Balding: The Signs + How To Prevent Baldness

By Rich Krafting


Hair loss and balding affect most men and can start at any age. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about balding, including how to prevent it, how to know if it’s happening to you, and how to make the most of it.

Whether you decide to fight balding with medication, naturally, or by shaving you head, remember that it’s okay to lose your hair. You’re the same guy. Don’t lose confidence. Now on to the FAQ.

1. How to prevent balding

Balding is genetic so there is no way to truly prevent hair loss. But you can slow down the process considerably with pharmaceutical and natural methods. The sooner you start, the more effective hair loss prevention will be.

Check out this article about thinning hair for more in depth information. Here’s the short of it:

how to prevent balding

A. Minoxidil This is the active ingredient in Rogaine. Minoxidil is an easy-to-use topical product that has excellent results for 2 out of 3 users. It is most effective in the earliest stages of hair loss and for men under 40. Keep in mind that any benefits will be lost if you stop using Minoxidil.

Minoxidil is applied to the scalp twice a day.

Kirkland 5% Minoxidil Topical Solution This is the cheapest way to try Minoxidil with a 6-month supply of the liquid.

Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam The name brand costs more but some guys find the foam easier to apply.

B. Finasteride Also known as Propecia, this is a prescription drug with a reported 85% success rate. With on-line options like Hims, Keeps, and Roman, it’s cheap and easy to try out this medication with complete privacy.

Minoxidil and Finasteride are even more effective when used together.

C. Ketoconazole Shampoo This is the easiest way to fight balding without any side effects. This anti-fungal shampoo has shown results in reducing hair loss. It can be used alone or in conjunction with Minoxidil and/or Finasteride.

Nizoral A-D contains 1% Ketoconazole and is available at many stores.

2. How to stop balding naturally

Stopping hair loss naturally looks a lot like a list of New Year’s resolutions for healthier living. Hair loss can be slowed or stopped hair loss with lifestyle improvements. Even if it doesn’t fix your hair, you’ll look and feel better anyway.

how to stop balding naturally

A. Eat The body prioritizes essentials like the brain, organs, and energy before anything else. Therefore, adequate nutrition is essential to support hair growth.

Biotin is a B-vitamin that helps the body convert food into energy and contributes to healthy hair, skin and nails. Biotin deficiency is rare but focus on protein-rich food sources like organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables.

B. Quit Smoking not only doesn’t look cool, it contributes to hair loss. If that doesn’t help you quit, check out Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Quit Smoking. (It worked for me!)

C. Relax Stress can also accelerate hair loss. We’re not telling you to quit your job but do look for ways to reduce and manage stress, whether that means a walk at lunch, meditation, or exercise.

3. What won’t stop balding

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what can cause hair loss. Here are a few baldness myths that are not true:

A. Wearing a Hat Whether it’s a baseball cap or fedora, wearing a hat does not increase hair loss or cause baldness. Even if you find a few strands when you remove the hat, everyone loses hair everyday. It’s important to protect both the scalp and hair from sun damage so wear that lid as much as you want.

B. Man Buns + Ponytails Traction alopecia, hair loss caused primarily by tension, is a real thing. However, hair needs to be pulled back very tightly for a long time. This tends to be an issue with ultra tight braids or weaves. Otherwise, tie hair back however you want, just not too tight.

Hair Products Sometimes people blame hair loss on a new shampoo or hair product. Not likely. It’s easier to think that balding is coming from an external source but nope, it’s genetics.

4. Am I balding?

Balding is diagnosed by the pattern of hair loss. Male pattern baldness begins at the temples or the crown of the head. Hair may recede into an M-shaped hairline aka the widow’s peak (like Will Arnett and Jude Law both looked before some impressive regrowth).

For others, a bald spot is the most apparent sign of hair loss. Hair will continue to thin around the perimeter and the top of the head. Hair loss may thin hair or continue until a ring of hair along the bottom of the scalp remains.

Other types of hair loss, like rapid hair loss or patches, most likely have other causes so talk to your doctor.

5. When do men start balding?

Male pattern baldness can begin as early as the teens or early twenties. It is most common in adults and becomes likely as the years go by.

6. Why am I balding?

Blame your parents. Male pattern baldness is genetic. And it’s not just your mother, baldness is inherited from both sides of the family.

Hair loss is a result of how sensitive hair follicles are to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that is produced by testosterone.

7. Are baby hairs a sign of balding?

Maybe but maybe not. Hair loss is caused by an interruption to the hair production cycle. Baby hairs could be a sign of new growth but they could also a be a sign of hair loss with the miniaturization of follicles causing finer and finer hair growth until balding occurs.

