top of page

Pesky Cowlicks (and how to tame them)!


I am always struck by the nuances of each individual's head of hair. I am not just talking about the way they wear their hair but the actual growth patterns of the hair and diameter of the hair strand itself. So let's start with those pesky cowlicks!

The cowlick is spoken and spelled exactly as if a cow was licking the top of the head. I used to think it was colic like a baby crying, thinking the hair was unhappy too, but later found it was just the tongue of a cow.

Starting its growth in the womb, the cowlick is also called a whorl. It is much like your thumb print, a giant unique pattern that sets you apart from the others. However, instead of vacant lines, hair comes shooting out much like a little garden on the top of your body! We should be so lucky that they're not shaving our heads and stamping them in ink at the airport.

Growth whorls appear clockwise or counter-clockwise starting at the crown of the skull. They can and do appear all over the head. This is why one side never matches the other side of your head. (Note: the body is not symmetrical and every model on every magazine is airbrushed.)

All people have these apex whorls but they can be located in different areas around the same region. For instance, I've noticed some on the top of the crown and some 3" down closer to the occipital bone. Some more to the right and some more to the left. There are even a few individuals that have two. Yes, two cowlicks which can make the hair very difficult to manage for the person.



  • Do you have a whorl that sticks straight up? It could be that your skull has a flat part but the hair right in front sticks straight up. Try backcombing or teasing so the top area is united, then use a touch of hair spray.

  • Another trick is to use clips to reverse the two growths. Clip down the sticking up part of the hair and clip up the falling down part. Use clips when the hair is wet and pull out gently when dry.

  • In dealing with those cow licks in front, you can try the same strategy. Or try some gel on wet hair near the temple area where growth is strong. Use a comb to ensure roots and strands are going in the same direction. You can also just use your fingers or a toothbrush. Whatever gets the job done!

  • Remember controlling the root area will allow control of the pesky cowlick!


Good Luck!

Dianne, your curly hair specialist

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page