(Last updated: June 2023)
Whether you’ve been shaving your head for a while or just braved the shave for the first time, you’ll want to keep your scalp looking its best. A bald head care routine is vital to keep your head healthy and looking great.
I’ve been shaving my head for nearly 20 years. In that time I’ve learned a lot about how to maintain a bald head.
I’ve acquired a lot of this knowledge by reading and getting tips from other bald guys, but I’ve learned some of the below from making genuine mistakes.
Hopefully, this article helps you learn from my experience and avoid making some of the same mistakes in your own bald head skin care regime!
How do you take care of a bald head?
The advice below falls into four key areas:
- Keep your bald head clean
- Learn how to shave safely and effectively
- A good aftercare routine is essential
- Develop a good daily maintenance and protection regime
How to keep your bald head clean
There are two main ways to keep your head clean and avoid scalp hygiene issues as a bald man:
A lot of people are surprised that they have to keep using shampoo when learning how to take care of a bald head.
The biggest mistake newly bald guys make is using the same soap they use to clean their face and body in the shower. Using soap on the scalp is not recommended as it can be too harsh and disrupt the natural balance of the scalp, leading to dryness and other issues including dandruff.
Instead, bald people need to use shampoo to maintain the cleanliness and overall health of their scalp. A dirty scalp can look dull and unhealthy, feel greasy, and even develop an unpleasant smell.
Shampoo is designed to clean the scalp and hair of oils, dirt, and dead skin cells. By using shampoo, people with a bald head can maintain a healthy balance of oil production on their scalp, prevent the buildup of dirt and oil, and keep their scalp looking and feeling clean and healthy.
Conditioner is designed to hydrate and protect the hair. However, it’s important to note that both shampoo and conditioner can be used on the scalp to clean and hydrate it. If you have a dry or itchy scalp, using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can help to soothe and hydrate your bald head.
For a long time, I used whichever shampoo was in the shower at the time, as I don’t have sensitive skin or a particularly oily head. Sometimes this was the kids’ shampoo which is kind on the skin, and sometimes it was my wife’s fancy shampoo for colored hair (but don’t tell her).
However, that’s before I found out about sulfates, parabens, and other chemicals that shampoo manufacturers often put into their products.
Now I always recommend a specialized bald head wash. There are products available that are specifically formulated to cleanse and care for a bald scalp. These products often contain ingredients like salicylic acid, which helps to exfoliate the scalp and remove any buildup of dead skin cells.
Some of these shampoos are also designed to soothe the skin and prevent itching or flaking, which can be common issues for individuals with a bald scalp.
When I wrote about the best shampoos for bald heads, the top-ranked product for general use was C3 Head Wash:
C3 Head Wash
- Designed precisely for face and scalp
- Non-comedogenic and hypo-allergenic fragrance-free formula
- pH balanced to support healthy skin on the face and scalp
C3’s Head Wash shampoo is free of sulfates, which can dry out your bald head, and parabens, which can irritate sensitive scalps. Because of this, they haven’t had to include the other chemicals that some brands add to counteract the effects of these ingredients.
Bald men should exfoliate their heads regularly to remove dead skin, dirt, oil, and sweat. The accumulation of grime can cause an unhealthy, dull appearance and unpleasant smells.
As well as accumulated dirt, shampooing and exfoliating also clean away the built-up oils secreted naturally from the scalp. Your scalp contains sebaceous glands, which secrete a compound of natural oils called sebum. This is designed to lubricate and protect the skin, especially when dry.
Sebum is secreted in greater quantities when soap and other cleaning products are used, leading to a dull, oily appearance. Regular exfoliation and moisturizing help maintain a clean, healthy appearance and control sebum production.
Exfoliate with a wet cloth, and be gentle. You can get specialist bald head scrubs and other exfoliating products, but only use these around twice per week.
