Mohawks: Everything you need to know

Jeanette | 07 July 2016

Everything you should know about this heritage-rich ‘do.

You’ve probably heard and seen a few mohawks in your lifetime, but what do you really know about this distinctive hairstyle? Whether you’re trying to figure out if this ‘do is for you, or just want to brush up on your hair history, you can find all the answers by reading our complete guide below.

Everything you need to know about mohawks


mohawks Young guitarist in a punkrock band on stage
Mohawks from the punk movement.

What is exactly is a mohawk?

Before we start, we should make it clear that when most people band around the word ‘mohawks’, they’re referencing the traditional hairstyle of the Mohawk people. They’re the aboriginal peoples of North America and mohawk means ‘people of the flint’. You may even hear people reference the hairstyle as the ‘Mohican’, which is easily identifiable by a strip of hair that’s left in the middle, with both sides shaved. Although its origin is aboriginal, it’s also a symbol of defiance and rebellion, due to its resurgence in the ’70s and ’80s and its close association with the punk movement.

Who can rock this hairstyle?

Thanks to its association with the punk movement, mohawks are often seen as a statement hairstyle. Not to mention, it involves a lot of commitment, as it requires you to shave off both sides of your hair. So, essentially this isn’t for the faint-hearted, and if you are considering this ‘do, you might want to take some time to assess if it’s really for you!

mohawks dark brown hair
Rock a faux-hawk instead! Credit:

Is it difficult to style?

You may be pleasantly surprised, but mohawks aren’t actually that difficult to style. The truth is that although it looks rather labour-intensive, you don’t need to be a hair pro to nail the mohawk, especially if your hair is relatively short.

Look out for strong-hold gels like the VO5 Sculpted Hold Freeze Gel (£3.99*), the VO5 Sculpted Hold Freeze Spray (£3.99*) – if you want an easy and even application – or the TIGI Bed Head For Men Power Play Firm Finishing Gel (£11.50*), which will moisturise, protect and add shine without leaving a flaky finish. Just evenly apply your chosen product to your hair and use your hands or a comb to brush it upwards. Once the product has set, you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll!

Who can I gain inspiration from?

In terms of celebrities that have rocked mohawks, you’ll be happy to hear that you’re in good company. Previously, Jared Leto has been a fan, and Usher’s South of France cut, which has been described as the “gentleman’s mohawk”, is a close cousin of the hairstyle. In fact, if you’re tempted by the mohawk, but want something a little less dramatic, the South of France cut a great alternative for those with curly or afro hair types. If you don’t want to part with your precious hair down the sides? Why not experiment with the mohawk’s quieter, more dapper counterpart, the faux-hawk to see if the full-on version might be for you.

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.

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