Like millions of men around the world I have been plagued with the curse of balding. Like so many young adults the thinning began to occur in my late adolescence at the age of 22. It has taken me a lot of time and many mistakes to find the best course of action to addressing this issue. I have researched, used, and still use hair loss supplement products, but as you will probably find as I did, this is not the ultimate solution. These products such as Rogaine, Propecia, etc. may cause a slight regrowth of hair, retain the hair you have, or at least slow its loss, but that is as far as these supplements will probably take you.
At this point, unless you plan to spend thousands of dollars on hair transplant surgery, you must come to the conclusion that you are going to be dealing with your balding/thinning hair for the foreseeable future and thus must determine the best haircut/style for you. Determining which haircut is best for you will depend on how severe your balding is, the type of balding (up front or on the crown), the size and shape of your head, and most importantly personal preference, but below are some general rules/guidelines all men with thinning hair should abide by.
1. Keep it Short!
A general guideline for the best hairstyles for men with thinning hair is to keep it short! No matter what hairstyle you choose, if you have male pattern baldness or thinning hair, you need to keep it short. The most common mistake men make which I will personally admit to making myself is attempting to compensate for one’s balding through growing out the hair that you still have. I have a receding hairline in the front of my head and I would leave my hair longer in the front in an attempt to cover up the balding spots, but this only accentuated and brought attention to the balding. Both men and women will notice this obvious tactic which is commonly interpreted as a lack of confidence. It portrays the message that you are not confident with the way you look and you are trying to hide your faults in plain sight. If you don’t think you look good with what you’ve got, why should anyone else? Having such a hairstyle also makes you constantly self-conscious of whether the hair has moved out of place and is no longer perfectly covering your bald spots. This kind of thought process is very distracting and is not conducive to being successful in your endeavors, including meeting women. Oddly enough short hair will de-emphasize the appearance of your balding or thinning hair.
2. Facial Hair Helps!
Unfortunately for my sake, I do not have the ability to grow full plush facial hair, but I found from personal observation as well as general consensus online and women that have talked to personally, facial hair such as a good full beard or even general scruff can truly make a difference in terms of compensating for one’s hair loss up top. You’ll have to play around with what facial hair matches best with the hairstyle you choose, but I highly suggest, if you’re able, to go with something besides just clean shaven. Be sure to check out the best beard styles article to help get you started. Just take a look at the many celebrities and sports stars of this generation and you’ll see the strong trend of facial hair, especially those who have less than full looking hair on their head. We have a plethora of how tos and other informative articles on beards and beard maintenance to help you out as well including how to advice as well as product reviews such as the best beard oils, top-tier beard balms, and a guide on beard trimmers.
Suggested Hair Styles
1. Short Bed Head Style
A messy bed head hairstyle can work very well for men with early stages of male pattern baldness in which there is limited hair loss in the front and no hair loss on the crown. I have a couple of friends who sport this style and it really seems to suit them well.
The messiness will blur the lines between the parts of the scalp that have growing hair and the parts that don’t. It also puts off a persona that you don’t give a fuck (pardon my french). I think this type of statement is very powerful and exudes confidence in yourself which both men and women recognize and respect.
Maintenance in terms of cutting the hair is fairly minimal as the variety in length for such a hairstyle can vary and still look good, but I must emphasize it is very important you do not let the hair gets too long or you will begin to step back in the realm of looking like you’re trying to compensate for what you don’t have. For best results, you will want to find the right barber and stick with him/her.
The maintenance from a day-to-day perspective though is slightly more as this bed head style ironically enough doesn’t come out looking good when you simply jumping out of bed. It will usually entail styling your hair every day in the morning with some product.
I have used a large variety of products for styling my hair in this fashion. I have found these 3 products to work the best for me. I have ordered them from least to most hold:
- American Crew Fiber Pliable Molding Creme
- Bumble and Bumble Sumo Tech
- TIGI Bed Head B for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax
2. Crew Cut
the crew cut or buzz cut is a great hairstyle for men with all types of male pattern baldness whether your are simply balding in the front or more advanced cases in which the receding hairline is much more developed than there is balding at the crown as well.
