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All things London & Natural Hairdressing

Taming the Troublesome Cowlick: Your Guide to Mastering Unruly Hair

Life is full of little inconveniences. If you've been dealing with a hair cowlick, you know just how stubborn these patches of hair can be. They stick out like a sore thumb, refusing to blend with the rest of your hair. Whether it's on the crown of your head or right at your hairline, a cowlick can be a real headache. But don't despair! With the right techniques and tools, you can tame that unruly tuft. This article will guide you through the process of dealing with a cowlick, offering expert advice, tried-and-true techniques, and recommended products.

woman in a field with hair flying

Table of contents

What is a Cowlick?

A cowlick is a section of hair that grows in a different direction than the rest of your hair. It's most commonly found at the crown of the head, but can also appear along the hairline. People with straight hair are more prone to cowlicks, but they can occur in any hair type. Cowlicks are often hereditary and are present at birth.

The Cause of the Cowlick

Cowlicks are caused by a difference in the growth pattern of your hair. The hair around a cowlick often grows in a circular pattern, which causes the hair to stick up or lie flat, against the natural flow of the rest of your hair.

Understanding Your Cowlick

Before you can tackle your cowlick, you need to understand it. Study your hair growth patterns and identify the direction of growth in the area of the cowlick. This will guide your approach to managing it.

How to Manage a Cowlick

Embrace the Mess

One way to deal with a cowlick is to embrace it. Instead of fighting against it, let it blend with the rest of your hair. You can achieve this by creating a disheveled look for your whole head. This makes your cowlick seem intentional and part of your overall style. Use a texturizing or volumizing product to add some intentional messiness to your hair.

Woman with hair flying up

Wet it Down

One of the simplest tricks to taming a cowlick is to wet the area. Wet hair is more pliable and easier to manipulate. You don’t need to wash your entire head — a spray bottle will do.

Apply a Styling Product

A little product can go a long way when it comes to managing cowlicks. A styling product with hold can add weight and texture to your hair, making it easier to control. Be sure to apply the product to wet hair for the best results.

Brush Against the Cowlick

Using a brush, comb the hair in the opposite direction of the cowlick. This process, often called "confusing" the cowlick, can help to break up the stubborn growth pattern.

Use a Blow Dryer

Heat can be a great tool in taming a cowlick. Use a blow dryer and a brush to manipulate the direction of the hair. Start by blow-drying in the direction of the cowlick, then switch to the opposite direction. A diffuser can be especially helpful if you have curly hair.

Use a Flat Iron

For cowlicks that persist even after blow-drying, a flat iron can be a handy tool. It allows you to apply direct heat to the stubborn hair, helping to flatten it out. Remember to protect your hair with a heat protectant before using a flat iron.

brunette with long hair holding a hair spray

Clip it Down

Once you've styled your hair, use a no-crease clip to hold the cowlick in place while your hair cools down. This can help to set the hair in the desired position.

Set with Hairspray

Finish off with a little hairspray to secure the cowlick and help it stay in place throughout the day.

Long-Term Solutions

Grow it Out

In some cases, letting your hair grow out can help to alleviate a cowlick. The added weight of longer hair can help to pull the cowlick down.

Consult with a Professional

woman with long hair getting curls done at a hair salon

If your cowlick is particularly troublesome, you might want to consult with a hair professional. They can offer solutions tailored to your hair type and cowlick location, such as specific haircuts or styling techniques.

Use the Right Products

Finally, using the right hair products can make a big difference in managing a cowlick. A good conditioner can help to soften and hydrate your hair, making it more pliable. Similarly, specific styling products can provide the right amount of hold without making your hair stiff or crunchy.


Dealing with a cowlick can sometimes feel like a losing battle, but with the right approach, you can gain control over that unruly tuft of hair. Whether you choose to tame it with styling techniques and products, let it blend in with a disheveled look, or seek professional help, remember that every head of hair is unique. Don't let a cowlick steal your confidence — embrace it, manage it, and let your true style shine through.

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