I use The Bald Brothers’ Smooth AF scrub to maintain my melon, and if you click the link below and use the code HAPPY20 at checkout, you’ll get 20% off:
Smooth AF Bald Head Exfoliate Scrub
The Bald Brothers
- 20% off with code HAPPY20
- Gently removes dirt & dead skin
- Ideal pre-shave treatment
- Doubles as scalp & face cleanser
I use Smooth AF because it’s a great all-round scrub, but there are other options. For example, there are more suitable products if you have sensitive skin, or if you’re working to a budget. You can read about them all in my guide to the top 5 exfoliating scrubs for bald heads.
To get the closest shave possible, I always exfoliate first. It really makes a difference to the smoothness of my shaved head and how healthy it looks afterward.
Exfoliating reduces friction, softens the hair, and gives you a closer finish as you don’t have a layer of dead skin between your scalp and your razor.
It’s also more hygienic for your razor, as shaving a dirty head can leave dirt and dead skin between the blades. This can even lead to infection if not cleaned properly afterward.
After exfoliating, a slight sting is normal as the new skin is sensitive, but if it stings too much, reduce the frequency and intensity of exfoliating.
So that’s how to keep your bald head clean, now let’s move on to the second part of your maintenance routine:
Shaving your head safely and effectively
I always shave in the shower to best care for my bald head. This is the best way to get a smooth and easy head shave, as the warm water softens the hair.
Pores don’t open up with warmer temperatures and close with colder ones, that’s a myth. But warm water is a good way to encourage healing as it makes the skin loosen up so it’s easier to clean out the buildup of dirt.
I’ve been to barbers for a head shave with a straight razor, which is a very cool experience as some give you the full service, including hot towels and head massages. However, for whatever reason, I find the shave isn’t as close as I can get at home, so this is a rare occasion for me.
Cover your head with a good quality shaving foam or gel, and use a clean razor. Make sure you’ve chosen the best razor for shaving your head bald based on your own individual needs – not everyone can just grab a disposable and wet-shave their head without any issues.
Having a mirror in the shower is helpful for watching yourself while shaving the top and sides of your head. A fogless stick-on mirror is a sensible buy:
JiBen Fogless Shower Mirror
- Power-locking suction cup
- 360-degree rotating adjustable arm
- No warm-up time needed – splash or wipe with warm soapy water once
When shaving, move against the grain for a closer shave. Shaving against the grain allows the blade to cut closer to the scalp. If you’re new to shaving your head then this may cause irritation at first, so do the first pass with the grain.
After a while, your scalp will toughen and you’ll be able to do a second pass against the grain, and eventually skip the first pass altogether. After nearly 20 years of shaving my head, I’m only shaving against the grain and rarely have any irritation at all.
Personally, I use the Leaf Razor. It gives me the closest shave I’ve had, and it’s completely plastic-free so it helps the planet, too.
Even better, if you buy from the official site using the link below, you can get 10% off with the code HAPPY10:
The Leaf Razor
- 3-blade design reduces the number of strokes needed to shave
- Pivoting head maintains the correct blade angle for you
- Non-proprietary blades, compatible with any standard safety razor blade
- All-metal razor, steel blades, completely eliminate plastic waste from your shave
- 10% off with code HAPPY10
The Leaf is more on the premium side, so if you’re not ready to shell out $70+ for your razor, you can find more budget options in my guide to the best razors for shaving your head.
When shaving the back of your head, use your free hand as a guide and take short strokes to avoid nicks and cuts. It took time for me to get used to shaving my head, so don’t be put off if you don’t nail it the first time. Practice makes perfect!
Get to know the problem areas on your head, such as where the hair is slightly thicker and needs more strokes, or where it grows in a different direction.
For me, the edge of my remaining ‘horseshoe’ (where the hair at the sides stops) is thickest and always needs at least a second pass. Here’s me after a day’s growth:
Meanwhile, the hair where my neck meets my scalp grows horizontally rather than vertically and I always need to make sure I haven’t missed a spot.
Most importantly, rushing the job can lead to accidents. The area I have to be most careful with is around the top of my ears, where I can easily end up bleeding if I don’t take it slow and steady.
