What Is a Hair Cowlick?

A hair cowlick is a section of hair that lies at a different angle from the rest of the hair. Cowlicks are most common at the crown of the head, but they can occur anywhere.

Cowlicks are created when hair grows in a spiral pattern. They are seen in both men and women. Cowlicks often stand straight up. People can have more than one cowlick in their hair. Cowlicks can interfere with hairstyles if they are not managed correctly. One method is to cut the hair short enough so that it can't stand up. An alternative is leaving the hair longer, so the cowlick is weighed down. Common hairstyles that work well with cowlicks are buzzcuts, short textured cuts, long layered cuts and messy textured cuts. Combing and styling the hair in the direction of the cowlick can also prevent it from standing up. It is recommended that people with cowlicks have their hair cut while it is dry so the hair has its natural appearance, without water weighing it down. More extreme methods of handling a cowlick include electrology, waxing and cosmetic surgery. The term cowlick was first used in the late 16th century as a comparison to the hair pattern that occurred in young cattle after their mother licked them.