Male pattern baldness is a very real prospect for the modern man. It affects around 70% of men in their lifetime and 25% will show the first signs of it by the ripe old age of 30. From thinning around the crown or temples to the fully-blown bald, the statistics show that you’re not alone in being follically-challenged.
Life doesn’t need to suck without a decent head of hair though. As well as tracking down the most practical short hairstyles for men with thin hair and those suffering from hair loss, we’ve hit up Renée Baltov owner of two of Sydney’s finest men’s barbershops, Barberhood, to find out his top tips.
In this story…
Why Hair Loss Happens
Hair loss is caused by both environmental and genetic factors. Poor diet, stress, and not looking after yourself in general, fall into the former category; while the latter is hereditary and therefore, cannot be controlled.
Defined as male-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, this type of hair loss is caused by excess levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that causes follicles to weaken and stop working altogether.
As a way of preparing yourself for future baldness, look to your genealogy – in particular, your maternal grandfather. The hair loss gene (like your height) is rumoured to be carried by mother’s side, so look to her father as an indication of how much time you have left.
Whether this true or not, you’re likely to be one of the seven-out-of-ten men to experience some form of hair thinning or loss in your life.
What’s The Most Popular Short Hairstyle?
According to the crew at Barberhood, the most popular short hairstyle for men with receding hair at the moment is the clipper cut. A lot of this comes down to its simplicity and how well it looks to mask a man’s thinning hair.
The clipper cut is a modern classic and timeless look which takes a clean approach to the back and sides via some handy clipper work. Shorter layers are then cut from the top allowing for a seamless blend. To finish off the look, the neckline and side burns are finished with a fine trimmer.
Baltov however warns that men should refrain from doing it themselves as they can often leave it unfinished with dodgy side burns and a neckline. To pull off the clipper cut properly, the hair needs to be razored for that sharper look.
“Even if you’re balding on top, a short back and sides can still work really well in keeping a really great style at the front – so it draws attention to the front instead of the back,” says Baltov of another popular cut.
The High Fade cut is similar to a stylish military cut where men can have it really short on the sides and longer on the top.
Baltov adds that if you’re a man with thinning curls, keep it long and moppy as the messy look can help cover balding. Product is however mandatory to hold it all in place so that you don’t like you’ve just woken up from a ten year coma.
How To Maintain Receding Hair
It may be near impossible to pull off a decent coiffe with a bald patch forming on the head but there are tricks around it. If there’s a long section of hair growing at the top and you’re not receding in the back, shave the bald patch at the back. “Climbing that up with height can work,” says Baltov.
“I think keeping it short and give it a messy look. Not really styled into place can work really well too because it keeps the distraction ahead.”
Baltov also says that a gradual fade hairstyle is also possible. To pull this off, ask a skilled barber to fade the back of your hair whilst keeping the style short on top. It’s a lot harder to do but most skilled barbers can pull it off these days.
Given that most men go in for their regular cut every four weeks, those with less hair can get away with stretching that to five or six weeks. The problem however is that the hair in your ears, eyebrows and neckline unfortunately don’t thin like your head’s, so it’s a good idea to keep a track of this unless you want to look like a metro-sexual pirate.
Essential Products To Consider
Styling thinning hair requires a good hair thickening shampoo (Kiehl’s, Swell or Aveda are some examples) to boost each follicle. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently comb through thickening styling spray, and then follow with a good blow dry (the wind lifts the hair and adds volume).Lastly, apply a matte-based product (nothing oil-based) and mess around the strands for a fuller look.
Tip: Avoid roughly towel-drying your hair or over brushing the hair (especially when wet as the hair is weakest then).
Some other products that can be your best friend include a boost powder, which is highly recommended for adding volume to a man’s thinning hair.
Using a powder ensures easy washing in the shower with little residue left behind. Baltov says that this product is especially good for lighter or blonde thinning hair.
If you’ve got long thinning hair, and you’ve got curls, continue to keep it long. If you can grow what you’ve got and keep it moppy. Messy can get away with covering balding. With that type of haircut you need product in it to keep it that way, to hold it in place otherwise you can look really bad.
Colour To Cover Baldness
Do not go here. Baltov tells us that it’s best to stick to your natural hair colour if you’re experiencing hair loss, as dying is a catch 22 if not done professionally.
“Say you’re blonde and you dye it dark, it’s only going to highlight the areas you don’t have hair. It’s actually going to do the opposite.”
“You can probably do it a shade lighter. It would still make you have hair but it wouldn’t be as noticeable.”
The only issue here is the frequency at which you’d have to reapply colour which isn’t very efficient if you have to cut your hair every four weeks. In other words, it might not be worth it.
Best Hair Loss & Balding Hairstyles
Need some inspiration as to which hairstyles are going to be best for hair loss and baldness? Look no further. These hairstyles will hold you in good form and make the most of the little hair you have.
The Smooth Receder
When your hair line starts to recede it’s time to go short. Head to a reputable barber or hair dresser and order the following: A short-back-and-sides cut with one to two inches of length on the top and an inch of length of the side. The trick is to keep the sides and back shorter to create the illusion of ‘thicker’ hair on top. This works well for men with the early onset of baldness, or those who still have the majority of their hair at the crown, back and sides.
Military Buzz Cut
The buzz cut is especially good if your hair is starting to thin on the crown and top of your head, making you look more like a monk than a man. The buzz cut gives you a clean, yet edgy look with the length of the shave dependent on how severe the balding is. Ask for an all-over shave with a number 3 or 2 razor length.
These balding hairstyles looks doesn’t require any styling, making it a foolproof, bad-ass look for the balding man.
A very signature look, the naked shave is one of the balding hairstyles that is great for men who have are very bald with little, to know hair on the majority of their head. Head to the barber once again for this one (don’t do a home job until you seek professional help) where the stylist can perform the sharpest shave to the skin without error.
Now with a bald scalp, make sure you moisturise the head after showering and regularly shave it to keep it fresh and without fluff.
Some men prefer to have a little hair on their head, for fear of looking like a thug completely shaven. An option is to let whatever hair you have left grow out, keeping it trimmed and neat. Heading to the barber every four weeks is essential, keeping the hair groomed and tamed.
This method exudes a confidence in letting nature run its course and working the hair that you’ve got left. Plus, it’s a touch bohemian and artsy – if you’re that way inclined.
No ‘Comb Over’
Avoid the ‘comb-over’ like it never existed. It’s not an option for the stylish gent. There’s no hiding the fact you’re balding on top so keep the sides short to downplay the hair areas against the bald ones. A comb-over screams a lack of confidence and like the toupee, actually accentuates your baldness. People will see right through it.
Become A Facial Hair Hero
A lot of celebrities with thinning hair embrace facial hair. Hair around the chin, jaw and cheeks draws attention from your balding head. Important thing to note: moustaches and goatees work best, as opposed to lumberjack beards. A full-blown beard adds too much weight to the lower part of the head/face, especially when paired with bald head.
RELATED: Best Beard Styles