One of the more unusual questions bald people get asked is ‘What do bald people put for hair color on their driver’s license?’
It’s not an unreasonable question, at first glance. Many US states ask for hair color on the license application. People with no hair must have to think twice about the answer, right?
People with hair might wonder what bald people do at this point. Do they put ‘bald’, or ‘none’, or ‘n/a’?
Or are we supposed to use the hair color we had before we went bald?
What are the consequences if you get the answer wrong?
As a bald guy living in the UK, I spoke to a few fellow baldies online from various US states to find the answer. Fortunately, there’s a simple answer, with a couple of caveats:
What do bald people put for hair color on their driver’s license?
Bald or shaven-headed people are advised to use their natural hair color on the ‘hair color’ section of US driver’s license forms if they have any plans to grow out their hair in the future. If not, they are supposed to use their natural color or write ‘bald’.
As most people aren’t completely bald, they have the option of using the color of the hair around the back and sides of their head if suffering from Male Pattern Baldness on top.
If the person generally shaves their whole head completely bald, they can use ‘bald’ which is abbreviated to BLD in some states.
However, in most US states, hair color is not shown on the license. Only around a quarter of states include this information, with some asking for hair color on the form but not including it on the actual license.
Here’s an example of a bald person’s drivers license which specifies their natural hair color:
Which states show hair color on driver’s licenses?
Only 14 of the 50 US states show hair color on their driver’s license. The states which show hair color on the license are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin.
72% either don’t ask or don’t include it on the license itself. Here is the full list of US states and whether they include hair color on their driver’s license:
|State||License shows hair color?|
Some states ask for hair color, but don’t use it on the license. Here’s an example of a Texas license application (which you can find online) asking for hair color, but Texas doesn’t display this information on the license itself:
So in Texas, bald people can simply write ‘bald’, but the information is only stored, not used on the license itself.
In states where hair color is required, most people are advised to use their natural hair color. For example, if the applicant has naturally brown hair but has dyed it purple, they should generally use ‘brown’.
If the applicant has shaved their head, they should still use their natural hair color. This is because they still have very tiny hairs on their head. People who are mainly bald are advised to use the color of the hair that grows out of their scalp, however short they cut it.
If someone is completely bald, they can also put ‘bald’, which is listed as a descriptor under the ‘hair color’ options in some states. The abbreviation shown on licenses can vary from state to state, but in California, for example, BLD is used.
Why don’t all US states have hair color on driver’s licenses?
Only 14 of the 50 US states include hair color on driver’s licenses because this can change over time for a number of reasons. Hair can be dyed a different color, and in many cases hair can naturally go gray, or people can shave their heads or go bald.
This is the same in many countries outside the US. In the UK, The Netherlands and many countries around the world, hair color is not included in the details on a driver’s license.
In fact, the UK license has no physical attributes listed. The redacted areas show personal information like name, address and signature. That’s a young me, balding but not yet with a shaved head. I wish I’d taken the plunge before having that picture taken!
Do you need to specify hair color on other forms of ID?
On other official forms and documentation, hair color is handled in different ways.
For example, bald people can use their original hair color when applying for a passport.
Depending on which US state they live in, bald people may or may not need to provide information on hair color for their driver’s license.
If asked, they will be advised to use their natural hair color, or in some states, there is an option to use ‘bald’.
Hair color can be changed, so it’s not an important piece of information for the DVA to collect.
This means there are no consequences whether you use your natural hair color instead of ‘bald’ or vice versa. Fields like name and address need to be correct for identification purposes, but keeping accurate records of hair color is not a priority.
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