Currently this is the hairstyle that I have been sporting for the last two years with a 3/8 inch on top and 1/4 on the side. The severity of the balding will determine the amount of flexibility you have in terms of the length of the buzz cut (i.e. the more advanced the balding the shorter the buzz cut should be).
Additionally, be sure to get your hair shorter on the sides than on the top as this will create the illusion that you have more hair than you actually do. This was a suggestion my barber gave me a couple years ago that I found to be very effective.
The short hair will make your balding spots much less noticeable and will better blend your bald or thinning spots with the rest of your head. Another pro of this hairstyle is that there is minimal maintenance. You can virtually get out of bed and be good to go!
It is important to keep it short and clean. This requires me to cut my hair every two weeks. I got tired of spending so much money at the barber ($15 – $25) so I simply purchased my own set of hair clippers and do it myself. If you are committed to such a hairstyle, I recommend you do the same. The following are my hair clipper recommendations:
- OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper on Amazon: This clipper is of the highest quality. It will cut through both wet and dry hair with ease and will practically last you a lifetime. If you are committed to the buzz cut for awhile I reccomend you pick this one up. It is slightly more expensive but when you consider how much money you will save from not going to the barber, this clipper will actually save you a lot of money
- Wahl Chrome Pro 24 pc Haircut Kit on Amazon: If you are on a budget or still not fully committed to the buzz cut style, this inexpensive clipper is a good pick. It will definitely get the job done and comes with a full set of guards, scissors, etc.
There’s no styling required and you never have to worry or become self conscious about it getting messed up throughout the night. Its just is what it is which I found to be very liberating. My confidence and my appearance significantly improved after I begun sporting this hairstyle and I hope it does the same for you. I truly believe this is the best haircut for thinning hair and early to semi advanced balding.
3. Shaved Head
We have moved from the style with the most hair to the style with the least hair (the infamous shaved head)! But it should not be looked upon as so infamous and scary, this hairstyle should be looked upon as a blessing and a great solution to a problem that once was. Obviously this hairstyle choice works for all types of hair loss including even the most advanced cases.
Now this hairstyle is not for everyone and some considerations/assessment needs to be made to determine if this hairstyle is right for you. The success of this hairstyle is highly dependent on the shape and size of your head and face. I have found this style is best suited for larger men (especially those who have muscle tone), older men (at least 30), as well those who are able to complement the look with a well-developed beard or some other form of facial hair. This does not mean such qualities is in any way a requirement or necessity to be successful and look good with the shaved head style. If you have the right head and face shape the shaved head can make you look younger, dominant and confident.
The only downside of this style is the constant required maintenance as keeping it cleanly shaven is essential. You will start to look real bad real fast if you let prickly little hairs start to stick out all over your head, but with the right products and practice you can integrate this maintenance into your morning regiment with ease.
If you are considering this option, be sure to check out the following articles for more information on how to shave your head, the best electric razors for shaving your head and the best manual razors for shaving your head. These articles will help you make sure head shaving is right for you and the necessary steps/products required to make this experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Additionally be sure to check out our awesome infographic on the benefits of shaving your head!
This is what I have learned over the last couple of years about haircuts for balding men through research online, speaking with friends and other acquaintances (both women and men), and personal experiences/experimentation. The hairstyles I have presented above is not an exhaustive list of potentially good looking styles for balding man. These are just the ones that I found to work best for the most people. There are lots of different iterations and styles that can work well as long as you keep the general golden rule of keeping your hair short. Feel free to experiment and I highly suggest you try out different barbers and ask them for their advice. These guys are the true professionals and you are definitely not their first customer to have such an issue and request assistance.
In the end it is up to you to determine what you think best suits you, as your opinion is ultimately the most important because far more important than the hairstyle itself is your attitude and how you present yourself. Whatever style gives you that boost of confidence and that feeling of being comfortable in your own skin, that is the right one for you. I wish you all the best of luck! Please let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comment box below. I truly appreciated insight from others as I believe such collaboration is essential to finding the best solutions.
Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert, body grooming aficionado, and skincare guru. His work has been featured on many other prominent men’s publications including AskMen, Men’s Health, and GQ.