Mohawk hairstyle
The mohawk is a hairstyle
A hairstyle, hairdo, or haircut refers to the styling of hair, usually on the human head. The fashioning of hair can be considered an aspect of personal grooming, fashion, and cosmetics, although practical, cultural, and popular considerations also influence some hairstyles.-History of...

 in which, in the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaven, (historically Indians did not shave their heads, but rather plucked the hair out) leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair in the center. Though mohawk is associated mostly with punk rock
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 subculture, today it has entered mainstream fashion. The mohawk is also sometimes referred to as an iro in reference to the Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, from whom the hairstyle is derived.


The mohawk hairstyle is named after, and often associated with, the people of the Mohawk nation
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

, an indigenous people of North America who originally inhabited the Mohawk Valley
Mohawk Valley
The Mohawk Valley region of the U.S. state of New York is the area surrounding the Mohawk River, sandwiched between the Adirondack Mountains and Catskill Mountains....

 in upstate New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. However, the Mohawk tribe never actually wore the Mohawk hairstyle traditionally. The association with the so-called "Mohawk" hairstyle and the Mohawk tribe came from Hollywood and more specifically from the 1936 movie, Drums Along the Mohawk
Drums Along the Mohawk
Drums Along the Mohawk is a 1939 historical Technicolor film based upon a 1936 novel of the same name by American author, Walter D. Edmonds. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and directed by John Ford. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert portray settlers on the New York frontier during the...

starring Henry Fonda.

The historic evidence points to the Mohawk and the rest of the Iroqoius confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onandaga, Tuscarura and Onieda) rather wore a square of hair on the back of the crown of the head, and not a crest from forehead to the nape of the neck. Click here for accurate images of Mohawks and Oniedas 1710-1790 from life drawings (note: none have "Mohawks"); look at Good Peter, Oneida - though he has a true Mohawk, i.e. a square of hair on the back crown of the head. The Mohawk did not shave their heads when creating this square of hair, but rather pulled the hair out, small tufts at a time. The following is a first-hand account of James Smith who was captured during the French and Indian war and adopted into the Mohawk tribe. "...a number of Indians collected about me and one of them began to pull hair out of my head. He had some ashes on a piece of bark in which he frequently dipped his fingers in order to take a firmer hold, and so he went on as if he had been plucking a turkey, until he had all the hair clean out of my head, except a small spot about three or four inches square on my crown the remaining hair was cut and three braids formed which were decorated ...".

Therefore a true Mohawk hairstyle was one of plucked-out hair, leaving a three-inch square of hair on the back crown of the head with three short braids of hair decorated. The three braids of a True Mohawk hairstyle are represented today on traditional headdresses of the Mohawk known as a "Gustoweh". Mohawk Gustoweh's have three upright eagle feathers that represent the three braids of long ago. Click here to see Gustowehs. When not decorated, the very short braids were allowed to hang loose as seen in Good Peter's image in the above-linked article.

Historic images do show Omaha men, and yet other images show Pawnee children with a crest of hair. John White painted the Indians on Roanoke Island in 1600 with a crest of hair in combination with long hair on each side. Perhaps the "Mohawk" should rather be coined a "Omaha" or "Pawnee". Ironically, Mohawk Indians never had Mohawk hairstyles as modern society has come to know them. This misunderstanding of history has become so buried in mainstream society that even Mohawk Indians have come to accept that their ancestors wore this, hairstyle even though historic records, sketches, and paintings clearly prove they did not. However, modern society's motto is. "Once it's in a movie, that's the way it happened".

The hairstyle has been in existence in many parts of the world for millennia. For instance, the Clonycavan Man
Clonycavan Man
Clonycavan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in Clonycavan, County Meath, Ireland in March 2003. He has been calculated to have been approximately 1.57 metres in height, and is remarkable for the "gel" in his hair....

, a 2000-year-old male bog body
Bog body
Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area...

 discovered near Dublin in 2003, was found to be wearing a mohawk styled with plant oil and pine resin. Artwork discovered at the Pazyryk burials dating back to 600 BCE depicts Scythian warriors sporting similar mohawks. The body of a warrior occupying one of the kurgan
Kurgan is the Turkic term for a tumulus; mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, originating with its use in Soviet archaeology, now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology....

s had been scalped earlier in life and wore a hair prosthesis in the form of a mohawk.

