Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

Learn how to make a basic Edwardian pompadour hairstyle. If you want to portray a Gibson Girl, then this authentic Edwardian pompadour updo is perfect! It’s also a very quick hairstyle, you can make it in under ten minutes!

‘The Pompadour style is one of the quickest methods of dressing the hair. A Pompadour front and sides, with a chic raised back, finished by an artistic “8” […] can be made and finished in under ten minutes.

Indeed, it could be done in five, but when attempting this style a few extra minutes must be spent on the manipulation of the Pompadour, if the ultimate result is to be at all pleasing.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Edwardian Pincurl Zig Zag Waves Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

Part & Wave The Hair

First, part your hair from ear to ear.

‘To start a Pompadour dressing, divide the front and side hair […] leaving a fringe about two inches deep hanging round the forehead and ears’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2).

Then wave your front hair using the Edwardian no-heat zig zag curl method. If you have long hair, you can wave only about 12″ (30cm) of your hair.

Related: Edwardian Pin Curl Tutorial – No-Heat Zig-Zag Waves

Edwardian Pincurl Zig Zag Waves Tutorial

Make A Ponytail

Gather the rest of the hair and make a ponytail at the top of the head.

‘An elastic band is used. Thus it is held firmly, and this is a great comfort and really the only correct foundation for a stylish coiffure. Otherwise it will slide, and we all know the horror of feeling that one’s hair has ridden down the neck exactly three inches below the starting point.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)

Authentic Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

The Pompadour Roll

Now brush out the zig zag curls with a wide tooth comb. And tease the waved front hair slightly. If you don’t want to tease your hair, you can skip this step.

Then ‘brush the hair lightly upwards and back, […] draw the roll thus made into the desired position, […] with the ends, just a little above the “tie” of the foundation tail. The depth of the Pompadour may then be regulated according to taste, by shortening or lengthening the ends held in the left hand.

Some ladies like a deep roll, while others prefer it quite shallow. Having fixed the size of the roll, hold it in place with the left hand, while the right quickly fixes it in place with two small combs – pins are useless in fixing a Pompadour roll.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Even if the Edwardian tutorial recommends to use hair combs, I tried it and they don’t hold in my straight hair. So I used bobby pins instead to secured the Pompadour roll which worked perfectly.

Edwardian Gibson Girl Hairstyle Tutorial

Adapt The Pompadour Roll

‘Having made a perfectly neat, rather stiff roll of the front hair – receding from the forehead – the fingers must be inserted boldly in the hair, one hand pulling it down, while the other lifts it up. This gives a soft, broken effect, most desirable in this style, which otherwise leaves the hair in a very unbecoming hard line across the forehead.

Very few faces can stand a straight, untouched Pompadour. But many ladies use this style of dressing because it is quick and easy to make, quite forgetting to put those finishing touches which make all the difference between a charming and an unpleasing result. Remember, in pulling the Pompadour roll into a becoming series of “puffs,” that one hand pulls down while the other lifts up, for this gives a very graceful line to the hair, and helps it to fall naturally.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Figure ‘8’ Bun

The pompadour roll is now finished and all there’s left to do, is to arrange the back hair. Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle With Figure Eight BunEdwardian ladies preferred a simple figure ‘8’ bun. To make a figure ‘8’ bun, twist the ponytail until a loop forms – the bottom of the ‘8’.

‘The most simple and speedy method of disposing of the foundation tail is by making a neat figure of “8.” […] This style […] is one which should prove of the greatest use to business girls, as it is chic and pretty, without being in any way over-elaborate.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Related: How To Dress For Business In The Edwardian Era

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Figure 8 Bun

Keep twisting the ponytail and make a second loop at the top of the head. Then hide the hair ends and secure the ‘8’ with pins.

‘The whole thing is done with two quick movements, and needs three or four pins, properly inserted, to keep it in position.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Lol, I usually need more than 3 or 4 hair pins, except when I use spin pins!

Related: 1907 Pinless Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

Edwardian Updo Vintage Hairstyle Tutorial

I never use hairspray to set the style because I prefer to only use authentic period techniques. And even if my straight hair isn’t easy to style, this pompadour updo lasts all day without hairspray. But if you feel you need hairspray, you can use bandoline – an authentic Edwardian hairspray!

Related: Quince Seed Bandoline & Gum Arabic Bandoline

‘The Pompadour style of dressing the hair depends entirely for its success on the skill shown by the wearer in adapting the “Pompadour” roll to her own type of beauty.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

More Edwardian Hairstyles


Please Pin It!

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Step By Step Tutorial Gibson Girl Hair

11 thoughts on “Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

  1. I find it distressing to see anyone who wears these types of styles always has thick hair…lots of hair. Mine is thin and unthick…and pulling the sides up reveal my scalp! So I can’t wear any up-dos!

    1. Waves are essential for this authentic Edwardian Pompadour hairstyle, either natural curls or the Edwardian pin curls (zig zag waves). And Edwardian women often used false hairpieces or rats if they had thin hair. I’ll soon post more about Edwardian hair rats.

  2. Hello Lina! I wandered to this post from your link in your tailored skirt post ~ just lovely! I have longer hair but it is thin, like another lady mentioned. However, that being said, I do pin my hair up once in a while. I love all of these instructions and it’s cool that you found them from those old magazines!!! Are they online? Or do you collect old ladies magazines?

    Thank you for the lovely tutorial,
    Barb 🙂

    1. Thanks, Barbara! 🙂
      Yes, the old magazines are online: When you click on the links in the post, it takes you to the Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia where I found the instructions.

  3. So delighted to find this website as I am a Townsend and Son’s fan. Thank you so much for the hair do instructions. I will make it if I ever get up enough courage to put the henna I got on my gray hair.

  4. This post is older, so you might not see my comment, but, here goes, anyway. I have finely textured hair, too, and combs are one of the best ways to keep it from falling out of an updo. But you have to know how to use a comb. I saw this advice back in the 80s and it was a life saver for me.

    You don’t just put it in straight. You put it in the opposite direction then flip it and push it in to anchor it. If I were going to hold the hair off of my face, I’d first push the comb through the hair with the points toward my face, then flip it and push the points back off my face . The flip anchors the comb.

    In a pompadour, you’d push the comb away from the roll, then back toward the roll. 🙂

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