Punk Hair Styles

Rebecca Wiseman
Punk Rock Girl

Punk styles have remained popular over the years because punk is more of a state of mind than a specific design. They started in the 1970s as rebellious, anti-establishment styles that broke all the rules of conventionality. Today, punk fashion is more widely accepted and enthusiasts can have a lot of fun playing with different looks. Most hair styles that are considered punk feature edgy cuts, often with wild, funky colors.

Men's Styles

While the mohawk and shaved head are the most popular styles for men, cuts such as the undercut and the short, spiky style can be business-friendly.

Mohawk

The mohawk is the hairstyle that one typically associates with punk hairstyles. Whether you are wearing it spiked, short or long, both sides of the head are shaved. The cut does not necessarily have to be done by a stylist, just make sure the shaved areas are even. Hair can be colored before styling using permanent or temporary hair color. You could also opt for colored hair spray that is sold with costume accessories. Mohawks work best on men who have medium to thick hair that is straight, and the hair that is going to be worn as the mohawk is all one length. To get this classic mohawk:

  1. Shave both sides of the head leaving a strip of hair about two to three inches wide from the front hairline to the nape of the neck.
  2. Start with clean hair. Use a spiking gel like TIGI Hard Head. If your hair is long and/or thick, you may need to mix it about half and half with Elmer's school glue. If you do use the glue, add baking soda to your shampoo to wash it out.
  3. After working the gel through the hair evenly, use a comb to brush the hair up while using a blow dryer.
  4. When the hair is completely dry, use a liberal misting of a strong hold hair spray.
    Black and Red Mohawk

Liberty Spikes

This style is similar to the spikes worn with a mohawk. The difference here is that the spikes are worn all over the head in a somewhat symmetrical pattern. Since the hair in this style is basically glued together, a few layers in the hair will not affect the finished look. Like the mohawk, this style works best for those whose hair is a medium thickness and straight. To get this look:

  1. Begin with clean hair.
  2. Use a spiking gel such as got2b glued spiking glue. Apply the gel evenly through your hair.
  3. Section your hair where you want the spikes to be.
  4. For each section, use a comb to brush up the spike. Use your fingers to narrow and form each spike while using a blow dryer to dry your hair.
  5. When all spikes are formed and dry, use a liberal misting of a strong hold hair spray to finish.
    Liberty Spikes Punk

Short and Spiky

This is a style that Billy Idol made popular. It works well for teens as well as older men who like a little edginess to their hair. The basic cut works with any hair thickness or type, though curly hair will look a bit different. Have the cut itself done by a stylist and then follow these steps to style your hair at home.

  1. Start with freshly washed hair.
  2. Apply hair a gel such as got2b spiked up and work through your hair with your hands. This is a piecey but not messy style so separate some pieces with your fingers by gently pulling the ends out from the scalp.
  3. You can let your hair air dry or opt for using a blow dryer. If you use a blow dryer, use your fingers to separate pieces of hair to keep the spiky look.
    Short and Spikey Hair

Shaved

This style is also known as the skinhead. It is a great, low maintenance look for guys who want a wake-up-and-go style. Regardless of your hair's thickness or type, there are a few things to remember with this look:

  • After the shave, a moisturizing aftershave and sunscreen should be used, especially if you are shaving the hair completely off.
  • This style is usually done with a razor or clippers without a guard.
  • If you want a little hair left, use a pair of clippers with a 1/8 inch guard.
    Shaved Head

Undercut

The undercut is a low maintenance hairstyle that works with various lengths. It features trimmed sides with long hair on top. You can experiment with different lengths on the sides and top to depending on how dramatic you want your look to be. This style is best done by a professional and suited for men who do not have thinning or receding hair or a wide forehead. It works best for men who have thick hair whether straight or curly.

  1. The sides and back of the hair are cut with clippers to blend in with the beard. If you do not wear a beard, the sides and back of the hair should be buzzed to either no longer than 1/2 inch or cut in a fade up to the top of the head.
  2. The top of the hair is cut and blended to be long enough to brush just below the cheekbones.
  3. The finished cut does not require gel, but a frizz serum such as John Frieda Frizz Ease or texturizing cream such as American Crew Light Hold Texture Lotion will help give some control to the style.
    Undercut Hair

Women's Styles

Many women's punk hairstyles are similar to men's designs. However, several of them are altered to look more daring than they are. Bold colors, funky highlights and ombre colors are a big part of punk styles for women.

Mohawk

Most mohawks for women are styled and not actually cut. They are slicked back or braided to look as if the hair is shaved. These styles work best on hair that is at least shoulder length and naturally straight or straightened before styling. If you have thick hair, ask your stylist to add some long layers to take some of the weight away. Try one of these variations on the women's mohawk.

