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Cowlick Hair 101: All You Need to Know (2024 Guide)

Most people have heard of a cowlick. This section of hair has a lot of volume and personality and has gotten a very bad reputation from people who are tired of styling their hair only to have it stick back up.

Knowing more about this type of hair calic and what to do about it will make people feel much more confident in their appearance.

What Is a Cowlick?

cowlick hair

A cowlick, very simply, is just a group of hair on the head that is growing in the opposite direction from the rest of the hair. Most of them are on the top of the head and form where the back and top of the head meet, as the hair here will all join up.

Other common locations include in front of the hairline and the nape of the neck. In addition, these can form in any body hair, including in the beard.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when hair isn’t doing what it is supposed to, and a cowlick is known for making hair act out and stands up instead of lying flat. Rather than getting overwhelmed, however, people who have hair calic can instead look for a style that will help them change their hair and use the body and movement to their advantage.

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What Causes a Cowlick?

What Causes a Cowlick

Cowlicks are caused when hair grows in a group or a whorl and doesn’t grow in the same way as the rest of the hair on the head. This is completely normal and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong – simply that hair is growing in a different direction from other hair on the head and will stand out as a result.

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Things to Remember

Things to Remember for Cowlick Hair
  • Men who have very straight hair and want to grow it longer are much more likely to struggle with obvious cowlick hair messing up their style. These are not nearly as obvious on shorter and curly hair, so allowing natural movement is a good idea.
  • No matter what hairstyle a man chooses, using plenty of product is key to controlling hair. Having the right product on hand for the hair type will make controlling it’s movement easier than ever.
  • Adding movement to hair in the form of curls, swoops, and spikes will make calics much less obvious. They really stand out in slick and straight styles, so men need to shake up their style if they want to hide them.

Top Cowlick Hairstyles for Men

Here are 22 handsome hairstyle ideas for men with cowlicks.

1. Off Center Short Hair Part

side parted cowlick hair

A handsome way to hide a cowlick always includes a heavy off center part. This style is very low maintenance. One side is slightly longer than the other, which nicely splits up face dimension.

2. Textured Hair Combed Up

cowlick haircut for older men

If you’re an older man with a thick head of hair, count yourself lucky because that will work in your favor when it comes to hiding a cowlick. Simply use a little hair mousse on your comb to work it up and to the side from the hairline.

3. Thick Hair with Highlights

dyed cowlick haircut

Another way to distract from a cowlick is by adding blonde highlights. They will nicely contrast with dark roots as well as warm up your complexion. This thick hairstyle is smoothly combed diagonally back from the forehead.

4. Short Messy Hair with Fade

messy cowlick haircut

For young boys with a cowlick, try a short hairstyle that has plenty of detail to hide it. This short brown hairdo gets its messy texture from hair product. A medium fade neatens up the look with an edge.

5. Dark Long Hair with Fade

side swept cowlick hair

When your hair has several inches of length to work with, it’s perfect for covering up a cowlick. This men’s hairstyle features a hidden fade accented with parted longer hair that is piecey in texture.

6. Long Top Short Sides

cowlick haircut for men

Buzzed sides with a long middle section of hair or a hairstyle that is long on top and short on sides leaves plenty of room for hiding a cowlick. The shortness of this style also makes it very low maintenance.

7. Blonde Surfer Hairstyle

medium cowlick haircut

What girl could resist a smoldering look when it’s worn with blonde surfer-style hair? With a little hair mousse and some styling with the fingers, you can get a thick men’s hairstyle all your friends will be envious of.

8. Wavy Hair for Older Men

cowlick haircut with receding hairline

Dealing with both a cowlick and a receding hairline? Older men would do well to add some wavy texture to their hairstyle to distract from them.

9. Long Hair Ponytail

cowlick hair with ponytail

Shoulder-length hair takes only a minute to style when you have the men’s ponytail to rely on! Simply comb the hair smoothly away from the forehead to cover up that cowlick and get hair off the neck.

10. Blow Out with Fade

cowlick hair

For men who desire thicker-looking hair, a blow out may be an option. This men’s hairstyle features a thick combed up top that also hides a cowlick. The sides are faded high to help with flattering face framing.

11. Very Short Hair

front cowlick hairstyle

One of the best ways to control front cowlick for men is by cutting the hair incredibly short and then forcing it to lay as flat as possible with product.

This is an easy look to control and style in the morning, although men will need to make sure that they get regular trims so the cowlicks won’t be as apparent.

