How to Get Rid of a Cowlick


You know that stubborn tuft of hair that stands above the rest? That wayward whorl with a mind of its own that goes against the flow? Yeah, that’s a cowlick. The term gets its name because it resembles the swirling pattern that results in the hair when a cow licks its young.

Everyone has a cowlick or two, one at the crown and sometimes another less obvious one at the neck or along the front of the hairline; and some are just more unruly than others. If you’ve been fighting to tame your cowlick (to no avail), check out these hair care tips to win the battle.

Embrace it

Instead of trying to hide it, roll with it by rocking the messy look. There’s no need to be super precise, making sure every hair is in its place. This look is all about a carefree attitude with just a hint of effort.


To style, simply apply a small amount of product with pliable hold like our hard wax into your palm, emulsify well and work into your (dry) hair starting at the back of your head.

If the untamed look isn’t your thing, a cut that’s short in the back and on the sides can help camouflage a cowlick. It can still be worn spikey, but this style is a little more polished than the bed head look.

Go with the grain

Take the path of least resistance and work with your cowlick instead of against it. Here are a few ideas to try.

Grab a handheld mirror, reflect backward into a bigger mirror and look at which direction your hair naturally wants to fall on every side of the swirl. Apply some product for added control then comb your hair the way it naturally wants to lay. Don’t worry, you won’t have to play contortionist for long before you’re able to comb your hair from memory without the handheld mirror.


If you have a cowlick smack dab in the front of your hairline, grab some heavy duty pomade or ultra-firm gel (like Fantastic Sams’ X-treme Gel) and style it into a pompadour. This style has lots of room for modifications to make it your own. Here are a few of our favorite takes on this classic style.

If your cowlick starts at the crown of your head, adding a little weight can help keep it at bay. As your hair grows, its weight will naturally help drag down your foe. If long locks aren’t your thing, a simple way to fake the weight is to shampoo less and condition more.

Shampooing strips your hair of its natural oils, making it lighter and more susceptible to a cowlick. So, simply shampoo less frequently to preserve natural moisture and oil levels to help weigh hair down. Using conditioner also adds weight to your hair, which can keep your cowlick from popping up.

Break out the muscle

If your cowlick is super defiant, you may need to up the ante and break out the power tools – a blow dryer. A little heat can go a long way in persuading your hair to lay in a different direction. When paired with the right styling product, this could be the one-two punch that finally KOs your cowlick. (Until the next time you shower, anyway.)


To give it a shot, apply a heavy-duty damp-hair product (Fantastic Sams’ X-treme Gel will also work here) to towel-dried hair. Comb hair into place and aim the dryer the direction you want the hair to lay. Comb again while applying heat to help train your hair into its new position. Once dry, hit the cold blast button on the blow dryer to cool your hair down and lock in the look.

Throw in the towel

If all else fails, or you’re just tired of messing with it on your own, consult a professional. A stylist will be able to determine exactly what’s causing your cowlick, recommend a style that will work with it and give you some hair care tips to help mitigate the issue. Who knows, maybe with a little snip here and a little texturizing there you can finally be rid of your cowlick once and for all.


The pros at Fantastic Sams are happy to help. Head to a nearby salon and one of our stylists will help you conquer your cowlick. Fantastic Sams Cut & Color is a full-service, "no-appointment-needed," hair salon with over 900 convenient locations. Find a Fantastic Sams Cut and Color Hair Salon near you. Real. Fantastic.

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