For many people, balding is a difficult part of life and aging to accept. This can lead to doubt and procrastination when it comes to the question of when to shave your head if going bald. While the answer will vary from person to person, knowing when to shave your head can be helped by understanding the factors that contribute to balding, the lifestyle changes that will result going bald, and the signs that shaving your head could benefit you.
Below, we've compiled the information that you need to decide whether or not shaving your head is right for you. Going fully bald is a major step to take for anyone, so don’t undervalue your comfort zone and readiness for change--use them in combination with the insights below to make the appropriate choice for you.
What Causes Baldness?
Wondering why you’re going bald in the first place? You’re not alone--it may seem like a roll of the dice to determine whether or not a person balds naturally. But, in truth, natural balding comes down to two main factors: genetics and hormones.
Understanding the factors that contribute to natural hair loss can help men and women come to terms with balding, eventually answering the question: When is it time to shave your head?
One of the main determinants of natural balding comes down to genetics on both the paternal and maternal sides, although it’s thought that the genes you inherit from your mother’s side play a larger role in hair loss. This is because the main gene that leads to baldness is found on the X chromosome, which contains the genes that you inherit from your mother. However, if either of your parents has experienced hair loss, then you have a greater likelihood of going bald than those with parents who didn’t go bald.
Male baldness is known to be greatly impacted by dihydrotestosterone, a male hormone (an androgen, more specifically). Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, contributes to men’s masculine traits and often, over time, causes the shrinking of hair follicles. DHT is a powerful hormone and is a main contributor to male hair loss. In fact, more than 50% of men in the United States will likely have DHT-related hair loss by the age of 50.
There are other potential causes for baldness beyond genetics and hormones. Extreme stress, radiation, certain medications, and even tight hairstyles like cornrows can lead to hair loss. While genetics and hormones are two factors in hair loss that you can’t control, you can practice stress-management techniques and stay away from overly tight hairstyles. Additionally, taking great care of your hair by using natural products and brushing or combing gently can slow the balding process over time.
Knowing When to Shave Your Head if Going Bald
Knowing when the time is right to shave your head is a difficult step in many men’s lives. Whether you’re struggling with the idea of being bald, are in denial about your hair loss, or simply don’t feel ready for a drastic change, taking the leap to complete baldness is undeniably difficult.
Ask yourself the following questions to start determining whether or not the time is right to shave your head:
Is the hair on the top of your head noticeably thinner than it was is previous years, and is it becoming progressively more so?
Are you struggling to cover up a bald spot with your remaining hair?
Are hair growth gels and shampoos not producing the results you’re hoping for?
Is your bald spot a source of insecurity and stress?
Have you been opting for shorter and shorter haircuts in recent years?
Answering “yes” to these questions may mean that you should consider how shaving your head could benefit your life. It goes without saying that shaving your head is an entirely personal decision and you should only do so when you’re ready. But, if shaving your head could improve certain facets of your life, such as your grooming routine, self-image, and age-related stress, then it’s a step to seriously consider taking.
One positive aspect of committing to a fully bald look is that it gives you complete relief from your bald spot or receding hairline. If you’ve been obsessing and constantly checking in on your progressive hair loss, shaving your head will enable you to let it go completely. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but the shaved head look can be a viable option for balding men.
If you’re on the fence about shaving your head, don’t rush into the decision. Take a few weeks to consider how it would impact your life and whether or not it’s the right move for you. If shaving your head isn’t the option you choose now, you can always revisit it in a few months, or even in a few years, depending on the speed of your balding progression.
How Long Before I Lose All of My Hair Naturally?
At the first signs of hair loss, you may start to wonder how much time you have before going completely bald. The answer to this question may also alter whether or not to shave your head now or wait until the hair falls out naturally.
Unfortunately, different people bald at different rates, so there’s no set answer to go by. That being said, the generally accepted range for the amount of time it takes to bald is five to 25 years. That’s a wide range, and there’s no way to predict how your hair loss experience will pan out.
Hair loss typically doesn’t happen all of a sudden. Instead, the hair falls out and grows back, but the new hair comes back thinner every time. When a bald patch becomes visible and your hairline has crept back at a noticeable rate, perhaps to meet the bald patch, you’re entering the later stages of natural hair loss. At this point, it’s common to start seriously consider shaving your head.
Stress and Hair Loss
Hair loss is a source of anxiety for many individuals and can take a major toll on self-confidence, especially in its early stages. It’s a double-edged sword: stress and anxiety can cause hair loss, but hair loss can also cause stress and anxiety. While it may be difficult to do so, shaving your head may be the invigorating change that you need to feel good about your appearance once more.
The shaved head look presents endless possibilities; absolutely anyone can look great bald! Plus, the simple act of shaving your head can be confidence-boosting in and of itself--take pride in letting go of the old and going forward with a bold, fresh perspective.
Did you know that, according to recent studies, bald men are seen as taller, stronger, more dominant, and more masculine than men with a full head of hair? It’s true, and it’s just another reason why many men experiencing hair loss decide to shave their heads.
When you’ve reached the point of feeling overwhelmed by hair loss-related stress but aren’t yet ready to shave your head, consider talking to your doctor. There are certain prescriptions that are known to spur successful hair regrowth in men, such as finasteride, which works by cutting down on DHT levels in your scalp. While not ideal, a safe and doctor-prescribed medication may help you manage hair-loss related stress on a day-to-day scale.
Should I Shave My Head If I Have a Receding Hairline?
