Here’s What Is Really Causing Your Cowlick

When you hear the word cowlick, it’s likely your thoughts don’t turn immediately to your hair, although a cowlick often has plenty to do with an uncooperative mane. According to Byrdie, a cowlick by definition is “natural growth patterns in the hair that cause strands to go in opposing directions, which can leave them laying flat to our head, sticking straight up, or controlling the flow of our hair in an unwanted orientation.”

Cowlicks can prevent you from trying trendy hairstyles or from changing your daily ‘do at all, as many times the hair at a cowlick grows straight up, creating volume in places you may not want it. It can also affect the way you part your hair, causing you to feel bored with your everyday style. Hairstylist and colorist Ashley Rourk tells Byrdie, “You’re never going to completely eliminate your cowlicks, but there are ways to work with them.”

Cowlicks can be managed but not eliminated

The hair experts at L’Oreal report that a cowlick is caused by genetics, so you can thank your parents for that annoying disruption at the crown of your head. More obvious may be the cowlicks on the hairline surrounding the face, which you may not even have noticed on your favorite celebs like Blake Lively and Madonna. According to Healthline, cowlicks can sometimes be caused by external factors, like a surgery, or even a head injury. 

While you can’t get rid of it, you can certainly manage your cowlick. Stylist Rourk explains to Byrdie that the right cut can make all the difference, stating, “Cutting the hair short right at the cowlick will expose the cowlick even more.” If you choose to have short hair, Rourk recommends letting the stylist know to leave extra length around the cowlick area, to keep it more manageable. To hide it, you can also try blow-drying a dampened cowlick with a rounded brush, and using hair-taming products can also help control it (via L’Oreal).

Rourk shares that her favorite way to handle a cowlick is to embrace it and treat it as a trademark to your look, stating, “They’re unique to you and have personality.”

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