Take your time, and remember the phrase, ‘less haste, more speed’ to avoid shaving cuts.
How often should I shave my head bald?
A lot of people shave their head bald every day because they like the feel of a freshly-shaved head, and don’t like the contrast of dark hair regrowth against their skin. Shaving every day gives them a more even look.
However, shaving every day is hard on sensitive skin, so take care. Personally, I shave every 2-3 days to protect my scalp (and just because I’m too lazy to shave on a daily basis).
I always make sure I’m freshly shaved for any kind of social event, where we all want to look our best. My tip here is to shave at least a few hours before you go out, so any cuts or redness have time to heal.
Shaving your head with an electric shaver
If you’re not ready to progress to a full wet shave just yet, the buzz cut is the choice for many bald or balding guys out there.
First, choose the best electric shaver for your head. Which you choose will be based on price, the right blades/cutting system, head flexibility, battery life, noise level, and whether you need wet/dry functionality.
The Skull Shaver wins my recommendation as the best electric shaver for shaving your head. This 4D rotary blade shaver won my vote due to its ability to provide a close shave and perform wet or dry shaving, while also being quieter than most of its rivals.
If you find the Platinum a little pricey, you can go for the Pitbull Silver instead.
I’ve recommended the Platinum model purely for the extra battery life. The Pitbull Gold and Platinum come with the regular Forte blade, but the Silver comes with a Carver blade which is specially designed for coarse or thick hair.
The Pitbull Platinum has all the same features as the Pitbull Gold, PLUS a wash indicator, a travel lock function, a premium travel case, and a rinse stand. But if you’re looking for a budget option and none of these features are deal-breakers, the Silver is a great option:
Once you’ve chosen your shaver, you can enjoy the convenience of just grabbing your hardware for a quick shave before you leave the house. Just make sure you clean the shaver right after to keep your blades sharp and avoid any hygiene issues or irritation in the future.
Of course, if your shaver has wet/dry capability you can still shave in the shower. Some people like this option as they prefer to avoid using a razor blade on their more sensitive scalps, but still want the closeness of a wet shave.
But safe shaving is only part of the work of looking after your bald head. Next comes proper aftercare:
Develop a good post-shave scalp care routine
After you’ve shaved, your bald head maintenance routine doesn’t stop there. Moisturizing is key to keeping your dome looking it’s fabulous best.
It’s vital to moisturize your bald head
Anyone who shaves their head will relate to the nasty, dry feeling that you can be left with after stripping your scalp of all its natural moisture.
Moisturizing is an essential part of a daily bald head care routine, especially after shaving. It’s doubly important after a wet shave.
Without moisturizing, you’ll end up with a dry and possibly flaky scalp that won’t look or feel good. I’ve noticed a big improvement since using moisturizer daily, and even had compliments on the appearance of my bald head and inquiries about my skincare routine!
Moisturizers work by increasing the moisture content of the stratum corneum of the skin, which acts as a barrier to trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
This is the process of water vapor evaporating from the skin. Using moisturizer on a bald head adds additional moisture to the scalp. This helps the stratum corneum to reduce that nasty feeling of dryness.
What to look for in a bald head moisturizer
Look for a moisturizer that is fast absorbing, non-sticky, and contains organic ingredients. If you can find one that includes SPF protection, that’s even better, as your bald head is super-exposed to harmful UVA and UVB rays any time you’re out in the sun.
This not only increases your risk of skin cancer, but bald heads really show sun damage so it’s important to protect yourself for aesthetic reasons, too.
You can check out my article about the best bald head moisturizers, but my personal favorite is Bald Boss by The Bald Brothers. If you click the link below to the official site and use the code HAPPY20 at checkout, you’ll get 20% off:
Bald Boss Moisturizer
The Bald Brothers
- 20% off with code HAPPY20
- Softens and moistens your bald head
- Hydrates your dried-out scalp
- Made with natural ingredients
I’ve used a lot of moisturizers over the years, but it’s no surprise that a specialist bald head moisturizer would come out on top. It soaks in right away and smells great, and a little goes a long way.
