beard cowlick side profile

When you grow out a beard for the first time, you may quickly notice those weird patches of hair that look like small tornadoes swirling everywhere and refusing to follow the natural contours of your jawline.

Those patches of hair that grow in random directions in your beard are known as beard cowlicks.

But why such a name you ask?

Well, it simply comes from the fact that it looks like a spot where cow would of licked and messed up the hairs.

Most bearded men have a cowlick right under the ears at the point where your jawline starts from, but it can also occur in other areas, such as the upper cheeks or even in your chin.

Here are some quick beard cowlick examples:

beard cowlick example on a stubble
This position right under the ears is the most common spot for beard cowlick to occur, it’s even visible here in a stubble beard and would come even more noticeable if the beard was grown out longer.
patchy unkempt hollywoodian beard
Here’s a beard with patchy cheeks where it looks like the whole upper cheeks area is swirling into a large cowlick under the ear.
beard growing in every direction
Here’s a beard cowlick that starts from below the chin.

Beard cowlicks are genetic and you cannot completely remove them – although you can still tame and manage them.

If you are lucky, you may be born with no beard cowlick at all, and in that case you never even need to learn how to manage it!

But how do you manage a beard that grows in every direction, aka. a beard cowlick? Let’s take a look.

7 Ways to Manage Beard Cowlick

1. Start by Washing the Beard

man washing his beard

If your beard doesn’t co-operate, almost always the simplest way to make it behave is to wash it. This extends to straightening a beard cowlick as well.

You don’t necessarily need to hop on the shower either, just wash it over the sink if need be.

You may use some beard shampoo if you want to, but if you douse your beard with water daily, then I wouldn’t recommend that to be done every day to prevent drying of the beard.

Anyway, once your beard soaks in the water, it will become heavy and easier to tame into the shape you want it to be.

2. Blow-Dry the Cowlick Straight

beard blow dryer and tools

After washing your beard, the second most effective method of straightening a cowlick is to blow dry it into place.

You can use a beard comb as a helpful tool here and use medium heat to slowly dry and force your cowlick into a more natural position that contours your facial shapes.

If you are unsure about the process, check out our article on how to blow dry a beard.

3. Use Strong Beard Wax

beard wax tin

While beard oil and beard balm are often not strong enough for a fight against cowlicks, there’s still one beard product that is…

Beard wax!

Beard waxes have more beeswax in the formulation, which allows for a more stronger hold to the beard hairs than regular balms or oils do.

Alone it might still not be enough if you have a thick beard and the cowlick is persistent, but when combined with the rest of the tips in this article, beard wax truly helps.

NOTE: You might want to take a look at our guide on best beard waxes for more details on what type of wax to get.

4. Consider Getting a Beard Brush

beard brushes on a table

Beard brushes are some of the cheapest and most versatile tools every beardsman should own.

Together with some strong wax and a blow-dryer, a good boar bristle beard brush can definitely help tame your beard cowlick into more organized pattern.

Specifically for managing cowlicks, I would recommend a round beard brushes, which we talked a bit more about in our best beard brushes article previously.

You can use the round brush to roll the hairs around the cowlick into its bristles, and then roll them to the opposite direction that they swirl in while simultaneously blow drying the beard and applying the wax later for a long-lasting finish.

5. Tame Longer Cowlicks with a Beard Straightener

beard straightener in a wooden box

Okay so let’s say that your beard is super thick and wiry, and even with beard wax, brushing, and blow-drying you can’t seem to tame it…

What can you even do at that point?

Easy. You can get yourself a dedicated beard straightener.

Many different variations of beard straighteners exist these days from straightening combs to straightening irons and heated brushes and they all work well for their intended purpose (we cover all of them in our bigger beard straightener comparison article here).

Here’s a video from Jeff Chastain (the creator of the MASC heated beard brush) showing how to use one:

NOTE: You can only straighten your beards cowlick with a heated straightener IF it’s long enough, if you have a stubble beard or a beard that’s less than 2-inches in length, then a straightener will be almost impossible to use.

6. Trimming the Cowlick to Hide it

man getting his beard cowlick trimmed at barbershop

If your beards cowlick is in a spot where you can easily hide it by trimming or even shaving the area, then that will most likely be the easiest way to fix it.

If you’re unsure about how to hide your cowlick by trimming, you should go to a local barber that does beard work, and ask if there’s anything they could do for it.

Or if your cowlick is in an easy location such as right under the ear, then it will be relatively easy to trim yourself.

Here’s a very handy trimming guide by GQ if you’re doing it at home:

7. Embrace the Cowlick for a Scruffy Look

man with full beard

Last but not least, if you just can’t be bothered about trying to tame and manage cowlicks, why do it at all?

One option is to just embrace the natural swirls and curls of the beard and grow it out longer anyway.

Besides, as your beard grows longer and longer, it will actually be easier and easier to hide the swirls and beard hurricanes.

Word to the wise tho, if you’re planning it, here’s our guide on growing a long beard.


Beard cowlicks are natural swirls around your facial hair that can sometimes look odd and out of place.

If you don’t want to embrace them as they are, you can use the above tricks such as taking a shower, blow-drying, using beard wax, using heated beard tools, and trimming to make your beards cowlick appear less prominent, or even to straighten it out completely.

Whatever you do, please remember. Cowlicks are natural and most people have them, they should not be a reason to completely get rid of the beard.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.


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