How to wear my lack of hair?
September 9, 2009 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm in my mid-twenties, and have a substantially thinning crescent shaped area on the crown of my head, though my hairline at the front is fine. What should I do with my hair? Is a #1 buzz cut the only way forward?

I've buzzed it very short in the past, and it almost highlights the loss, but at least feels "honest". I have strong but reasonably attractive features and usually dress professionally, if that's relevant.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Comb it back? I never liked that look personally, as a woman, but it i\can cover the spot if the front is long enough.

You could also try shaving your head, if that sounds appealing. I don't think that would hinder your professional look.
posted by caveat at 12:06 PM on September 9, 2009

Yeah, hair loss sorta sucks. It took my awhile to come to terms with it - I'm losing mine from the front end (i'm 24). At one point in college I was so self conscious about it that I started shaving my head into a mohawk, so you couldn't tell I had a receding hairline. Now I just buzz it short. Whatever. It looks fine. And one day I'll just start bic-ing it with a razor, which I've done before and doesn't hinder one's professionalism and feels really awesome.

When I was bic-ing my head, people would be like...'whoa, you biced your head!' and I'd say something weird like, 'yeah, I like to keep my brain as close to the outside world as possible, etc.. etc... ' so they'd stop asking me about it.

Anyway, don't stress about it. It's only hair.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:13 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

My brother is 27 and nearly bald. He never ever takes off his baseball cap. Ever.

Not that I recommend this approach, as we all mock him for it, but it's an option.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2009

Trying to hide your hair loss is a slippery slope. Before you know it you'll be the Baldy Man.

I'm quite a bit balder than you are and I don't usually go as far as a #1; #2 looks fine, and doesn't give anyone the impression that you're in denial about your hair. In some ways a buzz cut or shaving is just another futile way to try to conceal baldness. You're all "Hey, I choose to be bald. If I let it grow back I'd have this amazing thick mane of glossy man-locks!", whereas the reality is that it's pretty obvious to most people which parts of a shaved head support hair and which don't.

A lot of people seem to find baldness quite attractive (in my experience as many as don't). And if your head gets cold, invest in a selection of rakish hats.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:19 PM on September 9, 2009

Here's one vote for "bald is attractive," though I do think men with your pattern of hair loss can get away with a longer hairstyle without looking odd than men who are losing it in the front. What looks odd is any kind of hairstyle that tries to hide bald spots.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:45 PM on September 9, 2009

I have a full head of hair, so can't speak from personal experience, but I do have friends with a similar struggle. I think the key is to not do anything that reeks of non-acceptance. We all have our personal appearance issues, and some aren't easily "fixed". So, I'd suggest keeping it short, shaving it if you want. Just don't let it become a thing that defines you.

Oh, also, maybe get a good recommendation for a talented hair dresser? Perhaps someone who knows hair and face shape, and all that other stuff, might be be able to find a cut that flatters your particular pattern?
posted by Richat at 12:48 PM on September 9, 2009

Go with the buzz. I used to work with a guy with a pattern of hair loss similar to what you describe. He ended up buzzing it, and when he came in to work the next day, he looked about 15 years younger.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:53 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another vote for buzzing. I started using a #1 guard about five years ago, and haven't aged a day since.

Do not start wearing a hat all the time.

posted by General Tonic at 1:17 PM on September 9, 2009

Balding, too. You have to come to terms with it. To paraphrase the old Bruce Willies movie The Last Boyscout: "Lions get a mane, gorillas get a silver back and men get male pattern baldness." So don't freak, don't comb over and take it like a man!
And there is always the possibility of taking Propecia for life and making the producer rich. (Might be cheaper if you buy the orginal medication that was against enlarged prostates and adjust the dosage accordingly.) Welcome to the world of online spam pharmacies! Seriously, learn to live with it.
posted by mmkhd at 2:21 PM on September 9, 2009

trying to obscure it ironically looks a lot more obvious and "bald" than shaving it. I have been slowly losing my hair (in the exact same way you have, in fact) for about 7 years, and I cringe when I look at the variety of different haircuts I attempted for a few years.

Alternately, you could start taking propecia. You won't grow it back, but at least you won't get any balder. (seems too expensive and not worth it to me.)
posted by orville sash at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2009

Seriously? You should just accept it. You will save yourself buckets of stress and, probably, embarrassment, if you just accept that that's your hair and not try to cover or camouflage it. Go to a good stylist and instruct them to find an attractive cut that works with what you have, and not try to conceal the thin stuff.

And, yes, buzzing it might work, depending on how thin it is. If it's too thin, even a buzz can look like camouflage. You might try shaving the dome, if you have the right look and build for that.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:48 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

just keep it short, as in, "yeah, whatever, i'm so busy with my awesome adventures that i can't be bothered to camouflage my balding pate." honestly, if you're confident, and don't look like you're trying to cover up your baldness, no one will notice. besides, bald/ balding guys are cute. :)
posted by airguitar2 at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2009

Nobody cares about it as much as you do. It probably doesn't look as bad to people as you think it does. People see balding guys all the time. Don't try to hide it.

I have the same hair loss going on, although at an earlier stage, and people tell me my hair looks better shorter rather than longer.
posted by twblalock at 3:20 PM on September 9, 2009 it or bic it. If shaved, darker hair will be more obvious than lighter hair (as in, it will still show where it's growing and where it's not).

