Use Your Cowlick to Determine Your Part

Changing your hairstyle is always a fun way to change up your look, but one thing people don’t often think about changing is where they part their hair. We tend to pick one side or the middle and rarely switch it up. There are some factors you should consider when deciding where to place your part. We spoke to Soren, Senior Barber at our SoHo shop, to get the low down on parting your hair, working with your cowlicks, and why many people think their cowlicks are preventing them from getting the look they want.

What are some of the things to consider when deciding where to part my hair?

Placing our part allows for some stylistic choices, but it often has more to do with our anatomy rather than our aesthetic. My philosophy is that when a haircut is done in harmony with what nature has given us, it always leads to the best look. With that said, the part is caused by the rounding of the head and the hair choosing if it wants to lay on the top of the round or fall to the side of it. This can usually be determined by simply running your hands through your hair and seeing where it wants to fall. Where I often see people getting stuck with this is when they try to part their hair on the WRONG SIDE of their head. The main factor to consider for this is the direction that your cowlick flows. If it runs clockwise (left to right) then your hair will lay nicer when parted on the left, if it flows counterclockwise (right to left) then it will lay nicer when parted on the right side. This is because it leaves the majority of your hair laying in the direction of this natural flow rather than against it. Since most people don’t really look at the back of their heads this often needs to be determined by a barber. 

What is a cowlick? 

A cowlick is the swirl in the back of your head. Our entire head of hair grows in a swirling pattern out of this center, kind of like the eye of a hurricane. Some people may have smaller cowlicks in their front hairline ,which can cause a slight variation of growth in that area, but I find that even then, when the hair is parted in the direction of the back cowlick, these front cowlicks tend to fall in line better with the rest of the hair. 

Cowlick that goes from Left to Right

What causes a cowlick and can I get rid of it?

A cowlick is just part of our natural anatomy. We’re all born with one. It’s the genesis point of our hair. For this reason, you can’t really get rid of it - and there is no need to! When our hair is cut and styled in harmony with our growth pattern, the cowlick actually helps our hair lay nicely and take on its own character. 

If I ignore my cowlick and part my hair on the wrong side, what kinds of issues will I face? 

Many common hair issues that people face are caused by parting against the cowlick. Most noticeably, it can cause the hair around the cowlick itself to stick up, but it can also cause more subtle problems. When laying against the grain, the hair may not stay parted. It’s more likely to fall down in your face rather than swooping back and staying put. It can also cause a haircut to look uneven or too puffy because it just won’t lay down completely. 

Cowlick that goes from Right to Left

What tools or styling products can help tame an unruly cowlick? 

If you insist on parting your hair against the cowlick, then you’re going to need to blow dry it into that direction and use a strong pomade to lay it down. For this, I would prefer to use a small amount of a strong product, rather than a large amount of something with less hold. Fellow Strong Pomade is a great option here. 

What type of haircuts do you recommend for people with a problematic cowlick on the back of their head? 

If your hair has a tendency to stick up around the cowlick, then you can do one of two things. You can either go with a nice, tight haircut that takes the crown area down low enough so that there isn’t any length to stick up, or you can  keep more length around the crown so that it weighs down the cowlick. If you decide to take it down low, just keep in mind that once the cowlick starts to grow back it may cause you some trouble again, so you’ll have to stay consistent with getting it cut. I do not recommend haircuts that go high and tight on the back and sides, but then transition to a longer top. This can leave the crown area at a mid length without enough weight for it to lay down. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Nature always sets the best blueprint. From there, it’s our job to direct and channel that flow into something beautiful. I think what sets Fellow Barber apart in this vast world of barbering is our focus on styles that accentuate and venerate what nature has already given us, rather than fighting against it. So don’t be afraid to switch up your parting if your barber recommends it. It could be the simple solution to your hair troubles that you’ve been searching for.