A gentleman’s guide to going bald gracefully
Think losing your locks means losing your looks? Think again. It's time to make the best out of a bald situation...
Over the years, we’ve all had tumultuous relationships with our hair. From those halcyon days of ruffled schoolboy styles to the prim and proper first-day-at-the-office cut, there will have been good times. And, from the moments when irreversible bed head threatened the success of a date, to the times when stubborn flyaways have seen us literally tear our hair out, there will have been bad.
But, despite all these ups and downs, you’ve probably always thought that you’d make it — survive the odd hair-raising argument and stay together, grey but happy, until the end. And then, one morning, after a particularly thorough combing, you’ll find yourself staring at the mirror. Under the cold hard bathroom light, the realisation will come: it’s over. Your hairs are in the sink and the chips are down: you’re going bald.
It’s a follicular fiasco! But, before you’re sent spiralling down through the five stages of hairy despairy grief — take stock of the situation. This isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s anything but. Going bald is a second chance, an opportunity to transition into a new style and period of your life with both gusto and grace. And here’s how…
First up, understand why you're going bald
Before you flip your wig — no wigs, ever — try to identify why you are balding. If your father before you, his father before him and his father before him all began to lose their hair around your current age, then the likelihood is that your fate is fait accompli. So why not ask your relatives how they dealt with the situation? If you share genes, you’ll have shared this challenge, and your follicularly-challenged forefathers may be hiding some marvellous tricks and tips they have refined over time. After all, Great Uncle Anthony didn’t loose his looks when he lost his locks, did he?
However, if you’re the first in your family to go prematurely bald, it may be time to take a look at your wider life. Hair loss can be attributed to anything from stress to particular hairstyles (the scalp-straining man-bun is especially bad for your follicles), so it may be time to — both literally and metaphorically — let your hair down to combat baldness.
Ask the inevitable: How can I slow the process down?
If you’ve taken out your man bun (you should anyway, they’re terrible) and de-stressed your day-to-day, you should have bought yourself a couple of years. But, if you find your hair is still falling out at the same rate, further steps can be taken to slow the process.
Thickening shampoos can help hide the appearance of thinning hair, and a cleansing conditioner can help unblock clogged follicles which may be impeding growth. German haircare brand Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo has patented skin activators and C1 to help stimulate hair growth (and has quickly seen itself as a cabinet keep-stay for many men).
Facial hair also proves a surprisingly effective tool to distract from your looming hair loss. So be it a statement ‘stache or a big bushy beard, grow hair elsewhere and eyes will be drawn away from your receding crown.
Aesop Volumising Shampoo
Patricks Daily Thickening Shampoo
Pankhurst Thickening Shampoo
If you must, find a way to hide your baldness
Certain hairstyles will do wonders for your thinning thatch. Fluffy layering is a sure-fire way to keep your hair looking luscious, and the buzz cut is a smooth and simple way to embrace your baldness without giving up hair completely. Of course, reaching for the razor is always an option, but — regardless of what many men think — it’s not always the best idea to go full-dome as soon as your hair starts dropping. Who knows what shape head might be under there? We don’t all look like Jason Statham.
But as strongly as we’d advise against removing everything from your head, we’d also suggest you don’t add anything either. Becoming the man who wears a hat at all times will do nothing to save your image — even if it’s a particularly natty flat cap. And did someone say toupée? Because if they did, they need to take a long hard look at themselves.
The comb-over, another common mistake, will only work for you if you’ve been rocking it your entire life — meaning no-one will suspect that only now is it hiding a shiny, bald scalp. But, to pull this deception off successfully would take some enviable forward planning and top-notch daily styling.
Instead, the best way to go bald gracefully is to, at first, ignore that it’s even happening. After a little while you can begin altering or tailoring your haircut to make the best of a bald situation. And finally, when you start losing so much hair that you can’t bear it any longer, then it’s time to whip off any remaining wisps and learn to love whatever head shape has been lurking below your hairline all these years.
When you think about it, the benefits that come with being bald are numerous. You may feel like your scalp has betrayed you, but while others are spending money on expensive hair products or avoiding fedoras for fear of hat hair, you can hold your shiny head high. For you’re statistically going to look ten years younger and ten times tougher than other men, and fretful thoughts of bed hair, dandruff or going grey will never pass through your hairless head again. Result.
Lucky enough to still have hair up there? Here’s how to find the best cut or style for your face shape…
Join the Gentleman’s Journal Clubhouse here.