Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 1/19/2021
Dealing with thinning hair or a receding hairline can be frustrating. As your hairline moves back and the hair on top of your head becomes less dense, certain hairstyles just don’t look quite as good as they used to when you had thick hair.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage your hairstyle as your hair starts to recede and thin.
From hairstyles for balding men to haircuts for thin hair and even hair products that add thickness and cover-up patches of thinning hair, you have a variety of options at your disposal to reduce the aesthetic effects of hair loss and keep your hair looking good.
Below, we’ve listed our top tips and recommendations of hair styles for balding men, so that as your hair thins and recedes, you can still look and feel your best. We’ve also listed a few simple prevention tips to help you stop your hair loss and avoid going from balding to bald.
If you’re dealing with hair loss, it’s important to know that not all hairstyles are equal. Haircuts for thin hair may not be ideal haircuts for balding men and vice versa. Some cuts can emphasize your thin or bald patches and make your hair loss obvious, while others make it less visually obvious that you’re losing hair.
Before we get into our recommended haircuts for thin hair, let’s cover the one rule of styling your hair for hair loss: never resort to a comb-over.
Sure, it “hides” your baldness — at least, in the sense that it covers up visible patches of thinning hair or bald spots. However, comb overs are an obvious choice for men going bald and very easy to spot, and usually end up bringing more attention to your thinning hair than a normal haircut would.
With this warning out of the way, let’s look at some of the best hairstyles for men with thin hair or a receding hairline.
Whether you currently have a short haircut, medium length hair, curly hair, or fine hair, there’s a trendy, low maintenance and simple haircut for you. The next time you visit your stylist or barbershop, you can speak with confidence about the best hairstyles for your thinning or receding hair.
Remember: hair styles for balding men can still look great. The hardest part is finding a hair style that works for you.
Easy to style and even easier to manage, a buzz cut is a perfect option if you have thinner hair. Because your hair is short and your skin is visible, thin patches on your scalp don’t stand out as much as they would with a longer haircut.
A buzz cut is also a good way to deal with a receding hairline, since it makes the entire hairline less obvious by reducing the level of contrast between your forehead and your hair.
The military-style crew cut is one of the most ideal haircuts for balding men or for men trying to make a receding hairline less obvious. This is because it reduces the level of contrast between your temples and the sides of your head, with the shorter, thinner sides creating the illusion of a more even hairline.
If you prefer slightly longer hair on top, you can replace the military-style crew cut with a more classic high and tight haircut.
Not a fan of short hair? A classic mop top haircut is a good option for making thinning hair less obvious. Brush it forward or across your forehead and it can also hide a receding hairline with a less obvious look than a comb over.
One of the nice aspects of a mop top is you can adjust its length to match your tastes, from a classic Beatles-style haircut to something messier and easier to manage.
While a slick back haircut won’t hide your receding hairline, it’s a great way to own it while you make thinning hair on your crown less obvious. In fact, we’re sure we’re not alone when we say it’s one of the best haircuts for balding men.
A slick back haircut is exactly what it sounds like — short sides, with slicked back hair on the top of your head that covers your crown. If you don’t have thinning hair but want to make a receding hairline less obvious, you can also slick your hair across instead of backwards.
The pompadour is a flexible hairstyle that can help to hide thinning on your crown. Just like the slick back, this hairstyle won’t do much for a receding hairline, but is ideal for that pesky bald spot on the top of your head. You can have long, medium-length or short hair with the pompadour and you can pair it with an undercut or facial hair. The pompadour is also great for a variety of face shapes, though men with round faces may want to steer clear of this option.
The quiff is almost identical to the pompadour and the cut for a pompadour and quiff are the same. The difference lies in the styling: a quiff is first brushed forward then up into a wave hairstyle. The quiff is similarly good for hiding thinning or bald spots on the crown of the head (and similarly terrible at hiding a receding hairline).
Skin fades are becoming increasingly popular, and as it happens, they also work well for a receding hairline. Generally, a skin fade is how it sounds — the sides and back of the head are cropped down to either the skin or very short, while the hair on top can be left longer or styled accordingly. Some people incorporate a side part (a part from the temples to the crown on one side, with the top left longer and combed over), while others rock a faux hawk with it or even leave the top au naturel.
A faux hawk is similar to the notorious mohawk, minus the dramatic strip of spiky hair on an otherwise bald head. Instead, a faux hawk features a taper fade that is both less dramatic and better for men who are already facing thin hair. A faux hawk ultimately combines a gentle fade on the sides of the head with a gentle spiking of hair on top of the head, which can help to volumize thinning hair.
Sure, it’s the nuclear option, but it works. If you’ve got the confidence to pull off a shaved head and you like the way you look without hair, feel free to shave your head once you start to notice your hairline thinning. Just remember that shaving your head won’t prevent any further hair loss, meaning you might not have as much hair you remembered if you ever decide to grow it back out.
While styling products like mousse and hairspray won’t actually make your hair thicker, they can give the illusion of thicker hair by adding volume, letting you cover up thin patches and give your hair a more uniform, healthy look.
Our main rule when it comes to styling products is to avoid waxes and hair gels, such as pomade, which are notorious for making patches of thin hair look flatter, thinner and more obvious.
Instead, use a light mousse to style your hair. Unlike gel and wax, mousse adds volume to your hair and makes it look thicker, especially when you apply it properly by wetting your hair first and blow drying it after.
If you have large patches of thin hair, you can also use hair fiber products like Toppik® to cover them up and make them less obvious. These fibers are usually made using keratin protein and designed to bond to your hair temporarily for a thicker look.
When it comes to hair, it’s much easier to keep what you’ve got than it is to regain hair through a transplant or other surgical procedure. Because of this, the best way to manage your hairstyle if you’re balding is to preserve and protect the hair you still have.
By using finasteride, you can protect your existing hair by blocking DHT, the main hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. You can also use minoxidil to stimulate your blood flow to your hair follicles, which can help to thicken hair. In some cases, finasteride and minoxidil use is even linked to slight hair regrowth, although this isn’t a guarantee.
For better or worse, once your hair is gone, it’s usually gone for good. If you’ve noticed your hair starting to thin out, it’s better to start using finasteride, minoxidil and other hair loss treatment products sooner rather than later.
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