Bald spots can be stressful. This is problematic since stress is also one of the potential causes of bald spots – it can become self-perpetuating.
Whatever the cause of bald spots, you might want to explore your options for covering them up, and understand which methods are more effective.
In this guide, I’ll take you through how to cover bald spots both for men and women, including tips on which methods you’ll want to avoid as well.
How to cover bald spots in men
There are a number of different ways you can cover bald spots if you’re a man. Some are more cost-effective while others might give you better results, but it will depend on the size and frequency of the bald spots.
The options you have available to you are:
- Using medication to promote regrowth of the hair
- Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) to give the appearance of hair
- Topical concealers, such as keratin fibers
- Using hair pieces, wigs, or extensions
- Changing your hairstyle
- Wearing accessories to cover your bald spot(s)
- Embracing baldness and shaving your head
Hair transplants aren’t really a treatment you can use for bald spots – you would get a hair transplant to deal with hereditary hair loss, but when the baldness is in patches, a hair transplant wouldn’t be a suitable option.
Let’s start by looking at the more long-term solutions – medication and SMP.
Covering bald spots by regrowing hair
The primary medication you could use to help deal with bald spots is Finasteride, a treatment that acts as a DHT blocker. DHT is a hormone that is a subset of testosterone, and it can sometimes cling to hair follicles and cause them to shrink and ultimately wither.
Taking a DHT blocker can therefore help to reduce the effects of DHT on your hair, which could cause bald patches to regrow.
It’s not 100% effective though, and there are some side effects that, while they don’t affect everybody, can be pretty serious. Plus this isn’t a treatment – you don’t take it for a few weeks, wait for your hair to grow back, and then you’re cured.
You’re committing to taking the medication for life – which is another reason some people prefer to avoid it.
Filling in the gaps with SMP
An alternative ‘permanent’ solution is scalp micropigmentation, shortened to SMP.
This is a cover-up where you’re essentially having your scalp tattooed to give the appearance of hair. Obviously, this is not a solution if your hair is otherwise long – you can’t tattoo long hair onto someone.
But you can help to mask bald spots on the scalp using this technique, as long as you’re happy to shave your head.
I use ‘permanent’ in inverted commas because really it’s not ever-lasting, it’s considered semi-permanent. On average it’ll last between 4 and 6 years, although maybe longer in some cases.
Which is the best option?
So, is it a good idea to try Finasteride, scalp micropigmentation, or neither?
Firstly, I would always say that the fact you’re considering these options is good, even if they aren’t right for you.
Because the worst thing you can do is leave your hair with bald patches. Over time this is just going to erode your confidence, and it’s always better to take some form of action. You just need to decide which form of action is best for you.
While I would always advocate for the option of embracing your baldness, I also would never presume that it’s right for everyone. If your hair is really important to you, and you don’t like the idea of having to use products on a regular basis, then Finasteride or SMP could be the way to go.
Finasteride would be the better choice if you prefer to have longer hair, although you’ll need to bear in mind that it’ll take some time to work – sometimes between 3 and 6 months. It also doesn’t work for everyone.
SMP is more effective when you either sport a short hairstyle or a shaved head.
How to cover bald spots naturally
Understandably, a lot of people don’t want to commit to taking medication for the rest of their lives – especially with the risk of side effects. And SMP isn’t suitable for every hairstyle.
So there are many who want to know how to cover bald spots naturally, either because they don’t like the idea of unnatural options or they’re fearful of causing more damage to their head.
The options available here really depend on your definition of “natural”. For many people, that just means avoiding using anything chemical. In that sense, the use of hair extensions, wigs, or even accessories would fall into this category.
Others would argue all these solutions rely on ‘artificial’ items and so the only natural solution is to re-style your hair.
For the sake of covering all of the options, even if these options are technically unnatural, I’m going to cover wigs, hair extensions, and accessories here.
Wigs and hair extensions are of course ways of enhancing your hair by covering up bald patches. The only difference here is the extent of the cover-up.
