Brunette woman brushing her hair
Hair Styling | Tips and Tricks

How to Get Hair Whorls Under Control

Hair whorls (also known as crowns, swirls, or cowlicks) can be really annoying when it comes to cutting and styling your hair. But you don't have to accept defeat and believe that your dream hairstyle will only ever remain a dream – all you need is the right technique! Here are the five best tips for cleverly concealing or even taming stubborn hair swirls.

Woman blow-drying her hair
© Getty Images

Blow-drying in a certain way can help tame your whorls


A hair whorl is a patch of hair that grows in a circular direction around a visible center point on the scalp. They either grow clockwise or counterclockwise. How many of these we each have and in which direction they rotate depends on our genetics.

The geneticist Amar Klar even researched whether the direction a hair whorl grows determines if we are right-handed or left-handed. If the hair swirls in a clockwise direction, he found, this might suggest that the person is right-handed.


As interesting as they are, sometimes hair whorls can be a nuisance. For example, when you want to part your hair: the direction in which the whorl grows determines how your hair will fall. If you want to part your hair in a different direction, it won't always work because it will fall back into its original position. And even with straight or short hair, a stubborn whorl may cause individual strands to stick up. If you have extra crazy swirls, not every hair cut will be possible.


If this all sounds familiar to you, don’t freak out. You can easily tame your hair whorl in just a few steps.

How to tame your hair whorls

  •          Cutting: If you take your hair swirl into account when selecting a new haircut, the hair can still fall naturally and does not have to be styled in a different direction. Experienced hairdressers should be able to advise you on which cut makes the most sense so when you visit a salon for the first time, don’t forget to point out your whorl.                                                                                          If you are flirting with the idea of getting bangs, you should first check whether you have a hair swirl at the front of your hair. One in this location could mean that your bangs will stick up and not sit exactly how you want them to. If this is the case, it might be best to forego a hairstyle with bangs.
  •          Drying: Heat can help you style your hair whorl much more easily. Simply apply a little mousse to damp hair and blow dry sections individually over a round brush. Use the brush as close to your scalp as possible and try to send sections in different directions. As soon as your hair is dry, use a hair clip to hold down the parts of hair from the swirl so that they stay flat after they’ve cooled down. Finally, spray everything with hairspray to keep it all in place.
  •          Straightening: You can also smooth out the swirl by straightening the hair around it. Straightened hair is much simpler to work with and can be styled to your liking much more easily.
  •          Filling out: Extra volume can also help to conceal annoying hair whorls. Just comb your hair lightly and style it so that the swirl is hidden underneath. Or if you don’t have much time, throw on some volume powder to give all of your hair more lift. The hair will immediately be easier to style and can therefore be shaped as desired.
  •          Curling: Would you like a longer-term solution that doesn’t just last until the next time you wash your hair? Then you could consider getting a perm during your next visit to the hairdresser. This way, you’re in charge of the style and your locks will stay how you want them to for several weeks.