Skip to Content

Faux Hawk | 10 Trending Cuts & Style Guide

Ah, the trust faux hawk. This unique cut seems to go in and out of style each decade, but it always makes a comeback. And you can bet it’s hotter than ever right now. Read on to learn why and see trending examples.

If you’re ready to shake up your hairstyle but don’t want to commit to anything too crazy long-term, the faux hawk is the perfect solution. This edgy look works for men and women alike.

It’s also highly versatile, as you can style it casually or for more elegant occasions. But what is a faux hawk—and can you even pull one-off? Get all the facts you need below.

What Is a Faux Hawk?

Image titled Style Guide Faux Hawk featuring a cutout of a man with such a style floating on a blue square patterned background

The term “faux hawk” combines the French word “faux,” meaning “false,” and the word “mohawk.” The word dates back to the mid-1990s. To understand the faux hawk, you first have to learn about the mohawk.

A mohawk is a hairstyle created by shaving the sides of the head and leaving a long strip of hair running directly down the center of the scalp, from the nape of the neck to the forehead. Often, people will color the strip of hair or style it in spikes.

The mohawk has long been a classic style in the punk scene. However, the 1990s saw the mohawk get mainstream recognition with stars from David Beckham to Jared Leto sporting the daring ‘do.

A mohawk is a serious commitment because it requires shaving the sides of the head. What’s a person to do if they don’t want to break out the electric razor? Enter the faux hawk. This hairstyle finds its roots in the mohawk but is unique in a few respects:

  • A faux hawk consists of shorter hair on the sides of the heads and a long strip of hair down the center, from the nape of the neck to the forehead.
  • Unlike a mohawk, the sides of the head aren’t shaved completely. Further, the hair on top tends to be shorter than it is in a mohawk style.
  • Faux hawks can also be compared to an undercut, as both styles share the critical characteristic of varying hair lengths between the top and sides.

The faux hawk first appeared in the 1990s. By the early to mid-2000s, people widely spotted it on celebrities like Elijah Wood, Jude Law, David Beckham, P. Diddy, and Andy Roddick. Famous ladies from Pink to Kelly Clarkson also sported the look.

Finally, in the mid-’00s, the faux hawk reached the general public, with men and women alike experimenting with the funky hairstyle. While it’s less popular today, a well-executed faux hawk can still be an attractive statement hairstyle—if you know how to style it.

Faux Hawk Inspiration: 10 Ways to Rock the Trend

One of the most incredible things about the faux hawk is its versatility. While a mohawk is more limited — you probably won’t see a mohawk in a corporate boardroom — a faux hawk leaves all options open. From business to casual to red carpet glamor, a faux hawk can do it all. Get inspired with these styles.

1. Long Gelled Spiky Faux Hawk

Long Gelled Spiky Faux Hawk on a guy in a black shirt looking as if he's in deep thought

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

This faux hawk draws emphasis to the more extended portion of the faux hawk. All it takes is some volumizing hair gel. Look for something with a firm hold, so you can properly “sculpt” each chunk of hair. Aim for larger pieces to avoid a porcupine appearance.

2. Bleach-Blonde Faux Hawk

Bleach-Blonde Faux Hawk on a guy with orange hair wearing a blue shirt with a scarf and looking to the right of the reader

Sigur/Shutterstock

Color can take your faux hawk to the next level. Pay your respects to the faux hawk’s punk mohawk origins by getting it bleached blonde.

Read Next: Should I Bleach My Hair?

3. Multi-Colored Contrast Faux Hawk

Multi-Colored Contrast Faux Hawk on a guy in an open blue blazer with sequins on the collar

Unique Vision/Shutterstock

Have your hairstylist dye your hair in precise chunks instead of fading it if you want more drama. Note that this look will require a lot of maintenance!

4. Nearly-a-Mohawk Faux Hawk

Nearly-a-Mohawk Faux Hawk

Marko Vcetkovic/Shutterstock

If you’re ready to push the envelope, allow the top of your faux hawk to grow longer and spike it into precise points. This is a nod to the original mohawk.

5. Classic Faux Hawk

Classic Faux Hawk on a smiling man in a white crew neck tshirt

Avava/Shutterstock

When most people think of the faux hawk, this is the style they think of – the “classic” faux hawk features much shorter sides and hair on top that’s grown longer and “spiked” into a mohawk-esque style. For this specific cut, you’ll need at least medium-length hair on the top of your head to truly achieve the classic faux hawk – and plenty of hair gel to make the style stick all day. 

6. Messy Faux Hawk

Messy Faux Hawk on a woman in a jean shirt under a black leather jacket

William Moss/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a faux hawk style that’s a little less orderly, the messy faux hawk might be the perfect choice. This faux hawk will definitely have you looking like you’ve rolled out of bed.

And achieving this look all comes down to how you style it. This style is also great for anyone that has thick, curly hair that’s unruly and doesn’t want to spend hours trying to tame it in the morning. 

7. Cropped Faux Hawk

Cropped Style Faux Hawk worn by a woman holding a zipper up to her mouth

Annette Shaff/Shutterstock

While a lot of faux hawks feature sharp contrasts in length, this cropped faux hawk is a little more subtle – the sides of the head are still shorter than the top, but it’s less of a stark difference.

This makes this a great choice for anyone with short hair. And, if you’re looking for a faux hawk style that’s easy to spike up with gel, this hairstyle works perfectly. 

