Cowlicks rank right up there with split ends and humidity-induced poof as a hair conundrum we can't get behind. Try as we might, sometimes it seems like only a steamroller will flatten out those annoyingly lifted and kinked roots. But just as we were ready to surrender to this seemingly permanent hair curse, we had an idea: Maybe there are certain ways we can wear our hair that will make cowlicks a thing of the past. Hence, we turned to Nina Dimachki, former artistic director at Kérastase, and Trey Gillen, master hairstylist and color specialist, to give us a root awakening.
Keep scrolling to see the expert-approved hairstyles that will magically conceal a cowlick.
Meet the Expert
- Nina Dimachki is the former artistic director at Kérastase.
- Trey Gillen is a Houston-based master hairstylist and colorist.
If your cowlick is located right at the front hairline, Dimachki suggests going for a chop: "Having heavy fringe will help weigh down well over the cowlick so that if it pops up, it’s completely concealed. Ask your hairdresser to cut the thickest portion of the bangs directly behind the cowlick—think of the classic triangle bangs, where the triangle point is at the top of the head. Even if it’s slightly asymmetric, you’ll win the battle," she explains. Spritz a texture spray on your fringe to style, like Moraccanoil's Dry Texture Spray ($30).
If you have naturally curly strands, you're in luck! According to Gillen, the natural bends, twists, and flips pair nicely with stubborn cowlicks. He recommends using SACHAJUAN’s Curl Treatment ($37) to achieve silky, workable, frizz-free curls. "This conditioning mask transforms stiff, coarse hair into smooth, soft curls," he says.
Dare to make a bold chop? If you're ready to commit to a game-changing 'do, give baby bangs a try. "Wear these choppy and straight—the cowlick will add to the character," says Gillen. Use SACHAJUAN’s Moulding Spray ($30) to blend the cowlick into the rest of the fringe.
Always blow-dry a cowlick opposite the direction it naturally wants to go, then direct the heat straight down on it to flatten it so it doesn’t spring up.
Blake Lively's hair just doesn't seem like it can do any wrong. Her loose, messy waves are a thing of envy (seriously, how can tousled hair look so put-together?) and, coincidentally, are also the perfect disguise for a cowlick. Says Dimachki, "This style is perfect for any cowlick, anywhere on the head. Its looseness in texture is forgiving to any accidental front or back partings from cowlicks, and the shoulder-blade length helps weigh it down from getting out of hand," she says. Even better, you can get her tousled style heat-free with Ouai's Wave Spray ($28).
Your cowlick hairstyle doesn't have to hide your cowlick. Instead, you can embrace it and let it work in your favor. "Try a center part and allow the cowlick to separate your bangs for a carefree and easy fringe style," says Gillen. He recommends using SACHAJUAN’s Hair Cleansing Cream ($46) as an amazing alternative to shampoo and conditioner. "My clients swear they get the best blowouts after using it."
As far as haircuts for cowlicks in the back go, the pixie wedge is one of the best options out there. "Keeping the top and sides longer than a traditional pixie can add volume. These small changes make it easier to control the cowlick at the crown of your head," Gillen explains. He recommends using SACHAJUAN’s Rootlift ($32) and a medium-size round brush for lift and control to keep the area from separating.
If your cowlick is at the crown, Dimachki suggests cutting your hair all one length, like Olivia Palermo's: "Keeping hair at one length will maintain the heaviness at the bottom that the hair needs to conceal any crown cowlicks. The finer the hair, the more tension is needed while blow-drying. [Apply] a hazelnut size of Kérastase L'incroyable Blowdry Crème Hair Cream ($80) to the crown area and massage it into the hair that the cowlicks are most affected, then use a small metal round brush, [which] is great to grip the hair while blow-drying without sacrificing soft volume," she explains.
If your fringe won’t cooperate, Gillen recommends growing it out into a side swoop with shoulder-length locks. "The shoulder length perimeter will flip up slightly and complement the swoop," he explains. "SACHAJUAN’s Volume Cream ($35) gives just enough oomf without feeling like there’s product in the hair."
To get a pesky cowlick to disappear, you'll want to break the cowlick's growth pattern. To do so, blow-dry your cowlick back and forth from right to left over and over again. This will “overwork” the hair and cause it to lay flat.
Want a trendy new haircut that will help disguise your cowlick? Look no further than a modern shag. "It complements a cowlick with all the flirty, tousled movement," Gillen explains. "Use SACHAJUAN’s Ocean Mist ($34) for beachy texture with movement and memory."
For days when we don't have time to conceal any unruly locks, Dimachki says the best thing to do is place it in a slicked-back bun or textured braid, and no one will be the wiser. To hold locks back in place all day while pulled taut, Dimachki suggests applying Kérastase Laque Noire ($24).
A foolproof cut that's super flattering? Long layers! Pair them with a long fringe to add some weight on the cowlick to help control them. "Long layers and a longer, face-framing fringe will help with any cowlick," Gillen says. "To get bounce and volume you’ll want to use a little more product with longer hair," he adds. He recommends using SACHAJUAN’s Hair Mousse ($34), which is extremely weightless yet truly delivers bounce and body.