7 Things About Shaving Your Head (And When It’s Time)

should you shave your head

You’re stuck between a rock and a bald place. That hair on your head, once so full, is thinning in front of your very eyes. Your bathroom mirror doesn’t lie, and when you feel the top of your head, you feel skin.

Your hairline, meanwhile, is a tide rolling away from the beach, never to return.

At this point you have options. If your hair still has good vitals, you can let it ride for awhile.

Maybe you’ll opt for a hair loss treatment. Maybe you’ll try some trickery, like an old-fashioned combover (please don’t; suddenly combing your hair sideways is a tactic that’s, well, we all know someone who’s done it and done it badly).

Or, maybe you’ll shave your head. Not just shave it, mind you, but shave it clean. Lots of men do it and, truthfully, the results are positive. Pair your clean-shaven head with a great-looking beard and now you’ve got something.

But the big question is – when? When – or if – should I shave my head? Let’s start at the beginning.

1. I’m Losing My Hair, Should I Shave My Head?

Step one, don’t panic. Yes, hair loss is nature’s cruel joke on men, but you’re certainly not alone given that seven out of 10 men will experience some hair loss in their lives.

You can work with what you have for some time, but you very well could be heading to a point where shaving your head is the best option for everyone involved – you, your beard (remember, it’s about the overall look), and your significant other.

That said, let the Norwood Scale be your guide.

What is the Norwood Scale?

Officially known as the Norwood Hamilton Scale, it’s a way to measure the extent of male pattern baldness. It originated with Dr. James Hamilton in 1950s, and later updated by Dr. O’Tar Norwood.

It’s considered to be the gold standard when describing overall hair loss. It works something like this:

The higher the number, the bigger the issue

The Norwood Scale assigns a numerical rating to stages of baldness. For example, Norwood Hair Loss Type 2 describes a small amount of loss, and you may never face the decision of whether to shave your head or not.

If you’re at level 1, then – congratulations – that’s a nice head of hair there, my friend, and any hair loss you experience is more than likely just the natural aging process.

A Norwood 3 is small to moderate hair loss, and you can still look good with hair, but some parts of it definitely look better than others. It’s not a bad idea, at this point, to see a doctor determine if your hair loss is actually male pattern baldness.

But once you get beyond Norwood 3 … then it’s serious business. At level 5, even hair loss treatments become a bit pointless. Shaving your head may, and perhaps even should, loom in your future.

2. The 7 Pros of Shaving Your Head

pros of shaving your headIt’s not fun losing your hair. Nope. The ravages of it are there for all eyes to see, and depending on your ego; it can take a slow, steady toll on your psyche.

But here’s the deal: as men, we’re lucky to live in an era when being bald can be a good thing. A very good thing, at that. Think of some famous bald men – Bruce Willis, Patrick Stewart, Michael Jordan, Vin Diesel.

Society embraces their baldness. In fact, look at pictures of Bruce Willis with hair. Your reaction might be something like, “Wait. What? He looked like that?!”

The bottom line is that for many men the bald look is really the only way to go. It’s a look that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can make you look sexier, manlier, and even more powerful.

There are many positive reasons for shaving your head, although they don’t necessarily apply to one man as they might for another. The pros of it, however, are many and include:

1. Hides Male Pattern Baldness

More on male pattern baldness later, but suffice to say, it’s the biggest reason behind your hair loss. Shaving your head eliminates the need to over-compensate for your MPB – including the dreaded combover or hair loss treatments.

2. No More Primping

All that time you’ve spent in front of your bathroom mirror, trying to make the best of what you have left. Forget about it. Shaving your head eliminates one time-sucking part of your morning routine.

3. It Makes You Look Younger

A lot of men, especially older men, suddenly look younger once they’ve shaved their head. A head of hair that’s hanging on for dear life, on the other hand, can definitely make you look your age, and beyond.

4. Goodbye Bad Hair Days

We’ve all had our share of bad haircuts and days when our hair seems to have a practical-joking mind of its own. Shave your head and say sayonara to those types of nuisances.

5. It’s Comfortable

If you’re active or live in warmer climates, a clean dome is probably going to feel better than a full head of hair. Even if you don’t live in a warmer climate, it’s going to feel better in the summer. And if it’s cold, you can always rock a great-looking hat.

6. No More Washing & Styling

This ties into item #2 above – if you don’t have it, there’s no need to worry about its daily upkeep.

