Climate and religion have always been handy excuses for men to shave their heads without being accused of attempting to ‘pervert the course of nature’. These days however, it seems everyone is giving it a go.
Celebs including Eric Bana, American TV host Stephen Colbert and even Beyonce Knowles’ sister Solange are among the latest to adopt the hottest hair trend of 2009. But those with male pattern hair loss could be risking their chance to keep their hair follicles active if they too jump on the baldness bandwagon.
Unable to gauge hair loss
For guys like Chris Daughtry and Vin Diesel, their shaved heads are almost like their trademark. They decided long ago that that was going to be the way they dealt with hair loss and for some, it’s the most convenient and cost-effective option. However there is the risk in head shaving, in the case of men who are interested in preventing hair loss or growing back their own hair, that they won’t be able to gauge the extent of their hair loss. And as it progresses the hair follicles shrink, which means without the use of treatments they can actually become dormant and stop producing hair altogether.
Uncontrollable baldness might not be so crash hot when the head shaving trend is past. Then again, Michael Jordan started losing his hair in the 80s and he’s still one of the most famous baldies around. After he shaved his head to deal with hair loss, his style was copied by professional sportsmen and average Joes alike. But many of the modern-day head shavers have a more temporary or devil-may-care attitude to baldness.
Stephen Colbert shaved his head in honour of the troops in Iraq. Eric Bana shaved his for the part of Romulan villain Nero in Star Trek. And Halle Berry is set for an on-screen shave in the upcoming Nappliy Ever After. For 22-year-old singer Cassie, it was “the ‘I don’t give a f**k’ attitude that was always present, but never showcased”. And there’s no doubt that even Rihanna’s mohawk is a bit intimidating to say the least. But what happens after the bald phase is over?
“At the moment, it’s perfectly fine to shave your head. You don’t need hair,” says Adam Rapoport, style editor of GQ magazine. Note that all the celebs who are shaving their heads at the moment don’t actually have a problem with hair loss and could grow it back when they wish. For roughly 80% of men world-wide though, male pattern baldness will be on the cards and about a third will have notable hair loss by the time they’re 30.
According to statistics from Conair, 22 million men aged between 22 and 65 shave their heads regularly. These men may not realise if thinning hair is actually a problem, or the extent of their hair loss. But if it gets to the stage where the balding patch becomes smooth, they may never be able to grow their hair back. It might not bother some, but not everyone can pull of the bald look, even if it is in fashion.
“Don’t do it reflexively,” Rapoport says. “It’s not a democratic style. If you’re a pale dude, with a weak jaw line and a few extra pounds, you might not look as good as others.” Mumbai-based celebrity stylists Shivram K Bhandary and Pompy Hans agree there are strict rules about head shaving.
“This look goes best with people with an egg-shaped head or a round head. If your head is flat then you should avoid it completely because it can look disastrous,” says Bhandary. Hans adds: “If you are lean then the bald look is a big no-no. One should have broad shoulders and a good body structure to carry off this look with poise and confidence.”
Confidence then, perhaps, is the most important characteristic one can possess during the early stages of hair loss. Seeing your hair disappear can be scary at first but there are hair loss treatments that work for the majority of people who use them under the right conditions. On the other hand, whether it’s the trend or not, some people warm to the idea of the bald look. But you need to wear it with confidence so that, like a good suit, it never goes out of fashion.