Hairstyles for Balding Men

Male haircutting
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: Can you give me some tips for hairstyles for balding men? What should balding men keep in mind when choosing a hairstyle? Should we camouflage bald spots or is it ok to show them?
A: When choosing hairstyles for balding men, many of said men make similar mistakes that, while seeming to be productive actually make matters worse. Not worse from a “makes hair fall out faster” standpoint, but worse, in that the cut makes balding and thinning areas look sparser and thinner.
The key to a good haircut for balding men is to cut the hair so that the hair remaining covers the scalp more effectively. This is generally accomplished by cutting the hair in a layered style shorter than the width of the balding area. The reason for this is that normal, healthy hair likes to lie alongside its fellow hairs. Yet, when the hair is growing sparse on the scalp and the hairs “group up” in this manner, it makes the hair look even thinner and often stringy.
We’ve all seen him. The unfortunate guy whose hair has been slowly thinning year by year yet he still wears it longer and combs it in an attempt to disguise the bald areas. Finally, he’s left with what looks like stringy locks that are wrapped around or across his head and his attempts look so bad that he finally decides to go to the other extreme and shaves his head.
I’m not going to speak either for or against the “shaved” look. Current men’s hair fashion has gravitated toward longer styles, but the induction cut is still a classic look that many men have come to favor, often because they have begun to lose their hair. I am only going to suggest that a buzz cut isn’t the only solution. (It certainly isn’t the best option in many cases.)
While there isn’t any one solution to cutting and styling the hair of a balding man, there are a couple of tips to bear in mind:
First: When the hair is intended to cover a thinning area (an area where the hair is sparse, but not less than 40% coverage compared to the areas with normal hair density) the hair will look fuller and cover better if you cut the length to fall between one-third and one-half the width of the bald spot. For instance, if the bald spot is six inches across, you should cut the hair into uniform layers of two to three inches long. This allows sufficient length to cover the scalp with overlap and allows the hair to be short enough to diffuse the direction in which it lies without resulting in a fuzzy look.
Second: When the hair is very thin (less than 40% coverage) you’ll typically want to go shorter with the length, in order to allow the hair to create a diffuse “halo” in the thin area. Doing this allows you to create an aesthetically pleasing silhouette that will be flattering to the shape of the face.
Just remember that you can always cut the hair shorter, but getting back some length takes time. And have someone you can trust to give you an HONEST accounting of how your hair is looking. Particularly with men, some hair mistakes are allowed to proliferate and grow with time, when one honest friend could perhaps have tactfully averted embarrassment.
See also:
Hairstyles for men
Balding and receding hair lines
How to deal with hair loss
How to shave your head