When going to war, 16th-century Ukrainian Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

s would shave their heads, leaving a long central strip. This haircut was known as a khokhol
Khokhol is a term used to describe the typical Ukrainian cossack style of haircut that features a lock of hair sprouting from the top or the front of an otherwise closely shaven head...

 and was often braided or tied in a topknot
Topknot may refer to:* A hairstyle or haircut, historically prevalent in Asia:**Chonmage, a traditional Japanese haircut worn by men**Sangtu, a knot of hair that married men of the Joseon Dynasty wore in Korea.**Sikha, worn by orthodox Hindus....


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many American GIs, notably paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

s from the 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 wore mohawks to intimidate their enemies. It was also seen during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. In the early 1950s some jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 musicians, and even a few teenage girls, wore them.

Style and maintenance

Depending on how it is worn, the mohawk can be a high-maintenance style. Regular, careful shaving or trimming is required to maintain a clean line between the shaven and unshaven (or short and long) portions of the hair; this can be especially complicated in bi and tri hawks.

If the hair is to be worn up, brushing, backcombing
Backcombing is a way of combing hair which is used to create volume as well as to create certain hairstyles. Backcombing means repeatedly combing the hair towards the scalp, causing the hair to tangle and knot up...

, blow-drying, and twisting are required, as well as the application of sprays
Hair spray
Hair spray is a common cosmetic product that is sprayed onto hair to keep it stiff or in a certain style...

 and in some cases other holding agents like white or clear glue
This is a list of various types of glue. Historically, the term "glue" only referred to protein colloids prepared from animal flesh. The meaning has been extended to refer to any fluid adhesive....

, egg whites, cornstarch
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

, or gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

. The amount of time required for styling may increase considerably with longer hair or complicated styles such as liberty spikes
Liberty spikes
Liberty spikes is styling hair in long, thick, upright spikes. The style, now associated with the punk subculture, is so named because of the resemblance to the spikes on the head of the Statue of Liberty.-History:...

 (sometimes known as a libertyhawk).

Some wearers enhance the look of their mohawks with hair dyes. This too can require a great deal of initial effort and maintenance, especially in styles where the color(s) form an integral part of the style. In some cases, for example, mohawk-wearers who normally wear their hair up in a fan style dye the hair in even lines or stripes of color, either horizontal or vertical.


Although a mohawk is most widely defined as a narrow, central strip of upright hair running from the forehead
For the Arsenal striker see GervinhoIn human anatomy, the forehead is the fore part of the head. It is, formally, an area of the head bounded by three features, two of the skull and one of the scalp. The top of the forehead is marked by the hairline, the edge of the area where hair on the scalp...

 to the nape
The nape is the back of the neck. In technical anatomical/medical terminology, the nape is referred to by the word nucha, which also gives the adjective corresponding to "nape" in English, "nuchal"....

, with the sides of the head shaven, the term can be applied more loosely to various similar hairstyles, many of which have informal names.
Mohawks can be styled in a variety of ways. A "deathhawk" features voluminous teased hair, and is common to the deathrock
Deathrock is a term used to identify a sub-genre of punk rock incorporating horror elements and spooky atmospherics, that emerged on the West Coast of the United States in 1979.-Characteristics:...

 and goth
Goth subculture
The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify...

 subcultures. A dreaded mohawk is a "dreadhawk". A mohawk styled like a fan is a "fanhawk". A "frohawk" is occasionally seen on African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 punks, rave
Rave, rave dance, and rave party are parties that originated mostly from acid house parties, which featured fast-paced electronic music and light shows. At these parties people dance and socialize to dance music played by disc jockeys and occasionally live performers...

rs, and old-school hip-hop fans. Some include hair twists on the side, cornrows, or just pinning up the sides. This style, originally the traditional haircut for warriors of the African Mandinka
Mandinka, Mandika or Mandingo may refer to:*the Mandinka people of West Africa*the Mandinka language*Mandingo , a bestselling novel originally published in 1957*Mandingo , a 1975 film based on the novel of the same name...

 tribe, was popularized by actor, wrestler, and rapper Mr T.

