Going Bald? Here’s When You Should Shave Your Head
If you’re losing your hair, there’s a moment when you can’t ignore it any longer. You have options—but not a lot of good ones. You could get plugs. You could be the first guy in history to make a comb-over work. But whenever we poll men, the answer is clear: It’s best to bite the bullet and shave your head.
Related: 7 Strategies For Thicker Hair
It’s easy in theory, but hard to take the next step. Here’s how to recognize the time has come, and get through the process, from a guy who’s done it and a barber who’s seen it all too many times.
Step one: cut through the denial
“I was in my mid-thirties,” says Brian Goldberg, now 48, an SVP at a FinTech company in New York. “I was losing a lot of hair. There wasn’t enough on top to really make a difference anymore.”
Goldberg remembers feeling angry. For other guys, the stages of hair grief start with denial. Even when you know it’s a problem, you can talk yourself out of it.
“If you’re thinning, then it’s time,” says Van Capizzano, founder of Tribe Barber in Boston. “But it’s hard. It’s like, if you asked your best friend, ‘Did I put on some weight?’ They’ll be like, ‘Nah.’ If you ask, ‘Is my hair thinning?’ and you hear that weak ‘Nah,’ then buzz your head.”
If you need an extra push, remind yourself that your overall look is at stake. “To save your head, you have to shave off all your hair,” Goldberg says.
Related: What To Do If You’re Going Bald
Step two: allow yourself a moment to reflect on your mortality
You have feelings about your hair. This is the time to acknowledge them and say goodbye. And it’s not just about never running your hands through it again.
“There’s this deeper thing,” says Goldberg. “You’re realising that time is a one-way journey. I had it happen to me in several ways—I had a knee injury and I used to be a triathlete. Time goes by and you don’t get a do-over.”
Let’s have a moment of silence. … Okay now let’s talk how-to.
Step three: make a plan that works for you
Clippers or cue-ball? Goldberg started off buzzing his own head, got annoyed with the tiny specks of hair all over the place, and switched to lathering up and shaving with a razor, which he says was “like painting a bowling ball.”
In the end, however, clippers won out. “The razor shave was really smooth, but I found every now and then I’d get an ingrown hair,” he says. “And it was almost too smooth, too shiny.”
Step four: consider a beard
While we’re talking about shaving, your new buzzed head is a great excuse to stop shaving your face. Beards and baldness go together. Somehow, the counterpoint of the beard makes a shaved head more intentional. It adds virility and contrast.
“It’s a nice offset,” says Goldberg, who grew a beard about three years back. “Someone who’s completely clean shaven, face and head, it’s too smooth. It looks like your head is part of an airplane nose cone—too aerodynamic.”
Step five: take the plunge
Once you’ve adjusted to the idea—and you have a nice growth of beard stubble going—it’s time to jump in head first. If you can’t bring yourself to turn on the clippers, then put your butt in the barber’s chair and let him drive.
When guys come to Capizzano, he’s ready to usher them into buzzdom—even though he knows they might not like it right away.
“You’re going to hate me today, hate me tomorrow, then you’ll love me for the rest of your life,” he says. “Because right now you think about it all the time—‘Is it thinning?’—but soon you’ll never have to think about it again.”