Hair Care

How To Get Rid Of A Cowlick: 7 Important Hair Cowlick Tips To Follow

by Gorgeousgirl Staff, Updated September 23, 2022
How To Get Rid Of A Cowlick: 7 Important Hair Cowlick Tips To Follow

A cowlick, whether it’s near your bangs, on the sides of your head, or at the back of it, can still turn an otherwise perfect morning to a bad hair day. But what do you do to combat that weird strand or unusual curl that just would not go away? Scroll down below for 7 tips on how to get rid of a cowlick!

A. What Is a Cowlick?

what is a cowlick

If you have ever had at least a single strand of hair that seems to have a mind of its own and points to the exact opposite direction you want it to, then you should know that the struggle is, indeed, real. This annoying stray strand of hair is called a cowlick.

A cowlick is a section of hair that either stands at odd angles, straight up or in a strange curl against how the rest of the hair strands grow.

Our hair grows in a natural spiral pattern. When a portion of the hair goes against the direction of that pattern, a cowlick is formed.

B. Why Is It Called a Cowlick?


The term comes from the cow’s habit of running their tongue or licking through their young’s fur, making their hair follow a swirling pattern. Usually, human cowlicks appear on the crown of the head where different directions of hair growth crossover and which is also where you would find a typical cowlick in a calf. However, they can form anywhere on the head, sometimes there can even be a cowlick in front of hairline, at the back, near the neck, or at the sides. Keep reading for tips on how to fix a cowlick in back of head.

C. What Causes Cowlicks?

what causes cowlicks

The spiral pattern of the cowlick could be caused by the confusion of hair strands in a particular area of the scalp where it could either point sideward, backward, or forward.

According to dermatologist Dr. Orr Barak from the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, some hair strands could be caught in the middle of different directions to create the characteristic whorl or spiral pattern.

Some say that cowlicks may form early on in our lives, while we are still in our mother’s uterus. They say that once it forms, you will have it forever unless your hair falls off. Also, it equally affects both men and women, although they are more prominently visible in men who usually cut their hair shorter. Longer hairstyles tend to hide a cowlick because the hair is weighed down. Cowlicks are also more noticeable with straight, thick hair than curly hair.

People who have cowlicks also tend to have one dominant hair whorl, which is more clearly seen, and another less obvious one. The center of the hair whorl is characterized by strands protruding outward from the scalp. When you comb this portion against the grain, these strands will stand up straight. If cut too short, they stick up straight outward, and when left to grow too long, they will make a flat spot.

A theory about cowlick formation is that it roots from the collagen fibers on the scalp that are arranged in a circular manner rather than the normal straight pattern.


D. 7 Ways On How To Get Rid Of a Cowlick

Get Rid Of a Cowlick

So, now that you know how it forms, you’re ready to learn about how to get rid of a cowlick. In this article, seven easy yet very helpful ways are summarized in this list:

1. Embrace The Unruly Mess

You know the saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, the idea also applies to cowlicks. Before we get to actual ways on how to get rid of a cowlick, this first item on the list is just a quick fix, which is camouflage.

By adopting a messy hairstyle, you can hide your unruly locks. If you can pull it off, make the rest of your hair look as unkempt so your cowlick blends as if it’s part of the look you are actually going for. Of course, this is a very temporary fix, and unless you can’t stand a messy look, this could be your fastest and best choice.

2. Fix It While It’s Wet

So now we get to the actual remedies. According to hair pro Sarah Potempa, allowing your hair air dry even just a little bit will cause their roots to settle however they please. Instead of doing that, she suggests applying a flexible hair gel or a spray gel onto your locks while they’re still wet after a bath or shower. Then, comb the cowlick down towards the direction you want it to go. You can do this while blow drying it for extra reinforcement.

3. Heat Things Up

Another quick and effective fix is to get a mini hair iron which allows you to reach as close to the roots as possible. Use it to flatten the cowlick section of your hair. This is also a great method of how to get rid of cowlicks in bangs.

Hairstylist Matt Fugate from the Sally Hershberger Salon in Downtown NYC adds that the way your hair grows changes every 7 to 8 years and though cowlicks can be genetic and impossible to prevent, they can be styled in a certain way to tone down their unruliness. According to him, it’s best to follow the shape of the head and plaster the hair down with a blow dryer. Just make sure to use low heat to avoid burning your scalp. Cowlicks also start at the roots so you may also want to use a light-hold serum first.

Other hairstylists agree that the best weapon against cowlick is your blow dryer. With proper handling, the hot air can be used to manage your hair and to some extent even change the direction to which the hair points.

heat things up

4. Force The Hair In Place

After your hair has dried completely, you can use a brush to comb down your cowlick and keep it that way using a padded hair clip. This kind of trains your strands and will likely help them stay tamed throughout the day.

You can also use a pantyhose to push your hair back on your head while you take a nap or sleep at night. This allows your head to breathe while also pushing your hair tightly in place.

5. Weigh It Down

Weighing done a cowlick can be done in two ways. The first way is to simply allow your hair to grow out. Eventually, the weight of the strand will drag it down.

However, if you want to keep your hair short and are not really in the mood for a change of hairstyle, you can also increase your use of conditioner and reduce shampooing. This will moisturize the hair and cause the build-up of natural oils that will weigh down the hair target the issue.

6. Apply a Styling Product With Hold

Another way on how to get rid of a cowlick is to use holding products. There are tons of formulas and forms available in the market. Try one that will add weight and texture to your hair roots to make a cowlick easier to manage.

You could invest in a heavy-duty hairspray or pomade to hold the hair in place. For best results, apply these on dry hair.

7. Consult A Professional

If your cowlick persists, Potempa suggests talking to your stylist about getting long blended layers with which the cowlick can be incorporated. With a proper haircut, the cowlick can be less visible and can even add volume.

Consult your barber or hair stylist to assess the cause. They could give you advice, a good hair product, or a tailored haircut to manage your cowlick depending on your needs.

Trying to figure out how to get rid of a cowlick could be frustrating. Fortunately, hair stylists and experts have found simple ways to address the issue, some of which require minimal effort for temporary fixes while some may need a little cash and commitment. Either way, I sincerely hope you find the best solution for your hair for great hair days in the future!

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By Gorgeousgirl Staff

At GorgeousGirl, our staff is a collection of highly skilled cosmetologists, estheticians, and higher education professionals. Our personnel works together to satisfy your fancies.