How To Handle A Cows Lick

“Stay down damn you!”

“Stay down damn you!”

Some guys are lucky enough to be blessed with amazing hair. You know the type – thick head of hair that effortlessly falls into place with little to no maintenance and always looks good. Yeah, you know them. Contrary to popular belief I am not one of these people, instead, I have been cursed with the dreaded cows lick. While I know there are much bigger things to worry about when it comes to your hair (like losing it for example), a cows lick is a problem for many that results in a lot of people having to shave their hair off. But before you go reaching for the clippers here are tips and suggestions for managing the situation. Try one or try them all.


For those who might be unfamiliar, a cows lick is a stubborn tuft of hair that stands at odds with the rest of your hair, which is why it can be the bane of some peoples lives. It rises at the swirling meeting point of different growth patterns on the head, typically at the hairline or the back of the crown. Your hair typically has a central whirl or spiral in which it grows and people who have cows licks usually have two, with the second being a little more discreet. If you've ever wondered why it's called a cows lick well there's actually a fairly simple explanation. It derives from a cow's habit of licking their calves, which results in the swirling pattern of its hair and dates back to the 16th century when Dr Richard Haydocke described it as such in a medical journal. While they are typically found on the hairline or the crown, a cows lick can sprout up pretty much anywhere and are more evident in people with straight hair.


Before I offer some tips on getting rid of your cow's lick I'd first like to make a case for embracing it. Tom Hardy is a well-known owner of a cows lick and he just rocks it and manages to make it cool. You can do this too by making the rest of your hair look equally as dishevelled, which makes your stubborn cows lick look intentional as part of the whole ‘beach-wave' picture. It doesn't fix the problem, nut unless you need to look seriously smart on a daily basis, then this is the path of least resistance. If that's not for you then read on.


Go With The Grain


This isn't easy and requires a bit of work. You need to understand the direction in which your hair naturally wants to go, on every side of the cows lick. This is the point from which you'll comb the hair in the various directions that it wants to fall. This is tricky and will probably require holding a mirror in one hand and a comb in the other, reflecting backwards into a bigger mirror. Eventually, you'll get to a point where you can do it from memory and won't require a hall of mirrors. The key is in understanding that the hair is trying to different ways at this swirly meeting place so you can't just sweep over it with a comb and expect it to do what you want it to do.


Turn Up The Heat


A little bit of hot air can go a long way. Your hair dryer can change the direction your hair falls, especially when paired with the right styling products. So, in addition to a good hair dryer, you'll also need to invest in some good damp hair styling products – something with a lot of hold so it'll stand up to your bovine friend. Apply to towel dried hair before using the hairdryer. Comb it into place, and train the hair with your comb or brush as you apply heat. Lock it in with a blast of cold air from the hair dryer at the end. Remember though that this will all be reset the next time you shower.


Let It Grow


Like us all, when a cows lick grows up it starts to relax. So, if you grow your hair out, the cow's lick will fix itself since the weight of the extra hair will pull it into place. However, if the rock star look isn't for you (or your employer), then try shampooing less and conditioning more as this will cause your hair to increase in weight by preserving natural oil and moisture levels.


Call The Professionals


If none of the above works for you then it's time to call in the professionals. A good barber can snip, texturize or train your hair in a way that minimizes the cows lick – or gets rid of it altogether. Failing that they can advise some styles that will work best for your hair. This doesn't have to be restrictive either as there are plenty of celebrity cow lick owners – including Zac Efron and the aforementioned Mr Hardy – who rock the red carpets with hair so perfect you'd never be able to there's a tamed cows lick looking back at you.


So there you have it. While I can't tell you how to permanently get rid of a cows lick (if I knew, I'd do it), I have given you some temporary fixes and tips for taming it. Hopefully, you'll now be able to manage your bovine buddy a little better and won't have to go reaching for the clippers any time soon.

Patrick McLoughney