What are Liberty Spikes?

Jason C. Chavis

Liberty spikes are a hairstyle commonly associated with the punk fashion style. The hair is usually placed into long, thick spikes pointing upright from the scalp. These spikes can be formed in a variety of different ways, either all over the head or in straight lines similar to a mohawk. The name for liberty spikes comes from the Statue of Liberty, which features a crown of spikes on the statue's head.

Liberty spikes are inspired by the Statue of Liberty.
Liberty spikes are inspired by the Statue of Liberty.

One reason why liberty spikes are so popular with certain people is the fact that the wearer must have fairly long hair in order to form the spikes. Additionally, the Statue of Liberty hairstyle cannot be accomplished using traditional hair care products. Using hairspray, mousse, or gel usually doesn't last long, resulting in the collapse of the spikes. To combat this, many people have developed tricks to liberty spikes. Some of the most notorious examples of odd products include white glue, egg whites, gelatin, and shaving cream.

Some people use white glue to form liberty spikes.
Some people use white glue to form liberty spikes.

The process of styling the hair is a relatively simple one, but sometimes individuals may need help, especially when the hair is fairly long. The hair can be clean or dirty since a large amount of hair products must be used anyway. First, the hair should be teased or ratted to give it more lift and thicken the necessary areas. The hair is then pulled from the base of the scalp to the tips and introduced to the hair product of choice, sometimes with the subject lying on his or her side. Twisting the ends will help keep the spike in shape for a longer period of time.

It is not uncommon for liberty spikes to be colored in some way. Often, people with the hairstyle dye their hair either an unnatural color, such as fluorescent blue or pink, although black is common as well. An interesting pattern can easily by created by dyeing the individual spikes different colors. Additional patterns can also be placed on the scalp, either in the form of tattoos or patches of dyed areas.

The origins of the liberty spikes hairstyle stems primarily from the London punk rock scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many bands and fans of the musical form adopted the hairstyle, most notably the industrial and Goth subsections of the culture, commonly referred to as "Rivetheads." The exact person or persons responsible for the style and name are unknown, however.

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