If you’ve ever had a bad hair day because of a stubborn cowlick, then you’ll appreciate different tactics to fixing this troublesome section. Whether you have a cowlick in the back of your head or in the front at your hairline, there are many easy ways to fix a cowlick for men and women. From changing hairstyles to using the right products to growing your hair out, here’s everything you need to know on how to get rid of a cowlick.
What Is A Cowlick?
If you ever wrestle with a particularly challenging piece of hair that won’t seem to lie flat no matter what, you might not be having a bad hair day. You may have a cowlick.
The term cowlick was coined in a medical journal by Dr. Richard Haydocke in the 16th century. Hair usually has one central spiral on the skull around which it grows. Some people have a second whorl of hair that runs in another direction. That second spiral is a cowlick, so-named by Haydocke because it looks like the patch of hair that swirls and sticks up on a calf when it is groomed by a mother cow.
Cowlicks can appear in different locations on the head. It most commonly occurs on the crown of your head, but it can also appear on the back of the head, the hairline, and even in your bangs.
What Causes A Cowlick?
Even though the phenomenon of a cowlick has been documented for centuries, it’s unclear what causes them. The current predominant theory is that collagen fibers in the fascia of the cranium form a circular arrangement that runs counter to the rest of your hair.
Other speculation posits that hair simply gets confused about whether it should fall to the front, back, or side. Regardless, it appears that cowlicks form early in life. In fact, the whorl pattern of a cowlick develops when a person is still in utero.
Cowlick Hair For Men and Women
Men and women are equally likely to have cowlicks, though it can be easier for women to learn how to work with them. Generally, women tend to have more hair styling options than men do, which gives them more opportunities to work with their cowlicks in different ways. A woman with a cowlick on the crown of her head will be able to hide it easily by simply wearing her hair long.
Cowlicks are incredibly common and everyone has one. Some people even have two. How noticeable they are will vary from person to person and will depend on factors like hair length and hair type. Cowlicks appear most obvious in hair that is straight and thick.
Some other interesting early research by noted geneticist Amar Klar also shows there may be a connection between people’s handedness and the directions of the whorls in their cowlicks. Left-handed and ambidextrous people tend to have whorls in a counterclockwise pattern, while right-handed individuals typically have whorls that go clockwise.
While there is no definitive link, this may indicate that handedness and cowlick rotation could share a common genetic trait.
How To Get Rid of A Cowlick
Camouflage Your Cowlick
There is one easy way to mitigate the effects of a cowlick, and that is to hide it in plain sight. The messy, disheveled look is back in style. Camouflage a cowlick by hiding it in an intentionally messy bedhead-inspired style. Use a texturizing and volumizing men’s hair product like a pliable hair putty or strong styling wax to blend your cowlick in with the rest of your hair. An alternative may be to use a quality leave in conditioner to train your hair.
Heat Things Up
If you’re not willing or able to cultivate the messy look every day, you’ll need to come up with other strategies for managing your cowlick. Letting your hair air dry is a recipe for disaster when it comes to cowlick control. Use a hairdryer to help shape and mold your cowlick into a more agreeable direction. The heat put out by the hairdryer can actually change the direction your hair naturally bends when paired with the right styling product. This isn’t a long-term fix though. Your cowlick will return the moment your hair gets wet again, if not sooner.
The heat from a blow dryer can dry out or damage hair. You don’t have to dry all of it, though. Just focus on the area with the cowlick, and style your otherwise damp hair as normal. You can also blow cool air over the dried area to seal the cuticle of the hair shaft. This will smooth out locks, reduce frizz and keep hair healthy. This will also help lock the style in place.
Get The Right Hair Care Products
It’s virtually impossible to persuade a cowlick to cooperate without a little help. Simply brushing your cowlick or wetting it down will not give you any lasting control. A heavy-duty pomade can help you mold hair into the direction you’d like it to be in. While pomade can be applied to hair that is wet or dry, applying it to drier hair usually gives you more control.
Another way to naturally fight a cowlick is to weigh it down. Stop washing your hair as frequently, but increase your usage of conditioner. This will allow your hair to build up natural oils that can weigh down strands and may give the follicles that make up your cowlick enough mass that it will cooperate with you. Growing your hair longer is another way to add weight.
Once you have a cowlick, it’s extremely challenging to eradicate it without getting rid of your hair entirely. Some people have tried waxing, or electrolysis to remove hair in hopes that the cowlick will resolve itself when hair grows back in. This is an extreme measure though, and not one that should be embarked upon lightly. It is not guaranteed to work.
Get A Professional Opinion
A barber or hairstylist is probably your best tool as you battle your cowlick. Trained professionals can help you strategize the right way to cut your hair and minimize your cowlick. They can also advise you on the best ways to style your hair as well as the best tools and products to keep your cowlick under control.