How to Do a Pompadour Haircut

The Pompadour was popularized by the King of Rock, but the look was originally named after Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV of France. This scandalous style makes a statement, so wear it proudly.

How to Style a Pompadour Step by Step

  • 1

    Shower Up
    You’ll need at least three inches of hair on top to achieve this look. Start with freshly washed hair or use a spray bottle to dampen your hair and then comb it down to remove tangles.

  • 2

    Get Rocking
    Start with section 1 of the head, using a #2 guard on your Wahl clipper. (Here’s a guide to sections of the head.) Begin at the bottom and work up, using an upward rocking motion at the top of this section.

  • 3

    Take it to the Top
    Move onto section 2 of the head using a #3 guard on your Wahl clipper. Use an upward rocking motion as you reach the top of section 2.

  • 4

    Tune Up the Back
    Switch to a #4 guard on your Wahl clipper and cut section 3 of the head using an upward rocking motion as you reach the top of the section.

  • 5

    Bangs Next
    Move onto section 4. This section should have the longest hair. Remove the guard from your Wahl clipper and use the clipper over finger technique to trim. Start with the bangs, which should be slightly longer than the rest of the hair on top. Once cut, they should easily fold back and over.

  • 6

    Pump Up the Volume
    Once you’ve cut the bangs, continue to use the clipper-over-finger technique as you work your way back through section 4. Make sure to gradually cut shorter in length as you go. The difference between the length of the bangs and the hair at the crown of the head should be about two inches.

  • 7

    Tidy Up the Neckline

    Next, clean up around the ears and neckline using your Wahl trimmer. You want to ensure all the focus is on your Pompadour.

  • 8

    Lock in Your Look

    To pomp it up, finish the look by applying some pomade or hair gel to the top of your hair, then blow dry it back to keep it in place. You can add a little extra volume by using one hand at the back of the pompadour at the crown to push your hair forward while using your other hand to comb the hair straight up.

    Now that you have more height, lightly comb the hair at the top back so it looks neat and do the same with the sides. Finish with a little more product (or even a light mist of hairspray) to set the look in place.

Questions You Are Asking

Who is Famous for Having a Pompadour?
Aside from the scandalous Madame de Pompadour and Elvis Presley, try Googling James Dean, Little Richard or John Travolta as Danny Zuko. All good examples of a sleek, lustrous classic Pompadour.

Classic Pompadour vs Curly Pompadour?
For a Classic Pompadour (sometimes called a Modern Pompadour) you’ll need at least three inches of hair on top to achieve this look (including good length at the front). Thick, straighter hair works well for a classic look.

If you have curly or wavy hair and it’s grown out to about three inches, good news – you can try the Curly Pompadour (sometimes called the Messy Pompadour). Rather than a smooth, high-shine look with classic lines, you’ll get more of a cool, tousled look, which is equally on trend.

What is the Best Face Shape for a Pompadour?
Of course, a wide, chiseled jawline and high cheekbones helps – but good news, you can tailor your Pompadour to lengthen or widen any face shape. For a longer face, leave a little more length at the side. For a round face, trim it short and go a little higher and closer to the crown.

How do I Comb a Pompadour to Get Height?
As we outlined in Step #8 above – after hair drying – use both hands. One to comb the hair up and to the front and the other to push the hair forward from the crown. Once you get that height, lightly comb the hair back so it looks even and neat. Then smooth back the sides.

What is an Undercut Pompadour?

A trending twist on a classic Pompadour is to pair it with an undercut (clipped sides and back). This dramatic look can be slicked back for a clean, polished look, or left a little softer and floppy.

Beard or no Beard with a Pompadour?  
Such a good question! Historically, a clean-shaven look was the way to go – but today a beard can really add an extra cool factor to your look. The key? Pay attention to your face shape. Match the height of your “Pomp” to the length of your beard to elongate a rounded face. And play around a little with your trusty Wahl® trimmer – you can disconnect it for a bold look. Check out these beard styles for more inspiration.

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