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Tame That Cowlick: 10 Pro Stylist Tips to Smooth and Style Your Hair (2024)

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how to get rid of a cowlickYou’ve likely woken up to it—that patch of hair that sticks straight up or lays flat no matter how much you try to tame it. Let’s call it what it is: the dreaded cowlick. We get it, it’s frustrating when a section of hair refuses to cooperate with the rest of your style.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone in dealing with unruly cowlicks. While you may not be able to get rid of it completely, with some smart strategies you can minimize its impact.

This article will walk you through useful tricks to smooth and disguise your cowlick, from styling products to heat tools. We’ll also cover professional stylist tips, so you can learn to work with your cowlick if you can’t beat it.

With a few simple tweaks to your routine, you’ll be ready to rock your look with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • Use styling products like gels, mousse, or pomade to smooth the cowlick into place.
  • Blow-dry hair with a round brush, smoothing the cowlick section while directing airflow downwards.
  • When air drying, tightly twist small sections of the cowlick around your finger to reshape the growth pattern.
  • Consult a stylist about texturizing or layered cuts that work with your cowlick instead of against it.

What is a Cowlick?

What is a Cowlick
You’re wrestling with a wild cowlick, an unruly horn haphazardly twisting every which way like a crazy roller coaster loop refusing to be tamed no matter how much mousse you squirt or how aggressively you attack with the blowdryer.

A cowlick is a section of hair that grows in an irregular swirling pattern, creating a tuft that sticks up and resists styling. Certain hair types are prone to cowlicks due to the shape of the follicle and growth direction.

Strategic parting, heat styling tools, and the right hair products can help train cowlicks to lie flat and bend to your will. Carefully blow dry while brushing the hair back and down, then set with a no-crease clip.

With some TLC and targeted styling, you can master unruly cowlicks.

Assess Your Cowlick

Assess Your Cowlick
Do you have trouble taming an unruly cowlick? With shorter hairstyles, cowlicks on the hairline or crown require extra effort to style neatly every day.


Locate your cowlick’s directional spin to tame the pattern. Identify the cowlick spot by wetting the hair to reveal where strands swirl and stand. Note if it’s at the front hairline, crown, or nape to determine the technique. Pinpointing the exact location allows you to blow dry opposite the growth pattern with a round brush.

For multiple cowlicks, spot treat each one individually, securing with hairspray.


Keep hitting that cowlick with longer layers, barreling through the awkward phase until those strands start behaving. Shorter cuts expose the pattern more, so grow it out. Layered looks add movement to disguise it.

Get creative with heat styling techniques, blow drying opposite the natural direction. Length lets you curl, wave, or style the crown cowlick into submission. Gentle hair clips set that new flow while you barrel through to freedom from frustrating flips.

Style Strategies

Style Strategies
Struggling with an unruly cowlick? Parting your hair differently or using products can help tame it. Tweaking your part and trying a new styling approach helps hide and minimize the spot, while targeted styling creams and sprays add control.

Changing up how you part your hair and your styling routine is a good way to work with a stubborn cowlick.

Part Your Hair Differently

To create a fresh and appealing look, try parting your hair differently, embracing a new style that works with your cowlick’s natural pattern.

Here are five styling techniques to help you tame that stubborn cowlick and achieve a sleek, polished appearance:

  1. Change Part: Experiment with parting your hair on the opposite side of your cowlick to minimize its impact.
  2. Hair Products: Use lightweight products for thin hair and stronger hold products for thicker hair.
  3. Brush and Root Area: Brush your hair in the direction you want it to lay, paying special attention to the root area.
  4. Daily Maintenance: Refresh your hairstyle during the day with a spray bottle and styling products to keep your cowlick under control.
  5. Professional Advice: Consult a stylist for expert guidance on how to get rid of a cowlick effectively.

By following these steps, you can conquer your cowlick and enjoy a versatile, head-turning style.

Use Products

Try using styling products to manage your cowlick, such as a lightweight, flexible-hold hairspray for thin hair or a stronger hold product for thicker hair. For instance, if you have thick hair, applying a small amount of strong hold gel can help keep your cowlick in place.

