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Introducing the Perfect Modern Pompadour

Where Matte & Messy is the New Norm

Pompadours have become one of the most highly sought after hairstyles at the moment thanks to male and female celebrities alike.  From the ever-fashionable David Beckham and Adam Levine to the head-turning Ruby Rose, this hairstyle has picked up steam and has trickled down to the everyday stylish individual.  While this hairstyle has seen its fair share of transformation over the years, one thing's for certain - the style and the spirit that the pompadour embodies is everlasting.  


Traditionally, we associate the pompadour with greasers who made the hairstyle infamous during the 1950's and 60's.  The combination of high shine from oil-based pomades and combing the hair back while maintaining volume in the front gave the hairstyle its signature look, but it also dates it.  However, recent trends for the pompadour have shifted and we've been introduced to the modern pompadour hairstyle.  Gone are the days of greasy hair and combed locks - they've been replaced by a messier, finger-combed styling that is complimented by natural matte finish.  While the modern pompadour still stays true to its rebellious roots, it has certainly become more palatable for the average person who wants a stylish, yet bold look.  It's a versatile hairstyle that's suitable for a day at the office, a night on the town, or a walk down the red carpet - either way, people will take notice!

The modern pompadour starts with an undercut, where the hair is is long on top with a short fade on the sides and back.  In true pompadour fashion, there is still heavy focus on creating a volume in the front, but it's styled in an organized messy way as if you didn't put much effort into styling it at all (even though you probably did).  Typically the hair is about 6-8 inches on top and is characterized by a swept up-and-back style.  Instead of using a comb to make sure every hair is perfectly in line, the modern styling takes a more casual approach where using ones fingers to rake the hair into shape is completely acceptable. Unlike a traditional pompadour, the "duck tail" on the back on your hair is gone and the sides are not swept back because the modern pompadour has the back and sides faded down with clippers.

Get the Right Cut

The right cut (and a good set of genes) goes a long way when it comes to achieving the perfect modern pompadour.  It's best if the hair on the top of your head is about 6-8" long to start out with, particularly in the front.  It doesn't matter if the hair is straight, wavy, or curly - it's important to have enough length.  When cutting the shape you'll want to keep the length in front of the head as long as possible, but cut back the length in an angular fashion toward the crown. The hair at the crown should be approximately 2-3 inches when it's all said and done, and a short fade is preferred for the sides and back.  For the bold, adventurous types, try a skin fade for a more dramatic look that will surely grab attention.  Save a photo on your smart phone for reference if you need help explaining what you want to your barber or stylist.

Use the Right Styling Techniques

You'll need the proper styling techniques to achieve the volume in the front required for pulling off the perfect modern pompadour look. Here are the tools and styling products you'll want in your arsenal - heat protectant spray, blow dryer with multiple heat settings, Mister Pompadour's Texture Powder and Natural Beeswax Paste.  

  • As always, begin with clean and conditioned hair that's towel dry.
  • Add a spritz or two of heat protectant to the hair and spread thoroughly to ensure it’s protected from potential heat damage.  Heat is the enemy of healthy hair and exposure to too much heat over time will result in dry, brittle, and frizzy if not cared for properly.  
  • Use a blow dryer to give hair natural volume.  On medium heat, blow dry the hair in the opposite direction of the finished style - so for the modern pompadour, blow dry from back to front.  This may go against conventional wisdom, but blowing opposite first will do wonders for achieving good volume. Once your hair is about 75% dry, change directions and blow dry it from front to back.  Continually comb through it with your fingertips and twist it a bit to create some texture.  
  • Once dry, sprinkle Mister Pompadour Texture Powder into the roots and finger comb the hair into shape.  This "magic" powder is super lightweight and it creates instant volume that lasts a long time - it works by giving your hair more body and allowing the hair strands to actually stack on top of each other for structural support.  The look you should have now is a pretty loose, voluminous style where the front of the hair should be flowing up, then back.Finally, use the Natural Beeswax Paste to give the modern pompadour its ultimate definition and shape.  It’ll provide a natural matte finish and enough holding power to last throughout the day. Warm up a dime-sized amount of product between your palms until it's soft and pliable.  Apply it by scrunching and raking it into the hair while forming the desired pompadour shape.  Add more styling product if needed, but be mindful that adding too much product will make the hair too heavy, and will unfortunately cause it to lose the volume that's needed for the pompadour look. Finish the look by finger combing and forcing separation between the hair - this will result in an organized, mess appearance that you're looking to achieve.

Like any hairstyle, practice makes perfect - be sure to experiment with various combinations of blow drying techniques and amounts of styling product until your modern pompadour is how you like it.  With the modern pompadour you're saying goodbye to greasy and combed, and hello to matte and messy!

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