Lots of guys face the same dilemma every day. Is it time? Should I shave my thinning hair, or can I keep hold of it a little while longer?
I’ve been there. In fact, I even shaved my head in my 20s and then tried to grow it back again, which didn’t go well.
This article will talk you through your options, including when is the right time to say goodbye to your hair and embrace the bald life.
Should I shave my head if my hair is thinning?
Here’s a quick summary of whether or not you should shave your head if you’ve noticed your hair getting thinner:
- There’s a difference between thinning and balding. Everyone’s hair thins at a certain age, but not everyone goes bald.
- If you find you are going bald, shaving your head can make you look younger, and it gives you a feeling of control over your look
- It’s only temporary – if you don’t like the shaved head look, your hair will at least grow back, and it won’t have changed
- There are other ways you can improve your look when bald, including working out, growing a beard, and getting a tan
- Some people might prefer to try medication for hair regrowth, or a hair transplant
There is no single right answer on whether or not you should shave your head. It’s a personal question and it comes down to whether you like the look or not. You might be really attached to your hair, and reluctant to give it up.
And that’s OK. You’re allowed to feel like that. But if you’re losing your hair, it’s important to take some kind of action rather than just letting it get worse, or trying to cover it up.
At least consider the option of shaving your head when you’re balding, because it might be the easiest, cheapest, and most satisfying solution. You might be surprised by how much you like the look.
Thinning vs balding
Thinning hair and balding are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same.
Thinning is a gradual reduction in the density or volume of your hair. The number of hair follicles producing hair on your scalp diminishes, and each follicle might also produce thinner hair.
This makes the hair look less dense and leads a lot of men to believe they’re on the journey to baldness.
However, thinning hair doesn’t necessarily lead to complete hair loss in the affected area. It can happen evenly across the scalp, or be more obvious in certain areas, like the crown or at the temples.
But often the hair remains intact, it’s just that you can see your scalp through your hair, especially when wet or under light.
Balding is more significant, often complete, hair loss from some or all areas of the scalp. The hair follicles shrink over time, and eventually stop producing hair completely.
Every guy will experience some thinning, but not everyone will go bald.
Pros and cons of shaving your head
When weighing up the reasons to shave your head, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. And there are plenty of both.
- You can take the focus away from the appearance of losing your hair, and usually improve your appearance if you’re balding
- You’ll save time and effort since you don’t need to style your hair every day or visit the barber
- You can take ownership of the situation – stop worrying about your thinning hair and be in control of your appearance again
- You’ll have improved scalp hygiene, and it’ll help with any medical conditions you have related to your scalp
Read about some of the other advantages with my guide to the 13 secret benefits of shaving your head.
- Maintaining a bald head can be time-consuming, especially if you want a close shave
- You’ll feel colder, especially during the winter months
- You might have to deal with shaving cuts and razor burn on your head (and you can only hide them with hats)
There are a few other minor cos too, which you can read about in my guide to 7 disadvantages of shaving your head.
Alternatives to shaving your head
If you’re balding but you really don’t like the idea of shaving your head, your alternative options include trying minoxidil treatments, getting a hair transplant, or considering Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP).
Which one is right for you depends on a number of factors.
- If you really want to keep your hair and you’ve only just started to lose it, then minoxidil is worth considering, although you need to make sure you’re aware of the potential side effects, and the fact that it’s a medication you’ll be buying for the rest of your life.
- If you love having a full head of hair but you’re balding significantly, medication may not be effective and you may have to look into a hair transplant.
- SMP treatment can be a long-lasting option if you don’t mind a close-shaved look but don’t want to be fully shaved.
To help you make up your mind, you can download my handy flowchart and work out which is the best alternative for you:
Does thinning hair look better shaved?
For most people, shaving your head will look better than having thinning hair.
If thinning is creeping towards balding, you’ll look younger. Nothing ages a man like holding onto the remains of what used to be a thick and luscious head of hair.
But while most people will look better with a shaved head, it’s not the same for everyone. It can depend on the shape and size of your head, and the rest of your facial features. I’ve written a guide on the best and worst head shapes for bald men which might help you decide how good you’d look bald.
The good news is, shaving your head isn’t permanent. If you try it, and you don’t like it, you can let your hair grow out again. It might take some time, but at least you can say you’ve tried it. Luckily, there are a few ways to see what you’d look like bald before you shave.
