Elvis Presley wasn’t the first man to sport the pompadour haircut, but he was possibly the man who made it most famous. Originally named for Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV, its basic form is hair upswept from the face in a quiff that extends back over the forehead. And it is usually accompanied with trim, slick sides.
" Today the revival of this men’s hairstyle is celebrity-led and Instagram-driven – and we couldn’t be more pleased about it. "
It has, like anything prey to the whims of fashion, drifted in and out of vogue. Elvis might have been its very own King in the 1950s and early 60s but the high-maintenance style began to look old fashioned by the time the 70s moved into view. It was the very opposite of the let-it-all-hang-out vibe of the time. You wouldn’t spend an hour doing your hair for Woodstock, would you now? During the 80s, however, when vanity, to say nothing of greed, was good again, it was adopted by those who were nostalgic for the simpler days of the 50s.
Today the revival of this men’s hairstyle is celebrity-led and Instagram-driven – and we couldn’t be more pleased about it. Now, everyone from Alex Turner, Brad Pitt and David Beckham, to Robert Pattinson and Zayn Malik sport the rockabilly look. With the help of Vidal-Sassoon trained hairdresser Ben Copeland, we have produced a guide to acing the pompadour.
First, the different sorts:
1. THE MODERN POMPADOUR
The modern version can be upgraded with an undercut. It’s a sleek style that was sported by David Beckham, who elevated it into a modern classic. He kept the sides fairly trim but not too short, but left a larger amount of hair on top to be styled. It’s a style that suits longer, thicker hair.
2. THE POMPADOUR FADE
If you want an edgier cut, go for the pompadour fade. The trick here is to buzzcut the sides rather than just sweeping them back. This option works best for people who have shorter, thinner hair and doesn’t require much product.
3. THE SIDE-PARTING POMPADOUR
This gentlemanly look is a hit right now because of its versatility. It works with almost any hair type as the side-parting means your hair can easily be swept back. It’s best styled with a lightweight clay or gel.
4. THE SHORT POMPADOUR
The short pompadour is everywhere these days because it is relatively low maintenance and yet looks great. It’s a dapper look, and looks great in a suit, so if you want a look for a wedding, this is for you.
5. THE CURLY POMPADOUR
Big curls create texture and a volume-rich cut. Don’t try to hide anything here – you want the biggest curl you can get. Keep the sides short – opt for an undercut if you want – but keep the top long, and tousle with pomade. Oh, and you might want extra hairspray to make sure it all fixes in place.
BEN COPELAND’S TIPS ON…HOW TO STYLE A POMPADOUR:
With his flyaway slick back and even dappling of stubble, the Game of Thrones creator always manages to look immaculately undone, and could pass as a character in his own Emmy Award-winning series.
Currently, David Beckham’s hairstyle is in a similar vein, and he keeps those long locks in shape with House 99 Smoothing Back Shaping Pomade.
First of all towel dry your hair. If you like you can apply some Smooth Back Shaping Pomade to the hair before you blow dry it to help create a bit more hold and shape.
Blow dry your hair with a Denman or round brush, you want to dry your hair starting at the root and working all the way along the shaft of the hair to the ends with the hairdryer. Make sure you pay particular attention the front, and lift your hair with your brush in an upwards direction from roots to ends to create height and body.
Your next step is to get a thumb sized amount of wax or pomade and warm it by running it into your hands. Make sure it’s loose and pliable.
Now work the pomade through your hair starting at the top of the head – not the front!
Using your comb and hands, tease the fringe up and into place, smoothing and perfecting with both. If you want a looser style just use your hands.