I've been doing my hair pompadour style for a few months now, and I want to show you how to do it.
Pompadour For Dummies
The Pompadour, or “pomp” was an incredibly popular hairstyle in the 50's among rock and country musicians, actors, and residents of Hill Valley. The style is characterized by its clean, slicked and combed sides and back and coiffed, full front and top. Think Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Morrissey and Silvio Dante.
Although the pomp is very simple in design, it is a rarity to find a barber or stylist that can properly cut one. Having a precise cut is imperative to the structural integrity of the pomp. The nature of the pomp is short on the back and sides and long on the top, but if you get the wrong cut, you could end up with some renegade hairs once the grease is in. Finding a seasoned pomp veteran is key. Here's a picture of what mine looks like sans product. Hold your applaud ladies, it only gets better.
Pay close attention to the length on top – you cannot, I repeat CANNOT have a pomp with short hair on top/front. It should go at least to your eyebrows, even longer. The sides and back have a bit more room for length. Some people like to have more length on the sides to slick back, some like it close cropped. You know, to make the top look bigger.
What You Will Need
Contrary to belief or what a lot of modern fancy stylists will tell you, one does not need a lot of products to get a good, high pomp going. You don't even need a blow dryer or hairspray. All you need is one comb (or brush) and a few finger tips of the proper pomade. And folks, the pomade is the most important part.
These drug store pomades? Don't work. Stuff from the salon? Won't cut it. You need the real stuff, the good stuff, the stuff they used in the old days. There are a few brands sworn upon by rockabillies and greasers everywhere, like Dax, Black & White, Royal Crown (the one Elvis used) and the ever popular Murray's Superior Pomade. These brands are the true stock for any pomp, but I'm telling you they are a killer to get out of the hair. You see, they are meant to be left in the hair for the short-term. My first time with Murray's left me a weepy mess on the shower floor until it eventually came out after three washings with liquid dish soap and olive oil. I'm the exception as I like the full wash daily, which is why I swear by Layrite, a pomade created by the “World Famous” Hawleywood's Barbershops. This stuff is water soluble, meaning it will rinse out easily with water alone. But if you're in it to win it, any of the aforementioned pomades will do the trick. For the true hardcore to the pomp scene, even beeswax or petroleum jelly will work in a pinch. But there you go, you can put the myth of drawers full of products and procedures behind. Now all that's left is time, a little patience and a bit of finesse.
Step I – Butter It Up
Now you're ready to take the plunge into the sexy end of the pool. With DRY hair, get about two fingertips of the pomade and run it through your luscious mane. You will no doubt end up using more than this, but you don't want to put too much in at one time as this will weigh down your hair making the pomping process a bitch. Its a lot easier to add then to subtract when it comes to the grease.
Step II – The Slick Back
So far, pretty easy... grab your comb (I prefer red ones, they go faster) and thoroughly comb your hair back. If you feel the need to add some more pomade at this point, go ahead - I find that generally I use 2-3 small applications in total. You can use a brush if that's what you prefer, but I find a finer toothed comb will yield the best results when you get to the next step. A pomp will work with a part or without, its entirely up to you. Experiment like you're in college and see what works best. I prefer no part, because otherwise I look like a life insurance salesman. But, different strokes...
Step III – Pomp Up The Volume
You've been strutting around on easy street kids, and have now crossed over the wrong train tracks (wanna see a dead body?). It's now time to put the height in that pomp.
What you're gonna do is gently place your non-combing hand on the top-middle of your head. Gently push the hair forward while combing the front of your hair STRAIGHT up. The goal here is to create a wedge from the front of your hair to the back of your head, if you were looking at it from the side.
Believe me, it is much easier performed than written, so you're going to need some practice. I find that if you loosen up your wrists and relax you get much better results. When I first started I was so paranoid about every hair getting out of place, but in truth if you haven't used too much or too little pomade, you can refine it once the general shape is to your liking.
The biggest problem area here is the corners of your hairline. More often than not, when you get that lift in the front, these two spots above your temple don't cooperate and you get a chink in the armor. If you get this space between your sides (which are still slicked back) and the pomp in the front, with a delicate hand use your comb to blend these sections in. One little trick I've learned, is to go back and comb the upper sides of your hair, right below your part area. Comb them back but swoop the hair near the back of your head up. It sounds incredibly confusing I know, but think of the way a duck's wings meet its tail. Having your sides gradually coming up will often provide some support to help anchor those problem front corners and keep them up. All heads and hair are different though, so you will need to take some time to figure out whats best for your hair.
Step IV – The Once Over
You're pretty much done at this point, but if you're like me, you gotta have it perfect. You don't want to be doing any drastic resculpting at this point – though believe me you may be tempted. Giving your sides and back one more slick back will make sure that your wings are tight, making the pomp that much more glorious.
Depending on the caliber of your barber or stylist, you may get some renegade strands popping out near your crown or sides. If a few flicks of the comb doesn't put these punks to bed, wet your hands with a little water and softly smooth it out. You don't need any hairspray. Put that down.
Step V – Find A Brick Wall... Lean
Step back and take a long look at yourself. Good God you're handsome. If you've used one of the aforementioned brands of pomade, after ten minutes nothing will take that hair down. Wind? Forget about it. Hoody? Laughable Man. Bullets? Yeah, these will cut through the hair, you're not Superman.
So there you have it, Daddy-O. Meet you at the malt shoppe. You want a Pepsi kid, you're gonna have to pay for it.