There are ways you can improve your look with a shaved head too. If you try it, and it doesn’t feel quite right, you can:
- Grow a beard, if you can. This helps to make your face look less plain and stops you from looking like an egg
- Get a tan, or at least make sure you’re getting plenty of sunshine (with the appropriate sunscreen) so that you don’t look ill or pasty
- Hit the gym, either to lose weight or just to bulk up a little bit, as skinny bald guys can sometimes look slightly ill
Thinning hair to shaved head – before and after
Here’s a look at some examples of how a thinning head looks compared to a shaved head, to help you picture how your own head might look if you brave the shave.
Everyone’s different, but these might provide some inspiration as to how good a shaved head can look compared to thinning hair.
When to shave your head if you’re going bald
There’s no set time to shave your head if you’re going bald – you need to do it when you’re ready. However, it’s always better to take action rather than just let baldness happen to you. Own it, before it starts to own you.
Remember that it’s just a style you’re trying out. You aren’t committing to a shaved head for life. But you are committing to the look for at least a couple of months until your hair has started to fully regrow.
So if you’re wondering when is it time to shave your head, try to do it when you know you have a couple of months where it doesn’t matter if your hair is growing back out, if you decide the look isn’t for you.
A lot of people drag out their hair loss. They don’t want to admit defeat, and desperately want to keep their hair, even though it is well on the way to baldness. You have to try to get past that mindset and realize that it’s not going to grow back magically. It’s only going to keep thinning and keep receding.
So, weigh up your options. Do you want to try medication, which can be costly but help you enjoy your hair for longer? Is it better to invest in a hair transplant? Or does now feel like the right time to embrace the bald look, and fast-track your head to a shaved style?
How to shave your head
If you decide to shave your head bald, start by using clippers to get rid of any real length in your hair. Don’t forget to dry your hair first, clean your clippers after use and sharpen them regularly to extend their lifespan.
You can then use an electric shaver if you don’t mind leaving a small length of hair, or you can wet shave with a razor.
You can make the shaving process easier by exfoliating your scalp, and shaving after a hot shower to open up the pores. Use a good quality shaving cream to provide more lubrication, so you don’t damage the skin while you shave.
My full guide on how to shave your head with a razor is packed with razor recommendations, tips on other products you might want to use, and guidance on technique.
Shaving your head has no impact on your hair growth, so if you decide you don’t like the look, your hair will grow back. It may take a few months, depending on how long your hair was before you shaved, but it’ll grow back in the same way that it was growing before shaving your head.
This is why, if you are balding, it’s a good idea to at least try the shaved head look. You might love it, and if you don’t, it’s only temporary.
When you regrow your hair after shaving it, it won’t grow back different. People sometimes believe it grows back thicker, but that’s just the initial hair growing in darker before the sun has had a chance to take some of the color out of the hair. Once properly grown out, it will look the same as it did prior to shaving.
There are some people who believe that shaving can cause your hair to come back through thicker, and so think that going bald temporarily can have a beneficial effect. That’s not true, unfortunately. Your hair won’t be different if you shave your head.
Shaving your head won’t make you go bald faster. Obviously, it will literally make you bald as you shave your head, but if you decide to regrow your hair, then it will grow back as it was before you shaved, and it won’t accelerate the balding process.
When you go bald, the hair follicles underneath the skin are dying. But when you’re shaving your head, all you’re doing is cutting off the hair that’s already grown. It doesn’t put undue pressure on the hair follicles so doesn’t cause them to die off. They’ll keep working just as they were.
Shaving your head has no direct benefits on your hair, but it can improve your overall head of hair if you’re removing hair that has been damaged. The act of shaving doesn’t have any direct benefits to the health of each strand of hair.
Shaving your head is a personal decision, but it’s better to shave it than to leave your hair thinning if you’re going bald. It’s a personal choice whether you try shaving it or you opt for minoxidil or a hair transplant. Shaving your head can feel empowering if you’ve been self-conscious about hair loss.
I’m someone who made the choice to shave my head, and I haven’t regretted it since. That doesn’t mean that I see it as the only solution to going bald, and I would never tell anyone that they should definitely shave their own head.
I would, however, always suggest considering it as an option, and weighing up the pros and cons. I’m really happy that I did.
If you’ve already shaved your head, I’d love to hear from you in the comments – whether you were happy or if you regretted the decision.
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