An Esquire Guide: How To Create A Pompadour

The skills, tips and knowledge every man requires to look and be his best.

BY CAROLYN RH MALASIG | Jan 5, 2017 | Grooming

Illustration by Chee Yang Ong.

The man bun is out (finally) and perfectly styled hair worthy of a ’50s flashback is in. Neat yet still sexy enough to make girls swoon, meet the pompadour. We ask award-winning international hairstylist Mesh Subra for his tips on how to achieve the look in just a couple of easy steps, and then some.


It starts with your hair type

If you have fine, unruly curls, you can say goodbye to the pompadour. The best hair type for this style is wavy hair. It has the perfect amount of texture and is quite easy to mould into the shape that you want. Got straight hair? It may be too sleek and slippery for a pompadour, but don’t rule it out yet. It’s still achievable with the right products.

Do you have the right cut?

Know your face shape and pick the kind of pompadour that would look best on you. For a round or wide face, opt for a really short buzz cut for the sides of your head, between a “0” and a “1” on your hairstylist’s clipper guard. Then have a pompadour that’s between a “3” and a “4”. If your face is narrow, go for longer hair on the sides, starting at a “2”. You can also have a higher pomp and pair it with a beard.

Blow-dry it to perfection

Use a round bristle brush to achieve the perfect blow-dry, as it will get to every single strand of hair on your head. Mesh recommends using a oneto one-and-a-half inch brush that is pure bristle— skip the nylon as that’s designed for women who have more hair. A round, ceramic brush won’t work either, due to its wide gaps. As you blow-dry, brush your hair in one direction i.e. to the back to “train” it.

Pump up the volume

Mesh says water-based volumising products, such as Salty Dog Cocktail Beach Spray from Australian brand EVO, are your best bet. “It adds not only volume to your hair, but also texture,making it a lot easier to work with,” he says. Another way to add volume is by using hair dust powders, which mattify your scalp too. Mesh favours EVO’s Haze Styling Powder and L’Oréal’s SuperDust. Don’t worry—your hair won’t look white and “dusty”. The product actually dissolves into your strands.

Go back in with the hairdryer

Once you’re happy with your pompadour’s density, grab the hairdryer and give it another go. Make sure that you guide it towards your desired direction. If you have a side-part die, take that into consideration when forming the pompadour. You can comb it backwards with a tiny tilt towards the side.

Keep it up

Nobody likes a sagging pompadour by midday. So once you’ve achieved the desired height and density for your pompadour, set it with pomade or a hard wax—depending on your preference. However, in this weather, Mesh says a hard wax such as EVO’s Box o’ Bollox will work better—especially if you’re outdoors most of the time. Pomade can melt in this humidity, but will work just fine if you’re cooped up in an air-conditioned environment. Remember to use a peasized amount of product, spread it all over your fingers and run it through your pompadour. Finish off with strong hold hairspray—make sure to use one that comes off in a mist and is sprayed from a distance. Congratulations. You now have sexy, rockabilly hair without the horrible sideburns. You’re welcome.