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Punk Hair Styles

Updated on November 20, 2019

Punk Hair Styles

A guide to the Mohican

Punk hairstyles were born in the 1970s amid anarchy, anti-establishment and lawlessness. The aim of the style was to shock and, as such, the hairstyles incorporated bright colors, uneven shapes, and distinctive styles. Think of punk hairstyles and you immediately think Mohican; a mostly shaven scalp with one large section of hair which runs from the front of the head to the back. However, whilst this was the style of the 1970s punk movement, today punk hairstyles are a lot more varied and the Mohican itself appears in many different guises. Here’s a lowdown on today’s styles and how to achieve them.

Dread Hawk

Dread Hawk
Dread Hawk | Source

Dread Hawk

The Dreadhawk is exactly what it sounds like, a mix of dreadlocks with the traditional Mohawk cut. The hair is shaven as per the conventional Mohawk but instead of being sculpted into a fan shape, the remaining hair is platted into tight, matted sections that are positioned upright and held in place with copious amounts of gel and hairspray.

Chelsea Hawk

Chelsea Hawk
Chelsea Hawk | Source

Chelsea Hawk

The Chelsea Hawk is a cross between the “Chelsea hairstyle” and the Mohawk and is known as the female Mohawk due to its slightly longer length. The style has a fringe or long bangs at the front in addition to the usual Mohican strip of hair at the back.

Fanned Hawk

Fanned Hawk
Fanned Hawk | Source

Fanned Hawk

As far as punk hairstyles go, the fanned hawk is the generally the most instantly recognizable Mohawk and the one which is most aligned with people’s perceptions of the style. The mode, as suggested by the name, involves shaping the hair into a fan shape that runs from the front to the back of the head.

Variations of the style include the bi-hawk and the tri-hawk (two or three separate fans placed an equal distance from one another on the scalp). Some punks dye the fans with bright colors, producing Glow-fans or Glow-hawks.


Fauxhawk | Source


This style is actually a toned-down Mohawk. It is literally a shortened version of the fanned hawk with longer back and sides. Currently very popular, the style allows for a contemporary version of the traditional punk hairstyles, offering an edgy look that doesn’t offend.

Liberty Spikes

Liberty Spikes
Liberty Spikes | Source

Liberty Spikes

Liberty Spikes are named after the Statue of Liberty, simply because they resemble the crown worn by this well known US landmark. The hair is shaven as per the Mohican but the remaining hair is sculpted into sharp points that are held in place with glue. The spikes themselves can run from ear to ear, front to back or may be randomly placed around the scalp.


Mollet | Source


The Mollet is lesser known amongst the punk hairstyles and is rarely seen on the street. The style is a variation of the Fauxhawk that incorporates a mullet style at the back of the head.

How to Achieve the Perfect Mohawk

Who amongst us has never sat in the bath with a shampoo foamed head and faked a Mohawk? Just me? Ahem… For those of you whose desire for punk hair extends beyond temporary experimentation with head and shoulders, here’s my guide for achieving the perfect Mohawk.

Step One: Choose the style.

There are numerous different kinds of Mohawks to choose from so before you start cutting, shaving or gluing, decide which one is the best for you. Do some research and remember, once you shave your head there is no turning back for quite some time, (unless you’re happy to opt for a skin-head or wear a wig). Some of the potential styles include Liberty Spikes, Fauxhauxs, Mollet's, Fans, Tri-hauxs, and bi-hauxs. Look at photographs and do some research before you start!

Step Two: Create a mock-hawk

If you are going to create the style yourself before you cut or shave anything have a practice run with some strong gel. You may be tempted to ignore me and go straight to the fun bit but this step is crucial.

Shape your hair into the intended style and see what it looks like. Doing this will give you a good idea of how much hair you need to leave, the length it will need to be and, most importantly, where the hair is! If you are opting for a Mohican that runs down the center of your head, use your eyebrows as a guide and try to line up the hair with the top of your nose.

Step Three: Get Shaving!

Once you are happy with the style and know how you’re going to achieve it, you can contemplate starting to get rid of the hair that is now surplus to demand. The best bet is to get a friend to help you by shaving your head whilst you hold the hair you want to keep. Remember to keep sufficient hair to allow it to stand up. If you keep too little it will flop, punk hair never flops!

