Hair loss is a sensitive issue for most men, but it’s incredibly common with 85% of men experiencing hair loss or hair thinning by the age of 50 years. Although age is a strong component, genetics can lead to some men balding in their 20s already. Losing hair often has a strong psychological impact on self-confidence. We tend to see our hair as a vital part of our self-image. One study found that 90% of balding women and men perceived themselves to be less attractive without their hair.
Yet, embracing a shaved head is one of the most freeing things men can do after going bald. According to a poll by Men’s Health magazine, 68% of men believe it’s best to shave a balding head. Just 16% thought that one should hang on to hair.
“I do believe that it takes a certain level of confidence for men to shave their heads,” Albert Mannes, a researcher at Duke University said about his paper on male dominance and shaven heads. “So, the causality is not that shaving makes men more confident, it is the reverse: for two men who are at similar levels of hair loss, the more confident one is more likely to shave his head than the less confident one.”
Now that you’re ready to chop off your locks, how do you get started? Pick a style. Just because you don’t have much hair doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of styles you can choose from. Check out a few Hollywood actors for inspiration - from Jason Statham to Bruce Willis to Vin Diesel; or maybe the classic mohawk floats your boat.
Shave that head
1. Trim it. Before you reach for the razor, cut your hair as short as possible. It’s best to trim it down little by little. If you’re opting for a specific style, make sure you follow an instructional video or visit a hairdresser.
2. Wash your hair. Before you start shaving, It’s a good idea to wash your hair because the hot water will make it easier to shave your head.
3. Oil that scalp. You could also use a scalp oil to shave your head. The oil ensures that the razor glides across your head more easily.
4. Gel it. If you prefer to use shaving gel or cream, slather it on for a smooth shave.
5. Shave it. Now it’s time to reach for the blade and start shaving. For best results, shave against the hair grain. Rinse the razor to avoid blocking the blade.
6. Wash it. When you’re done, jump in the shower to rinse off all the cut hair.
7. Aftershave. Apply an aftershave lotion to calm the skin. Make sure it’s alcohol-free as alcohol-containing or perfumed aftershaves could irritate your skin.
Skin cuts are common after you shave your scalp for the first time, but they’re easily remedied by using an alum block. If you enjoy your new polished look and want to keep it, shave every 1-3 days.
Tools to shave your head
There are plenty of options available to shave your head. You could opt for an electric or traditional razor. Electric razors are a great choice if you intend to maintain your new look because they’re quick and simple to use.
For the best pre-care, choose a good shaving oil. You could even apply the oil you usually apply to your beard. Whether you reach for shaving cream, gel or butter comes down to personal taste. You may want to try a few different products before finding one that you like.
The same is true for aftershave lotions, but make sure your product of choice does not contain alcohol because this could irritate your skin. If you cut yourself, just avoid applying any lotions.
The importance of suncare
Male baldness has been associated with an increased risk of certain types of skin cancer including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma; melanoma was less common in balding men. Wear sun protection (e.g. a hat) and apply adequate sunscreen to avoid skin damage from sun exposure. Make sure you cover your ears because they are often forgotten.
If you notice any moles that keep changing, moles that itch or bleed or change color, visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. Visibly changing moles could be signs of melanoma. Detected early, melanoma is treatable.
- Hagenaars, S. P., Hill, W. D., Harris, S. E., Ritchie, S. J., Davies, G., Liewald, D. C., … Marioni, R. E. (2017). Genetic prediction of male pattern baldness. PLoS genetics, 13(2), e1006594. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006594
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- Li, W. Q., Cho, E., Han, J., Weinstock, M. A., & Qureshi, A. A. (2016). Male pattern baldness and risk of incident skin cancer in a cohort of men. International journal of cancer, 139(12), 2671–2678. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.30395
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