7 Biggest Grooming Mistakes Balding Men Make

By Julia Savacool, Men's Journal

No matter how hard you resist, you'll always lose the fight against hair loss. Two thirds of men will experience significant hair thinning by age 35, according to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA). And by age 50, 85 percent of men have thinning hair or are bald. It’s no surprise, then, that hair loss treatments racked up a cool $3.5 billion last year in the U.S. from men seeking solutions for their awkward bald spots and expanding foreheads. Unfortunately the vast majority do not work, says the AHLA. Whether you accept the fate of your follicles or not, figuring out how to style your hair when there’s less of it takes finesse, and a lot of guys get it all wrong. Check out the seven most common mistakes men make — and see how you can do it right.

Overdosing on Product

Too much goo will weigh your hair down and make it look stringy — a style to avoid when you're thinning. “Use a product that will make your hair look fuller rather than separated,” says master barber Pedro Zermeno of Imperial Barber Products. “A cream, clay, or paste is best for this. Gel and pomade, however, will cause separation and draw more attention to your thinning hair.”

Try This: Imperial Barber’s FreeForm Cream, a lightweight, light-hold cream that creates fullness while working to strengthen the hair follicles. Use a dime-size dollop and work through damp hair.

Adding Length to Make Up for Volume

It sounds like a good idea at first: Longer strands can cover up those balding areas and no one will ever know, right? But just like your dad's old comb-over, everyone does know, and it looks… a little sad. “It’s a natural reaction,” says Gabe Marchionda, founder of Rocky Mountain Barber Company. “But because hair tends to thin on top of the head first, rather than all over, growing it longer on the sides and back only makes the disparity more apparent.”

Try This: A cropped style or buzz cut will help thinning areas blend in better. 

Shampooing Daily

The cleaner your hair is, the thinner it looks. Daily shampooing strips your hair of the natural oils and, yes, even dirt that helps add volume and texture to your appearance. For some men, overshampooing can also dry out the hair, giving you static cling instead of structure in your styling.

Try This: Shampoo every-other-day.

Misuse of the Blowdryer

For those who hit the gym at lunchtime, or like the volume a dryer gives to their style, proceed with caution. Holding a dryer too close to your roots will suck the moisture right out of the strands, giving them a wispy appearance.

Try This: Hold the dryer at least eight inches from your scalp and select the warm, not hot, setting. Also, choose your styling aids wisely. “With thinning hair, it’s always best to blow dry using a round brush,” says Zermeno. Grab hair at the roots with the brush, then slowly rotate it as you run the dryer over the top. “This will help to add volume and create more fullness.”

The Semi-Beard

When it comes to balding men and beards, go big or go home and shave. That in-between ground, where you’ve got stringy hair on your head and straggly stuff coming off your face doesn’t work. You will not fool anyone into overlooking your balding with a splash of facial hair.

Try This: Start with a full head shave and grow out a full (but groomed) beard. “Shaved heads look great with both scruff and a lumberjack-style beard,” says Zermeno. Beards are definitely statement pieces. But if you’re not sure which statement you want to make, ask your barber what he thinks works best for you.

Parting in the Middle

Because men lose their hair on top first, a center-part only succeeds at making thinning hair look thinner. On the other hand, “trying to force a side part with a cowlick will never work, regardless of how thick or thin your hair is,” says Marchionda. “A lot has to do with the natural way your hair falls, which is different for everyone.”

Try This: One look that anyone can use (to a point) to hide a receding hairline: Cut it short, about a half-inch in length. Then starting just behind the crown of your head, gently coax the hair forward with a fine/medium-tooth comb. Use the wider teeth first to create a general directional flow for your hair, then the finer teeth to grab any wispy ends that want to wander from the pack. Try Rocky Mountain Barber Fine and Medium Tooth Pocket Comb with Carrying Case.

“If you’re able to comb your hair forward to cover your receding hairline, go for it!” says Marchionda. “But things get a bit tricky if the hair is too thin to fully cover it. In that case, I recommend the short buzz (think Jason Statham).” 

Tupees, Transplants, and Supplements

Products like Propecia can slow hair loss, and today’s transplant results show promise — though they're not permanent and cost thousands per visit. But really, what you want to ask yourself is: why? What is so wrong with embracing your impending baldness and just buying into the whole look? “Starting in the late 1990s it became widely accepted that having a shaved head made a man look good,” says Zermeno. “This still stands true today. Shaving your thinning hair will give you a sense of freedom.”

Try This: Shave your head as often as you shave your face, since the hairs grow at roughly the same rate. For most that's every one to three days. Although if you're cool with a little head stubble, once a week will suffice. We like rotary blades, which provide a slightly closer crop and requiring fewer passes over your head. Philips Norelco Saver 4100 is a solid mid-priced option with an integrated trimmer for wet and dry shaving. Use it with your regular facial shaving cream.

See more at: Men's Journal

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Men's Magazine: 7 Biggest Grooming Mistakes Balding Men Make
7 Biggest Grooming Mistakes Balding Men Make
Styling your hair as it thins and recedes takes finesse. But with this expert advice, you'll always look your best.
Men's Magazine
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