Shampooing, combing, brushing, and styling your hair has been a part of your daily existence since, well, forever. Washing and drying a shaved scalp, on the other hand, is exponentially easier.

You’ll probably be surprised at how much time you save once you’ve shaved your head.

7. You’ll Appear More Confident

There’s a certain amount of insecurity that comes with losing your hair. You may feel like your youthful manliness and virility are being challenged.

On the other hand, when you accept your hair loss for what it is without going into a dark place mentally for weeks or months, shaving your head can be very liberating. And it exudes confidence.

It demonstrates that you’re self-assured and embraced what nature gave you. It’s the same with facial hair – it’s to be worn with confidence.

3. How Do I Know If Shaving My Head Is Right For Me?

Chances are, you’ll like your look after you gone clean on top. But nature does like to mess with us, and you may have a head that’s a bit lumpier, or misshapen, than others.

Check with your barber and ask them what they think. They know the shape of your head and hopefully can give you some helpful guidance. Otherwise, you might just have to shave it down and see.

4. Pairing Your Shaved Head With Facial Hair

OK, let’s assume you’ve taken the plunge and shaved your head clean. It’s not a bad look at all, even a damn good look, and hopefully better than the rapidly-receding look that was causing you so much angst.

By itself, a bald head can be a bit on the bland side, however. So add some character and grow some facial hair, if you already haven’t.

Of course, there are many options when it comes to pairing facial hair with baldness: there’s the mustache, the goatee, the stubble, and the full beard.

You can’t go wrong with any of them, but it’s hard to argue that a full beard isn’t the perfect complement to a bald head.

It works with any face, any head, etc. You don’t even need to shave your head, to be honest. Even a receding hairline or Norwood Danger Zone hair pops with a beard as its partner in crime. Moreover, a great-looking beard will draw attention away from your balding head.

5. OK, I’m In. How Do I Shave My Head? (A simple, illustrated guide)

You basically have three options when it comes to shaving your head: by using a razor, using an electric shaver, or by using clippers.

Getting Ready

getting readyThe best time to shave your head is after a hot shower when your hair is softer. If it’s your first time, towel-dry your hair until it’s damp, and then use a pair of clippers to trim it down until it’s stubble. Your best bet is to use the No. 1 or 2 settings on your clippers.

Next, apply shave cream or shave oil to the area and let it set a few minutes to further soften hair follicles. A caution: menthol-based gels will dry out skin and close pores.

Gentlemen, Start Your Razors

start your razorsUse a clean, sharp razor with at least three blades – or better yet, the HeadBlade. Be sure to rinse it often during the process.

Begin by shaving with the grain of your hair, but be gentle and use slow, even strokes.

You may get a closer shave by going against the grain, but you also risk irritation and in-grown hairs. Save the thicker, coarser areas of your head for last so that your shave cream has additional time to soften it.

The back of your head is one of those areas, so tilt your head in a way so the skin back there is taut when it’s time to shave there.

If you miss some hairs on the back of your head by shaving with the grain, try shaving from side to side.

Now That You’re Done

now that you are doneWhen you’re finished shaving, splash cool water on your head to close the pores, then pat your head dry with a towel. Apply some aftershave balm – alcohol-free if you have sensitive skin – and moisturize your skin daily.

Using Clippers

using clippersUsing clippers instead of a razor has its advantages, including avoiding irritation and in-grown hairs altogether. It’s also faster (no need to prep with shave cream and gels), and it leaves a stubble that’s attractive in its own right.

A pair of balding clippers is made to order for this task because of the way the cut close to the scalp. It is worth noting that balding clippers can have much sharper blades than an ordinary pair of clippers, so don’t be an animal when it comes to shaving your head.

When you’re finished, run your hand all over your scalp to check for missed spots.

6. I’m Not Ready Yet. What about hair loss treatments?

The market is flooded with hair loss treatments, some of them a bit on the snake oil side, while many are legit. If you’re still in the early stages of hair loss, then hair loss treatments and hair loss prevention shampoos are worth considering.

But most experts suggest that the sooner you start treatments as you creep up the Norwood Scale, the more effective they’ll be.

Just keep in mind that there is no “cure” for hair loss. Let’s take a brief look at what are considered the best hair loss treatments available:

Finasteride

Most commonly known as Propecia, finasteride suppresses dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that shrinks hair follicles (more on DHT later). It can slow down and halt hair loss, and even grow some of your hair back.

