40 Curly Mohawk Looks to Reference at Your Next Hair Appointment

Side view of woman with a frohawk

@keke.j_ / Instagram

I wore my first fauxhawk during my junior year of college. I hadn't started my natural hair journey just yet, but I leaned into flexi rod sets, which gave me the perfect foundation to try something new. What I enjoyed most about the style is that I felt edgy (like Rihanna, who was my beauty icon at the time) without cutting my hair. A handful or two of bobby pins, edge control, plus a few extra minutes in the mirror, and I had a brand new style: the curly mohawk (a.k.a. frohawk).

Frohawks are a popular style among curly girls because they're easy to create, can help stretch time between wash days, and are incredibly versatile. With this in mind, I scoured the net for frohawks made perfect for natural hair of all lengths and textures. Ahead, my top 40 picks, along with pro tips from stylists Michelle Sultan and Marilisa Sears.

Meet the Expert

  • Michelle Sultan is Brand Ambassador for Imbue and a celebrity hairstylist. Her clients include Jennifer Hudson and Alesha Dixon.
  • Marilisa Sears is Artistic Director for Marc Anthony. 

Keep scrolling for a generous helping of curly mohawk styles to inspire you.

01 of 40

Go Geometric

Vertical knots natural fauxhawk

@keekzcurls / Instagram

The geometric parts with the bubble textured puffs make this 'do a visual work of art. To get those clean-cut lines, section hair using a rat tail comb like Diane Ionic Anti-Static Rat Tail Comb ($3). Then finish the look by simply gathering into a topknot, middle knot, and back knot. 

02 of 40

Use The Classic Mohawk as Inspiration

Subtle, tapered natural faux hawk

@osmiabrumo / Instagram

Contrary to popular belief, short hair is incredibly versatile—just look at Ósmia Brumo's crisp, tapered cut as proof. Not only does it pay homage to the mohawk but it also shapes her facial features perfectly. 

03 of 40

Mix It Up

Yara Shahidi curly fauxhawk

@naivashaintl / Instagram

Styled edges with textured puffs pulled back into a mohawk? Yes, please. "I love the idea of working ponies into a mohawk style," says Sultan. "Using your wash-and-go curly regime is perfect for this no matter your curl type. The only thing is you have to have at least shoulder-length hair for it to work well," she adds.

Rather than overwork hair, go with the natural shapes your hair creates and gently pull strands to create a more avant-garde look.

04 of 40

Add Bantu Knots

Curly fauxhawk with bantu knots

@our_black_tresses / Instagram

Cornrows and Bantu knots add flair to the traditional fauxhawk while also providing a nice contrast to free-flowing curls. While this style works well on all hair lengths, longer tresses will naturally create more height and turn up the "wow" factor.

05 of 40

Take Inspo From The Red Carpet

Braided fauxhawk

@lovingyourhair / Instagram

Ryan Michelle Bathe's Emmy Awards hair is a mood. No matter the special occasion, this timeless mohawk style remains canon. Just make sure to invest in a strong-hold gel like SexyHair Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel ($19) when slicking back sides (bye-bye, flyaways).

06 of 40

Try an Elegant Spin

Elegant bejeweled fauxhawk

@westafricanbaby / Instagram

If you've got thick tresses, then consider working your frohawk into sections. This will make it easier to style and create a more balanced aesthetic. Don't forget to throw in a bejeweled accessory to really glam it up.

07 of 40

Stay On Trend

Voluminous, pinned curly fauxhawk

@moknowshair / Instagram

To take your afro from natural to mohawk in an instant, simply slick-back sides. Sears instructs, "On one side pull hair back and up towards the crown. When you are happy with the shape you can use a comb or brush to get the look tight against the scalp. Pin in place and then fuss the curls over the bobby pins to get your desired shape." To smooth sides, she recommends Marc Anthony Strictly Curls 7-in-1 Leave-In Treatment Foam ($9).