Extensions can be woven into your existing hair, and they don’t have to be really long – they can be used to cover bald patches in any mid-length hairstyle without any issues.
Whereas a wig or other hairpiece is a larger item that would cover a wider area of the head, and would be better for anyone trying to cover multiple bald patches.
Good quality extensions and wigs aren’t super-obvious, although you will need to work carefully on finding an option close to your original hairstyle if you don’t want to raise suspicion with friends, family, and co-workers.
And despite what you might’ve seen on TV or in movies, they’re not so basic that a gust of wind is going to blow them right off your head. They can be held in place pretty securely!
But I would only recommend them to anyone who isn’t comfortable with the alternative options of shaving their head or opting for one of the more long-term treatment options.
Good quality hair systems are expensive, and they don’t have a huge lifespan. Extensions especially need to be redone every couple of months or so, and wigs need replacements every 4-6 months.
They also aren’t right for everyone – over time you may grow accustomed to them, but some people may never get over the anxiety of being ‘caught out’ wearing a wig or extensions.
I wanted to quickly cover accessories too because they might be a viable option for some people, even if it’s only in a minority of cases.
By accessories, I’m mainly talking about hats, although scarves and other items may also suit.
Accessories are the easiest option if they work for you – there’s no styling involved, they can last a very long time if properly cared for, and you just simply put them on and you’re ready to start your day.
However, they don’t work in every scenario – there may be times you’re asked to remove an accessory, either by your workplace or if you’re heading somewhere with a dress code.
And if you’ve just left your bald spots underneath your hat untreated then you may feel embarrassment at having to remove your hat.
If hats or other accessories are an option you’re considering, just make sure to choose loose-fitting ones.
Tight hats can restrict the blood flowing to your hair follicles and, in extreme cases, cause further damage. This leads to your bald spots becoming more frequent or more prominent.
Hairstyles to cover bald spots
For this guide, I’ve been reading up on some of the best hairstyles for men to cover bald spots and some of the advice out there is genuinely terrible.
I’ve seen tips such as “dye your hair orange” to more closely match skin (because we all have the same skin color…) or “wear glasses”. Glasses are not a hairstyle!
I’ve sifted through them though and here is the best advice:
If your hair is otherwise thick, and the bald spots are limited to the top of the crown, grow your hair longer and choose either a side-swept style or a slicked-back look. Which one you choose depends on the location of your bald spots and your preferred style.
Don’t use a ton of product to hold your hairstyle in place though, because that can clump hair together and cause the bald spot to shine through. The weight of the product can also damage hair and exacerbate your thinning.
If the bald spots are more on the back or up the sides of the head, go with a tight fade and a shorter hairstyle on top. You can mask the bald spots with the fade, leaning into them without going all the way into baldness.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t spike your hair. Spiked, upright hair will show off your bald spots more
- Don’t grow your hair long if it is thin and dry – it’ll look less healthy and you’ll again struggle to cover the bald spots with it, plus it’s more likely to be blown out of position when styled
- Don’t leave your hair and hope for the best – you need to do something to take control of the look.
Of course, the best hairstyle to cover up your bald spots is to completely shave your head. Then it becomes much less noticeable.
What is the best product to cover bald spots?
The best topical products to use to cover bald spots are keratin fibers. These can be applied to bald spots to help cover them – they stick to the scalp and existing hair, giving it a natural look of thickness so that bald spots become almost imperceptible.
Keratin fibers look real because they’re made from the same thing as human hair. They’re really easy to apply too – all you need to do is shake them onto your head, and they will fill in the bald spots for you.
XFusion Keratin Hair Fibers
- Blend undetectably with existing hair strands
- Instantly create the appearance of naturally thick, full hair
- Resist wind, rain, and perspiration
They’ll typically last until you wash your hair, although you can be more sure of it by using a fixing spray.
This is a good idea if you’re expecting rain since the spray creates a partially-waterproof layer to stop the fibers from running. Dedicated fixing sprays for keratin fibers aren’t super-abundant but any hair spray will work too.
L’Oréal Paris Weather Control Hairspray
- Up to 48-Hour Hold
- Extra Strong Hold Hairspray
- Humidity Resistant
A lot of people recommend using fibers on forums, Reddit, and the like, but the only thing to bear in mind is that it’s another long-term commitment, since you’ll need to buy the fibers for as long as you want to cover the bald patches.
How to cover women’s bald spots
Many of the ways you can cover men’s bald spots also apply to women. Finasteride isn’t likely to be effective in treating alopecia in women, but topical products and the use of wigs or extensions are good options.
How to cover up bald spots from alopecia
Women can use a variety of methods to cover bald spots caused by alopecia, including changing their hairstyle, using keratin fibers, dying their hair to cover thinning roots, or adding hair extensions.
Changing hairstyle is one of the easiest solutions. For women, there are a lot of hairstyles to cover bald spots that you could go for. For example, if the bald spots are around the side of the head then you could try a contemporary style with a shaved fade on the sides and a longer cut on top.
Of course, you can also shave your head – it may be less common in women but it’s a cool look.
How to cover bald spots with hair extensions
Hair extensions remain one of the most popular ways for women to handle bald spots. Extensions can last for a couple of months at a time, so it’s just the same as getting a regular haircut in terms of maintenance.
Extensions can be woven into the hair to give you a longer style, but you don’t need to completely transform your hair if you’re choosing extensions. You can often get a color and length that just replicates your existing cut, trimmed to style.
This will work best if done with professional help, so find a hairdresser you’re comfortable with, and they’ll be able to work their magic on covering up those bald spots.
Using braids to cover bald spots
One hairstyle that some women (and men) like to use to cover bald spots is braids, but this comes with a warning.
Braids can be an effective way of masking bald spots because by design they create more bald space on your head anyway, pulling the hair you do have into braids. You can’t tell that there are places where hair would be thinning.
But the problem with braids is that they are tough on hair, and they can cause bald spot problems to worsen over time, due to the pressure they add.
If you want to use braids, you just need to carefully monitor your hair to make sure the bald spots aren’t getting worse – otherwise, you will start to see the bald patches coming through.
Hair dye can be used as a temporary option to cover bald spots. Dying hair a different color can mask the effect of a bald spot, making it harder to see. However over time it won’t stop the problem, so a more permanent solution will be needed.
Hair extensions for men work in the same way as they do with women – an extension piece is woven into the existing hair, and can be used to cover bald spots. You just need to have hair long enough to hold the extension. Toupees are a form of hair extension.
You can cover bald spots on gray hair using a matching toupee, or you can use keratin fibers – they are available in all natural hair shades, including different gray colors. You could also try the more long-term options of moving onto Finasteride, or trying SMP.
Curly hair can help to cover bald spots, but only if your curls are suitably thick. In thinner hair, curls can make bald spots look worse, as the hair can offer less coverage. Dark, thick curls can effectively mask any bald patches but if your hair is lighter or thinner, you’ll want to look at alternative options.
There are a lot of different options for covering bald patches, and I don’t think any of them are perfect, so you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each.
Finasteride is a proper treatment, but it can have nasty side effects, while SMP works well for shorter hairstyles but won’t be for everyone.
Using wigs, extensions or topical options such as keratin can work well, but they need a lot of upkeep or can be expensive when you have to keep paying for them. Of those, I’d say keratin fibers are the best, definitely based on wider opinion online.
But the ultimate way to handle bald spots is to embrace them and shave it all off. Most people love their look once they’ve shaved their head, and they feel a huge relief for having got past the anxiety and taken back control. I’d always advocate for trying it once, to see what you think.
It’s not for everybody though, so if your hair is important to you, consider one of the options in this guide – whichever suits you.
But if you’re seeing signs of balding, you at least need to try one of them. If you’re not sure which way to go, download my free guide which will help you make a decision:
Which of these methods have you tried, or which would you try if you needed to? Let me know in the comments below.