Just a quick note: Propecia has the blazingly bad reputation of causing male organ issues such as erectile dysfunction, but they’re issues that have affected a very small percentage of men. If you are one of those affected by it, there are ways to alleviate adverse effects.

Minoxidil

minoxidilYou’ve heard of this one by its other name – Rogaine – and like Propecia, it’s an FDA-approved hair loss treatment.

Minoxidil started out as a drug used to treat high blood pressure, but one of its side effects was hair growth on the head and body. Hence, a hair loss treatment was born.

Minoxidil’s secret sauce is that it stimulates hair follicles to grow by widening blood vessels and allowing more oxygen, nutrients and blood to reach the follicles. Unlike finasteride, it doesn’t prevent DHT from shrinking hair follicles.

Nizoral

Nizoral is an antifungal shampoo that was originally marketed as an anti-dandruff, anti-fungal shampoo.

Over time, studies showed that Nizoral’s active ingredient, ketoconazole, can slow and even halt hair loss in men. It’s not considered to be as powerful as finasteride or minoxidil, however.


It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees no matter what hair loss treatment you select, and there can be side effects. Minoxidil is considered by some to be a temporary fix because it doesn’t deal directly with the hormonal aspect of hair loss.

We’ve already talked about finasteride, and it’s possible – albeit slim – chance of causing erectile dysfunction.

7. Why am I losing my hair in the first place?

hair shrinkingLet’s go back to the drawing board for a second. We’ve already touched on the idea that all men experience some sort of hair loss, and that hair loss can be measured (Norwood Scale).

But the actual “why” of hair loss isn’t a cut-and-dried answer that simply comes down to, “I’m getting old; therefore it’s falling out.”

Here’s a look at some of the factors that determine why your hair is receding at a faster rate than the next guy.

Male Pattern Baldness

All serious hair loss can typically be filed under the category known as male pattern baldness. MPB’s scientific name is androgenetic alopecia, and it’s serious business. The general consensus is that MPB comes down to the following factors:

Genes

Many doctors argue that MPB is all about genetics. In other words, if your father lost his hair, then there’s a good chance you will, too. The hair follicles on your scalp have a DNA blueprint from your parents.

Hormones

Men who have thinning hair inherit hair follicles that are over-sensitive to dihydrotestosterone. When testosterone is converted to DHT, it shrinks hair follicles. Hair then becomes thinner and finer until it stops growing altogether.

Age

As we get older, our hair growth slows down. Nothing too complicated here.

Conclusion

No matter why you’re losing your hair, and whatever treatment you select to slow or improve the process, your best bet may be just to shave your head. If your head has a nice shape, why wait?

Bald is beautiful. Bald is bold. Like a beard, your baldness may even change your life in ways you never expected.

How do you feel about shaving your head?

You might also like:

How to Stop Hair Loss in Men & Women Using These 15 Methods

Hair Transplant: Should You Get One? (Everything You Need to Know)

Why You Seriously Need a Beard with a Bald Head

How Long Does it Take to Go Bald? The Answer May Surprise You

Why Am I Going Bald? Here’s A Closer Look…

The Hair Tattoo a.k.a. Scalp Micropigmentation: Should You Do It?

Best Men’s Hair Products for Thin Hair That Work Great

12 Myths About Beards Most People Believe That Simply Aren’t True

28 Best Haircuts for Men with Thinning Hair That Still Look Great

Best Electric Razors You’ll Fall In Love Shaving With

How to Reduce Side Effects of Finasteride Using These 7 Methods

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About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

  • Domen: Hey bud!!! I’m going to shave my head completely bald- AGAIN. I’ve done so in the past. Does it matter if I shave it one or two times?! I hope you’ll reply soon, as I want to shave it completely bald tomorrow, or Sunday. I will anyways, even if I haven’t heard back from you by then. Thanks bud & please take care!!!

  • Well done with speaking the facts instead of just some off the wall opinions that will discourage anyone to follow through with the procedure.

  • If you’re going to shave your head then do it for yourself, not to impress others. Modern society is far too image conscious. Be happy with who and what you are and enjoy your life. We are all here for only a short time.

