I’ll be candid with you:
No man ever wants to shave their head.
No man ever says, ‘great; I’m going bald, can’t wait to shave off my hair!’
The only reason why I can say this is because I am a bald man and have been for several years.
But you see, here’s the deal:
For several years (i.e., a lot more than I would care to admit), I put off shaving my head.
So check this out:
I noticed that I started developing that classic sign of male pattern baldness at 20; yes, before I could drink.
To put it lightly – it sucked.
I hated applying Rogaine, but I hated the fact that I was balding even more so.
It’s something I have only come to terms with recently, and I am now much more comfortable than ever before with the fact of being bald.
Sure, there might be a few cheap jokes thrown my way, but honestly, I am completely fine with it.
But it’s for this reason, and knowing that so many other men also struggle with the same issue, is why I wanted to write this article today.
It’s not about me.
But for you.
So, it begs the question, especially if you came here in the first place:
When is the right time to shave your head if you are going bald?
Here’s my unfiltered guidance:
Shaving Your Head Is Largely A Personal Decision – Do It When The Time Is Right
No one can force you to take a pair of clippers or a razor to your head. Therefore, the decision to shave your head completely bald rests squarely on your shoulders.
However, if you are standing on this proverbial cliff peering off into the distance of a world of baldness, don’t fret.
I am here to guide you, not push you.
To elaborate on my journey a bit more, I want to share this:
I didn’t shave my head immediately when I first started to go bald.
Instead, I visited the barbershop like every other man to get my hair cut.
But instead of getting a classic haircut, I asked for them to use just the clipper.
At first, I would have them shave it to only a size #4 setting.
While this was a drastic step for me at the time, it was still enough hair for me to still feel like, well, that I still had hair.
So, if you fast forward a few years and several dollars spent at the barbershop later, I found myself going shorter and shorter with the clippers.
First #3, then #2, and finally working down to a size #1.
Mind you; this took YEARS of progress, not months.
What I am trying to get across here is this:
I didn’t dive into the deep end, going from a longer hair length down to a completely bald look.
I would suspect that many other men likely follow the same path as I did.
It was a mixture of denial and acceptance towards the balding journey.
But I will tell you this:
Once I decided to take the plunge, it was unequivocally the best grooming decision I have ever made in my life.
Seriously, it was this massive weight that lifted off my shoulders.
I couldn’t believe how great I felt.
As a nerdy and somewhat overweight man, I felt like a badass once in my life.
Seriously, the feeling was incredible.
But, here’s the deal:
If you are reading this right now, not ready to take the plunge with the razor, that’s completely fine.
I wouldn’t expect that reading some random guy’s personal story on the internet to convince you.
This leads me to this very core point:
Shave your head when the time is right for you. Not because someone else told you or pressured you otherwise.
I will say that when you do finally take out the razor blade and lather up your head with shave cream that it will be nerve-wracking, and that’s completely normal!
But before you do take the first pass with the razor, you might want to read this:
Proactive In Your Approach – Grow Facial Hair Or Accessorize
More often than not, bald men have increased testosterone levels.
This means that they usually can grow body hair, including a beard, without any worries.
Beards are awesome.
But they are even better when matched with a shaved head.
Think folks like Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, and even Patrick Stewart.
They all look entirely awesome when pairing their shaven head looks with a bit of facial hair.
Now, I am not telling you that you need to grow out a long beard. I am just saying that even a medium or thick stubble will add balance and a more manly look to your overall style.
So, try letting your beard grow for a few days before you take the razor to your scalp.
But what if you are a bit light on beard growth?
Yes, some men draw the short straw when it comes to genetics.
Being bald and unable to grow facial hair can be incredibly frustrating. I have often heard men claim that this is their case and are afraid they will look like an egg once they shave.
Not all is lost; here’s why:
A great way to get over this issue is to try and accessorize.
If you wear glasses, try upgrading to a thicker rimmed pair. Cheap eyeglass vendors such as Warby Parker or Zenni Optical are great ways to upgrade for very little money.
Secondly, a winter hat or beanie is also a quick fix to balance out your look that will also look great.
Not Ready To Shave Your Head Yet? That’s Ok!
While there is no magic date or point in time when it’s best to shave your head when going bald, it is worth mentioning some alternatives at your disposal.
The active ingredient found in the popular over-the-counter hair loss solution, Rogaine, plenty of men have tried (myself included) or currently use this product regularly.
Minoxidil is an FDA Approved option for hair loss will deliver varying results.
Some men report complete regrowth of hair, while others have found minimal results. When applied twice daily, men may start to see regrowth in their hair around the 4-month mark.
