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How to Manage with Your Hair Cowlicks

Updated on July 28, 2011

Almost all of us have cowlicks somewhere in our hair. Men and women alike both have to deal with the frustrating task of trying to tame them down. However with the right haircut, styling technique, and products they can be managed. You just have to know how.

According to the Random House Dictionary a cowlick is a tuft of hair that
grows in a direction different from that of the rest of the hair
. The actual
word comes from the idea of a cow licking her young calf leaving a swirl in its hair. The fact that these hairs are growing in another direction is the reason why many of us get frustrated when we are trying to styling our hair.


Cowlicks on short hair

Cowlicks on short hair are the easiest to spot. I usually start off by combing the cowlicks in all different directions to make sure that this is how they are going to go. Next, I'll get out my thinning shears. The thinning shears have little notches in them that remove only parts of the hair and will decrease bulk if you use them closer towards the scalp, but will feather the hair if you use them closer to the ends. I will usually decrease the bulk with my thinning shears first, because by thinning the cowlick out I am removing hair so there will be less hair in the cowlick. Then I'll use the thinning shears to blend the cowlick in with the rest of the hair by feathering out the ends. It is important to get a good haircut, because not everyone likes to use products and even if you use products, you will not need to use as much if the cowlicks are cut right.

When styling short hair with cowlicks, I usually recommend towel drying the hair as much as possible or even blow-drying the hair before applying any products. The product will adhere to dry hair better then wet hair. I also advise you to use a paste or cream sort of product instead of a gel or mouse, because these products will give you more control of your shorter hair and your cowlicks.

Cowlicks in bangs

A cowlick in your frontal hairline can make having bangs a little difficult. When cutting bangs with a cowlick take extra precaution to leave the spot where the cowlick is a little longer, because the hair will bounce up when it dries.  I am also careful not to texturize or thin out a cowlick in the front hairline too much, because you want to keep it heavier so it will lay down.  When styling bangs with a cowlick, use a brush to direct the hair in opposite direction of the way the cowlick grows out and blow-dry it that way at close range.  Use a little hair spray to make it stay.


Cowlicks in the neckline

Cowlicks in the neckline are a tricky thing to fix. You can either keep it long enough so the weight of the hair will drag the cowlick down or you can keep it really short. If you keep it short, it usually looks the best if neckline is tapered. This is done by cutting the hair as short as possible at the bottom of the hairline and gradually go longer as you cut towards the top. If it is kept really short on the bottom the cowlicks will not stick out as much and it will be easier to clean up the excess hair on the neck. You can use some product on your neckline if you want to lay the hair down smooth. Again I would recommend using a paste or cream sort of product.

Cowlicks can be a frustrating thing to deal with and some are more stubborn then others.  There's really no full proof method, but with the right haircut and styling techniques you might be able to tame those stubborn cowlicks after all.


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