Modern Quiff: A Combination of the '50s Pompadour and the Mohawk

By Lauren Salapatek | 08/10/2012 9:27:00 AM


Alicia Keys with shorter Quiff. The modern day Quiff is a hair style that combines the 1950’ Elvis Pompadour and the 1980’s Duran Duran Mohawk. This has now developed into a major hair style trend for both men and women. Male models and celebrities like David Beckham have made this look popular for men. While female celebrities like Rachel Wood and Alicia Keys have made it feminine and fashionable for women.  

The Quiff is one of the more recent exciting trends rejuvenating the idea of short haircuts but also in updos. Celebrity stylist, product artist and salon owner Philip Pelusi created a new take on this already new style for Fall 2012. Rather than leaving the hair smooth, he actually created an asymmetrical textured version, crimping the hair to give this sculptural hair style even more movement (shown in the picture below). This trick to getting this look is getting the height on top of the head and the slickness on the sides. The other part of this trend is getting the surface finish on the hair to be shiny and reflective, semi-gloss or matte.  Here are some how to’s to create his innovative Pelusi Quiff.

How To’s Medium to Long Hair

TRY IT: First, if the hair really needs to be shampooed then proceed to shampoo and condition preferable with a body building formula to give the hair texture and a little less slip. This will help make the hair easier to work with. Apply a resin-free, root and texture boosting product that will help give the hair texture and body. Next dry the hair. Choose one of the following methods depending on the desired look. This style can work on any texture.

*Smooth Version: Blowdry the hair, lifting and creating volume and height at the root on the top of the head while styling.
*Crimped Version: Blowdry the hair smooth to prepare the hair for crimping. Again, lifting and creating volume and height at the root on the top of the head while smoothing the hair.

*Curly or Wavy Version: Allow curly or wavy hair to air-dry, diffuse-dry or dry under a hooded dryer. Let the natural curl or wave pattern set in and dry until completely dry.


If creating the crimped version, you will need a crimping hot iron or wave iron. Apply a light grease-free pomade to protect the hair from the crimping iron. Tela Beauty Organics recommends their product, Encore. This super concentrated formula contains organic olive to help protect from heat styling plus organic cornstarch to create texture.

TRY IT: Crimp the hair, creating lift and texture at the root. If you are working with a natural curly or wavy texture or smooth hair skip this step and start sculpting the updo. Sculpt your Quiff Updo. First apply a small amount of sculpting crème. Section off the top of head, from the hairline to hairline around the top of the round of the head. This is where you will form the pompadour, on top of the head and close to the front hairline. Work with small amounts creating height on top of the head while sculpting it into an asymmetrical pompadour and secure with hair pins. Add backcombing if the hair is fine or sparse and needs more lift at the root. 

Next, apply a bit more pomade to your fingertips and smooth the sides of the hair close to the head. Be careful not to smooth out all of the crimping so you will still see the texture. Then wrap the hair into the knot or playful ponytail at the back of the head lower towards the nape and secure with pins. To add even more visual interest, you can also set the knot asymmetrically at the nape on the opposite side of the pompadour at the top of the head.




David Beckham with modern day Quiff. How To’s Short Hair

A Short Hair Quiff can be created for both men and women. To style a Short Hair Quiff like David Beckham or Rachel Woods wears, the goal is the same: to create height on the top of the head to form the pompadour area and keep the sides slicked back close to the head.

TRY IT: Working with dry hair, first apply a small amount of sculpting crème. Tela Beauty Organics recommends Tela Beauty Organics Composer to provide control but without the stiffness of a hairspray. Work with small amounts and apply throughout the entire head.  Section off the top of the head, from the hairline to hairline around the top of the round of the head. Then working with your fingertips, create height on top of the head while sculpting it into a pompadour--pushing and pressing the hair into that signature Quiff shape. Use a flatiron or large curling iron to turn the ends and give more direction up from the roots if more height is needed. 

Add a bit more of the same groom to the fingertips and slick the sides back away and off the face, pressing close to them close to the head. Comb this section back if it will help make it smoother and closer to the head.







Ginnifer Goodwin with shorter Quiff. How to Introduce The Quiff to the Client?

Have fun with this trend! Try to get as many of your team wearing the look, even suggesting a Quiff hair week where everyone learns to create and then wears the style. Also take photos of team members plus print pictures of movie stars wearing this look and create a "Trend Talk" board in the backroom or even right out in the salon. Even decorate salon mirrors with these pictures to create a buzz. You can even post these pictures on your salon website or Facebook pages.

All of these techniques will help generate conversations around the salon. And lastly, make sure to give your clients a specific styling lesson on this trend. They will need product to create the look so this will also help to generate some products sales in the process. The client will be happy because they will then have all the tools and techniques needed to create the Quiff trend for a special evening out or for an edgy day look. This trend works with both casual and dressy clothes and gives everything a modern edge.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lauren Salapatek

Lauren Salapatek Lauren Salapatek, Web Editor for Modern Salon | Salon Today | First Chair.

(Previous positions: Associate Editor/E-Newsletter Content Production Manager)

Since January 2010, Lauren has worked for Modern Salon Media covering salon style, product and beauty trends, and business editorial for both print and online content. As of October 2013, Lauren’s role changed to Web Editor—now she manages all online editorial content for, and As part of her responsibilities, she creates, edits, organizes and curates content for all Modern Salon Media’s websites; manages the creation and production of all Salon e-newsletters; promotes Modern Salon Media’s digital content via several social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest); and maintains an editorial calendar to keep all Modern Salon Media’s websites timely and current.

You can find Lauren on Google+ or e-mail her at


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