12. Short Spiky Hair

spiky front cowlick hairstyle

Spiking hair up and off of the head helps prevent it from being as obvious. By adding more volume to the hair intentionally, men can make sure that they are in control of their hair and that they can hide where it is located.

Allowing hair to spike up and in many different directions is key to keeping cowlicks hidden with this look.

13. Short Quiff

guy with front cowlick hairstyle

Quiff looks great on men who have very thick hair, and can easily be used to hide cowlicks in front of the hairline. This look is great when the sides are cut a bit shorter so that the fuller top is the main focus.

Using some product to gently push the bangs up and off of the face adds to the movement of hair cluster without allowing them to be very obvious.

14. Longer Top Shorter Side

Cowlick Hairstyles in Back

Cowlick in the back of head can be tricky to hide, which is why so many men turn to undercut to help out. This look is sleek and professional, and can easily remove much of the problem caused by calics.

Any additional movement from this spot can be controlled with a bit of product and used to improve the way the cut looks instead of standing out.

15. Slick Back Hair

Cowlicks in Back with Sleek Hair

Hair often looks best when it is sleek and slicked back from the face. Using a wide-tooth comb, as well as lots of product, is the best way to control the longer hair on the top of the head.

This look is very clean and requires regular trims to keep the sides nice and short. Any cowlick spot can easily be hidden in the product and movement of the long hair.

16. Short Feathered Hair

Hair doesn’t have to be slicked to the head to control hair cluster, as this look shows. The movement of the longer hair as it is swooped back from the face and then pushed up from the nape of the neck will perfectly conceal it and create a unique and interesting style.

17. Lots of Volume and Spikes

crown cowlick hairstyles

Cowlick on the crown are easily hidden, thanks to the use of plenty of volume and spiked hair. Rather than trying to tame the hair to rest flat on the head, men who have hair calic often need to embrace the movement and the body that the hair offers. This allows them to work with it instead of against it.

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18. Voluminous Curls + High Bald Fade

crown cowlick hairstyle for curly hair

Really curly hair can easily hide calics, especially when the hair is allowed to grow out a bit so that the curls have plenty of movement and volume.

Pairing a slightly longer top on this style with a skin fade and a full beard creates a perfectly balanced look. The great thing about such an impressive beard and mustache is that they can be the focal point, hiding the movement of any cluster.

19. Shorter and Incredibly Thick

This is a great style for men who have thick and full hair and who don’t mind fading it on the sides and wearing it fuller and thicker on the top. The sheer volume of hair and how thick it is will do a great job hiding the movement caused by cowlick hair.

20. Short Wavy Hair

Double cowlicks can prove to be a bit of a problem when styling hair, but not when men embrace the movement and allow it to occur naturally.

Using some products to add more movement to the look is a great way to ensure that the hair doesn’t look boring. This looks great on men who have naturally curly or wavy hair.

21. Pompadour

double cowlick hairstyle

One hairstyle that is sure to attract plenty of attention is when the top is sleek and allowed to have tons of volume. Using a lot of product to control hair is the best way to ensure that calic hair doesn’t become a problem.

This sleek look really stands out thanks to the longer hair on top of the head, as well as the great temple fade, resulting in a striking style.

22. Short Undercut

guy with double cowlick hairstyle

Fades don’t have to be to the skin, as this chic look shows. Keeping the tapered undercut on sides, but a bit longer allows the top to have more volume without looking incredibly modern or chic.

It’s a slightly messy style that embraces the movement caused by cowlicks and doesn’t try to fight it. The movement of the hair on top of the head combined with the longer sides makes this look very relaxed.

FAQs on Cowlick Hairstyles

Are cowlicks genetic?

Scientists actually believe that cowlicks in the hair are genetic, and there is no way to change that you have one since they are built into your genes.

For many people, knowing that they were predisposed to having it is a relief, while others will be frustrated that they couldn’t do anything to stop the cluster from occurring.

How to get rid of a cowlick?

While it’s impossible to change genes or how the hair grows, there are a few ways to hide it and make its appearance less obvious.

Choosing a great hairstyle is the first step, as this will allow men to look their best, even with cowlick hair.

A great cowlick hairstyle is a wonderful way to reclaim hair and make sure that men look and feel their best. Rather than allowing calics to cause havoc on the hair, learning how to control them and how to style them will allow men to fall in love with their style all over again.