08 of 40

Make Cornrows the Star

Boxbraid fauxhawk

@alexander_armand / Instagram

Celeb stylist Alexander Armand is the mastermind behind Skai Jackson's dreamy 'do. Although he could have slick-backed sides, he opted for cornrows instead. The effect is a beautiful hybrid creation where creative braiding meets twisted fauxhawk.

09 of 40

Embrace Your Texture

Danai Gurira Textured fauxhawk

@alexander_armand / Instagram

No matter your hair texture, switching it up is always an option. Danai's voluminous mohawk does just that while also flattering a rounder face. The added height of her 'do naturally draws the eyes upward, thereby lengthening the face.

10 of 40

Add Some Length

Marsai Martin long, twised hairdo

@marsaimartin / Instagram

Colorful braiding string seems to be a consistent hairstyling option for red carpet hair, and the subtle white addition makes Marsai Martin's fauxhawk pony pop. When styling, try not to add too much tension to avoid headaches and breakage (as updos like these should always be protective and promote healthy hair). 

11 of 40

Work That Fine Hair

Whimsical, curly frohawk

@pekelariley / Instagram

There's a lot going on here—all of it good. And while the full-on frohawk might eat up a lot of attention, let's not skim over the detailed braiding and gold adornments. As for those baby hairs? "Use a gel to work the edges into shapes and get that baby hair looking cute," says Sultan. We're fans of Style Factor Edge Booster ($15).

12 of 40

Bring The Elegance

Ashley Blaine vertical hairpuffs

@ashleyblaine / Instagram

Again, this isn't your typical fauxhawk, but who says we can't apply the same principles to elevate the style? To get the sleek look of Ashley Blaine Featherson's style, you'll likely need a silk press. It's also a simple way to try something new or stretch out your next wash day—just saying.

13 of 40

Play With Length And Texture

Kerry Washington braided hairstyle

@kerrywashington / Instagram

Kerry Washington's style has the essence of a mohawk, while braids and a loose ponytail give her look a modern-day spin. Pair with sparkly green eyeshadow and pin-drop earrings for rock-chic perfection.

14 of 40

Have Fun With Your Parts

Ponyhawk

@trophdoph / Instagram

Signature parting can make any hairstyle stand out. And as long as you've got a rat-tail comb on hand, your parts will be flawless. Work in some Amika Curl Corps Curl Defining Cream ($25) to ends to keep curls hydrated and defined.

15 of 40

Take It From the Runway to Everyday

Woman with voluminous natural frohawk

@ursulastephen / Instagram

This sky-high frohawk works on the runway and in real life. Comb the sides of hair back with a Byrdie-approved detangling brush. And don't skimp on Ouidad's Curl Last Hairspray ($20) to keep your coils in place. 

16 of 40

Make the Frohawk Your Own Creation

Curly subtle fauxhawk

@arielvscupcake_ / Instagram

Although more of a tapered cut, this style still lends itself to the bones of a frohawk. "[It's] completely polished but still has an edge," comments Sears. She recommends styling with Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion ($6) and the Strictly Curls Curl Envy Cream ($8) to achieve both curl definition and control. "Go light with both as you want this to have a natural finish. Start with the cream and then add a layer of the lotion. Once the products are in, start to twist your curls around your finger. When done, let them dry naturally and add a bit of cream with your fingertips so you don’t disturb the curls; then lightly shake it out," she instructs.

17 of 40

Blow-Out Tresses

Frohawk

@pekelariley / Instagram

Looking for a new way to style your afro? With a blowout, bobby pins, and gold string, you'll have recreated this head-turning look in minutes. To keep your mane moisturized, spray with a good dose of Vernon Francois Pure Fro Conditioner ($20).

18 of 40

Stretch Your Silk Press

Backshot of fauxhawk with bobby-pinned sides

@ursulastephen / Instagram

Silk-pressed hair can get oily after a few days. Instead of washing it, you can stretch cropped hair a little longer by adding bobby pins to create the illusion of a mohawk. "Accessories hold the sides down and make a feature of the look while also working well to hold down very thick hair in place," notes Sultan.