  • Please I’m 21, I was growing beard but I did not have patients so shaved it all. What can I do to make it grow again and even better

  • Some bitter dudes here don’t sweat it fellas and don’t beetch about women most if whom have body issues that go way beyond our bold heads.
    I just got rid of the ponytail that i sported for 27 years but with the receding hairline and a huge bold spot on the back it was too pathetic to even hold a hair tie. So away it is and I look 10 years younger than my 55 calendar years!

  • After battling hair loss for a long time i am 45 been light thinning since 25, i was put on testosterone at 37 by an incompetent sport doctor and lost a lot of hair, i also used fat burners for a part of my life to stay lean.

    I tried Propecia minox and was 6 months on avodart, i had the worst effect on libido and major fat gains. I tried the natural way saw palmetto pumpkin seed oil, peppermint oil etc, that did nothing.

    You don’t have to shave it bald i still have lots of hair i needed to give a break now its growing back a bit, i am looking into scalp pigmentation you can keep hair short but don’t have to go for the bald look also with SPM you can have the illusion of a full head of hair when its short.

    And yes shorter hair makes you look younger, hit the gym and tan and its amazing.

  • Men take this from a lady – If you are starting to Bald SHAVE YOUR HEAD – Bald men are sexy – embrace the baldness – Rock the baldness – Love the baldness – It’s super duper frikken hot

    • Thank you Cindy. That is what we were waiting to read. I’m 24 and experiencing hair loss. I’m shaving my head tomorrow to get a new look. Your message is inspiring.

    • Women in today world are very shallow, i am 45 and spoke to women my age and even older, lots of them want the impossible, a women hits the wall at 30 where they start to wrinkle gain weight, most of them have kids, and what struck me online, on those awful dating sites is that those well below average women want the prefect tall dark muscular men, i am tall, and been lifting for more then 25 years and have been turned down by single moms, landwhale and so on.

      Men live your life alone and learn to be mature men, learn to cook, take care of yourself, and don’t do anything to get women, its useless. I stop dating 2 years ago, i had been dating since i was 18 and got dumped for the last time at 41, in all that time i never had kids, but i lost 2 houses due to separation, dating is boring and women are boring too, men and women have nothing in common, and when she leaves worst if you have kids you are going to lose so much.
      Stay single and stay free, at some point in life lots of men stop dating because they realize women are not worth it at all.

      • Im with you YANNICK! They need to legalize prostitution in the US. Honestly being in a relationship all around just sucks. Most guys just want sex here and there and dont care where its from. If I could save the money living how I WANT outside of a relationship and just pay a couple girls here or there (trying to get through college) then by all means I WOULD!
        Women all claim to want a secure guys with “confidence” but given the the option they will always go for the guy with good hair. Ive seen it happen, had it happen and it wont change. Not to mention most of the women who claim they “love bald men” are not really top of the physical ladder. Its awesome that since losing my hair (something you CANT control) Im not relegated to overweight women only (something THEY CAN control). Why should I even continue to work out? Whats the point:?

    • I am 80 years old. Yesterday, 12 Sept 2018, I had my head shaved. When the female stylist finished and put a mirror in front of me I was VERY pleased at what I was looking at. I had nice hair but wanted to wake up my image so I decided to be bold. After being bold, the gals in the shop ask the old man for a date. Sorry, my calendar is now full. Guys and yes gals, if you are tired of being “normal” then go have your head shaved. You will be very happy with yourself. This morning when I got up and looked at the bathroom mirror, I felt 17 again.

  • Hello Domen sir…please help help me….I need urgent help…im 17 and im losing my hairs rapidly…should I shave my head to regrow my hairs healthier and thicker ..or I should use something else treatment…..my hair is thin thats why they r losing their grip…plz help me sir

  • Hi Domen,

    Thank you so much for your articles theyre brilliant. May I ask for the name of the model in the first picture with the shaver in hand please? He looks very familiar.

    Thank you

  • as a x barber let it go shave with clippers down to the wood ( bare blades ) comb overs are a massive no no . I’m bald fat and ugly hey my dog loves me though !

  • I’m fortunate that at 70, I can still take a short cut on top. Although it’s gradually thinning, I may just get away with it until such time as i don’t care ant more. if the worst were to happen however, I think I would rather have a nice short back and sides rather that going the full ‘peanut head’.