Product selection is key to addressing your specific hair texture and cowlick challenges. Make sure to use a heat protectant spray and gentle hair clips to prevent damage while styling.

Blow Dry Tips

Blow Dry Tips
To conquer that stubborn cowlick, you’ll need to equip yourself with two key strategies: a reliable heat protectant and the skill of drying your hair in the opposite direction of the cowlick’s natural growth.

These techniques, when executed expertly, can assist you in gaining control over that unruly strand of hair, ensuring a sleek and stylish look.

Heat Protectant

Using a heat protectant before applying any styling heat tools is crucial to safeguard your hair from damage when addressing your cowlick.

  • Choosing the Right Product: Select a high-quality heat protectant suitable for your hair type.

  • Application Tips: Apply the protectant to wet hair evenly, ensuring full coverage.

  • Professional Blow Dryer: Invest in a professional blow dryer that offers even heat distribution.

  • Ceramic Brush: Use a ceramic brush for styling as it minimizes damage.

  • High Heat Caution: Keep the heat at an optimal level to avoid overexposure.

By following these steps, you’ll protect your hair while addressing your cowlick.

Dry Opposite Direction

Dry your hair in the opposite direction of your cowlick with a blow dryer to help retrain its growth pattern. Begin with heat protection; it’s crucial to shield your strands. Use a flat comb to part your hair in the desired direction.

Start blow-drying, ensuring you’re going against the natural grain of the cowlick. Opt for a brush size that suits your hair thickness. This reverse blow-drying technique will help tame that unruly cowlick and give your hair a fresh, styled look.

Use Heated Styling Tools

Use Heated Styling Tools
When dealing with a stubborn cowlick, an effective method involves using heated styling tools, like a flat iron. These tools can be your allies in smoothing out those unruly strands and achieving the polished look you desire.

Flat Iron

To achieve sleek, controlled hair with a flat iron, treat your cowlick like a stubborn puzzle piece, gently guiding it in the desired direction, as if you were coaxing a meandering river into a straight path.

  • Flat Iron Techniques: Glide the iron slowly, applying slight pressure to tame the cowlick.
  • Styling Products: Use a lightweight, heat-protecting serum for a smooth finish.
  • Wet Refreshing: Dampen the cowlick slightly before using the flat iron for better results.
  • Clip Maintenance: Secure the cowlick with a no-crease clip while styling the rest of your hair.

Curling Iron

Transform your unruly cowlick into a sleek and elegant hairdo with a curling iron, letting its heat and precision conquer those stubborn strands. Curling techniques can work wonders, starting with clean, dry hair. Begin by wrapping your cowlick around a medium-sized curling iron barrel.

Hold for about 10 seconds, then release. This heat application can help tame your cowlick and blend it seamlessly with the rest of your hair. Styling solutions paired with a curling iron are your allies in the battle against the persistent cowlick.

Rollers Can Help

Rollers Can Help
When dealing with stubborn cowlicks, incorporating rollers can be a game-changer. Using Velcro or thermal rollers strategically can help you manipulate the hair’s natural pattern, giving you more control over the direction and shape, ultimately taming that pesky cowlick.


Tame that unruly cowlick with Velcro rollers – they act like magnets, reshaping your hair effortlessly. Begin by sectioning your hair and gently roll the Velcro roller over the cowlick, going against its natural direction.

Secure it with hair clips. Now, apply heat from a blow dryer, moving it side to side. This styling technique allows you to manipulate the stubborn cowlick, smoothing it into place as you finish drying your hair.

For the best results, consider seeking professional advice on the appropriate roller size and hold for your specific head of hair.


Eliminate the hassle by using thermal tools to manage your unruly cowlicks with ease.

Thermal styling is a powerful ally in your battle against those stubborn hair patterns. Here’s how to conquer your cowlick using flat iron techniques, heat protectants, and professional advice.

  • Flat Iron Techniques: Invest in a quality flat iron. Glide it gently over the cowlick, moving in the opposite direction of the hair’s natural growth. This will help flatten the cowlick and maintain your desired style.