Men with receding hairlines may start to wonder if the time has come to go all in with a shaved head. Some men are more hesitant to do so than others, however, so it’s important to consider the decision carefully.
A receding hairline is a natural component of aging for men, and even for some women (it’s true: women can rock a shaved head, too). Not only is it completely normal, but it’s also experienced by a large portion of the population.
Specifically, a receding hairline is the loss of hair at the top of the forehead and down around the ears. Over time, a receding hairline will begin to show more and more of your scalp and forehead, where hair used to be. Some men may only experience a receding hairline, while others will have both a receding hairline and a bald spot on top of their head.
A receding hairline is can be caused by the previously listed factors contributing to hair loss. Even frequently pulling your hair back into tight hairstyles over a long period of time can contribute to a receding hairline. The rate at which your hairline recedes can’t be predicted, but once you notice a receding hairline, you may help slow down the process by opting for loose hairstyles, practicing stress management techniques, and choosing gentle hair products.
Benefits of Shaving Your Head
When deciding whether or not to shave your head if you’re going bald, you may want to consider the benefits that you’ll gain by shaving your head. The main perks of having an entirely shaved head include:
Less care and maintenance
Hair care and maintenance can be time-consuming even if you’ve started to bald. Washing, conditioning, combing, and adding product to your hair all take up precious time, especially in the morning when you may already feel rushed. With a bald head, you’ll save time on hair maintenance, opening up your schedule for the things that are important to you. Plus, without hair getting in the way, you’ll be able to more easily treat scalp issues like dandruff.
Reduced stress levels
The process of balding causes many aging men stress. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. By shaving your head, you’ll be able to let go of the panic you may feel every time you notice more hair loss. Plus, by making a conscious choice to go fully bald, you’ll feel more in control of your life and your appearance.
A fresh, distinguished look
We’ve established that bald men are typically perceived as stronger and more dominant than men with hair. But, in addition to this benefit, the simple act of shaving your head can be both refreshing and liberating. It could be the change that you need to become a more confident version of yourself.
How to Plan for a Shaved Head
Before taking the plunge and shaving your head, you should plan for the changes it will make to your lifestyle. Altering your grooming routine, considering facial hair, and even checking out the many style choices to complement a bald head will help to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Grooming and Skin Care
Being fully bald will require different grooming and skincare considerations than those with a full head of hair. To start, you may be wondering whether or not you'll need to continue using shampoo. The answer is yes: hair or no hair, shampoo is a critical component of scalp health and should never be skipped out on. Shampoo works to help the scalp manage excess oil, called sebum, that can clog pores. It also keeps the scalp hydrated, balanced, and smooth whether there’s hair on your head or not.
One stand-out shampoo for bald scalps is the Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo. This shampoo is gentle on sensitive skin while providing a deep, refreshing clean. Its formula includes essential oil and plant-based botanicals without GMOs, synthetic fragrances, or harsh preservatives. This shampoo is an ideal solution for people who are new to having a shaved scalp and need a top-quality shampoo treatment.
Sunscreen is another critical component of any bald person’s routine. Without hair on your head, your scalp is entirely exposed to the sun’s harmful rays anytime you step outside. So, before heading out the door, you need to be sure to slather on a generous layer of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Forgetting to apply sunscreen to your scalp before spending time outside could result in a red, flaky, and uncomfortably sunburned scalp.
You should consider the fact that you’ll need to keep up with shaving your head on a regular basis. The frequency at which you’ll need to shave your head depends entirely on how quickly your hair grows, so it may simply take time and observation to figure it out for yourself. As a benchmark, many bald men shave every two to three days.
Men with hair loss due to genetics, hormones, and other factors can often still grow facial hair. So, many bald men choose to grow and maintain facial hair in order to balance out the look of a bare scalp. Facial hair can fill out your face and add visual interest to what would otherwise be a blank slate.
Facial hair has many different forms and styles, from a full beard to short scruff to a mustache and more. You can experiment with various facial hair looks to determine which one looks the best on your face shape. To help you brainstorm, here are a handful of facial hair styles that look great on bald men:
Goatee with a rounded beard
Certain accessories are great for complimenting a bald head and may bolster your confidence during the early stages after shaving your head. In particular, scarves, sunglasses, and hats look especially dashing on bald men.
Scarves pull attention to your face and add visual interest, breaking up the long section of bare skin from your neck to the top of your head. Bald people especially can pull off large or “chunky” scarves, which is especially great during the cold winter months. The Warm Winter Infinity Scarf for men is one excellent example of a flattering accessory for a shaved head. It has a simple, classic design that comes in a wide assortment of colors to complement many pieces in your wardrobe.
Bald men can pull off a great pair of statement sunglasses with ease. Without a head of hair, bold sunglasses create a distinguished yet unique look. Try out a stellar pair of aviators, or perhaps the classic wayfarer design. Whatever your choice, know that sunglasses will enhance your look as a bald man.
On days when you want to cover up your bald head, you can turn to any number of hat designs. From newsboy caps to fedoras and even the classic baseball cap, hats should be a component of every bald person’s wardrobe, both for comfort and versatility.
How do you know when to shave your head? When it comes down to it, the answer to that question is entirely up to you. Anyone's comfort level with having a fully shaved head is entirely individual; it's a major lifestyle change that shouldn't be rushed. But, also know that everyone can look fantastic with a shaved head, that balding is a natural process experienced by a large portion of the population, and that there is nothing to fear! There are many options available to you in order to manage balding and there is no right answer, only the one that’s right for you.