modern pompadour

Right now, the Pompadour is arguably the biggest men’s haircut style around the world. Everyone from Brad Pitt to Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and David Beckham are sporting the hairstyle with a legacy that goes back to France in the eighteenth century. But what is it and where does the name come from? Here’s everything you need to know about the pompadour!


The Pompadour is technically defined as a hairstyle where the fringe is swept up from the forehead into an arrangement of curls or waves, generally accompanied by short back and sides. These days, the term applies to a wide range of hair lengths, styles, and arrangements, but the basic principles still apply.

The Pompadour gets its name from Madame de Pompadour, a legendary patron of the arts, French court member, and mistress of King Louis XV who lived in the early to mid seventeen hundreds. She first memorialized the look with a swept fringe. Since then, the Pompadour has gone in and out of style for both men and women throughout the course of history.

In the late 1800s, the Pompadour surfaced as a key feature of the Gibson Girls, a series of ‘American ‘Girl’ illustrations by Charles Dan Gibson. In more recent history, the men of the 1950s took the Pompadour to a different audience and gave it a more masculine spin. Think Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and James Dean. In fact, you could argue that Elvis was the one who really gave the Pompadour its place in the cultural lexicon of America, inspiring generations of men to take their hairdo’s seriously.

In the ranging ’80s, we saw a famous return to the Pompadour (think Roy Orbison and the Fonze).


We’ve already covered the technical definition of the Pompadour. The best way to about the Pompadour is as a framework to be creative. Anyone and everyone has creative license to revamp their pomp into a work of art. Short, undercut, faded – the world is your oyster. There are countless variations that will suit and compliment your facial features. To help you get started, here are a few of the classic types that are open to interpretation.

The classic Pompadour generally has longer sides that are slicked back and a thick fringe that rides high on a wave of product.

The Disconnected (Undercut)
The undercut has made its mark on the current generation, blending an almost military precision to the rebel hairstyle of the 1950s. These days, you’ll see fades added to the pomp for some additional texture or flair.

Classic With Side
Rather than a classic slicked-back look, the classic Pompadour with a side parting is a bit more subtle.

Styling The Perfect Pomp

The Pompadour is not a low-maintenance hairstyle. In addition to using good product in your hair, you’ll need to maintain it on a semi-regular basis to keep the sides and fringe length at their best.

To start, you’ll want to book at appointment at 18|8 to get your hair cut well and provide a good base. Our trained team of stylists and cosmetologists can help with recommendations and suggestions if you’re aiming for a specific length or style – if possible, show us a photo of what you’re envisioning. We’re confident you’ll walk out of these doors with the rockstar hairstyle you’ve been wanting.

Recreating the magic every day is up to you, though. Here are the steps:

  1. It’s best to start with damp hair, generally after a shower.
  2. Blow dry your hair on light heat, while running a comb through it from front to back
  3. Work some pomade into your hair (evenly – and don’t use too much), and work the product into your hair evenly by running your hands through your hair. Start at the sides and gradually move toward the top.
  4. Comb and style until you start to see some results you’re happy with. If you want to have a part in your pomp, here’s your chance.

Have more questions about getting the perfect Pompadour, or simply want a new men’s haircut in San Diego? Give us a call us at (858) 914-5418 or use our handy online scheduler to book an appointment!