  • Heat Protectants: Never skip this step. Apply a heat protectant to shield your hair from damage. It’s essential when using thermal tools regularly, ensuring your hair stays healthy.

  • Professional Advice: When in doubt, seek the guidance of a stylist. They can recommend the best thermal styling techniques for your specific cowlick, ensuring you achieve salon-worthy results.

Secure With Clips

Secure With Clips
To keep your unruly cowlick in check, try using no-crease clips to hold it in place while styling. These nifty tools are your secret weapon against those stubborn, wayward hair strands. When dealing with cowlicks, you need precision and finesse. Start by using fine-tooth combs to guide your hair into the desired direction, and then secure it in place with these clips.

The key to success is in both the clip placement and materials. Ensure that the clips are small, unobtrusive, and lightweight to avoid any discomfort. Position them strategically at the root of your cowlick, making sure they don’t leave any unsightly creases in your hair.

Whether you have long, luscious locks or shorter tresses, this technique can work wonders. For those with lengthy hair, you can even set the clips in hot hair to prevent any crease marks from forming. By using these clip techniques, you’ll maintain your perfectly styled hair throughout the day, with your cowlick obediently in place.

Say goodbye to those morning battles with your cowlick, and embrace the freedom of a flawlessly styled mane.

Refresh Through the Day

Refresh Through the Day
Don’t let that pesky cowlick ruin your hairstyle. Quickly wet the unruly area, style it with product for hold, and secure with a no-crease clip to get your hair back under control.


You all rewet the area with a spray bottle, don’t wash it all. Mist the spot with a gentle spray of water to reactivate the style and tame the cowlick. Use a setting spray in a fine mist to softly dampen, making hair pliable again without fully soaking.

The light moisture lets you reshape and direct strands without starting completely over. Go for a delicate touch of water to refresh not drench when battling cowlicks throughout the day.


You can tame that unruly cowlick quickly by working in some styling product for extra hold and texture. Hairpins can temporarily pin the cowlick in place. Textured styles with lots of layers camouflage the cowlick pattern.

Cowlick-friendly cuts incorporate longer bangs, leaving some fringe to drape over and conceal the cowlick. Styling techniques like blowouts or wet sets with rollers train the hair away from the natural cowlick direction.


You’ll conquer that stubborn cowlick in a snap by sliding in no-crease clips after wetting and styling to set the flow. Position clips at the roots along the natural part line to weigh down and direct the pattern smoothly.

Plastic, metal, or coated options camouflage easily without leaving indents. Clips give you freedom from constant touch-ups, so you can focus on your day belonging to your best self, innovating new styles.

See a Professional

See a Professional
Seeing a stylist can help you tame that unruly cowlick in no time. Make an appointment to consult with an experienced stylist about options for your particular hair type and cowlick situation. They can advise on potential haircut techniques like texturizing, layering, or softening the edges that make the most of your texture while minimizing the prominence and direction of the cowlick.

A stylist can also recommend the right styling products and tools to smooth it down or work with it, like mousse for fine hair or creams for thick hair. Getting your hair cut and styled at the salon allows the professionals to shape and taper it properly with their eye for detail and dexterity.

Don’t let your cowlick stress you out. Book a styling session and let an expert help you take control. With some expert tips and personalized solutions, you’ll have smooth style in no time.

Embrace Your Cowlick

Embrace Your Cowlick
Embrace your cowlick with confidence by embracing its uniqueness and working with it, not against it. Your cowlick gives your hairstyle charming character that makes you stand out with effortless grace.

Let it inspire you to rock short bangs with flair or add volume to your updo in just the right spot. Give yourself a confidence boost by accepting your cowlick’s special contribution to your look.

See it as your mark of distinction and individuality. Your cowlick shows the world that you chart your own course with playful irreverence. With the right styling tricks and attitude, your cowlick becomes a symbol of your freedom to be unapologetically you.


Ultimately, your cowlick is a part of you. Rather than fight it, learn to embrace it. With some smart styling tricks and the right products, you can tame that stubborn cowlick into submission.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.