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10 hairstyles for a receding hairline

Just because you're thinning up top, doesn't mean you can't rock a sweet do.

Written by
Joe Cutcliffe
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
April 22, 2024
min read
10 hairstyles for a receding hairline
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Facing the harsh realities of getting older is a multi-faceted problem, but one we all deal with in some form or another.

From paying bills on payday (how good is adulting) to taking your job seriously enough that you’re not nursing a stonking hangover at your desk every day, the grown-up habits into which we all eventually fall often come surprisingly naturally.

But not everything that comes surprisingly naturally is a welcome friend. Case in point: hair loss.

By the age of 50, around half of the male population experiences hair loss on a certain level. An unlucky 20 per cent experiences it before they’ve blown out 30 candles.

While there’s a raft of practical solutions out there that have proven effectiveness at halting (and in some cases even reversing) that receding hairline, it’s also handy to know how to best work with what you’ve got and pick a hairstyle that’ll make your retreating follicles look the part.

Here are the 10 best hairstyles for a receding hairline.

1. Undercut

The undercut is more than just a sneaky trick F1 drivers do to force the race leader to the pits, it’s also one of the best haircuts for men with a receding hairline. Simply put, hair is kept nice and long on top while the back and the sides are all but removed, allowing what’s left above top to “flop” over, drawing attention to the hair at the front.

Think Peaky Blinders or Boardwalk Empire; the undercut was made popular post-WWI, and has come and gone from vogue many a time since.

2. Clean Shave

This one might seem the most obvious. It also might hurt the most. But for some of us fellas, letting go is the first step towards moving on.

Dependent on how many sprouts your scalp is still pushing (and the placement of said sprouts), a clean shave can be the best way to even-out patchy hair that’s started to say sayonara.

Plus, it’s super-low maintenance, you can do it yourself, and you’ll save big dollars at the barbershop.

3. Buzzcut

Not ready to commit to a clean shave? Want the look of a shaved head without the stigma of a full-blown chrome dome? Then the buzzcut might be your answer.

Made famous by many a rapper and NBA superstar, the buzzcut leaves a little hair at the top (like a number one or two) while removing it all from the sides and back. This is a great haircut for receding hairlines because it focuses the eye towards the top of the head, without accentuating the fact it grows thicker at the sides.

4. Comb over

Yes, okay, we hear you -- the comb over is as daggy as Grandpa’s cardigan collection and you thought you’d kissed it goodbye after the Howard years. Well it’s back, but probably not the same way Johnny used to wear it.

In short, a part is very hard to achieve for men with a receding hairline, especially if their hair is quite thin to begin with. A comb over can help this, by following a simple short back and sides philosophy, but with a nonchalant “flick” of the front follicles over the top and to one side (adding a little product like hair spray to help it sit to the opposite of its natural part will also give the effect of having more volume).

5. “Faux-hawk”

We’re not so mean as to include a mohawk on this list, but its trendier, more urban cousin, the faux-hawk, is actually one of the best hairstyles for a receding hairline.

In essence, a little product is used to roughly “muss” the hair towards its natural direction of growth (forward at the front, back at the … you get it), with the left and right side meeting loosely in the middle up top, making a mini mohawk effect (think corporate-appropriate punk-rock).

6. High Taper Fade

One of the biggest drawbacks of a receding hairline is the appearance of hair at the sides of the head being more resplendent, or, for lack of a better term, “boofy”. A high taper fade is one of the best ways to reduce this in appearance, as well as focus the attention back to the top of the head (where you want it).

A good barber will do this in stages, asking you if you’d like more taken off, and the possibilities for styling are many and varied, including slicked-back, classic pompadour or messy quiff, to name a few.

7. Short Back & Sides

This hairstyle is about as classic and iconic as you’ll ever find. So much so that plenty of barbers just call it a “regular haircut”. The short back and sides is great in that it’s versatile, easy to maintain and grows out evenly, meaning time between cuts won’t be spent looking too scruffy.

Men with lighter coloured or thinner hair should keep the sides and back slightly longer than those of us with dark locks.

8. Long Hair

Long hair might sound counterintuitive to the very idea of having a receding hairline, but for many, it’s an easy and stylish option, depending on how far-gone their foliage is.

Suitable for blokes with thicker hair, a longer cut can help shield those annoying parts above your temples where the hair has started to retreat, allowing for a more natural looking solution to hiding that hairline.

9. Crew Cut

The crew cut, ostensibly named as such for its employment by the Yale rowing team’s crew in 1927, is one of the most famous haircuts in the world, largely due  to the fact it is also very popular in the military (and, come to think of it, in prison, too).

One of the reasons a crew cut is ideal for men with a receding hairline is that it tapers directly to the shape of one’s head, instead of being  a “one size fits all” chop.

10. Short & Messy

When in doubt, a little flick of the scissors at the barber and a dab of product is all you need to pull off a modern short and messy look.

In the immortal words of Brian Griffin: “Here we go, you are ready for your date. Yeah, that's a bed head, yeah. Hey look at you, you just got out of bed. You're the underachiever every woman wants to sleep with.”


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