A. Hair Life Cycle

Anagen (Growth) Phase First, hair actively grows half an inch a month for three and eight years.

Catagen (Regression/Transition) Phase After each hair follicle completes the growth period, it takes a break. During the catagen phase hair follicles shrink and cut hair off from its blood supply. This phase lasts is two to three weeks long. Male pattern balding causes this phase to gets longer and permanently shrink the follicles, resulting in finer hair growth.

Telogen (Resting) Phase Now the fully grown hair rests for three to five months.

Exogen (Shedding) Phase Finally hair is pushed out of the follicle to make room for new growth. Shedding between 50 and 150 hairs a day is normal.

B. Hair Growth Phases + Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness affects the hair growth cycle by exagerating the catagen/resting phases. Hair follicles keep shrinking until they eventually can’t product new hair. Baby hairs could be brand new hairs or hair loss.

8. Does thin hair mean balding?

Again, maybe and maybe not. Most men experience hair loss but they don’t all go bald. If hair thinning starts younger or goes faster, baldness is probably in the future. If hair loss starts later in life and progresses more slowly, hair will be thinner but you won’t go bald.

Of course, starting to use Minoxidil, Finasteride, and/or ketoconazole shampoo can stop, slow, or reverse balding.

9. Does a widow’s peak mean I’m balding?

Yes. It’s called Male Pattern Baldness for a reason. Hair loss typically starts at the temples and hair line, creating that signature M-shaped hairline.

10. How to deal with balding

There two ways to go when balding. Accept it or fight it. Just remember that balding is not unattractive.

should i shave my head if im balding
Devin Pourit via Bald Cafe

As far as balding hairstyles, you can shave the head completely, buzz it, or rock as much hair as you have. All of those choices are completely fun (unless you’re bald with a ponytail, that’s where we draw the line).

Hair is only one part of your appearance and life. Many balding guys can grow full beards so that’s one option. Some men choose to compensate with great hats and that works too. Working to boost your confidence is another possibility. Or focus on fashion. No matter what, confidence is the most of important feature a man has.

11. How to cut your hair if you are balding

Just like popular men’s haircuts can work with your hair type and face shape, there are cuts that work for balding men. The key to all these cuts is keeping hair short at the sides. This hair is thicker and any length or width makes balding areas look even thinner in contrast.

best haircuts for balding men

Here are 4 of the top hair loss haircuts, in order from shortest to longest.

A. Buzz Cut

buzz cut for balding men with beard
Zuleyma Ramirez

A buzz cut with ultra short hair creates the smallest difference between bald spots and hair. It’s a little longer than completely shaved but hair still has presence.

If you do go this route, the exposed scalp needs some care. Use SPF or a hat when going out in the sun. After shaving, use a product like Bald Head Butter, created by this gentleman, or Dare to Be Bald Protective Scalp Treatment for moisturizing and an attractive sheen.

B. Forward Fringe

receding hairline haircuts for balding men
Edgar Davis V

Fringe hairstyles are on trend right now as well as flattering choices for balding men, especially during the initial receding hairline phase. The key is to keep the bangs textured for a natural look.

C. Crew Cut/Ivy League

comb over haircuts for balding men
Michael Rowe

The crew cut is a short men’s cut with slightly longer hair at the front. The Ivy League is a crew cut with a side part. Both are good haircuts for balding men that play down the effects of hair loss.

D. Quiff

How to cut your hair if you are balding
Cole Buerkle

This gentleman is in the initial phases of balding, with that signature M-shaped hairline. He’s working with what he has left by showcasing thick hair up in a short quiff. Hair at the back is cut very short, enhancing the appearance of fullness at the front.

E. Slicked Back Hair

how to style your hair if youre balding
Andrew S.

You don’t have to try and hide a balding hairline. While it may not be the square hairline of your youth, the shape of a balding hairline can be interesting and attractive. Instead of hiding it, own it with textured spikes or slicked back hair.

12. How to hide a balding hairline

To minimize a receding hairline, add some coverage with the hair you have. That can be with hair enhancing fiber products, textured fringe worn forward, or bangs styled to one side.

A. Hair Fibers

We’ve come a long way from spray on hair. It is still hair-in-a-can but it works. We’re talking about hair fibers.

Hair fiber products are made of keratin, the protein that makes up hair and gives it structure. Keratin naturally adheres to existing hair to build up thinning areas with a natural look. The brands basically vary in color and price so find the one that works best for you.

