How To Style A Pompadour |
Styling Inspiration for Men’s Hair

How To Style A Pompadour: The Definitive Guide

09 March 2018
photo of man with pompadour hairstyle

Emily Arata

Senior Editor

There is nothing easier than waking up in the morning, rolling out of bed, and never thinking twice about your hair. That’s not a strategy likely to endear you to your boss or your potential dates, however. Instead of wearing the same hairstyle that’s lived on top of your hair since you were 13 years old, learn a few key styling tricks inspired by the pros. Learning how to style a pompadour—a classic men’s style—will help you dip a toe into the world of polished male hair.

What is a pompadour?

When it comes to classic styles, we always like to start with the basics. The modern pompadour is a midcentury style, although it’s been worn in one way or another by men for centuries. Instead of hair that’s slicked back and combed close to the scalp, this style invites the wearer to embrace volume.

These days, we see plenty of barbers modernizing the trend by combining it with fades and tapers. In order to make this style work for you, you’ll need at least 2-3 inches of length on the top of your head.

Heat Styling

To create the perfect pompadour hairstyle, you’ll need access to (and some level of ease with) a hair dryer. Heat styling enables you to dry your hair quickly and shape the foundation of your hair while smoothing your strands to a shiny, barbershop-approved finish.

Snap the concentrator nozzle (it looks a little like a duck’s beak) onto your dryer and spritz a heat protectant all over your hair. The concentrator forces air in one single direction, enabling you to achieve very specific and directional results. After washing and conditioning your hair, use your fingers to rough dry the entire top section of your hair with medium heat.

Once your hair is about 70 percent dry, begin pushing it in the direction it naturally grows (you’ll be able to tell because it will fall flat against the scalp). Give your hair a healthy dose of heat, then use your fingers to rake and dry your hair in the opposite direction. As a rule, drying hair in the opposite direction will always help create volume.

Keep in mind that you want to angle the hair dryer to push air along your strand for a shiny-looking finish. Pointing it straight down won’t accomplish much of anything.

Applying Product

Once your hair is completely dry, you’ll be left with a voluminous section of hair at the top of your head. Use a medium hold pomade to add texture and grip to your pompadour, using about a fingertip’s worth of product and warming it between your palms before applying. Rake your product-covered hands forward and back through your hair, distributing the pomade as evenly as possible.

Use your hands to gently shape your pompadour, combing any stray pieces into place. Aim for maximum height just above your hairline. If you’d like to add some edginess to the look, pull one or two short pieces down to hang around your face.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When it comes to styling your hair, plan for a learning curve. Don’t wait to practice your pompadour until the day of your big event. In the week leading up to it, make time for several practice sessions. If you’re still not seeing the results you want, call up your barber and schedule an appointment to learn any steps you might have been skipping over.

In just a few short hours, you’ll be styling pompadours like a pro. Once you know how to use a hair dryer and hair product, you’re on your way to being styled all the time.

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