"Liberty spikes
Liberty spikes
Liberty spikes is styling hair in long, thick, upright spikes. The style, now associated with the punk subculture, is so named because of the resemblance to the spikes on the head of the Statue of Liberty.-History:...

" are spikes of hair in the mohawk instead of a row. The spikes can be of a single color, or dyed various colors. Bright colors are common, but when this style is worn by members of the goth subculture
Goth subculture
The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify...

, it may be dyed in darker tones. The term also applies to this style when it is worn over the entire scalp. The "psychobilly mohawk" or "quiff
The quiff is a hairstyle that combines the 1950s pompadour hairstyle, the 50s flattop, and sometimes a mohawk. The etymology of the word is uncertain but may derive from the French word "coiffe" which can mean either a hairstyle or, going further back, the mail knights wore over their heads and...

" is the most common haircut for fans of psychobilly
Psychobilly is a fusion genre of rock music that mixes elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and other genres. It is one of several subgenres of rockabilly which also include thrashabilly, trashabilly, punkabilly, surfabilly and gothabilly...

. It is in essence a pompadour
Pompadour (hairstyle)
Pompadour is a tall style of men's haircut which takes its name from Madame de Pompadour.There are Latin variants of the hair style more associated with European and Argentine tango fashion trends and occasionally with late 20th century musical genres such as rockabilly and country.The pompadour...

 with the sides shaved, similar to the haircut British National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 recruits received during basic training
Basic Training
Basic Training may refer to:* Basic Training, a 1971 American documentary directed by Frederick Wiseman* Basic Training , an American sex comedy* Recruit training...

 in the 1950s. A "rayhawk" is a short mohawk dyed bright blue; it is named due to the popularity of the style among Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

 players. The style has become popular among 'Rays fans. A "warhawk" is a very short mohawk (0–3 inches). Examples include videogame characters Joseph Turok and John "Soap" McTavish
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles and the Microsoft Windows operating system. Officially announced on February 11, 2009, the game was released worldwide on...

, fictional taxi driver Travis Bickle
Travis Bickle
Travis Bickle is a fictional character from the 1976 film Taxi Driver, played by Robert De Niro. He is widely considered one of the most iconic characters in film history, and De Niro earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of him....

, mixed-martial artist Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell
Charles David "Chuck" Liddell is a retired American mixed martial artist and former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion. Liddell has an extensive striking background in Kempo, Koei-Kan karate and kickboxing, as well as a grappling background in collegiate wrestling.As of his...

, and singer Ivan Moody
Ivan L. Moody
Ivan L. Moody, also known by the pseudonym Ghost, is the singer for American Heavy metal group Five Finger Death Punch from Sacramento, California. He had performed for several bands before settling down with FFDP...

. A "lazy hawk" is a typical Mohawk, except left unstyled, resting on the wearer's head, and can be seen in The Marvel Comics character Daken
Akihiro, also codename as Daken is a fictional comic book supervillain appearing in books published by Marvel Comics. Daken is the mutant son of Wolverine and his deceased wife Itsu...

 (Wolverine's son), who is shown since his birth with a mohawk (long with the sides shaven). A mohawk with bangs, generally popular with females, is called a Chelsea hawk.

Mohawks or mohawk-like hairstyles can be cut in patterns deviating from the simple central strip. For example, a mohawk with multiple parallel strips of hair may be called a "bi-hawk" (for two strips), a "tri-hawk" (for three strips), etc. A hairstyle resembling a sideways mohawk, such as one that runs from ear to ear or temple
Temple (anatomy)
Temple indicates the side of the head behind the eyes. The bone beneath is the temporal bone as well as part of the sphenoid bone.-Anatomy:Cladists classify land vertebrates based on the presence of an upper hole, a lower hole, both, or neither in the cover of dermal bone which formerly covered the...