Hair fibers are easy to use. Style hair as usual and gently shake the product onto the desired area. Pat or comb in to set. A hair or finishing spray can be used for extra staying power.

Toppik Hair Building Fibers – This is the original hair fiber product. They promise that the powder will resist the elements including wind, rain and perspiration. Available in 9 shades, including white. Finish with Toppik Fiberhold Spray for stronger, longer hold and natural shine.

Hair by Boldify

Boldify Hair Fibers – A newer competitor, these fibers are also come in 9 shades but with twice the product for the price. They claim to be undetectable, even under bright stage lights and cameras and back it up with a guarantee. Boldify will provide a refund for any reason. For best results, finish with Boldify Thickening Spray.

B. French Crop

How to hide a balding hairline
Drew Nance

This modern version of a Caesar haircut is a trendy and flattering haircut for the first stages of balding hairlines. Hair has short fringe that can be worn forward to make the hairline appear lower. Layering creates a transition between thinner and thicker hair while textured styling makes hair look fuller.

C. Textured Fringe

How to hide a balding hairline haircut
Hair Co. for Men

This is the classic version of the trendy crop. Textured cut and styling conceal thinning hair and cover a receding hairline in a natural way.

D. Comb Over

How to hide a balding hairline hairstyle
Haar Zauber

This isn’t a full on cover-the-bald-spot comb over but a similar idea. Hair that grows fuller and longer is pulled across the forehead to cover a receding hairline. The key is a layered cut, not trying to fully disguise hair loss, and lightweight hair products.

13. How to style hair when balding

After choosing one of the previous haircuts for balding and receding hairlines, it is essential to choose products that work for thinning hair. The key is lightweight formulas that don’t weigh hair down. Here are some types of products that work for balding hair.

A. Styling Powder

Sprinkle in some styling powder in for texture, volume, and reworkable hold that weight hair down. This product is ideal for thinning hair and the best balding hairstyles including fringe, comb overs, and vertical styles. Be sure to work powder in thoroughly, especially for dark hair. On the plus side, it also absorbs oil.

Check out Slick Gorilla Hair Styling Powder or for a drugstore option Osis Dust It Mattifying Powder.

How to style hair when balding
Hill Ruiz

B. Styling Cream/Lotion

Lightweight styling creams and lotions also hold balding hair in place without adding shine or weight. This would be a better option than powder for hair that waves, curls, or goes frizzy. It’s as easy to apply as a gel but much better for hair. Use it for any of the best balding hairstyles.

balding hairline haircuts hairstyles
Salon Michael Domenic

Check out American Crew Texture Lotion or Baxter of California Grooming Cream

C. Fiber Pomade

If you prefer a pomade, look for low or medium hold formulas with no or low shine. Fibers are also ultra flexible and add fullness, just what balding men need. Fiber pomade also can add texture, if that’s the look you’re going for.

How to style hair when balding widows peak
Dan Sin

Check out Reuzel Fiber Pomade or Viking Fiber Cream.

14. How to tell if your crown is balding

The crown of the head, also known as the vertex, is one of those spots you can’t easily see. If you want to know what’s going on up there, take a photo in the mirror or ask a trusted person to give you a reality check. If scalp is visible through the hair, you’re balding.

15. Is balding inevitable?

More than 80% of men experience hair loss but that doesn’t you will go bald. First off, there is a difference between thinning hair and down-to-the-scalp balding. Second, early treatment with Minoxidil, Finasteride, and/or Ketoconazole shampoo can slow, stop, and sometime reverse balding.

Even if you do go bald, it’s going to be okay.

16. Is itchy scalp a sign of balding?

No, an itchy scalp does not mean you are balding. Hair loss takes places slowly over time without any feeling.

However, some conditions that cause an itchy scalp can cause hair loss so get it checked out. Common reasons for an itchy scalp are skin conditions or skin irritants like shampoo and pollution.

17. Is balding preventable?

Baldness is genetic and not entirely preventable. The good news is that hair loss can be slowed down.

18. Should I shave my head if balding?

We think you should enjoy your hair as long as possible. The later phases of balding do look better with shorter hair, but nothing says confidence like making the most of what you have while you have it.

With the 80s and 90s trends making a comeback, we’re waiting for the power donut to return as well.

19. What haircut to get when balding

At the first sign of hair loss, some guys pretend it’s not happening by shaving the head. Others choose to keep hair as long as possible. We’ve already talked about haircuts that minimize a receding hairline and baldness. The choice is yours.

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