The pompadour undercut is a gem. It’s immediately attention-grabbing while remaining subtle and understated at the same time.
Plus, it’s very accessible and pretty easy to achieve. Once your barber’s done the initial leg work, minimal styling chops are necessary to get the look you want.
It’s important to get to grips with what specific variation of the style you want before getting that hair clipped.
Your barber will then have a better idea of how to cut it in order to let you style it the way you want.
I’m about to give you a brief rundown of exactly what this style consists of.
After that, you’ll see some incredible examples of this style done right. Use this as a source of inspiration when figuring out what you want for yourself.
At the end, I’ll give you some tips on styling the pompadour undercut in the best way possible.
Let’s get to it.
What Is The Pompadour Undercut?
Pompadour undercuts are styles where the hair on top is styled into a pomp, while the back and sides are clipped much shorter.
A pomp is where the hair on top is swept upward and away from the face; this could be backward or to the side.
It’s similar to a quiff but is generally combed further back and has a neater, more pristine, and compact appearance.
It has roots tracing back to Madame de Pompadour of 18th century France, but the pompadour has seen a modern resurgence that’s taken men’s fashion by storm.
The “undercut” aspect of this style combination refers to the sides and back being trimmed a lot shorter.
The difference in length between the top, back, and sides is what gives the undercut its characteristic look.
There may be a very hard line at the borders, which is what’s referred to as a disconnected undercut.
There may also be a fade at the sides and back. This could be low, mid, or high, depending on where it starts.
Ultimately, there is plenty that can be done with this combination. The options really are endless.
But let’s get to the fun part – the pictures.
14 Great Pompadour Undercut Styles
Use this as a guide. A foundation of knowledge you can use to experiment with and forge out a style for yourself.
1. Classic Pompadour Undercut With Fade
Here, the pompadour is neatly combed and has almost certainly been blow-dried into position.
It has a slight tilt to the right although looks very balanced overall.
It may not be particularly tall but the pomp here stands out enough to be noticeable. As you can see, the fact that there’s an undercut makes it stand out even more.
The sides are clipped down to a skin fade. In other words, so short that it can reasonably be labeled “skin”.
The short boxed beard gives the lower jaw a lot of strength and prominence. With the pomp standing tall on top this produces an attractive oval shape overall.
This is one of the reasons beards go so well with pompadours.
2. Small Pompadour Undercut With Fade
Not all pompadours have to be tall, however.
This one is a nice, neat, and short pompadour that’s been professionally styled and slicked to the right.
It goes to show that you don’t need particularly long hair on top to achieve this style.
It’s a great example of how impressive a small pompadour looks with the side part so clearly defined.
The feature makes it look even more intentional and leads to a very clean-cut and carefully-sculpted appearance.
The mid-fade here is on point. It’s a “mid-fade” because it lies between the top of the ear and the temple.
The beard has also been beautifully lined up.
Overall, definitely one to consider – particularly if you’ve got shorter hair.
3. Brushed Back Pompadour Undercut
You’ll eventually figure out just how you want to brush or comb your pompadour. There are several different ways of getting it done, and there’s no “right answer”.
Some choose to blow dry and comb, or brush, while others choose to finger-comb it to their desire.
Another way in which people differ is the direction in which they choose to style their pomp.
Some choose to slick it to the side, while others choose to slick it right back.
This is a great example of what slicking it straight back looks like. It’s clearly been done using a comb which gives it such a neat and even look.
Slicking it straight back adds a lot of balance and symmetry. While some men prefer a tilt to either side, pushing it back might be preferable to others.
You do need hair that’s relatively thick in order to achieve this, however. If it isn’t, you may find that it won’t stay in place and may naturally shift to one side or the other.
Some pomade should help keep things in place if you’re struggling.
If you don’t think your hair is long enough to slick straight back, try slicking it to the side instead.
The undercut here is very neatly done, with a fade that could safely be labeled a high fade, simply because it lies level with the temples.
4. Tall Pompadour Undercut With Mid Fade
Sometimes, you might really want to bulk it up.
Of course, the thicker and longer the hair, the easier this will be.
But to add as much volume as this some pre-styling mousse before blow-drying it in place will definitely make things easier.
It may not be subtle, but it’s a great way to grab attention. A tall pompadour doesn’t go unnoticed.
But it’s the presence of the undercut that really makes it stand out.
As you’d expect, the shorter the hair on the sides, the bigger and taller the hair on top will seem in comparison. It’s all relative.
The mid fade here is a nice touch and pairs very well with the goatee and chinstrap facial hairstyle in the picture.
Overall, although larger pomps do come with increased maintenance requirements, the additional work may be worth it.
5. Curly Pompadour Undercut
Curls can be difficult to manage. But when styled properly, both the pompadour and undercut complement it so well.
The waves at the front produce a fantastic textured effect, before weaving and graduating backward in a typical pomp fashion.
Tousling the front with a comb while blow drying on medium heat is a good way to achieve this intricate, wavy effect.
The sides and back are neatly clipped short. It’s a disconnected undercut and there’s a visible hard line separating the top from the back and sides.
There’s no visible fade here. It just looks neat, even, and clean. It would definitely appeal to a lot of men.
Once again, a meticulous beard line up also helps give the look a very complete and structured finish.
6. Relaxed Pompadour Undercut
Sometimes, a little bit of mess does a style the world of good.
This pomp is relaxed in that it isn’t neatly and tightly styled. There are a few flyaways and it’s clearly been tousled a little using the fingers as well.
This gives it a very laid-back edge and may be ideal if you don’t want it to look too perfect or pristine.
There’s a very subtle mid-fade on the sides and back that complements it very well.