Braided Mohawk

The braided Mohawk is one of the more popular variations for women because it is not a permanent style. You can make a single braid on each side of your head and spike the top of the hair or make the braids close to the ear or close to the mohawk. The braids can be done in a detailed curved pattern above the ears or the mohawk can be made into a full fan. To get the look shown here:

  1. Make a section about three inches wide going from the front hairline to the nape of the neck. Clip this section out of the way.
  2. Make a tight cornrow style braid on each side of the head going from the front hair line to the nape area just behind each ear. Fasten the ends with a small elastic band.
  3. For the top section, make a thin slice section from front to nape on each side. Twist and clip these sections out of the way.
  4. Use a comb and tease the center section of hair so it stands upright. Let the ends fall forward.
  5. Take the thin sections and make several small braids. Tease or back brush the ends of the braids so they stay together.
  6. Gently work in each braid to the top section by teasing the ends of the center section with the ends of the braids.
  7. When all braids are up, use a liberal misting of a maximum hold spray such as Paul Mitchell Freeze & Shine Super Spray.
    Braided Mohawk

Slicked Back Mohawk

This style can have the sides combed or slicked back, or it can be combed back and tucked behind the ears. If your hair is longer on the top and short on the sides, wear the sides slicked back. Shorter hair with shorter layers can also work with this design, but at least collar-length hair is recommended. To get this look:

  1. Start with freshly washed, towel-dried hair.
  2. Apply a firm hold hair gel and work through hair.
  3. Blow dry your hair using a round brush to add a little lift to you bang area, but do not curl the ends.
  4. When dry, comb your hair up in sections starting on one side. Pin each section with two bobby pins at the top of your head. Make sure the bobby pins cross in an X form so that they lock together. This will ensure a stronger hold. When you reach the back of your head, comb the hair up toward your crown and pin it before starting up the opposite side of your head.
  5. After all hair is slicked up, tease the top slightly to give it a somewhat messy look.
  6. Apply a heavy misting of a firm finishing spray such as Super Clean Extra from Paul Mitchell.
    Slicked Back Mohawk

Pixie

This is another versatile style. The pixie works well with any thickness of hair and should be cut by a stylist. If you have curly hair, you will need to straighten it before styling. Here it is shown full and swept up. You could also wear the sides combed back and the top spiked up, or brushed back with a little bump at the front. To get this look:

  1. Apply a volumizing mousse to towel-dried hair.
  2. Use a blow dryer to maximize the fullness.
  3. When the hair is dry, use a sculpting cream such as d:fi d:sculpt. Work this cream through your hair using your fingers to brush the sides back a little. Gently pull the ends of your hair on top up and over slightly.
Pixie Cut

Asymmetrical

The asymmetrical hairstyle can be short as seen here or it can be as long as a bob on one side, depending on how long you like to wear your hair. Bright colors through the bangs add more of a punk feel to the style. If you opt for the longer style, the underneath hair can be done as an undercut for more edge. This cut works well on any thickness of hair and is best done by a stylist. After the cut, you can style it as follows:

  1. Start with clean, dry hair. Use a thermal protectant spray and a flat iron on the bang area and the long side.
  2. Work a texturizing cream through the back and top of the hair to spike it a bit and make it look a little messy.
  3. Work the same texturizing cream gently through the bang area to pull the hair into a piecey side bang and smooth into the long side.
  4. Hairspray is optional with this style. If you are in a humid climate, you may want to give the bang area a light mist of hair spray.
    Asymmetrical Cut

Shaved

Sinead O' Connor shocked the world and made this look famous . This is the most extreme of the styles for women. Whether you shave your head to bare skin or buzz it very short, you are sure to turn heads with this statement style. Just like the men's shaved look, you'll want to use a pair of clippers with a 1/8-inch guard over the blade to shave the entire head. To keep your scalp looking great after the cut, continue to use hair conditioner in the shower and don't forget the sunscreen afterwards.

Shaved Head Woman

Shag

The shag has been a popular and versatile androgynous style since the 1970s and has been the signature style of rocker Joan Jett throughout her career. It features short, choppy layers that frame the face and can easily be spiked. The back can be as long as you like. This is a great style for women with thick, straight hair but thin hair can also look voluminous because of the layering. If you have curly hair, ask your stylist to create long layers and your hair will need to be straightened to achieve this style.

  1. Apply a volumizing mousse to towel-dried hair before blow drying.
  2. Use a texturizing cream such as Rusk Paste on your fingers and gently shake your hair moving it where you want it.
  3. Gently pull the ends around your face and the sides in front of your ears straight down.
  4. Apply a liberal mist of finishing spray to hold the messy look of the style.
    Shag Cut

Reverse Mullet

The reverse mullet is a very short cut in the back and around the ears while the top and the front of one side is left long. This look is best worn on straight hair and is easily achieved on any thickness of hair.

  1. Ask your stylist to cut your hair to about an inch in the back and around the ears. The hair is cut up over the ears in this style.
  2. The top and one side should be basically one length with a blended side bang.
  3. Use a texturizing cream such as Redken Mess Around 10 and run your fingers through your hair pulling the ends of the hair out.
  4. Smooth the top and bang area.
  5. Finish with a light mist of hair spray to set the style.
Kate Gosselin
Kate Gosselin

Rebellious Hair Fashion

Punk hairdos are full of creativity whether you opt for big bold shapes or traditional cuts with an added edge. The vivid colors can be permanent or even dyed with Koolaid. Punk styles can be a perfect way to let your imagination and personality play a part of your fashion.

Punk Hair Styles