Rock stars are the kings of the hair world. Whether we’re talking hair metal or acoustic guitar crooners, 1972 or 2015, the truth remains the same.
One of the most famous musician cuts of all time is the pompadour, a style that’ll make you want to wiggle your hips provocatively and get the girls screaming. This look is all about contrast, which means hair that boasts volume on top and subtle, tapered sides.
This style is so endlessly popular because it’s adaptable. Customize your side length, the fade you like, and the finish. If the pompadour cut is basically the denim of the hair world—there’s no way to wear it incorrectly.
Basic Pompadour Cut
We open on the traditional pompadour, a style that’s all about embracing your natural texture. To make sure you’re getting the best cut possible, be sure to schedule a consultation with your barber or stylist ahead of time. He or she should have an idea of your experience with hair product, your daily routine, and how you feel about a statement hairstyle.
Once that’s done, sit back and let the professional do the work. Your final look should leave you feeling like the king of rock ’n’ roll—bedazzled suit, optional.
All fade haircuts are a little different because there’s so much room for your stylist to play around with the sides. With a high fade pompadour, your long pompadour will quickly transform into nearly buzzed edges.
Choose a high fade pompadour style if you’re looking for a cut that’s a little edgier than your average hairstyle. Because the hair above your ears is so close-cropped, you’ll create something of a faux-hawk illusion cut.
Unlike the high fade pompadour, the low fade is all about preserving as much hair as possible while staying true to the style. Instead of trimming down the sides of your hair, this variation of the cut will have your barber touching up the area just above the ears. That close crop will become a little longer just about eye height, and continue to transition into longer hair up to the pompadour.
When you think of the pompadour style, this is probably the iteration you’re picturing. It’s by far the most wearable, easy-going version of the look. If you’re just giving the pompadour a shot for the first time, the low fade is an excellent transition look.
If you’re the kind of person who endlessly tracks the edgy cuts worn by professional athletes and musicians, then the skin fade may be the pompadour look for you. This take on the cut is an even more dramatic version of the high fade. Instead of barely-there buzzed strands, however, your barber will trim all the way down to the scalp.
A word of advice about the skin fade (also called a “bald fade”): This is a dramatic cut, and it’s challenging to pull off with ease. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, we’d recommend you be working with a very strong jawline and chiseled features.
Military Inspired Fade
There are dozens of variations on the military-style pompadour, but our favorite is a sharp cut that’s a stark take on the high fade. Instead of leaving length a little way down the sides of the head, your barber will trim closely from ears to temples.
Unlike other styles, this look also calls for a short, clean pompadour that’s designed to be combed down with either pomade or styling gel. This is a time-tested style, one that’s made generations of men look dashing and handsome.
After you’ve decided on the kind of fade to get, you’ll have to make one other decision: pompadour length. The amount of hair you keep on top depends entirely on you (and how much you enjoy styling your hairdo).
For first-timers, we recommend a medium-length pompadour. It’s long enough to style with texturizing paste or hair gel, but not so long that you can’t leave the house without showering and running product through it. We’re all about practicality and wearability, so don’t choose a length you won’t want to maintain.
While we’re talking pompadour length, why not consider trying out a straight edge look? Using a comb, your barber will sharply taper the length of your pompadour—longer at the forehead, then short at the crown of the head. The result is a hairstyle with tons of movement, one that will require a little styling work to stay in place.
If you like the look of an extra sharp cut or a dramatic hairstyle, give the straight edge pompadour a try. When a few of those front strands slip free to hang over your forehead, don’t be surprised to hear comparisons to a romantic movie lead
In love and hair, no decisions are easy. Up until now, you’ve probably been operating under the delusion that there’s only one kind of hair part in this world—but that’s where you’re wrong. When you run a comb through your strands and separate them, that’s what’s called a soft part.
Alternatively, you may opt to have a barber buzz your part into your hair. That’s called a hard part, and it’s very popular with pompadour styles. If you like the idea of not having to part your hair or making a statement without any work, the hard part is probably for you.
If you’re a curly-haired man, options for stylish haircuts can seem limited (and that’s putting it nicely). The pompadour is an excellent way to show off your waves. Length on top lends itself to easy styling, while cropped sides mean you’ll have less work to do in the morning. Just shower, push your curls forward, apply product, and go.
New to letting your curls run wild? Don’t be afraid to ask your hair stylist for advice about products, techniques, and drying tips that will help you along your curl journey. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be a master in the art of wearing curly hair.