Step Four: Style

You now have a small amount of hair that is to be your Mohawk. The best way to style it is to use hair glue (not the stuff you find at your local hardware store!). This is long-lasting, waterproof and will set extremely quickly. Apply the glue to your hair using your hands whilst sculpting the hair at the same time. If you’ve opted for spikes mold them one by one and use a hairdryer to dry them off before you move to the next section.

If you’ve opted for a fan shape, it’s best to shape it in small sections. Again, style the hair section by section and allow it to completely dry between each piece. If you don’t wish to use glue, make sure you choose an extremely strong hairspray and apply liberally. Once your hair is in place you may need to make further adjustments with a pair of scissors in order to make sure the lines are sharp and neat. Congratulations: You now have punk hair!

Frequently Asked Questions

Some answers for those commonly asked questions about punk hairstyles.

Question: Is color or dye compulsory for punk hairstyles?

Answer: Most punk hairstyles do incorporate an element of color and the brighter it is the better. Popular choices include roots that are a different color from the remainder of the hair, colored ends or tips, highlights, and dyed spikes. The general rule is that the color used should be noticeable, dramatic and should contrast with the color on the remainder of the hair. If, however, you are concerned about dying your hair, coloring does not need to be permanent. You could opt for a temporary rinse that will wash out in a few days. This is a great option for anyone who is tempted to try a vibrant style but isn’t yet committed to a long-term change.

Question: Where does punk hair originate?

Answer: The answer to this question is the source of much debate and not many people agree on exactly where the trend started. General opinion though is that, whilst the first true Punk movement occurred in New York during the 1970s, punk as we understand it today, actually has its roots in 1970s London. During this period, unemployment and political unrest were high, resulting in “Anarchy in the UK” and the rebellious, hardcore behaviors we have come to associate with punk. During this period, people went to great efforts to create an appearance that shocked; this extended to their hair. Riotous behavior is no longer inextricably linked with punk hair and today it is more of a fashion statement than a sign of revolt.

Question: How do you keep punk hair in place?

Answer: Strong shapes are a crucial element of punk hair and there is nothing worse than a droopy Mohican or collapsed spikes. The best option is glue; it is long term, strong and won’t wash away in the rain. The best way to style your hair is to squeeze a small amount of glue onto your hand, grab your hair and sculpt it into the desired shape. If you can’t bring yourself to use glue, try a very strong hairspray but be warned, it doesn’t have the staying power that glue has!

Question: Which punk hairstyle should I choose?

Answer: Today’s punk hairstyles are dramatically different from the styles of the 1980s and early 1990s and you are no longer limited to the Mohican. A popular choice at the moment is the Fauxhaux, a version of the Mohawk which involved longer back and sides with a slightly longer strip of hair running from the front of the head to the back.

It is not necessary however to have a Mohawk, or version of it. Many people today opt for many elements of the old-style punk hair such as bright colors, defined edges and xx but no longer style their hair into a style that is career inhibiting. For inspiration for punk hairstyles, turn to the likes of Kelly Osborne, David Beckham, Pink or Avril Lavine.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jason Nicolosi


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    • Nicoartz profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Nicolosi 

      4 months ago from AZ

      Lynsey, thank you so much for the great comment. I appreciate it. :)

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Hart 

      4 months ago from Lanarkshire

      Loved this article! Your illustrations are great too, well done! Almost has me planning a Mohawk, but I’m not brave enough! Lol

    • Nicoartz profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Nicolosi 

      4 months ago from AZ

      Hi Tess, thank you very much for visiting my hub. I am super glad to hear you enjoyed it. I appreciate it.

    • Teszra profile image


      4 months ago from Hawaii

      This article makes me miss my Mohawk. I really want to try putting my dreads up in a Mohawk without shaving the sides. These looks are just cool. Great article.

    • Nicoartz profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Nicolosi 

      4 months ago from AZ

      Thanks for checking it out Purvi. I appreciate the comment.

    • PurviP profile image


      4 months ago from India

      Hi, Jason!

      what an article about punk hairstyles. Some of these punk hairstyles, we can see some time ago and some of these we can see in this current period. It gives a cool look to people. Very nice article.


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