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August 10, 2011 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Are there any actively good-looking hairstyles/cuts for young balding guys?

I am a mid-twenties guy, and I am going quite bald. I have a near bald-spot on the top of my crown and noticeably thin hair from there up to my forehead. I have dark hair. It's been peacing out since I was a late teen, so I've pretty much come to terms with it. I don't feel hideous or freakish anymore. The one thing that I still feel resentful over, though, is that other guys my age get to actually express various styles through their hair. I hate how all the options for me basically boil down to damage control.

I'm not a particularly vain guy, I just want to feel like I have choices. Usually I keep my hair cropped pretty close-- maybe a 3 or so clipper. But I feel like this just makes me look...square. Going bald makes me feel old-looking enough; do I really have to have a dad haircut to accentuate it?

For some reason even when my hair is cut very short, it is still kind of floppy on top and falls onto my head instead of standing up pert, making me look kind of baldybald. Do I just need to go even shorter? Whenever I ask the barber if I should go shorter, they usually kind of wince and assure me that this looks better. I definitely don't want to go with a shaved head; I have a gargantuan, moley head, and combined with my affect I don't think it would have the desired cool-guy effect on me.

Honestly, I think my hair looks pretty good when it's a little bit on the becoming-shaggy side, but I'm not sure how to pull this off without looking combovery. Part of this is that it's SO HARD to see what hairstyles actually look like on one's self; in different lighting I'll look at the same haircut and be like daaaaaamn, lookin' good, or AAAAAAH WHY IS THERE A YARD OF SCALP FLESH. I have no idea what people actually see.

tl;dr. What are good options for a balding young guy who wants to look his age?
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Have you thought of going to a higher-end hairstylist instead of a barber, even just once?

If you find a good one (Yelp and the like can help, but don't be shy about asking your most stylish female friends), the stylists at "fancier" salons really do have some advanced skills to help create a flattering style for you, and you can then go back to your normal barber for trims and upkeep if you like.
posted by mauvest at 7:35 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also have a gargantuan head, to the extent that I can't ever find a hat, bicycle helmet, or motorcycle helmet to fit. Seriously, the XXL motorcycle helmet is not even close.

As more of my head becomes ... visible, I notice that it's a perfectly fine shape and I don't worry about it anymore. Has anyone told you your head looks huge? Maybe it's a better match for your size/shape than you think.

To the bigger question, though, I think shorter is the plain answer. I don't think of it as damage control, I think of it as easy to maintain. Also, being fuzzy is just fun.
posted by fritley at 7:39 PM on August 10, 2011


Have you thought of going to a higher-end hairstylist instead of a barber, even just once?

I am in your position, and i just did this - eschewed my usual bargain basement haircuts for an old school, decent barber.

He cut my hair much, much shorter than I usually wear it, about 1cm. It looks pretty great. I'm not sure why he was able to do so much more than other cheaper hairdressers, but he was.

Go find a decent barber - they'll know what to do. It's worth paying for a good haircut.

Make peace with the damage control approach, and don't be self conscious about it. There's really nothing else you can do.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:40 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want to deemphasize the baldness, short-short is the way to go. You don't have to shave it, but a close buzz, like Matt Lauer had before the hair plugs.

But, if you like your shaggy hair and don't mind the bald spot, then by all means let it get shaggy and enjoy. The most attractive thing is confidence, and if the shaggier hairstyle makes you feel cool and hip and awesome, then it'll show.

Caveat: Confidence is awesome, but there's a fine line between confidence and delusion. It's one thing to not care that your hair is thinning; it's another to pretend it isn't happening. Enlist some friends for some frank advice (they will know the extent of your hair loss--it may be not as bad or worse than you think) or heck, post pictures.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:41 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my husband has kind of an odd and not terribly feminist policy that no one male and no one over 30 can touch his hair--the youth being important for good eyesight for technical details and knowledge of trends, and the gender because if she thinks it looks good, I probably will too. He invariably comes home looking 10 years younger and quite spiffy.
posted by lily_bart at 7:47 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


20-something baldy here and, believe me, I feel your pain. Have you considered supplementing your head of hair with facial hair? A neat, closely cropped beard seems to take attention away from excessive scalp flesh.
posted by smithsmith at 7:58 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, seconding the beard. I #2 (or sometimes #1) the increasingly sparse hair on my noggin, and save my individuality for the beard. Helps that mine comes through red+gold, contrasts well with the boring brown of what was my head.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:11 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shave it short, like Jason Statham. A bit of stubble is ok but forget the goatee or beard, that just screams "I'm going bald" to everyone.
posted by joannemullen at 8:19 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you considered supplementing your head of hair with facial hair? A neat, closely cropped beard seems to take attention away from excessive scalp flesh.

