How to Pull Off Spiked Hair

There are a few techniques on how to pull off spiked hair but not every one of these may be right for everyone. Spiked hair is trendy but it is also a classic, one that has appeared and reappeared since the 1970s and 1980s. It calls to mind the punk era, which makes the spiky look both stylish and rebellious, slightly against the norm which is smooth, vertically-tame hair.

Get the Right Cut

The ability of spiked hair to rise and stay stiff for hours depends largely on two things: cut and type of hair product used. Spiked hair is generally seen on short hair, although it can also work well on long hair. What matters is the hair on top of the head. If the client has a short ‘do, he or she can wear a spiked style if the strands on the top portion of the head are at least 1 1/4 inches long. If it’s shorter than that, the hair may be unnoticeable, so expect the spikes to disappear among the rest of the hair.

Is the client missing a great cut? Don’t fret. You can still pull off a spiked do as long as you follow the tips and techniques on washing, blow drying and product application. Once the hair gel or spray is on, you can pretty much style the hair the way you want it.

Use the Right Product

The best products to create spikes with are gels, sprays, pastes, waxes and clays with strong or super strong hold. These products create the ideal stiffness in the hair strands so they stick and stand together. In a few cases, medium-hold products will do for short hair but for hair longer than 1 1/2 inches, a stronger hair product is the only way to go.

Go Easy on the Conditioner

When you wash hair, use a gentle shampoo or one that is formulated for the specific hair type of the client. You could apply conditioner or you may want to avoid it, depending on the client’s hair. Conditioners contain moisturizers that coat strands to make them smooth, even and shiny. Although helpful for protecting hair from damage, conditioners also make it difficult for hair products to stick to the strands. Put too much conditioner on clean hair and the spikes won’t stay stiff for long. If you must use conditioner, apply only a small amount – about half of the usual dollop (less if the client has fine hair) – and rinse off. Blow dry hair until damp but not wet, apply the hair product and style away.

You might also go easy on the conditioner on humid days, when there is a high level of moisture in the air. You can apply even less or just skip it altogether. You can always use a hairstyling product that adds shine to the hold.

Caring For Spiked Hair

The real issue with spiky hair is that it requires the use of a lot of hair products, which means that to be able to wear that hairstyle everyday, your client must be ready to spend some time and effort for styling and primping. Yes, it is a high-maintenance style – and this is for people with straight hair. Individuals who want to wear a spiked hairstyle but have wavy or tightly curly hair may have to contend with more treatments, including hair relaxers and frequent ironing.

Styling also requires a lot of tugging, scrunching and exposure to heat through a blow dryer. All this attention can lead to dryness, heat damage and product buildup, which can result to unhealthy hair. To prevent damage and keep hair healthy and naturally shiny, it is a good idea to give hair a rest once in a while, especially if it shows signs of dryness or buildup. When lively, beautiful hair becomes limp, lifeless and a little heavy, it may be time to treat hair with a gentle shampoo that removes product buildup and a replenishing treatment to help restore it to its healthy condition.

At Evergreen Beauty School, you can learn the different styling techniques and range of products that will work well to achieve a style such as spiked hair. We also offer a wide variety of beauty courses as well as salon services. Call us at (425) 643-0270 for more details.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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