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Hair cowlicks can be a frustrating part of your styling routine, but these stylist-approved tricks can help make every hair day a good one.

What Are Hair Cowlicks and How to Tame Them

Hair cowlicks can be a frustrating part of your styling routine, but these stylist-approved tricks can help make every hair day a good one.

Although they can be annoying, cowlicks are completely natural, and there's nothing wrong with them—all hair types are susceptible. However, an unruly piece of hair isn’t ideal when you’re rushing to get ready for school or work. Luckily, there are things you can do to help to disguise and coax your cowlicks into place.

We spoke to Redken Artist and hair expert Jamie McDaniel to find out a hairdresser's top tips on how to tame and style cowlicks, plus product recommendations you’ll want to keep in rotation if everything outlined here sounds like you.

What is a cowlick?

Cowlicks are parts of your hair that grow in different directions from the others; they often look like swirls or bumps in your hair. In fact, they're named this because it looks like a cow has been licking your head (cute!). Some people find their hair cowlicks problematic as they can look similar to bald spots.

Good hair day by @jonnycosmo_

What causes a cowlick?

According to McDaniel, cowlicks are caused by “the natural change in the direction of the head.” Simply put, hair can grow differently, in opposite directions and patterns.

No matter your gender, age, or hair type, cowlicks can affect anyone. Surprisingly, they are mostly genetic, so look to your ancestors as the culprits.

Good hair day by @yeswedosalon

Can you ever get rid of a cowlick permanently?

As a hair cowlick is genetic, it’s hard to eliminate one. As Jamie says: “They’re gifted to us from birth.” There are ways you can hide and tame them, though, which we’ll list below.

How do I get rid of a cowlick?

There are ways in which you can lay down your cowlicks to coax them into submission.

McDaniel suggests blow drying your hair with a fine tooth comb and Redken’s Root Lifter Volumizing Spray. A root spray provides control so you can coerce the cowlick to go in the direction you want. The precise application offered by this spray will allow you to target the cowlick and avoid the other parts of your hair.

Do all hair types get cowlicks?

All hair types are susceptible to cowlicks. “Straight, wavy, curly, coily, fine, coarse, whatever your hair may be, we all have them,“ says McDaniel.

What is the best haircut for a cowlick?

No one haircut works best to hide cowlicks. McDaniel says that your chosen haircut should depend on where your hair cowlick is located.

“For short hair, you have your choice in cutting it really short or leaving it long to be able to control it more,” explains the St. Louis-based expert. “If you wish to wear a fringe and you have a cowlick at the hairline, it will mean restyling your fringe every day. If you have short hair and your cowlick is at the hairline in the nape, most times, I like to just cut it out. Keep in mind this may take maintenance cleanups in between appointments.”

Good hair day by @georgepapanikolas

What are the best hairstyles for cowlicks?

Curly or coily hairstyles can make it easier to disguise hair cowlicks because of the extra texture these hair types boast. Not blessed with naturally curly locks? Don’t worry: You can easily add a bit more texture to your mane with Redken’s Texture Paste. This product helps to create a rough and rugged texture, plus it’s pliable, so you can play around to get your desired finish.

Opting for a longer hairstyle can also help with taming cowlicks. Longer lengths can weigh and pull your hair down, making the noticeable space in your cowlick less obvious. If you want to grow your hair to enviable lengths, take time to nourish it properly. Regular haircuts are still recommended (even if it’s just a trim), as are investing in quality products. Read our article on the best hair masks for tips on which is best for your hair type and concerns.

McDaniel’s top tip? If you’re looking for cowlick hairstyles and have a gap at the front hairline, consider embracing the ‘90s hair flip. Think baby bangs swept over to the side in a blow out coiffure. It looks cute (the ‘90s are always in style), and it’ll also help hide your hair cowlick. Love the ‘90s aesthetic? Check out our guide to ’90s hairstyles for more vintage inspo.

Good hair day by @jackmartincolorist

Can changing your part help with cowlicks?

Yes! McDaniel says that changing the position of your part can help to hide your cowlicks. She says that switching your part can help to add a little bit of weight to the cowlick. This, in turn, makes it more controllable and prevents it from being so noticeable.

Can blow drying help get rid of cowlicks?

Blow drying is a great way to manage your hair cowlicks. McDaniel told us that any resistance you can put on your hair from the start makes it easier to tame pesky flyaways.

Avid blow dryers (aren’t we all?) should ensure they use a heat protectant on their locks. For inspiration, our guide to our 24 best heat protectants can help you discover your ideal formula. McDaniel recommends the Redken Thermal Spray 22 High Hold, in particular. This superstar product protects your mane from heat up to 450 degrees and keeps locks (and, therefore, cowlicks!) in place all day.

Good hair day by @dyldoeshair22

How can men manage their cowlicks?

As mentioned, cowlicks can affect anyone. However, men may actually find themselves more susceptible to them as (in general) they tend to have shorter hairstyles. Jamie’s advice for the best cowlick hairstyles for guys? “Cut your cowlicks down or use a product. I’d suggest a thicker pomade in the Redken Brews line.”

Redken Brews is Redken’s dedicated range for men. Its cream pomade is water-based and offers medium hold with a smooth finish—perfect for flexible styles and keeping your cowlicks in place. For men interested in growing out their hair to help conceal their cowlicks, we have 55 looks we think you’ll be eager to try!

Header photos: @jonnycosmo_ and @yeswedosalon

Are you passionate about hair? Find expert tips, tutorials, and tricks at You can also use our salon locator to get professionally styled at a salon near you.

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