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Dealing with thinning hair and male pattern baldness

Carlton Boyce / 12 January 2017

70% of us are suffering, or will suffer, from thinning hair and male pattern baldness, and for many of us it’s a real problem.

A bald man attempts to brush his hair

If you’re confident enough to refer to your balding head as the solar panel for a sex machine, you can probably stop reading right here.

For everyone else, here are my five tips to help you live with it.

Don’t waste your money

While I would never dismiss any attempt to try and reverse the effects of male pattern baldness out of hand, it’s highly unlikely that anything is going to restore your locks to their former glory.

So please feel free to try rubbing in creams and lotions, sipping green tea and washing your hair in special (for which read ‘expensive’) shampoo. Even, if you must, try hair transplants. Just don’t pin all your hopes on them, eh? The evidence that any of them will work is uncertain at best. (After all, if anything did actually work, there’d be no need for any competing products, would there?)

Better, in my opinion, to play the cards you’ve got and accept your fate. You are not Samson and your hair is just one part of what makes you you; focusing on this one aspect of your appearance will almost certainly detract from everything else that makes you as fabulous as you are.

However, if you're really determined to turn back the clock...

Buy a hat

No, I’m not being facetious. Older men look great in a hat, so why not indulge your inner dandy and cover up when you’re outdoors? Whether it’s a Panama for a summer fete or a Homburg in the city, wearing a hat can be a very stylish look.

It can be a bit of a character-changer, too. Walter White’s transition from mild-mannered chemistry teacher to the fearsome Heisenberg in the award-winning show Breaking Bad was entirely due to two things: an attitude and a pork pie hat.

Just remember; a cap should always be tweed, not baseball.

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Grow some facial hair

With the current fashion for luxuriant beards and mustaches, you could take some of the attention away from your thinning hair by growing something wonderful on your face.

It isn’t hard and can even be fun. I haven’t moved towards a RAF-style waxed mustache yet, but it’s only a matter of time as the draw gets stronger by the year.

See Dick Strawbridge for inspiration.

Growing a beard to suit your face shape

Shave it off

Bruce Willis, Van Diesel and Jason Statham all took the decision to shave their hair off and they all look terrific. You doubt me? Just ask your wife…

If you want to follow their lead then you’ll need to remove the bulk of your hair with scissors or clippers initially. When you’re down to stubble you can finish the job off with lots of soapy lather and a couple of new razors.

Take your time and please do keep your head well-lubricated as you go; the lather will dry out so don’t be afraid to keep adding more or wetting your head.

The key to maintaining the look it is to shave regularly and carefully. Some men simply run a razor over their head every morning in the shower, which is an easy way to keep on top of regrowth.

A decent post-shave moisturiser will help prevent shaving rash and irritation.

Eight grooming tips to help you feel younger

Roll with it

You could just roll with it rather than shaving it all off. Sean Connery is staring 90 in the face and is still a sex symbol capable of drawing in women several decades younger. (I repeat: ask your wife…)

Of course, this isn’t because he’s bald but it is because his attitude towards his hair loss is to accept it and refuse to let it define him.

Possessing the sort of craggy good looks that made him the definitive James Bond helps, but we can all channel our Inner Connery if we just relax and roll with the hair that fate has given us.

And if you struggle to relax and go with the follicle flow, can I just point you in the direction of Donald Trump? Donald Trump or James Bond: the choice is yours…

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Visit our Style and Beauty section for guides to fashion, make-up and grooming.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.