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Local boys take hair gel seriously
Many elementary and middle school boys sport spiked hairstyles and "faux hawks"
Onecimo Villalobos, 10, right, a fourth-grader at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville, said he would tell his friend, Fernando Cobarrucias, 10, if he had a bad haircut. But the boys agreed that it's OK to have a spiky hairstyle, using gel to get your hair to stick up. The "faux hawk" style, in which hair is spiked into a mohawk shape using gel, is popular among elementary and middle school-aged boys.

Parents, there's a new hairstyle hitting the elementary-school set.

And no, it doesn't involve curlers, polka-dot bows or feathered bangs. Instead, picture boys with a handful of hair gel, slicking up their hair on top and slicking it down on the sides.

Call it a "faux hawk" - think mohawk, without the commitment.

I saw people doing it, so I started doing it," said Eber Hernandez, 10, a fourth-grader at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville. His 13-year-old sister also had a little influence on his style, he added.

"My sister told me it looks better like that."

Hernandez was one of a handful of fourth- and fifth-graders gathered for lunch recently at the school, sporting a spiky hairstyle.

Many teachers there said they have seen an increase in the "faux hawks" just this past year, mainly among fourth- and fifth-graders.

Some wear them every day without fail, others switch between a heavily gelled style and flat hair, and others prefer to keep their hair well gelled with a spiked clump in the front. But overall it's a trend that has boys thinking about how they do their hair.

Joe Randolph, owner of Randolph's Barber Shop in Gainesville, said he's had lots of requests for that type of style among boys who come into his shop.

"We do a lot of them. It's mostly the smaller kids," he said. "Not too many adults."

As far as the haircut goes, he said, it's fairly simple. Randolph leaves the top the same height and blends down the sides. Sometimes a child will request a design be shaved into the side, like a star or lightning bolts, he said.

"It's like leaving a streak down (from) the forehead to the base of the neck," he said. "It's a pretty nice haircut for a kid."

Girls at Enota giggle when the subject of boys' hair comes up. Some said they think it's silly for boys to even be worrying about their hair, while others are just flat-out against it.

"I think it's funny and stuff," said Griselda Villalobos, 8, a third-grader at Enota. She was quick to say "no" when asked if she likes the style.

"They put it like that and it makes them look like fools."

But classmate Annabel Hernandez, 9, was a bit more forgiving.

"It's, like, cute, and it makes them look more attractive," she said.

"Who wants to put their hair up like that?" asked fourth-grader Hannah Adamson, 9.

As far as the amount of gel required to make the hair stand up, well, Randolph said he usually leaves that up to the parents. Depending on the type of hair, he said, some kids' will stand up on its own. Others' hair requires more coaxing.

Ashley Hein, a stylist in training at Princeton Salon in Gainesville, said styling products are important to achieving this "polished mohawk," as she called it.

"Styling products definitely are key," she said, noting the Aveda product Control Paste as an example of a sticky substance that can keep the spikes in place.

But with the use of styling products comes hygiene, too. Specifically, the need for elementary and middle school-aged boys to wash their hair regularly.

"It's sticky when you go to sleep, so you have to take a shower or wet your hair, and then the next morning you have to put gel," Hernandez said.

His friend Luis Reyes, 9, also a fourth-grader, agreed it's important to take care of your hair.

"In the night I use water and then dry my hair," he said. "In the morning I put gel again."

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