“A man can be short, dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him,” said Mae West, in one of her lesser known but equally un-PC bon mots. Which is good news for Robert Downey Junior, who is neither short, nor dumpy, but has appeared with a fully bald head recently. It’s for a role – I’m sure he’s committing several transgressions by identifying as bald when he in fact has a full head of hair, cancel him immediately. But you have to admit he carries it off well.
It’s been a good year for the thin on top; Stanley Tucci won an Emmy for his gastronomic-themed travel show Searching For Italy, where he looks immaculate in a series of spellbinding Italian backdrops. Then there’s Alan Shearer at the World Cup, shiny of head, likewise Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in latest DC movie Black Adam.
Men with nothing up top have come a long way, and last year there was hot debate over Prince William being named the world’s Sexiest Bald Man (Tucci, are you hearing this?). But, if things are looking a little sparse up there, it’s not simply a case of shaving it all off, says hair loss expert Spencer Stevenson of Spex Hair. “It’s a very difficult, arduous process for men to come to terms with. With losing your hair you’re losing a part of yourself, and your identity. So it’s glib to say that shaving it all off is easy for a guy,” says Stevenson, who runs The Bald Truth radio show to help men who are grappling with the issue. So how should the average man embrace his bald?
Be gradual about it
If you’re noticing thinning hair, don’t reach instinctively for the razor right away. See the approach taken by Prince William, for example, in keeping your hair cropped instead, shaving the back and sides in a close shave so as not to emphasise the contrast between thinner and fuller hair.
Do your research
“This is the most important thing I can stress; if you’re looking into treatments to tackle it it’s essential to educate yourself,” says Stevenson, because so much has been made about tackling baldness with hair treatments on celebrities like Wayne Rooney and James Nesbitt and social media algorithms spamming men with ‘quick solutions’. “The truth is there are no easy fixes and a man has to think really carefully about whether he wants to fight his baldness with a hair loss treatment.” Stevenson recommends looking to the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons for reputable institutions. “Don’t think that a quick flight to Turkey and a few weeks can fix it,” he warns.
Frame your face in other ways
Take a tip from the debonair Mr Tucci and think about other elements to your face that might frame it in the absence of hair. A bold pair of glasses, for example, because a stronger profile can carry off a thick-framed pair of spectacles (we’re not talking Elton John here, but neither do you want standard issue Harry Hill specs – somewhere in between is more harmonious). Similarly, note how Tucci’s become the master of the neck adornment too, whether a foulard tucked into a shirt collar or lightweight scarf at an evening event, he frames his face intelligently (and keeps warm too)
Remember the importance of SPF
Something many men forget, but it’s essential to creep ever northwards with your moisturiser if your hairline is receding; it’s the spot that’s going to be most exposed to sun damage and needs a moisturiser with SPF. And while it sounds like stating the obvious, a hat in warmer climes is an essential part of your everyday attire. Similarly, if you’re prone to shiny skin, that will extend across your bald spot so opt for a moisturiser that’s water-based rather than oil-based.
Don’t ditch the shampoo
There are still tiny follicles on the head, even on bald ones, so it’s important not to ditch the shampooing, otherwise you run the risk of flaking. Opt for shampoos that tackle dry hair to counteract this.