 to temple, is called a "crosshawk". A wide mohawk extending almost to the temples is referred to as a "shark fin". Shark fins are popular among the British chav
A chav is a term that is used in the United Kingdom to describe a stereotype of teenagers and young adults from an underclass background.-Etymology:...

 and raver
Raver or ravers may refer to:* Raver, Maharashtra, a city in India* Raver, a party-goer: in the 1960s and 1970s, a "party animal"; since the 1980s, more specifically an aficionado of raves...

 subcultures. The back is sometimes shaved into a V-shape and it is usually spiked and bleached blond. This is also known as a "V-cut mohawk". A similar haircut is worn by some emo
Emo is a style of rock music and its associated subcultureEmo may also refer to:- Businesses :* Emo , an Irish oil company and filling station chain* Emo Speedway, a racetrack in Emo, Ontario...

 and pop-punk fans. A mohawk that starts on the occiput
The occiput is the anatomical term for the posterior portion of the head, in insects the posterior part of those head capsule.-Clinical significance:Trauma to the occiput can cause a basilar skull fracture....

 and runs down into a rattail
Rattail (haircut)
A rattail is a hair style that is characterized by a long "tail"-like element of hair growing downward from the back of the head. The rattail usually curls naturally; however, it can be braided, treated as a dread, permed, straightened, or curled with an iron...

 is a "rat-hawk". Rather than the strip of longer hair in the center of the scalp, a "reverse mohawk", or "nohawk", or "hawkmo" features a shaved strip from the forehead to the nape of the neck leaving hair on either side of the line. Small sections of hair left at the side of the head, just in front of the ears are known as Deathlocks (or devil locks), and are normally associated with the deathhawk style.

A fauxhawk copies the style of a mohawk, but without shaving the sides of the head. The fauxhawk is typically worn with a small but noticeable spike in the middle, though usually considerably shorter than many traditional mohawks. The style re-emerged in the early 2000s, with one of the popularly known wearers being David Beckham
David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE is an English footballer who plays midfield for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, having previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, and A.C...

. The fauxhawk is known in the Hoxton
Hoxton is an area in the London Borough of Hackney, immediately north of the financial district of the City of London. The area of Hoxton is bordered by Regent's Canal on the north side, Wharf Road and City Road on the west, Old Street on the south, and Kingsland Road on the east.Hoxton is also a...

 and Shoreditch
Shoreditch is an area of London within the London Borough of Hackney in England. It is a built-up part of the inner city immediately to the north of the City of London, located east-northeast of Charing Cross.-Etymology:...

 districts of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 as the "Hoxton fin".

A fauxhawk where the hair down the center of the head is longer than the hair on the sides is a "euro-hawk". Sometimes the top of the hair is long enough to cover up the shorter sides when combed down.

Unlike traditional mohawks, which are worn straight, fauxhawks and euro-hawks can also be worn in a naturally curly hairstyle. Some of the more popular sports figures and fashion models can be found wearing euro-hawks in various lengths, textures and colors. The mohawk has been a style mostly seen on punk rockers and the like, but fauxhawks and euro-hawks have transcended to all hair types.

The ponyhawk or pony hawk is a type of euro-hawk created by a row of ponytails going down the middle of the head. This look was worn by contestant Sanjaya Malakar
Sanjaya Malakar
Sanjaya Joseph Malakar is an American singer of Indian origin, who was a finalist on the sixth season of American Idol. He gained national attention on the series, controversially advancing to 7th place with public votes, despite being poorly received by the show's judges, particularly Simon...

 on an episode of the television series American Idol
American Idol
American Idol, titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment...


A "curly hawk" or "curl-hawk" is similar to the fauxhawk, this lesser known hawk is in traditional faux style but consists of long thin curls. Having been made famous by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Fuller Olsen are American actresses and entrepreneurs.Both have appeared in television and films since infancy. Since then, they have continued their celebrity through numerous television programs, films, interviews, as well as commercial endorsements...

 during the early years of Full House
Full House
Full House is an American sitcom television series. Set in San Francisco, the show chronicles widowed father Danny Tanner, who, after the death of his wife, enlists his best friend Joey Gladstone and his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to help raise his three daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and...

, this is most commonly sported by infants.
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