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How to 'Hawk it

Published on 4th August 2008

Mohawks and all their variations are rising in popularity, everywhere you look. Too scared to shave your head? It’s ok! There are other ways to get a mohawk-look without the traditional buzzed sides. There’s the chelseahawk, a combination of a chelsea and a mohawk – a mohawk with intact bangs hanging in the front. There are also faux-hawks with shorter, layered sides and a longer, uniform top – looks just as good down as styled up.
The great thing about mohawks is the versatility of varying the lengths on the sides, much like a grown-out hawk. I chose to do a chelseahawk with approximately inch-length (“pixie”) hair where the buzzing would usually occur. With this guide you can shave or cut the sides in any fashion you want, but I will outline in detail how to pixie-cut the sides for the faux-chelseahawk look. If you grow tired of this style, it will take less time to grow out/fix, so its a great experiment if you’re brave enough to try!
You’ll need several hair ties and bobby pins if you can get your hands on them, something to section your hair with (I used a tint brush), scissors, and a friend to help you. Note: This IS possible without a friend, but I would highly recommend you have at least 3 mirrors, one in front and two at the sides, so you can see all sides of your head. Without them, you will have great difficulty getting a uniform look.

First thing you’ll want to do is section out the part of your hair that will be the body of the mohawk, and tie it up into a hair tie. If the hair isn’t long enough, use bobby pins to get them out of your way. I also tied up my bangs, and then combined the two ponytails into one. This way the hair is out of reach of the scissors. There is also a separate ponytail in the back to complete the body of the mohawk.
At this point, if you were to have a shaved mohawk, just shave the sides and you’re done! Make sure that if you want sideburns you keep them out of the way of the shaver – I tucked mine in my glasses.
If you want the pixie length, decide what [i]approximate[/i] length you want it to be. I strongly recommend slightly more length you intend to have, in case you make mistakes layering. You have two options for layering – starting at the bottom layers and working your way up, or starting at the top and working down. For my guide I started at midlength, then worked up, then below midlength. The midlength worked as a rough standard for the entire side. The “zone” you’re working within stops wherever the hair is tied. Start at the top/bottom of this zone, section off a thin “slice” of hair, and begin shearing the correct length off. To create a choppy look, I always twist the length and raze it against the scissors, which changes the length of each strand. You can also do this without twisting by snipping vertically, moving side to side of the slice with the scissors. Be very careful and methodical – recklessness causes irreversible mistakes.
As you finish one layer, section off another “slice.” (Above or below the previous) Then using the above/below layer as a guide, snip an [i]approximate[/i] length, not the [i]same[/i] length as the previous layer! This is very important to note. Remember, your head is a sphere-like object, not a flat board – as you work with different layers, they will be longer or shorter depending on where you are sectioning, but if done correctly, they will [i]look[/i] uniform. As you move up or down layers, overlap them over previous layers to see if they are overlapping to your liking, then correct if needed.

Sectioning the Body of the Hawk

You can see in the pic above some subtle, uneven “slices” as I overlapped them on the right side, creating the layering effect. What I’m grabbing is a small section of the slice, twisting (for the raze effect). Note that each slice differs in length, depending on where it lies on my head. They appear to overlap evenly, but the layers on top are actually shorter than the ones underneath, still overlapping fairly cleanly.
Once you finish one side, you’re ready to move to the opposite. Now’s the hard part – getting your hair even on both sides. Using the same method, section off thin slices and start shearing. Make sure to cut slightly longer than what you think the approximate length is, check with the opposite side to see if it matches up, and then correct.
For the pixie cut I layered right up to my hairline, the hairline being the last layer so to speak. If you want a different length below the hairline, section carefully and check often on both sides to see that its even!

A section of the "slice"

Here you can see the layering effect most clearly. The slices overlap one another, looking roughly uniform except for the uneven strands, creating a sort of tousled, choppy look.
Let down your hair from the hair ties, see how it looks down, then style it up! If you let it down and change your mind about length, or see mistakes, you can always start back at step one, go back through the slices and correct as needed. The more careful and thorough you are, the happier you’ll be with your cut!
Once someone puts the kibosh on your cut (or – gasp – you get tired of it?!), you can pixie-cut the body of the mohawk to match your layers, or get a hairdresser to do it for you. You’ll go from mohawk to pixie cut without any hassle!

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