Also you can pretend you are Stone Cold Steve Austin.

OH HELL YEAH
posted by mightygodking at 8:31 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


that just screams "I'm going bald" to everyone.

Surely the balding already says that.
posted by smithsmith at 8:31 PM on August 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


The only downside of getting a proper haircut with a balding head, is that because the top grows much slower than the sides, you need to go in relatively more often to get it fixed up or it ends up looking worse.

Another rule is that one can rarely pull off facial hair that is longer than their head hair. The Mythbuster guy gets away with the walrus mustache only because he wears the beret AND because he is much older than he might seem. A younger man trying to sport that look will come off the dweeb.

Becoming one with the baldness is not just accepting that it is happening, but to embrace the idea that you can no longer express your individuality with your hair. Gonna have to get a personality...
FWIW, my husband has kind of an odd and not terribly feminist policy that no one male and no one over 30 can touch his hair--the youth being important for good eyesight for technical details and knowledge of trends, and the gender because if she thinks it looks good, I probably will too. He invariably comes home looking 10 years younger and quite spiffy.
posted by lily_bart at 7:47 PM on August 10 [+] [!]
I have the exact opposite rule. To a woman, every time I've had my hair cut by a young lady, it ends up looking like they were playing dress-up with their brother, or how your mother would cut your hair. It is the oddest damn thing.

But the old man in the barber shop? He might be 100, and was a porter for Amtrak for 50 years (true story), but he can cut a damn head of hair. Yes, it is a style from another time, but there's nothing wrong with choosing a style from the 1948 Army Induction manual.
posted by gjc at 8:56 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as a woman, personally, facial hair just says to me, "I'm trying to distract you from noticing I'm going bald."

Seconding the idea of going to an actual stylist, instead of a barber.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:58 PM on August 10, 2011


If you have a significant other in your life, ask them how they prefer your hair, or for ideas. If they find you attractive, you'll feel more attractive, and the actual fact of your hair won't matter.

If you don't have a significant other, ask the platonic women in your life the same question, and/or wives of friends who want to see you get hitched. Ultimately, the best option is the one that makes you feel better, so in the absence of you figuring that out, you'll probably feel better knowing some women who like you as a friend and want you to succeed with women have picked your hairstyle.

And at the end of the day -- I say this as a guy who used to love (and dye) his long skater hair to death, but who is now old man accountant bald in back and on top, but not sides -- going shorter really does work, because even if it doesn't look good (and it often does) you're saying "fuck you world, I am confident enough to just say fuck it and show you how bald I can be." Which might rule out some partners from your life, but it will get you others who wouldn't want you with a good head of hair but the lack of confidence you're displaying now.
posted by davejay at 10:04 PM on August 10, 2011


Don't grow a beard to distract from your bald head. You're bald, ain't nothing going to distract from that.
Grow a beard if you want to grow a beard. Some guys look good with one, some guys look creepy.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:17 PM on August 10, 2011


Two words: Ambrose Burnside.
posted by Sphinx at 11:05 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


bald guy here: just shave or buzz it, why not? both looks are currently fashionable. shave it if you can be a little edgy, crop it extremely short if you work in a field where shaving it wont fly (or if you feel like it) 2nding focusing your hairstyle creativity towards facial hair - interesting facial hair has kinda been a thing for almost a decade now, why fight it? a well planned set of whiskers can help a lot to accentuate/minimize the best/worst features of your face.

though i support any decision to embrace your inner bald guy. if you find a non-buzz/shave cut that suits you and doesn't attempt to cover up your pattern, go for it! if i didn't think the pitbull/bruce willis look suited me to a T, at this point i'd happily embrace my hairlessness, even accentuate it. screw what the male models look like! and yes, a high end hair stylist could help here.

just don't do that comb-over thing, if that even needs to be said - it radiates insecurity.
posted by messiahwannabe at 12:34 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as a woman, personally, facial hair just says to me, "I'm trying to distract you from noticing I'm going bald."

