If your hairline has begun to recede, you might worry that it’s a sign of impending baldness.
But moderate recession at the front of the scalp doesn’t always mean you’re guaranteed to experience more severe hair loss later.
You could simply have a mature hairline instead. And there are multiple ways to deal with it.
Join us as we explore everything you need to know about mature hairlines. We’ll cover the common signs to be aware of, how it’s different to a receding hairline, and how you can live with yours.
Understanding mature hairlines
Your hairline begins at the top of your forehead, right at the edge of your scalp. Not everyone has an identical hairline: they come in various shapes and positions, based on age and genetics.
Men tend to have a full head of hair with a “juvenile hairline” in their teens. Key traits of a juvenile hairline include a neat, straight outline at the front with rounded corners.
How do you know if you still have yours? Here’s a simple test: wrinkle your forehead and check whether or not your hair is on the highest wrinkle. If so, you’ve held on to your juvenile hairline.
While some men will retain this young hairline for their entire lives, most will develop a mature hairline somewhere between 17 and 30 years of age. This occurs when the hairline recedes from its juvenile position slightly, either half an inch or a full inch. It’s a natural sign of aging, and is nothing to worry about.
Mature hairlines develop at varied speeds and in diverse patterns. Some mature so gradually, possibly even over a decade, that the individual and others around him may not notice the change.
But other men see their hairline mature sooner and fear that it’s the onset of male pattern baldness, which affects around 50% of men over 50. Here are some of the common characteristics of a maturing hairline:
- Most male hairlines mature evenly, which is why the change may go unnoticed, though that’s not always the case.
- The mature hairline forms a widow’s peak or M-shaped pattern, without the round curves of a juvenile hairline. A widow’s peak leaves a V-shaped patch of hair in the centre of the hairline while the rest of the hairline recedes to a higher position. An M-shaped hairline loses the round curves of a juvenile line.
- A mature hairline usually recedes to a point no higher than one to 1.5 inches above your highest forehead wrinkle. You may see around one finger’s width of space between the top wrinkle and the hairline.
You may initially mistake a maturing hairline for a receding hairline, and vice versa. The former is a common sign of aging that’s unlikely to lead to further hair loss, and the latter is usually related to male pattern baldness. It can be difficult to identify how a man’s hairline is changing and how it will progress.
But here are a few ways to spot the difference between a maturing and receding hairline:
A mature hairline may have an M shape, though it tends to be fairly subtle. If you notice increasingly less hair around your temples over time, you may be developing male pattern baldness.
It’s normal to have some shorter, smaller hairs growing ahead of your hairline, but if you find you have many of them, that could indicate approaching baldness too.
Losing more hair than usual
It’s natural to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day (according to the NHS) without realising. You may notice hairs missing if you have a mature hairline, but if you find clumps of it in the shower, on your pillow, or while applying product, it may be a sign of impending baldness.
Doctors or hair specialists (i.e. hair restoration surgeons or trichologists) can help you understand whether you have a mature or receding hairline. They’ll examine your hair and scalp to identify signs of hair loss. And they can offer advice on treatment options.
You may feel relieved if a doctor or hair specialist confirms that your hairline is maturing rather than receding. But it can still be frustrating to see your hairline sitting an inch or more higher than it used to be.
Some men struggle to accept this change, particularly if they can’t wear their preferred style or they worry about other people noticing their raised hairline.
Here are a few tips to help you feel more satisfied with your hair:
You might worry about losing more of your hair and becoming bald when your hairline matures. But your hair could stay strong and healthy for decades to come before you experience any further shedding. Try to relax and enjoy your hair instead of stressing.
You may not be able to style your hair exactly how you like to when you develop a mature hairline — but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with it.
Speak to a stylist about techniques to minimise signs of hair loss around the hairline, such as slicking it back or parting it in a different direction.
Hair transplants are more popular and affordable than ever. The procedure is fairly straightforward: a skilled surgeon will remove healthy hair follicles from the back or sides of your scalp and implant them at the front.
They’ll cultivate new growth which lowers and thickens your hairline. Your hair will look more youthful but still completely natural, as only your own follicles are used.