Mohawk Hairstyle History

The Clonycavan Man, a 200-year-old male bog bodyDublin, Ireland, was found to be wearing a Mohawk, held together with plant oil and pine resin imported from southwestern France or Spain.[1] The Mohawk, which can also be known as "Moonhawk" in some countries, is often thought to have been worn by the Mahican and Mohawk tribes, but the name may be a misnomer; it is believed that the Wyandot were the first Native American tribe to wear the hairstyle, but early French explorers mistook them for the Mohawk tribe. Many other accounts of Native American cultures however claim that 'In times of war, Mohawk men shaved their heads except for a scalplock or a crest down the center of their head--the hairstyle known as a roach or a "Mohawk." [2] During World War II, members of the Allied Airborne soldiers (specifically the 101st Airborne Division - the "Screaming Eagles") shaved their hair into Mohawks.[3] found near

The classic fanned Mohawk.

In more recent times, both sides of the head are shaven or buzzed, and the remaining hair is long and often spiked in the middle. The hairstyle is generally known as a "Mohawk" in the United States and a "Mohican" or "Mowie" in the United Kingdom. In Punk fashion, the Mohawk is often dyed brilliant colors and the center strip of hair worn so that it points straight up, often to impressive height. The adaptation of the Mohawk by anarchist leaning punk rockers symbolically designated their involvement in a war against authority, most often being the government or capitalism. The Mohawk also appears in the Goth subculture, a close relative of punk, with the hair spiked or long. It is then commonly cut or decorated further.

African-American poet Roger Bonair-Agard wearing a mohawk iin 2007.

Besides as part of punk fashion, the Mohawk became known with the popularity of Mr. T, the actor who first became famous playing the boxer Clubber Lang in the movie Rocky III and later as Sgt. B.A. Baracus in the television series The A-Team.

Another well-known popular culture depiction of the Mohawk came from Martin Scorsese's 1977 film Taxi Driver. Inspired by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Richie Stotts of the New York punk band The Plasmatics got a Mohawk haircut in January 1979, followed by Jean Beauvoir and Wendy O. Williams in 1980. The Plasmatics appeared on the American comedy TV show Fridays on January 16, 1981, which introduced the Mohawk to U.S. pop culture, while the band's albums and tours popularized the hairstyle in the UK and Europe.[4] In 2005, the Mohawk seemed to receive a brief and small revival among the mainstream, as claimed in Eric Wilson's Sep 1, 2005 article in The New York Times, "The Mohawk Becomes, Well, Cute." In the article, Wilson argued that part of the revival was caused by Angelina Jolie's adopted son, Maddox Jolie.

A modified version of this hairstyle, the fauxhawk, became somewhat popular in the 2000s.


The Mohawk, by its nature, and depending on the type of hair the wearer has, is typically a high-maintenance style, although after practice, can become quite routine for the wearer and done in a much shorter amount of time. Depending on the specific look desired by the wearer, regular, careful shaving may be required to maintain a clean line between the shaven and long parts of the hair; this can be especially complicated in bi- and tri- hawks.

If the hair is to be worn up, 30 minutes or more of laborious styling, including brushing, backcombing (teasing), twisting and so on, may be required. Some styles are particularly difficult to put up, requiring the use of very strong-hold hair gels and sprays, and in some cases other holding agents like shoe polish, toothpaste, wood, white or clear glue, egg whites, cornstarch, or gelatin. The amount of time required for styling may increase considerably with longer hair or styles that require even spikes and lines. Depending on the method used to spike a Mohawk, it can take much less than 20 minutes. The use of glue and a blow-dryer cuts down considerably on the time needed. The best way to do it and keep it clean would be to apply strong hair spray to dry hair from the bottom and work your way up to the top while blow drying. The easiest way to maintain longer mohawks is to put it into liberty spikes; this is much faster and holds much longer.

However, once the Mohawk is up it can be easily maintained for an extended period. By sleeping on the side of the head with the Mohawk extending in the air, daily maintenance takes only a few minutes of reinforcement touching up. Depending on what is used to put the Mohawk up, and the conditions it endures, a Mohawk can stay erect for several weeks. Some wearers enhance the look of their Mohawks using 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.

Reverse Mohawk

Reverse Mohawks are Mohawk haircuts in reverse (the opposite of a Mohawk), essentially a shaven straight line (usually wide enough for a disposable razor or electric hair clippers) from the forehead to the nape of the neck leaving hair on either side of the line. This haircut is also known as the Nohawk, Antihawk, HawkMo, Highway, Catwoman (after Soo Catwoman), Polish Mohawk, and Skunk.

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