19 of 40

Color and Taper

Woman with blonde curly fauxhawk and undercut

@iam.tiffany.renee / Instagram

A frohawk like this tapered cut is all about contrasts, whether that concerns length, texture, color, or a mix of each. Bleaching tips will add dimension while Aunt Jackie's Flaxseed Don't Shrink Curling Gel ($7) will elongate ends. When buzzing sides, consider incorporating a design to keep your look fresh.

20 of 40

Accessorize With Jewels and Undercuts

Curly bejeweled fauxhawk

@astoldbybrittanyd / Instagram

The combination of undercut, jewels, and twists takes this frohawk to the next level. And if you want to show off your bone structure, it's a must-try. Remember to apply Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream ($6) to keep your curls in check.

21 of 40

Spruce Up an Old Twist-Out

Curly natural short hair with bobby pin designs

@pekelariley / Instagram

Before you can fashion your hair into this frohawk, you'll need to do a little prep work. Specifically, "This twist-out mohawk is done by setting the hair before with a twist-out. [It] works great on type 4 hair as tighter coils and kinks will help to hold the shape in place," notes Sultan. She instructs, "When hair is set and completely dry (this will make or break the style!), unravel the curls gently using a lightweight oil to define each coil, which you can then manipulate into the mohawk style."

22 of 40

Try Ombré With a Color Pop

Curly blue faux hawk

@stacysinterlude / Instagram

3C curly updos are easy to create with minimal stress on your edges, which leaves more room for baby hair designs. Stretch your creativity with serpentine side braids and A Splash Of Color ($10) in Blue by Hair Paint Wax.

23 of 40

Hold Off on the Co-Wash

Woman with kinky-curly voluminous frohawk

@aysha.sow / Instagram

For all you wash-and-go naturalistas, this full fauxhawk can give you a couple more days before your next co-wash. If your hair is on the drier side, add a foam leave-in like Eden Bodyworks Papaya Castor Foam Conditioner ($9) to wake up your curls. 

24 of 40

Go Side-Swept

Long, curly red faux hawk

@kaylamadonna / Instagram

If you're looking for a shade of red to bring to your next hair appointment, take inspiration in this merlot-hued number. Side-swept coils could easily be shifted into a frohawk by applying the same design to the right side of the head.

25 of 40

Show Off Your Fringe

Storm Reid curly fauxhawk

@stormreid / Instagram

Pulling your hair away from your face can feel vulnerable, but a fringe helps. "Showing off your curly bangs is definitely cool when it comes to mohawks," comments Sultan. "This is great when your wash-and-go is on its way out and the hair has a bit more grit to it," she adds.

To really keep your look secure and in place, place bobby pins one over the other.

26 of 40

Stretch That Flexi Rod Set

Curly blonde fauxhawk

@_lavidarosa_ / Instagram

Flexi rod sets are fantastic for any hair type because they can typically last as long as you'd like to wear them. They're also extremely versatile, and can be worn up, down, or any way your creative heart desires.

27 of 40

Discover Versatility in Tiny Fros

Curly frohawk

@curlygirlpri / Instagram

This tiny fro is a great example of how a few bobby pins can help your hair take on a new life. To keep curls soft and fresh (read: no crunch here), apply Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($50) to damp hair, then simply air-dry.

28 of 40

Add Flat Twists

Twist-out fauxhawk

@brianalynee / Instagram

Here we have another instance of how a twist-out can take on many different forms with the right hair accessories and edge control. And if you're interested in how to complement a larger forehead, you can't go wrong with a fringe-filled updo.

29 of 40

Go Two-Toned

Two-toned fauxhawk

@tybeautyfy / Instagram

A two-toned, frohawk? Where do we sign up? Not only is this style eye-catching, but it also looks like it would be pretty low-maintenance—aside from color touch-ups, that is. 

30 of 40

Have Fun With Protective Styles

Curly red frohawk

@arielvscupcake_ / Instagram

Twists outs make an ideal foundation for a frohawk, and this firey red style makes the perfect canvas for a red lip. "Start with your wash routine as normal, applying Imbue Curl Empowering Crème Gel ($13) on soaking wet hair and allowing it to dry in. Once 90% dry, apply Imbue Curl Energising Hydration Serum ($13) and finish drying with a diffuser. This will help to fluff the hair or refresh it if not starting from scratch. Use a flat bristle brush to smooth the edges and a lightweight holding gel and use bobby pins to hold in place," instructs Sultan.

