to ensure the product is evenly distributed across the hair, before taking your comb and smoothing out your hair until you get your volume or quiff styling of choice.

So, there you have it: all you need to know about the mighty modern pompadour. Now that you know where the name came from, the main types of pompadour and how to style it to perfection, head down to your barber shop or hairdresser’s and ask for the quiff of your dreams.

To help you on your quest for pompadour quiff perfection, check out our CON MOTO product guide and pick the perfect pomade for you, and your dazzling new style.

Jason Speziale