It’s a good time to mention the importance of experimenting with the instrument you use to style the pomp.
You may find that using a round brush or comb to push it back makes it look a little too even or unnatural.
Using your fingers to do it instead may give it a much more natural appearance. When it comes to producing texture, there’s really no substitute for tousling and combing with your fingers.
Combs and brushes don’t come close.
7. Wavy Pompadour Undercut With Skin Fade
Finger combing the pompadour is a good way to get that wavy appearance at the front, although it can definitely also be achieved with a wide-toothed comb.
It creates a fantastic separated, layered, and textured appearance that’s otherwise hard to replicate.
This one has a slight side-swept look with a mild tilt to the right. It’s a great option for men whose hair isn’t thick enough to slick straight back.
There’s also a mid-fade to the undercut that gives the pompadour even more prominence and exposure.
8. High Volume Pompadour Undercut + Chinstrap
Here’s another classic pompadour, slicked to the right with a subtle mid fade to boot.
Tips for achieving this sort of volume include using pre-styling mousse, volume cream, or sea salt spray to assist you in styling it.
It should help make it look thicker and fuller if that’s the look you’re hoping to achieve.
This is also a great example of why experimenting with facial hair is also important.
The chinstrap doesn’t have the best of reputations when styled on its own. However, when sculpted in combination with a pompadour and undercut it seems to work very well.
9. Pompadour With Burst Fade
This one might be a little controversial purely because of the definition. You could say that it doesn’t quite meet the criteria for a proper undercut.
This is because the sides aren’t clipped quite that high. You could say that it was simply a pompadour with a fade and you’d technically be correct.
However, it’s worth including here just to point out what other options are available.
This is still a style where you’ve got a long, carefully-crafted pompadour on top with the sides clipped short (although not as high as the earlier pictures).
But you may feel that this might suit you even better.
A burst fade is one where the fade curves around the ear but doesn’t quite extend as far back as the back of the neck.
It’s a skin fade because it’s essentially shaved down to the level of the skin. It’s literally about as short as you can get.
The pompadour is neat, full, and brushed to the left. The layered appearance is best achieved using a round brush or something similar.
The use of a good pomade will definitely help as well.
10. Puffed And Wavy Pompadour Undercut
It’s amazing what a decent blow dryer can really do.
The simple use of medium heat, a concentrator nozzle, and some pre-styling mousse will allow you to achieve styles like this fairly easily.
It’s almost a quiff, but the hair further back on the top is full and voluminous enough to qualify as a pompadour.
This quiff-esque, wavy appearance to the front, however, is something you can experiment with.
Shape it using a brush or comb while blow drying it to the side and see what you can do.
It just has such a great, airy appearance to it.
Once again, the buzzed down sides and back give the pomp even more attention.
11. Side Slicked Pompadour Undercut
This could equally be called a “side-swept undercut” or something similar because the front isn’t as prominent as your everyday, typical pompadour.
However, it’s still full enough and combed uniformly enough to be appropriately called a pompadour as well.
Once again, it’s particularly good if your hair is on the thinner side.
Although a comb is useful for sweeping it evenly, tousling it at the front like in the picture above is best done using the fingers.
12. Small Side Pompadour Undercut
This is a great, short pompadour that’s been styled very neat and tight.
As you can see, not all pompadours are grand, tall, and in-your-face.
There’s a very significant tilt to the right here. This can sometimes appear to be lacking balance or a little “uneven”.
But a lot of men do prefer this angular, side-tilted variation.
It does go well with the undercut and when styled effectively, it can look very intentional and tidy.
13. Pompadour Undercut With Line Design
Sometimes, it can be tempting to throw subtlety out of the window and make more of an emphatic statement with that pompadour.
As you can see here, the undercut is pretty subtle. The sides and back are trimmed shorter than the top but not by a huge amount.
Sure, there’s a low skin fade, but this is pretty common.
As you’ve almost definitely figured out by now, it’s the line design that really makes this stand out from the rest.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something more attention-grabbing than what you’ve seen so far, this may be the one.
Any sort of line designs are always best left to the barber. It’s not something you want to risk messing up.
14. Gently Tousled Pompadour Undercut
This one just about qualifies as an undercut, because as you can see, there’s a distinct difference in length between the top and sides.
It’s subtle though, which may be something that appeals to you.
The pomp has been slicked straight back and the wavy, layered texture is what makes it so impressive.
It’s most likely been finger-combed which is why it looks pretty natural and understated.
I’ll finish off by mentioning how it goes very well with the heavy stubble. It gives the overall look a very masculine edge.
Pompadour Undercut Styling Tips
Although specific styling instructions depend quite a lot on the variation of pompadour undercut you’re looking to style, here are some universal tips:
- Start with clean hair. It’s so much easier to shape a pompadour with hair that’s just been washed and gently towel-dried. Oil, dirt, and grease make things a lot harder and will lead to worse outcomes.
- Combining some pre-styling spray before blow-drying will give the hair added protection. It’ll also add volume and fullness to the pomp.
- Although it can be tempting to pump up the heat, use your blow dryer on medium heat to protect your hair. A concentrator nozzle is usually helpful.
- Start by blow-drying backward, forwards, and from side-to-side to add volume and straighten out any knots. Once you’ve done this, you can use your comb, brush, or fingers to tousle and shape the pomp how you want it to end up.
- Finish off by applying some good-quality pomade. This will keep things in place, as well as add volume and texture.
Both pompadours and undercuts are popular these days. It makes sense that the combination is so effective.
By now, you should have a good idea of just how many variations are available to you.
With the help of your barber, experiment regularly and figure out what works best for you.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.