31 of 40

Play Up the Front

Tia Mowry curly fauxhawk

@kimblehaircare / Instagram

Tia Mowry plays up the front of her fauxhawk with loads of volume and body (Miss Jessie's Multicultural Curls ($16), anyone?). The soft edges and height of this style are flattering in themselves but will especially complement those with square and round faces.

32 of 40

Keep It Minimal, But Make It Fashion

Curly frohawk with fringe

@coconutandconcrete / Instagram

There's nothing like slicked-back sides alongside curly volume to get us excited. This cropped 'do—apart from being super stylish—will allow you to cut down on styling and drying time. Simply smooth down sides with SheaMoisture Max Hold Gel Jamaican Black Castor Oil ($28) and let your long, curly fringe do the rest.

33 of 40

Try a Temporary Hair Color That Complements Your Skin Tone

Purple frohawk and bantu knots

@jhorgalore / Instagram

Going from Bantus to a full-on frohawk is an option we never thought of trying until now. And when shopping for the perfect hair color for your skin tone, don't count out highly underrated purple.

34 of 40

Pair Contrasting Textures and Shapes

Alicia Keys undercut fauxhawk

Monica Schipper / FilmMagic / Getty Images

A mean undercut paired with a braided fauxhawk is the definition of edgy elegance. And while Alicia Keys's long, thick tresses are the ideal canvas for this style, you can always work in some extensions to feign a fuller fauxhawk, if need be. Not ready to commit to buzzed sides? Then simply slick hair back with Pattern Curl Gel ($25) instead.

35 of 40

Experiment With 4C Hair

Full and voluminous natural hair frohawk

@anima.agyeman / Instagram

4C curls look killer in this full frohawk that's perfect for festival season—or any season for that matter. Post-wash, apply a small amount of Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-in Defining Crème ($20). One of our editors gave it a five-star rating.

36 of 40

Opt For Vertical Buns

Verticle buns faux hawk

@alyssaxvallejo / Instagram

One bun? No thanks, we'll take three. By stacking buns you create natural volume and lend shape to your fauxhawk. "To start, divide the hair into three sections," says Sultan. "Work a small amount of Imbue Curl Empowering Crème Gel ($13) into hair to smooth and give the base hold. Next, using strong ponytail holders, fluff and define curls with Imbue Curl Energising Hydration Serum ($13), and then use Invisibobble SLIM the elegant hair ring ($8) to create soft shapes."

37 of 40

Find Inspiration in the '50s

Issa Rae natural hair fauxhawk with headband

Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Issa Rae looks as cute as a button with her 1950s-inspired 'do. Her natural texture gives shape to this fauxhawk while a strong-hold gel like Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products Tight Hold ($10) and a stylish headband keep everything in place.

38 of 40

Keep It Simple

Curly frohawk with side braids

@khyrajoelle / Instagram

If you think you can't do much with a short 'do, think again. This twisted, curly frohawk is another example of how creativity can make any hair length fun to style. Meanwhile, Ouai Curl Créme ($32) will ensure your tresses nail the golden trifecta of curly-haired perfection: definition, hydration, and shine.

39 of 40

Give Hair Paint Wax a Try

Curly blue and purple frohawk

@kendrakenshay / Instagram

If you're not familiar with hair paint wax, you're missing out. The pomade-like wax adds color to natural hair textures without the damage of bleaching or coloring your hair. This blue and purple combo is on point but with a touch of pink, it would achieve the perfect cotton-candy color ($9).

40 of 40

Color with Caramel

Eva Pigford caramel curly fauxhawk

SGranitz / WireImage / Getty Images

Nothing says "low-maintenance" like this minimalist fauxhawk. It proves that short hair can be versatile and its styles are a cinch to recreate. Work a small amount of Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade ($14) to gives curls hydration and height.

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