6 Ways to Deal with a Beard Cowlick to Tame the Whorls

Let’s face it:

Every journey has its struggles, and when it comes to the beard growth journey, cowlicks are on top of the list

Also referred to as a whorl, swirl, or beard vortex, a beard cowlick is a section with hairs that grows in a spiral or cyclone shape.


The hair grows against the grain, making it look awkward. And, more often, it’s tough to style since these unruly hairs don’t often cooperate.


That is what I will cover in this post, including:

  • What causes cowlicks
  • The struggles of dealing with a cowlick
  • Different ways to fix these beard swirls

What Causes Beard Cowlicks?


Just like cowlicks that develop on the scalp, beard cowlicks are genetic. 

Your genetic makeup determines how many you will have, the location, and the swirling direction depending on the shape of your follicles. 


While not many men have beard cowlicks, scalp cowlicks are very common. It’s only that they are mainly on the crown where it’s less visible.

And if you are wondering why the name “cowlick,” It’s because when cows lick their calves, they leave circular shapes similar to these hairs

The Different Ways To Get Rid of Beard Hair Cowlicks

Let Your Beard Grow

If you have stubble and notice a cowlick, you should first consider letting the facial hairs grow.


For some people, cowlicks are only conspicuous when the hair is short. When the hair grows in volume and length, the volume weighs down the swirling hair section making it look uniform.


With the help of styling products and straightening tools like a blow dryer or heated brush, you can then style or straighten the swirls that are still noticeable.


It will take several months before your facial hairs grow in length; long enough to weigh down the cowlick. This means you have to endure a season of eyesore swirls.

Luckily, you can hide the cowlicks with the right styling products.

Either way:

When your beard hairs are grown, it allows you to decide whether you will manage the cowlick compared to the experience when the hairs were shorter. 

Shave The Cowlick Section


This does not mean shaving off your beard completely

Unless you have multiple cowlicks, it’s possible to style and tame one or two.

For this fix, what I mean is cutting off the cowlick section, especially, if it’s in a hidden place. For instance, below the chin. 

Then look for a beard style that has no hair in the section you have shaved

For instance:

If you have it on the cheek, you can go with a goatee style or a mutton chop if it is below the lower lip. This is one of the best fixes since you will escape the struggles of taming the cowlick every day.  

Don’t forget to shave the section regularly to keep the hairs short and neat. 

Embrace The Mess To Get a Scuffle Look

Get this:

You can also mess everything else up to make it uniform with the cowlick.

While this will give you a #BadBeardDay look every day, you will have escaped the hassle of taming hairs that don’t cooperate. 


This compromise is not for everybody; especially, those who need a professional look; to conform with the requirements of their jobs. 

While this is not a “real” fix, it’s something everyone can try for a weekend staycation, road trip, or a holiday look. 

Some say that a scuffled beard is bold and manly. 

Use High-Hold Styling Products


For those with a long beard, you can use beard styling products with a high hold. Doing so allows you to style and hold the cowlick to look like the rest of the facial hairs.

Some good options include gel, high-hold beard wax, or a balm that will hold the errant sections in shape. 


Before applying these products, make sure to condition and moisturize your beard hair using beard oil. 


Apart from the hold, your type of hair will also determine if you will be successful in taming cowlicks.

If you have a wild, unruly, straight facial hair type, there is a likelihood that even the highest hold wax won’t tame your cowlick for long. 

If that is your case, consider the fix below. 

Use Beard Straightening Tools

Another fix for beard cowlick is using heat to straighten the hair strands. The different options here include:

  • Blow dryer
  • Beard flat iron
  • Heated brush

The heat produced by these tools breaks the disulfide bonds that determine the shape of the hair relaxing the hair strands.


This is not a permanent fix since the hair will get back into its shape after washing. And since you can’t use heat every day, wash the facial hairs once or twice a week. 


When using heat, it will be challenging to make sure the cowlick section is uniform with the rest of the hairs after straightening.  

Frequent Brushing and Combing


In addition to the other fixes, something else to try is regular combing and brushing using a boar beard brush. 

The frequent combing can train the cowlick to align with your desired direction


While it’s essential to wash your beard up to 3 times a week, if you have a cowlick, reduce the use of shampoo to once or twice a week.


Wrapping Up… 

Beard cowlicks are a nightmare when it comes to styling. 


With any one of these fixes, you can find a way to manage your cowlick; to make it less noticeable instead of cutting off your beard.

If you are not successful with any of these fixes, talk to a professional stylist and ask for their recommendations.

That said:

If you have another hack to manage cowlick, feel free to share it with me in the comments section below.


Frequently Asked Questions

There are claims that cowlick electrolysis or hair transplant surgery can help alter the direction of the hair follicles to fix intense spirals. However, there isn’t sufficient research or data to support these treatments. The easiest way to address a cowlick is cutting, hiding, or learning how to manage it.
Yes, there are people who say their cowlick disappeared after some time. The only way to know if yours will disappear is to grow the beard and watch what happens over time.

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