I worked with a guy who had thinning hair, in a pattern that sounds like yours, and he grew the surrounding hair long and gelled it straight up. It looked ridiculous and didn't hide the loss at all.

I began shaving my head when I was about 22, and realized I was losing some hair not too long after. I just continued to shave it, and only ever met one girl (in my wild bar-hopping years) who said she didn't like "bald guys". Most wanted to rub it. When I first met my wife, she didn't like it shaved but has no problem with the fact that I'm pretty thin up top - now I typically buzz it down with no guard on the clippers. Takes about a day (if that) after a fresh cut to be able to tell I have MPB, but whatever. I don't care what it looks like as much as I enjoy the lower maintenance.

Links for ya:
Bald R Us

Welcome, and enjoy!
posted by attercoppe at 3:53 PM on September 9, 2009

Keep it short. Don't think of it as a problem that you need to hide: I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds short hair and balding to be especially attractive.
posted by lemuria at 4:19 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Patrick Stewart lost most of his hair by the time he was 19. He is quite, quite sexy and I think many women would agree. He keeps his hair short, and I think that's the best course of action. Longer hair with a bald spot makes the baldness stand out in my opinion. For the love of god don't comb your front of the head hair back to cover it can always see through to the scalp of guys who do that, and it just makes it look like you're trying to hide it. This interview with Patrick Stewart has a lot of insight about his experience with balding at a young age. Finally, be CONFIDENT! Don't let it bother you! I think others "notice" or pay attention to balding more if you look like you are trying to hide it, or are ashamed. I personally never let my thoughts linger on a man's head of hair (or lack thereof) if he doesn't make it an issue in the first place.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 4:43 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Agree that trying to hide the bald only works on TV.

But that's not to say that shaving it down to nothing is the only solution. I'm balding, but it's of the hairline receeding and general thinness variety. One thing that always worked for me was getting haircuts at a closer interval. (When that interval became once a week, I started buzzing it at home.)

You never want to try to hide it, but there are ways to make it look good. Look at Kelsey Grammer for reference- he has had all sorts of haircuts, never tried to hide it, but embraced it.

The downside is that some styles will be off limits- the Zac Ephron probably won't work with a bald spot. But some of the more classic men's styles look just fine on a balding head.
posted by gjc at 4:50 PM on September 9, 2009

I have a reasonable amount of hair but not a ton on top, or at least, it's quite obvious it's going (...going, gone!). I give myself buzz cuts regularly (not all the way down, but pretty freaking short). It's liberating, I think. I regret my hair loss occasionally but not frequently. It doesn't seem to make a big difference in my life.

I was hanging out with a good friend of mine a few weekends ago who has been shaving (like, Gillete razor style) his head for a while now. We were commiserating a bit over our mutual hair loss, and both agreed that we wished occasionally that we could have it back...but whatever. We have plenty of other advantages in our life that very much make up for this minor annoyance.
posted by dubitable at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Recently I ran into a family friend who I hadn't seen in 10 years. He is in his 50s and fashionable. I saw that he had shaved his head. My immediate thought? "He's going bald and trying to hide it." I began talking to him and, yup, he mentioned having gone bald in the front.

I say just go with it, don't try to conceal it. Confidence is sexy, being visibly ashamed of your body is not.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:05 PM on September 9, 2009

you don't have to go #1 or bic. I have been doing #2 or #3 since my mid 20's and it looks fine. Plus it's low maintenance!

If you keep a normal haircut, don't gel it, it makes it look even thinner.
posted by kenliu at 5:30 PM on September 9, 2009

But this asker is NOT in his 50's.

One of my highschool classmates started loosing his hair in the typical MPB way when he was 20. It made him look like he was in his late 30s. He shaved it all and looked instantly younger.

Doesn't matter how confident you are if you like the dad of the guys you are hanging out with.
posted by Iax at 5:31 PM on September 9, 2009

Buzz it or shave it. Think Bruce Willis and not Larry David.
posted by emd3737 at 5:34 PM on September 9, 2009

Buzz it. I had long, soft, pettable hair until I was about 22. Then a friend sat on some of my hair. As a reaction, I sat up, but the hair didn't come with me, and it really didn't hurt. That night, I used the 3mm guard on my hair. I've since done away with the guard.

Shaving is high maintainance, and really not worth the trouble, I think. Take the guard off the trimmer, and mow it down again every two or three weeks.

Just remember, no one will ever ask if you got a haircut ever again. Mrs. Ghidorah never notices.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:55 PM on September 9, 2009

Keep it buzzed.

You'll be surprised at the portion of men and women who don't care what your hair looks. And, this gets more true as you age, especially if you have nice facial features.

I don't know much about mid-20s, but I regularly date attractive women in their late-20s, and they love my bald head. I'm not joking on this one - many of them actually say they love it and think it's hot.
posted by TheOtherSide at 5:27 AM on September 10, 2009

For the nth time, buzz it. I use clippers with no guard. Its hard to see it when you're just starting to lose your hair, but the whole deal is such a non-issue.
posted by MrToad at 8:17 AM on September 10, 2009

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