  • I don’t want to shave my head, even though I am Norwood 6 bald and have been for nearly 20 years. But I do keep the fringe quite short and neatly trimmed. My wife convinced me to just let nature take its course when I started to go bald in my early 50s. She said she was thrilled that I was going bald and confessed to me that she had secretly wished I would go bald. Believe it or not, she thinks male pattern baldness is sexy. Wow, lucky me! Guess what, I soon discovered that I absolutely loved going bald. And best of all, it happened very fast. In less than two years I went from Norwood 2 or 3 to Norwood 6. The side/back fringe is still a bit high, so I’m hoping I’ll bald all the way to Norwood 7. My wife loves to sneak up to me and kiss me on top of my bald head when I am watching TV news or sports. Needless to say, I don’t regret letting myself go bald and now I wish I had gone bald in my 20s or 30s. And I’m definitely not in the market for a ‘cure’ for male pattern baldness. It sounds crazy, but I really love being bald.

  • You never mentioned shaving while in the shower. It’s how I do it. Hot water and steam are all I need to shave my head, no shaving cream or oil. I start above one ear and quickly shave 3 inches vertically up and continue around the ears, Than I start at the sideburns, shaving vertically 6 inches up to the crown. I quickly move to the back of the head, like mowing a lawn. Than I repeat the other side of the head starting with the opposite ear, Next step is the lower back of the head to the mid neck. I change the direction and shave downward 5 inches around the neck from ear to ear. If I feel stubble anywhere I go against the grain for a sharp shave. I am consistently feeling for stubble and going against the grain til it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I finish in the front about 3 inches above the eyebrows, moving vertically up to the crown from ear to ear. Takes only 10 minutes. Ive never cut my head in 22 years. I use the Mach-3 blade.
    I also shave my face in the shower. But there i use shaving cream. Gets a closer shave. Takes the same 10 minutes. The hot water and steam effect you cant get from your sink. I recommend shower shaving.

  • “seven out of 10 men will experience some hair loss”

    I hate this stat. The word “some” really is what people ignore. The problem here is that only a much smaller percentage suffer from baldness that becomes a real problem. Most will get to NW 2 or 3 until old age. A small portion go full NW 6 or 7, or like me, suffer from a full upper diffuse. Ive had 2 FUE procedures to fix my hair. Its an awful feeling when you used to be really good looking and fit but now you are just bald. Its an even worse feeling when your little brother has a perfect NW1 hairline for life and you see how women treat you both differently. Never mind women, all of society treats you different. I shaved for a couple years before finally opting to have the hair repaired. It was horrible. The reaction from co workers was awful, my self esteem sucked. I dont have the face or body for it. I think if you are lean and tall then its a decent look (given a good head) but if you are short and muscly like me it just looks weird.

    Hair loss is just awful and growing a beard makes no different. What about those of us who cant even grow a decent beard? We can cure diseases and transplant face but still cant regrow hair? something seems off about this.

  • HELLO
    I´m 56 and had a very thick hair….Now, my hair line is reciding and top is quite thinner, but what I think, I feel more mature and more man today as my beard is silver, salt´n pepper and as I´m gay, I am proud to be daddy bear. Who cares if it´s hairloss. If somebody thinks I am nothing with bald/balding hair it´s their loss, not mine.
    I´m hairy all over anyway and that really matters, not my hair…I am hapy one day, when I´don´t need to shave…Let`s make life easy and enjoyable.

  • There’s shaven and shaven-look to consider here I think. Scalp Micropigmentation can cover a multitude of sins – bumpy heads, scars – and make it look like shaving is an option rather than a necessity. We work with a lot of guys on the beard/shaven combo – so much so that we’ve started calling it the Pioneer look.

  • Interesting post regarding hair loss and beards, I do notice many men with thick beards who are bald, but not them all, including myself. I have not shaved since Christmas Day 2015 although I did trim it down a little about 2 months ago. I have still got a good amount of hair on top for a now 70 year old (young at heart man). I would say that on that “Norwood Hamilton Scale” I am at the most hair loss type 1, only loss of head hair loss is the receding brows and a little at the middle of the top of my head, When I put my hands on my face I feel the thick beard up my sideburns linking with a reasonable amount of hair all over my head, very happy about that.

      • Including me, I have already lost 40-50% and I’m only 22. As long as it does not affect my relationship, I will always be happy with my beard

      • Dear All

        Good morning

        As I’m doing my PHD in college i have an final project which are including a survey. please could you fill the survey. thanks

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