Natural alternatives to moisturizer
If you’re not keen on using moisturizers, there are plenty of oils for a bald head that offer a natural alternative.
Jojoba oil is the best option. It’s rich in vitamin E for amazing hydration, has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and is super-absorbent and non-greasy.
Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil
- USDA organic certified
- 100% pure, single-ingredient oil
- Benefits for skin, scalp, beard, and hair
- Lightweight and fast absorbing
- Non-GMO certified, vegan & cruelty-free
How to clean up nicks or cuts after shaving your head
Even the most careful shaver can make mistakes (I certainly do). But little pieces of tissue stuck to your head are not the way for the discerning bald gentleman to tend his wounds.
Instead, I’m going to let you in on a secret that’s been a game-changer for me:
Clubman Woltra Nick Relief Styptic Pencil (Pack of 2)
- Stops bleeding quickly
- Works on minor nicks and deeper cuts
- No more TP squares!
A styptic pencil is a handy tool to keep around. It works by hardening or coagulating the surface of a wound. This makes it the ideal addition to your toolset and gives you peace of mind if you’re stepping out for the evening having just butchered your own scalp.
Watch out for razor bumps
Razor bumps can be trivial or they can be a sign of bigger scalp health issues.
If you often get razor bumps on the back of your head that are sore and potentially pus-filled, you may be suffering from a condition known as folliculitis.
Also known as barber’s rash, this is a treatable condition but always consult your doctor to be safe.
With folliculitis, the hairs can still grow through but it’s obviously an uncomfortable shave.
If you’re getting razor bumps where the hairs aren’t growing through, you’re probably getting ingrown hairs. This is where the hair is stuck under the skin but keeps growing, causing a bump that can be sore and even cause infection.
This can be prevented by exfoliating well to remove layers of dead skin that can trap the hairs underneath as they start to regrow.
However, if you’re still experiencing ingrown hairs often, make sure you get advice from your doctor.
Finally, your care routine needs to become a daily habit, not just something you do after shaving:
Develop a daily bald head maintenance and protection regime
Sun safety, daily moisturizing, and a general daily care routine are crucial to taking care of your bald head and keeping it healthy and happy.
Tanning a bald head safely is the most important part of your daily care ritual. If you live somewhere hot you’re at risk of painful burns and long-term scalp damage, including an increased risk of skin cancer.
Even if it’s only hot for a small part of the year where you live, or you only get sun exposure on vacation, it’s crucial to remember to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including the scalp.
The head is the most exposed area to the sun, and wearing a hat is not always the most practical solution, as it might be too hot or uncomfortable, and hats don’t always provide complete protection.
So, the best option is to apply sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 for short trips outdoors and 30 for full days spent in the sun. Reapply evenly every two hours and you should avoid sun damage.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made the mistake of skipping sunscreen before. I don’t get much sun most of the year and getting a good tan is a great way to look better with a bald head.
But when I’ve tried to make up for sunburn by moisturizing to turn it into a deep tan, I’ve paid the price a couple of days later with unsightly peeling:
Trust me, tan safely and in moderation. Your scalp will thank you for it. The chances of developing skin cancer are reduced when protective sunscreen is used, and we baldies need to be extra cautious about sun protection due to the lack of hair to act as a natural barrier.
I recommend using a more effective sunscreen for your exposed head, such as Sun Bum. If you’re concerned about sun damage, this is the sunscreen to choose as it’s packed with antioxidant-rich Banana, Brown Algae, and Vitamin E. It’s also made to help combat free radicals and harmful UV rays:
Sun Bum Skin Care SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen Face Mist
- Vegan and reef-friendly
- UVA/UVB protection
- Packed with Vitamin E
Moisturize daily – even if you haven’t shaved
We’ve covered how important it is to use lotion after shaving to replace some of that lost moisture in the scalp. But moisturizing should be part of a daily routine to keep your bald head looking its best.