Yeah - I call it "upside down head". Also IMO, if you think going bald makes you look old, adding a beard is not going to help with that!. When my boyfriend shaves, he looks 10 years younger.
posted by missmagenta at 1:50 AM on August 11, 2011


I'm with the shave it off Jason Statham/Bruce Willis style thing-I have a friend who did this after balding in his twenties-He looks great and I love running my palm over his head, as do a lot of other women!The funny thing is, I've only ever known him with a very close crop and he posted a photo of himself on facebook when he had hair and what hair -I'm talking lush Nicole Kidman curls - honestly he looks better now!
I'm glad you're coming to terms with it and please don't say that you feel like freak, or that you did -that hurts my heart! I'm sure you look gorgeous!Go for it!Shave it off and if you don't like it, it will grow back,but I'm afraid I LOVE men with cross cropped hair, it's so like "Ok I've dealt with this, not going to let it get me down and onto the more important things in life" Matt Damon is looking pretty hot too in the pics I've seen of him filming his new film,having shaved his head and his "Aw, shucks!" Apple-pie looks are rea!ly not normally my thing!
Listen, you don't want to go down the Propecia route-I know a lot of guys who take it and there are some really nasty side effects and hair transplants? Not only are they insanely expensive, but I never think that they look right- although all that might change in the next decade.
I totally agree that confidence is the key-shave it off and OWN that look -I'm sure you'll look amazing-I'm sending you a scalp rub right now!
posted by hitchcockblonde at 2:31 AM on August 11, 2011


Duh! that should obviously say close cropped-damn you auto correct !
posted by hitchcockblonde at 2:38 AM on August 11, 2011


Three suggestions: 1) get yourself to a dermatologist and have any unsightly moles removed, 2) shave it totally bald, and 3) take excellent care of your scalp (moisturize, sun screen, keep it smooth).
posted by mmmcmmm at 5:21 AM on August 11, 2011


As soon as you start going visibly bald, buzz it and don't look back. Anything else looks like denial.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:15 AM on August 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Either you dominate with what life throws at you, or you live the rest of your life in fear of ageing. Bald spot at 17, buzzed to 2mm at 18, never looked back. As my head and face shape have changed it went down to 1mm in my late 20s. Now I'm in my mid 30s, I may think about razor shaving soon. Seconding mmmcmmm about scalp care though, and watch your UV exposure.

Subjective observation, but over those 20 years, I think the only people who have reacted badly to my justification for looking like nightclub security are a very small number of women who see any admission that ageing occurs as anathema *and* seem to use their boyfriends' or husbands' hair as a proxy battleground.
posted by cromagnon at 7:07 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Buy some clippers.
posted by rhymer at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2011


The two things I can think of are both kind of neutral on the actual question. The first suggestion is to get into the habit of wearing hats. They are more fashionable lately and don't stand out so much. the second is facial hair. If you can grow a full beard an stache you can "actually express various styles through [your] hair," albeit, facial hair.

I have several friends that sound like you in terms of balding/dark hair, and wearing caps and hats, and messing around with different styles of facial hair, gives them ample opportunity for self expression, helps them look their age as well as current/hip.
posted by Doohickie at 11:01 AM on August 11, 2011


For me, I just cut it with the one-eighth edger on the clippers every week. That's it. I do not understand very well why people put so much effort into representing their inner self through their hairstyle.

I would agree with above commenters: there are no good hairstyles for a balding man except very very short or skin-smooth. Buzz it off, keep it short, and spend your time and money on better shoes.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:12 PM on August 11, 2011


Nthing "buzz it". Does it help to know that there are women out there like me for whom bald/I-shave-it-because-I'm-balding guys are ~SUPER~ hot? We exist. I promise!
posted by hecho de la basura at 1:32 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in your situation and I'm with the buzz it people. You don't have to bic it everyday, just get a set of clippers and buzz it every week or two or whenever you feel like. It's not about hiding that you're balding as much as no other haircut really looks good if you ask me.
posted by saul wright at 3:18 PM on August 11, 2011


The first suggestion is to get into the habit of wearing hats.

Be aware: many people will see this as a failed attempt at hiding the fact that you're balding.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2011


I'd nth cutting it short and going to a stylist instead of just a barber. You have the whole rest of your body to show off your personal style, have fun with your clothes and accessories. I have a mass of curly (think finger in a power point) red hair and all I want out of a hairstyle is a cute black sleek swinging bob, my hair won't even think of doing that, so I can relate a little. If you fight your hair you are just going to look like you are fighting it, the hair always wins.

Also remember some of the sexiest actors out there are bald and proud of it, think how much sexier Bruce Willis is just going "Stuff it" and shaving than he was wearing the bad hair cuts. I love me a bald guy from John Stratholme to Patrick Stewart bald is sexy.
posted by wwax at 8:37 AM on August 15, 2011


This is a late comment, but I just wanted to say that this lady thinks bald dudes look good with facial hair. Just don't get a goatee, you don't want to look like Anton LaVey.
posted by vanitas at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2011


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