If you do decide to go this route, save the receipts if you buy Rogaine. They offer a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisified.
Originally designed to treat enlarged prostate in men, one side effect of finasteride was increased hair growth for men experiencing male pattern baldness; talk about a happy accident.
Unlike minoxidil that may take around four months before you see results, finasteride takes six months before men see any positive results.
But here’s the kicker:
Unlike minoxidil that works in targeted areas, finasteride works for your entire scalp. This is because finasteride is a pill.
So not only will you usually see a reversal in the crown or widow’s peak, but you will also typically see a marked increase in overall volume.
Even if you shave your head and get a baby butt smooth surface, you will still be able to see the base of your hair follicles. This becomes especially pronounced after only a couple of days worth of growth.
This means that not only will you see your hair, but you will also see the areas where your hair isn’t growing.
Even after shaving their hair completely off, some men who are a bit self-conscious about their hairline may opt for micropigmentation.
Micropigmentation is a tattoo on your head.
This will give you the appearance that you have a full head of hair even if you shave regularly.
Micropigmentation is also good for men who may have any scars on their scalp and want it to appear that there is hair growth on the scar tissue.
Here’s the catch:
Should you ever decide to grow your hair, the micropigmentation remains.
Therefore, if you consider micropigmentation for your scalp, you will need to commit to shaving your head forever (which is understandably a big commitment for many men) and not one I would ever personally do.
Essential Tools To Consider Before Shaving Your Head
While we primarily spoke of using a razor blade to shave your head, it would be a disservice if we didn’t make mention of other popular tools that men often use to trim down their hair as well.
If you happen to have a pair of hair clippers on hand, you can use these to cut down the hair to only a few millimeters in length.
Now, if you want to get the hair close to your scalp, forget the plastic guards that come stocked with the clippers. Instead, you will want to go straight to the metal.
Often featuring a taper lever on the side of the clipper, you can fine-tune the length that you want your hair to be.
But check this out:
With standard consumer-based hair clippers, they will start to get a bit overheated if used for a long time. Therefore, you will want to try and practice efficiency when trimming your hair or build in some breaks during the process.
Secondly, if you have someone else who can help you out, the process will go a lot smoother and quicker.
Plus, they can make sure you don’t miss any embarrassing patches on the back of your head.
Barbers use balding clippers to create smooth fades and close results. You should consider balding clippers if you want this same close finish for your entire scalp.
Like hair clippers, it is recommended to have someone do the work of cutting your hair for you.
Going With A Razor? Adopt The Right Shave Routine From The Start
Now, if you are going full force with a razor, here are a few things tidbits I want to share that I learned along the way:
Cartridge razors work best when it comes to shaving your head.
Don’t go with a disposable or safety razor. Not only will these do a poor job at getting a close shave, but they will leave your scalp irritated.
Personally, my favorite razor is the Gillette Fusion ProGlide (this isn’t a paid endorsement).
While the five blades are nice, what makes this razor so great for shaving your head is flexible in the neck of the razor. It will conform to your scalp as you make the passes with the blade.
I found that this increases both comfort and speed when shaving.
Plus, the cartridge razor is shower-friendly. Consider a fogless mirror if you want a luxury shaving experience.
Good Shave Cream Is Essential
To cut right to it, your scalp has more surface area than your cheeks and neck. Therefore, it’s going to take substantially more shave cream to complete the job.
While many men (and once myself) use a shave gel, I would recommend going with something a bit higher quality. Not only will the razor blade work better, but it will also ensure that your scalp feels much more comfortable post-shave.
Even something as simple as a latherless shave cream can work wonders for your head compared to a canned cream.
Dry Skin While Bald Is A Real Issue
If you shave your head daily, you may start experiencing dry skin. Dry skin is a common issue among men who shave their head completely bald.
You have to remember when you shave your head; you are dragging a razor across the surface of your skin. When you do this, it puts a lot of stress on your skin.
Your skin needs moisture. Shaving regularly will dry out your skin.
Therefore, its both equally important to use a shaving cream that is a natural emollient while also applying either a lotion or aftershave balm to your scalp after you are done shaving.
This will help to protect your skin’s moisture barrier and prevent any flaking of the skin.
Just Scratching The Surface
When it comes to whether or not you should shave your head due to balding, it’s solely a personal decision and one that you must make yourself.
While it might be easier to hide behind a taupe or some other hair system, we fully empower men to take on this issue and not let it bother them in the least.
After all, you may be surprised at the results on how well you feel about yourself once the weight of ‘going bald’ is lifted from your shoulders and is no longer an issue.
Whatever you do, just be prepared to hear the compliments from those around you!
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.