8. Punk Rock Faux Hawk

Woman with a punk rock faux hawk haircut in white overalls and a white bra walking on the street in NYC

Lars Anders/Shutterstock

The faux hawk easily gets considered a more “punk” or “alternative” hairstyle, but not all variations of the fo-hawk do this “punk” style justice like this one does. If you’ve got bleached or colored hair, this version of the faux hawk looks even better – you’ll get spiky, shaved hair on the sides and wild, untamed hair on the top.

Read Next: Punk Hairstyles

9. Short Spiky Faux Hawk

Woman with a Short Spiky Faux Hawk wearing a scarf as a shirt in a tan room

Annette Shaff/Shutterstock

If you’re a fan of the long, gelled faux hawk that we’ve already talked about, but you’ve got shorter hair, you may like this short spiky faux hawk just as much.

From the front, this style may not look too different. But it definitely looks like a fo-hawk from the side. This style is especially great if you want to experiment with making parts of your hair spikier than other faux hawk variations. 

10. Kid-Friendly Faux Hawk

Kid friendly faux hawk on a pale kid in a dark blue sweatshirt

Duplass/Shutterstock

Not all faux hawk styles translate that well to little heads of hair, but this kid-friendly faux hawk hairstyle does – while it lacks some of the spikiness that other fo-hawks have, it still has the essence of a faux hawk, and the look can be easily achieved with a little hair gel.

Read Next: Trending Boys Haircuts

Things to Consider

To help illustrate what Faux Hawk looks best on what type of man, a chart with the various face shapes outlined by a blue graphic frame

When it comes to rocking a faux hawk, you have loads of options to choose from. However, before you pick your favorite look and head to the hair salon, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

First, beware that not every faux hawk style is suited to every face shape. There are seven face shapes: diamond, heart, oblong, oval, round, square, and triangle. Determine yours first to see what faux hawk style best suits your look.

For example, a round face may benefit from an elongating faux hawk style, like a long and spiky look. In contrast, if you have a longer face, you might prefer a shorter style, like a faux hawk with a center braid.

Similarly, if you’re thinking of dying your faux hawk, beware that not every color will suit every skin tone. Make sure to choose a hue that complements your natural coloring and eyeshade, or your faux hawk will end up looking awkward.

Finally, there are practical points to consider. If you have a job that requires you to work in an office or opposite clients, you may want to steer clear of the bolder faux hawk styles. The good news is that many looks above will be acceptable even in a conservative setting.

Faux Hawk vs. Mohawk: What’s the Difference? 

The faux hawk and the mohawk may sound similar, but these are two very different styles. The mohawk style has been mainstream since the 1980s, and it often means shaving almost your entire head – with a long, straight strip of hair left running down the center.

There are a couple of different variations on the mohawk style, too, including liberty spikes or the deathhawk style. Mohawks are one of the boldest hairstyles you can pull off, but depending on your job or lifestyle, it’s not always a convenient style to rock. 

So, if you’re looking for something that’s a little more toned down, the faux hawk is usually the better choice. While the sides of your hair are still shorter than the top (usually with a fade), they’re not completely shaved down or bald.

There’s still a little length on the sides, but the top of your hair is still styled up into that classic “mohawk” shape. In fact, you can create the faux hawk look with hair that’s as short as an inch or as long as four to five inches. The result is a style that’s not as extreme as a mohawk.

And it’s often easier to rock if you’re working an office job or living a more conservative lifestyle. And, the faux hawk tends to be a little more versatile as well. If you don’t feel like gelling and spiking your hair one day, there are still other ways to wear the faux hawk.

If you’re not sure whether you’d like a mohawk, some people may cut their hair into a faux hawk first to see how much they like it before transitioning all the way into a mohawk. 

How to Style a Faux Hawk

Guy styling a faux hawk while looking in the bathroom mirror and touching the spikes on his head

maridav/Shutterstock

Having the right haircut is only half the work – creating any of the faux hawk looks we’ve listed above means knowing how to style your hair correctly. Here’s a quick breakdown for achieving any basic faux hawk look: 

  1. Get your hair damp. Whether you’re straight out of the shower or using a spray bottle, your hair is going to be easiest to mold if it’s damp first. You don’t want it completely soaking, though, so you may need to pat your hair down with a towel before you apply mousse. 
  2. Apply mousse. Using mousse that’s going to give your hair some volume, you’ll want to apply a palm-full of it to your hair. The product is going to make it much easier for the faux hawk to stick and create that much-needed lift you’ll want. 
  3. Use a blow dryer and comb. Once you’ve rubbed in the mousse, you’ll want to blow dry your hair, continuously combing your hair up as you go. You’ll want to comb the hair on the left side of your head to the right and any hair on the right side to the left. This should begin to create that classic faux hawk shape. 
  4. Put volumizing mousse through your roots. Next, it’s time to apply more volumizing mousse (or dry shampoo) to the roots of your hair. As you do so, you’ll want to keep using your fingers to brush the hair upwards. Keep in mind that the product should only go on the top of your hair – unless you’re looking to achieve a spiky look and make the sides of your hair stand out. 
  5. Use pomade or wax. Finally, you can use pomade, wax, or hair gel to finish molding your hair into that classic wedge shape that faux hawks are known for. 

Is the Faux Hawk for You?

As the guide above has hopefully made clear, the faux hawk is a highly versatile hairstyle. The great news? There’s sure to be a look that suits you. The bad news? Now you’ve got to choose! Trust the guide above to help you narrow down the selection and find the faux hawk for you.

You Might Also Like: