If you’re thinking of shaving your head but you’re worried it will make you go bald, read on.
Maybe you’re thinking of trying the bald look because you think your hair is starting to thin a little. Or you’ve seen how awesome some bald celebrities look, and you want to get in on that action.
But will shaving your head cause you to go permanently bald faster? Or, will it actually make your hair grow back thicker and healthier?
In short – “no”, to both of those – but there are a few things you should know.
I shaved my head in my early 20s. It was a great head start (pun intended) for when I soon started to go bald. But one didn’t cause the other.
How do I know this? Read on to find out.
Does shaving your head make you go bald?
Here’s a quick summary to put your mind at ease:
- Shaving your head has no impact on your hair growth
- Shaving doesn’t damage follicles and won’t speed up existing hair loss
- Shaving doesn’t make your hair grow back thicker or healthier either
- All you’re doing is cutting the hair – the follicle will continue to produce hair at the same rate
Let’s dive in and debunk a few of these myths and misconceptions in more detail.
Does shaving your head damage hair follicles?
Shaving your head does not damage the follicles at all. The follicles are below the surface of the skin, so a razor or shaver will never touch them. Any pulling on the hair from a blunt shaver will only pull the hair out, but it won’t pull out the follicle.
It’s understandable to be a little concerned – razors and shavers are sharp tools. But they can’t do anything to your hair follicles – they’re tucked away safely a few millimeters underneath the epidermis – the top-most layer of your skin.
And even if the razor is blunt, you can’t damage a follicle by shaving. There might be times when you’ve plucked a hair before and seen some white matter around the base. That’s not the follicle – it’s the bulb, which will regrow inside the follicle as you produce more hair.
So a blunt shaver or razor isn’t going to pull the hair follicles out of your head either. You might pull up a few hairs by the bulb, but they will regrow.
What does damage hair follicles?
You can damage hair follicles by pulling at hairs. That’s a longer-term issue, caused by wearing your hair in tighter styles such as a ponytail or bun that put a continued strain on the hair – this is called traction alopecia.
Follicles are also damaged by the chemicals in some hair products such as dye or bleach, and by excessive amounts of heat.
Shaving your head isn’t going to cause problems but continuously coloring your hair, putting it in a tight style, or exposing it to frequent heat could damage the follicles.
Does shaving your head make you go bald faster?
Shaving your head doesn’t make you go bald faster. Shaving causes no damage to hair follicles and doesn’t impede the rate that your hair grows. Any hair that you already had will grow back at the same speed it was already growing.
Shaving your head is a great solution to balding – it’s much faster to shave your head than to let it eventually make you bald without intervention!
But will it speed up the hair loss process? No, it won’t.
Shaving your head has no impact on your follicles. They will keep working as they were before you shaved your head – so any that had already stopped working won’t be revived, and any that were working fine will keep working fine.
Your hairline will remain the same, and the only way it can appear that shaving your head is making you go bald faster is if you keep your head shaved. You won’t notice that the hairline has been receding further over time, because you’ve not been able to see it.
Does your hair grow thicker after shaving your head?
Shaving your head does not make your hair grow thicker. Despite a commonly-held belief that shaving can make hair grow through darker and thicker, it will grow exactly as it did before – although it may appear darker and thicker during early growing stages.
If it was true that shaving your head made your hair grow back thicker, don’t you think everyone would’ve tried it? There’d be no more worries about thinning hair, just shave it every six months and you can constantly enjoy a thick head of hair, right?
But no, that’s not how it works. Even though this is still a widely-held belief, you can’t make your hair grow back any thicker by shaving your head. If you could, I’d have the thickest head of hair in town.
To make your hair thicker, you would have to have hair follicles regenerate. And unfortunately, shaving’s not going to do that. It’s not like you can shave, and have the cuttings embed themselves in old follicles, taking root to start growing again.
So where does this idea come from?
Why do people believe that shaving can make your hair grow thicker?
It might be partly just an old wives’ tale, but more significantly it’s because hair appears to be thicker when you first shave it.
And that’s to do with the way hair appears after it’s cut. When left to grow out naturally, hair tapers to a thin point at the end. Shaved hair is more blunt, like a tree stump, so each hair appears thicker.
It’s also affected by the way sunlight changes the color of your hair. Over time, the Sun’s rays will cause your hair to lighten in color. And when you’ve had some length to your hair for a long time, this is the color you’re used to.
You’re not used to seeing your hair at the shade it first grows at, before it’s changed by the light. And because darker hair appears to blend in more, your hair looks like it isn’t just darker, but thicker too.
So if you’ve just shaved your head and you now think you’ve got thicker hair growing through, you’re going to be a little disappointed when it grows out more and is exposed to sunlight over time.
Is shaving your head bald good for your hair?
Shaving your head doesn’t have any impact on the health of your hair that is growing through. All you’re doing is shaving off the hair you already have, but the new hair growing through will be the same quality regardless.
Your hair is constantly growing, and falling out naturally, to be replaced by new hair. You don’t notice because you have so many hairs, so hair falling out doesn’t have an impact on your overall style, unless you’re starting to go through the stages of hair loss.
Either way, your hair that grows in will be a certain quality, and that doesn’t change whether it’s completely new hair after a shave, or it’s hair that’s part of an existing strand.
The only way that shaving your head would be good for your hair is if you’ve badly damaged the hair you already have, either with heat styling or with coloring, and you’re replacing it with completely fresh new hair.
However, if you have damaged your hair and you don’t shave your head, the hair that grows through will still be healthy – just attached to some unhealthy parts of the strand.
The only ways you can improve the quality of your hair are to:
- make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right balance of vitamins and nutrients
- lower your stress levels
- get better sleep
- treat any skin conditions you might be suffering with on your scalp
- stop dying your hair
- stop heat-styling your hair
- stop smoking (including weed)
- stop drinking alcohol
These are the kinds of issues that can impact how healthy your hair is. Shaving it makes no difference.
You can also stop taking any medication that might be affecting your hair. These include vitamin A supplements and acne medication among others, but I don’t recommend stopping taking meds just to have better hair!
How long does it take for hair to grow back after shaving your head bald?
When you shave your head completely bald, it’ll start to show signs of regrowth within the first two weeks. From there, the average growing time is a half inch every month, though this can vary depending on your personal genetic makeup.
It’s rare that your hair will grow significantly slower or faster than this though – expect it to be around that level of a half inch every few weeks if you want to see how quickly yours grows back.
For the average guy with a relatively trim style, that means you should get back to your typical length within a few months at most. If you have mid-length hair or longer then it can take a lot longer.
Bear in mind that your hair will regrow at the same rate across your entire head, so you may end up with that fuzzy look where all the hair is evenly short instead of faded.
Guys typically style their hair with a short back and sides, so your hair might look a little odd until it’s long enough for you to be able to cut those parts of your hair shorter.
If you’ve noticed you’re going bald, the best time to shave your head is immediately. This gives you a confidence boost since people are less likely to have noticed you’re going bald, but it’s a big step and you shouldn’t shave it until you’re ready.
Shaving your head has no impact on hair fall. All you’re doing when you shave your head is cutting the hair that is growing, and that hair will continue to grow until the follicle dies permanently. Shaving doesn’t encourage the follicle to close, nor does it weaken hair strands.
It’s a personal choice whether to shave your head if you have a receding hairline, but it’s often the easiest solution and is usually worth trying. A receding hairline doesn’t mean you’re going bald, your hair might just be settling into a mature hairline.
You can shave your head if your hair is thinning, but it won’t cause it to grow back thicker. Shaving your head would mean choosing to go bald. If you don’t like the look, let it grow back, but it’s sensible to see if it suits you.
Shaving your head won’t have any positive or negative impact on your hair quality or hairline. If you shave your head, then leave it alone, it’ll grow back exactly as it was.
So I would suggest that, if you’re concerned about going bald or your hair thinning, it’s worth trying. It’s better to give the bald style a try than potentially spending thousands on a transplant or risking the side effects of DHT blockers.
What have you got to lose, bar a handful of months with a style that you maybe aren’t keen on?
Of course, it’s not for everyone, and you might have some more concerns. Feel free to drop a comment if you have questions, or get my free guide to whether or not you should shave your head:
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