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Young man wearing a Mohawk.

The Mohawk is a hairstyle. In the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaved leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair in the centre. Mohawks became common in punk subculture in the early 1980s and were then adopted by Rivetheads with various other groups, becoming more diverse in style. Today, Mohawks are still associated with the punk subculture, but have also become part of mainstream fashion.

The Mohawk hairstyle is named for, and often associated with, the people of the Mohawk nation, an indigenous people of North America who originally inhabited the Mohawk Valley in upstate New Yorkmarker.

This hairstyle was also known among other peoples. For instance, the Clonycavan Man, a 2000-year-old male bog body discovered near Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker in 2003, was found to be wearing a Mohawk styled with plant oil and pine resin.

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, blow-drying, and twisting are required, as well as the application of sprays and in some cases other holding agents like white or clear glue, egg whites, cornstarch, or gelatin. The amount of time required for styling may increase considerably with longer hair or complicated styles such as liberty spikes (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.


Bi-hawk or Tri-hawk

Two or three parallell, usually smaller, mohawks.


A Mohawk featuring voluminous teased hair common to the deathrock/gothic subcultures.


A dreadlocked Mohawk.


Mohawk that starts on the back top of the head down to the rattail.

Fauxhawk or faux-hawk

A "fake" Mohawk which approximates the style 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 late 2000s, one of the popular wearers being David Beckham. The fauxhawk is known in the Hoxtonmarker and Shoreditchmarker districts of Londonmarker as the "Hoxton fin.".

The ponyhawk or pony hawk is a type of fauxhawk created by a row of ponytails going down the middle of the head. This look was worn by contestant Sanjaya Malakar on an episode of the television show American Idol.

Halfhawk or tophawk

A Mohawk that extends only from the forehead to the crown, on the top part of the wearer's head, rather than to the nape of the neck.

Reverse Mohawk

Rather than the strip of longer hair in the centre of the scalp, a reverse Mohawks features a shaved strip from the forehead to the nape of the neck leaving hair on either side of the line. This type of mohawk is sometimes referred to as a un-hawk.


A Mohawk in which, rather than front to back, the unshaved hair extends over the head from side to side.


A short mohawk dyed bright blue named due to the popularity of the style among Tampa Bay Rays players. The style has later become popular with the fans also.

Liberty-spike Mohawk

A Mohawk usually worn by punks that has spikes instead of a row. The spikes can be of one colour, or dyed in different colours. Bright colours are common, but when this style is worn by members of the gothic subculture it may be dyed in darker tones. The term liberty spikes also apply to this style when it is worn over the entire scalp.


  1. Facts for Kids: Mohawk Indians (Mohawks)
  2. "Word Spy: fauxhawk", Word Spy, September 2003, webpage: WSpy-fauxhawk
  3. "Where have all the cool people gone?", The Guardian, November 21 2003 ( link)
  4. Ryan Seacrest Gets Everyone Laughing

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