It creeps up on you quietly, like the monster in a bad horror movie. You find yourself in a room, surrounded by mirrors: the elegantly appointed bathroom of a luxury hotel, a small building lobby trying to appear larger than it is, or an empty elevator when you’ve stayed late at work. You catch your reflection. You give that handsome devil looking back at you a wink. Then you see it, literally creeping up from behind: your bald spot. You scream … if only on the inside.
Unless there’s something else going on with your health, more than likely it’s just genetics (go ahead and blame your mother for this one), and male pattern baldness (MPB).
“There’s a lot of emotion attached to hair loss,” says Pall Mall Barbers founder Richard Marshall, “Especially if a guy is still in the dating scene. They think they’ve started losing value. We get guys in the chair who are freaking out, and willing to try anything. There are a lot of products out there that can help with prevention — keeping hair on the head in the first place — but post-hair loss, we’re having a different conversation.”
“Men need to understand that, like fine wine, they just get better with age.”
Marshall points out that a lot of hair replacement companies play on men’s insecurities and ply them with expensive products. (For some discreet guidance without the hard sell, check out our guide to Best Hair Loss Products for Men.)
“Men need to understand that, like fine wine, they just get better with age,” says Marshall. “When I realized that my own hairline was receding, I decided to own it. It’s a part of me. Sometimes I let my bangs cover it up, but sometimes I slick it back with a texturized product. I engage with the aging process. Like the wrinkles around my eyes, it shows that I’ve got experience and that I’m comfortable with myself inside.”
Marshall suggests looking to others for inspiration, such as celebrities. “When women choose the sexiest male celebrities, it’s often guys like Bruce Willis.”
So of course now that we’re owning our aging process, let’s talk about how to handle those remaining unruly locks.
Marshall (who recently expanded his London-based chain of shops to New York City’s Rockefeller Center) points out that a lot depends on your hair’s length, type, and style. “It’s always best to get advice from a good barber or stylist.”
If you want to do a little homework before you head into the shop, check out Men’s Hairstyles Today. The site was started by two brothers who craved guidance in hair styling and care. It provides illustrated suggestions for styles based on your face’s shape…but given the intricacies of thinning hair, we suggest getting the best direction you can from the professionals.
The Best Haircuts for Balding Men
A somewhat messy “mop top” can keep viewers distracted and make hair look fuller.
Plow a part that heads straight back from that receding hairline for a clean-cut look that’s all business.
Mitchell’s slicked-back look can also work to hide thinning at the crown —just be sure you’re not executing the modern equivalent of your high school homeroom teacher’s comb-over.
A skilled barber can work a taper fade cut to your best advantage, leveraging the receding hairline as an anchor, assuming your bald spot isn’t too pronounced.
Embrace change and go for a full-on buzz cut or shaved head to keep up with the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
Products to Keep that Haircut Working With You
In the meantime, make the most of what you’ve got. Pair Bumble’s shampoo with its conditioner for hair that’s soft and silky, but not weighed down. Help your hair live its best day ever by keeping it clean and moisturized, and a little extra volume will help maintain that fuller, younger vibe.
Whilst in that consultation with your barber, ask for a few tips on styling and drying on your own, too. Be careful, because over-drying can lead to scalp damage, and we want to keep things up there as healthy as possible under the circumstances. We like this dryer because, well, it’s pretty straightforward and comes at a decent price. Heated air also activates Remington’s Pearl Ceramic Technology, transferring micro-conditioners to your hair during styling.
Stimulate your scalp and distribute oils from roots to ends with this sturdy boar bristle brush. Don’t get carried away! Be gentle and don’t brush so hard that hairs are pulled from their roots prematurely.
After drying hair, Marshall recommends rubbing a small amount of this matte styling product between the fingers and working it from root to tip for a strong, matte hold with added texture. ”Avoid using wet, water-based products like mousses and gels that make hair feel and look thinner.”
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