I’m twenty-six years old, and my follicles are following the fate of my father’s: they’re packing up and falling out. What was once a thick head of lustrous hair that I thought I’d never lose is now on the wane, masked by regular visits to the barber for an expertly faded skinhead. It’s annoying, it’s disheartening but it’s life – and something that has now been listed as a major source of depression.
New research released by Asda Pharmacy proves the extent to which impacts men’s self esteem. In the UK alone, more than a quarter of those under 35 say hair loss has made them more prone to drinking or recreational drug use. More than a third of respondents admit that hair loss is one of their biggest worries while almost 38 per cent said it makes them feel depressed.
All of which may sound pretty extreme. However, a lack of hair up-top can be a major blow to any man’s confidence, and those with an Aslan mane just won’t get it. You check your scalp constantly, photos become a huge source of anxiety, you don’t want to be seen from behind in fear of being labelled “the bald one”. I even asked my partner if I was still considered attractive – turned out, thankfully, that I was, but I didn’t particularly feel it.
Popular culture doesn’t help. Jeremy Piven, Matthew McConnaughey and John Travolta are but three celebrities suspected to have taken surgical measures to restore their hair, fighting what nature intended and reinforcing the idea that you need a full head to get ahead. In the famous Simpsons episode where Homer finds a miracle hair growth formula, his hair grows back and he’s suddenly seen as virile and successful.
Baldness is still a marker of ageing (no matter how old you are when it starts). It’s a cultural roadsign and when you drive past it, the message is this: sorry mate, your halcyon days are well and truly over.
Except, they’re not. Not in the slightest. Going bald is an obstacle but not a barrier to sound personal style. Depending upon your hairline – for instance, those receding can still pack quite the cut – there are many ways to tackle baldness.
Sure, my own confidence was knocked at the emergence of a sparser head. But reaching for the clippers was liberating in more ways than one. I don’t have to spend 10 minutes in a morning with wax and a hairdryer. I don’t even really need to shampoo any more. And, I was pleasantly surprised to see my skull was a lot more symmetrical than I anticipated.
Science has plenty to say, too. A study by Florida’s Barry University asked participants to rate men in four areas: physical attractiveness, aggression, appeasement and social maturity. It was the bald heads that came out on top in most sections. And while we can’t fairly evaluate their boyfriend behaviour, fellas like Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are hardly doing bad for themselves.
Mates kindly noted their approval – always a relief amongst blokes that have spent over a decade rinsing one another at the pub. The only setback is the weekly requirement of a cut – nobody should risk a head that mimics crop rotation – but even then, it takes 15 minutes and a mere £8. Job done.
Just because your hair is on the down doesn’t mean your self-esteem should follow suit. Experiment with different cuts or do what I did, take the plunge and go for the clippers – here are our rules to make sure you get a good a buzzcut. Because here’s the bald truth – it’s absolutely fine.