achieving the perfect mohawk

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By un’ruly Contributor: Perri Lembo

A mohawk is the perfect style for those who want to look cute while staying cool in the summer. It can be achieved in a variety of ways: shaving the sides to create a traditional mohawk, sculpting it with a fade, or building it with braids. The mohawk is a surprisingly versatile style that can even be used as the basis of a formal up ‘do!


The mohawk gets its name from the Mohawk tribe of North America. It’s a bit of a misnomer, since the original mohawk style, devised as a way to taunt scalpers, featured the removal of all of the hair except for a small patch at the back of the head. Over time, it morphed into the style we know today, the basic characteristics of which are longer hair in the middle and short or shaved sides. From the beginning, this style was one of rebellion and defiance and was therefore a natural choice for the Punk movement of the 1970s. The mohawk, which is the traditional haircut for warriors of the African Mandika tribe, was popularized in the African-American community by Mr. T in the 1980s. To this day, the mohawk is a fierce and popular style that has evolved to take on many different forms.


There are many different ways to achieve the mohawk look. From traditional shaving to stylish braids and twists or the subtle faux-hawk, it’s easy to make a mohawk your own.


A. Traditional

The traditional mohawk is shaved on the sides, leaving longer hair in the middle. This style is cute and easy to achieve for naturals with a short hair length, requiring minimal hair product to maintain height. For a bolder look, you can straighten your hair and use a strong-hold gel to keep it up. Mohawks can also be created using a fade. At this point, the line blurs between mohawk and faux-hawk!

Tip: Day-to-day, this style is low-maintenance, but be sure to keep up with trimming to maintain your desired level of contrast between the sides and the middle.


B. Faux-hawk

A faux-hawk is a mohawk that is created without shaving the sides. It is usually formed by cutting the hair on the sides a little bit shorter than the top, and then using gel to spike up the middle. This style is easy to achieve with a 27-piece weave. Naturals can get the look by pinning up the hair on the sides with bobby pins while leaving the middle free.

Tip: In addition to using gel to spike up the middle, you can also use it slick down the sides for a more dramatic look.


C. Braided

A unique twist on the mohawk is to use braids to simulate the “shaved” sides. This works best with cornrows, but feel free to get creative with braiding patterns. This look can easily go formal. You can pin the hair in the middle into a cute poof, or leave it braided to create an elegant sculpted up ‘do. Another option is to curl the hair in the middle (whether braided or not).

Tip:  This option is great for long-haired ladies who want the mohawk look but do not want to cut their hair or wear a wig.

Bonus Look: Using a hairpiece to create a curly faux-hawk:

Sources: Via, Via, Via, Via
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