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The Combover: A Brief History

Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld Combover The Belravia CentreChristian Bale’s portrayal of con artist Irving Rosenfeld in the movie ‘American Hustle’ has earned him many plaudits and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The 1970s-set film is full of glitz and glamour, sharp suits and big hair. All that is, apart from Rosenfeld himself who sports an unconvincing combover to disguise a case of baldness that has left him hairless on top.

This is not the first time Bale has gone bald for a role, but it is the first in which he has played a character trying to deal with hair loss in men across the world.

A historical hair style

In the 1970s and 1980s, combovers were a relatively common way for men trying to hide the signs of balding. By growing hair at the side of the head longer, it could then be combed over the top of the head to hide a receding hairline or a thinning crown. So although Bale’s hairstyle is historically accurate, it is also pretty poor at disguising baldness.

Other famous combover wearers include England footballer Bobby Charlton and former Labour party leader Neil Kinnock. Both men favoured the combover as a way to restore their confidence, if not the hair that has been lost.

Better ways to deal with baldness

Thirty years later and the combover is rarely seen. However male pattern balding remains extremely common: the condition is the leading cause of hair loss in men across the world.

As well as being regarded as deeply unfashionable, the combover has been replaced by far more effective hair loss treatments. There are now medically proven medications available which, when used as part of a personalised treatment plan, can promote natural hair regrowth.

Fortunately for Christian Bale, the hair loss depicted on screen appears to be nothing more than a clever makeup job. His own hair remains in remarkably good health. Yet at his age (40), approximately 40% of men will start noticing the signs of hair loss; a figure that increases in line with age. Thus there always remains the potential for Bale to develop male pattern baldness for real in the future.

The good news is that, with assistance from a hair loss expert, Bale will never have to resort to a combover to deal with any future hair loss condition.

The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

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