After showering (which I’ll assume you do every day) you’re going to want to moisturize your scalp to prevent dryness and flakiness. It’s especially important for bald people who have skin conditions, such as scalp psoriasis.
If you shave your head 2-3 times a week like me, your hair won’t grow long enough to get in the way. If you’re only shaving every 1-2 weeks, it’s likely that your hair will get too long by the end of that cycle to be applying moisturizer, but make sure you use it for a few days after shaving to avoid dryness and flaking.
The best moisturizers absorb fast, don’t feel sticky, and have SPF protection. Natural ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and beeswax are preferable, especially for those with sensitive skin.
Vaseline can be used as a moisturizer, but it’s not practical and can leave a greasy film. Coconut oil is a good natural moisturizer but is oily and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Bee Bald Smooth Plus Daily Moisturizer
- Protects from harmful UVA/UVB Rays
- Tones, hydrates and moisturizes skin
- Smooths fine lines, wrinkles and dry patches
- Helps reduce shine and control oily secretions
Shiny or matte?
There are two kinds of bald guys – those who like a shiny head and those who prefer a matte finish. Personally, I like the shine, but it’s important to decide which one you are so you can choose the right care routine.
If you want to know how to make your bald head shiny, you need to know that a wet shave is essential to get the smoothest look possible.
I keep a reminder on my phone to change my razor blades regularly. Otherwise, I’d just forget, and my razor would get too blunt, leading to irritation and stopping me from getting the close shave I want.
Prepping your scalp for a shave by shampooing and exfoliating will give you the closest shave possible. This is because your razor won’t have to fight through a layer of dirt and dead skin to get to the base of the hair.
Then, moisturizing your scalp after a shower will give you the shine you are looking for. Dry skin looks duller and won’t give you a shiny finish.
However, if you don’t like the idea of a shiny head, you can go the other way. If you want a matte finish but you still want a smooth scalp, then keep shaving just as close but use a shine-free moisturizer:
Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Moisturizer
- Shine Free Matte Finish
- Paraben Free
This product is technically designed for people with oily skin on their face, but works really well on a bald head too.
You can also use a tissue or specialist bald head wipes throughout the day to help stop the shine:
Natural Oil Blotting Paper Roll
- Fast acting
- Made from 100% natural linen fibers
- Soft & gentle on skin
Of course, you can always leave a little stubble on your head to reduce the shine, but if like me you’re fully bald on top, that isn’t an option.
Bonus tip: wash your hats
For bald guys who wear hats, it is especially important to wash them regularly, as oils from the scalp can build up on the inside of the hat.
To be fair, I quite often forget to wash my beanies but I dread to think what kind of build-up is inside, and how unhygienic that could be.
Our scalps naturally produce oils that help to moisturize and protect our hair and skin. When we wear hats, these oils can transfer to the inside of the hat, leading to a build-up over time.
This build-up of oils can create an unhygienic environment inside the hat, which can lead to unpleasant odors and potentially even skin irritation or infection.
So wash your hats regularly to remove this build-up of oils and keep the hat clean and fresh. Follow the care instructions on the label of the hat, as some materials may require special care or washing techniques.
In general, hats can be washed by hand or in a washing machine on a gentle cycle, using a mild detergent and cool water.
Caring for your bald head is about more than just looking good. It’s a hygiene routine that avoids your scalp from becoming unhealthy, dry, flaky, and even smelly.
But if you want to look good as a bald man, start by properly looking after your dome. Trying to remember all these individual tips will be hard unless you form good habits by making them part of your daily routine.
There are plenty more useful products for bald heads, but once you nail this, you’ll start to notice your head looking healthier, with a more even skin tone.
If you want to look even better as a bald man once you’ve achieved the perfect scalp care routine, then make sure you keep up with the latest in fashion for bald men.
How do you keep your bald head looking its best? If I’ve missed any tips, let me know in the comments below.
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