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The 8 most common hairlines for men, explained

Here's what you need to know.

Written by
Kate Evans
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
April 18, 2024
min read
The 8 most common hairlines for men, explained
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From frosted tips to gelled spikes, man buns to mullets to — well, everything else — there's a lot of variation when it comes to men's hairstyles. And that's not even touching on colour, texture, hair type or length.

If you've ever spent time styling your hair — and we'll count "running your fingers through it" as styling — then it's likely that you've taken notice of your hairline.

Some hairlines are distinctive, some are less so — you may not even know what type of hairline you have, or what the "technical" definition of a hairline is.

We've created a handy guide on all of the most common hairlines, here's what you need to know.

What is a hairline?

First off, the hairline is formed by, well, a line of hair. It's there in the name. More specifically, the hairline acts as a "critical outline of the forehead". It comprises of two main parts: frontal (anterior) and temporal (lateral).

To translate:

  • Frontal: Where hair meets the forehead at the front of the head, running from temple to temple.
  • Temporal: Hair that meets the side of the face, running from temple to sideburn.

Together, these act to frame the upper face.

What factors determine hairline types?

There are several factors that play a role in determining hairline, including genetics, race, lifestyle, age and more.

Hairline type factor 1: Genetics

Cast your mind back to in utero — that's when your hairline starts. At week eight of gestation, initial hair bud formation occurs, and at week 10, hair follicles appear on the scalp.

As children, there's little distinction between the hairlines of boys and girls; between ages three to five, most of us start with a "concave-shaped" hairline; this doesn't differ much between races.

In a surprise to not many, puberty is when hairlines change; it's believed that hormone changes trigger genetic changes.

There are multiple genes involved in hairline shape. Although hairline shape tends to run in families, the pattern of inheritance is "usually unpredictable".

Things like the height of your forehead — specifically, your frontalis muscle — plays a role in your hairline.

Yes, this is genetically determined. A shorter frontalis muscle will have a low hairline; longer muscle results in a high forehead, and a high hairline.

Hairline type factor 2: Race

Race can also play a role in dictating hairline type. Caucasian men often see a V-shaped hairline when their hairline matures.

These "average hairlines" are where the hair at the meeting of the frontal line and temporal line — the "corners" — disappear.

African and Asian men are less likely to genetically see this distinctive V-shape; one study says it's more common to see broader, flatter hairlines in certain ethnic groups, including Black, Middle Eastern, Asian and Hispanic.

Another study states Indian men and women "often" have low hairlines.

Hairline type factor 3: Lifestyle

Your lifestyle also impacts hairline types.

Something as simple as styling your hair can result in a specific hairline; as one study from 2013 says, hairlines "can be influenced by traction brought on by pulling the hair back."

Known as traction alopecia, this has been linked to hairline hair loss in African American children, who routinely have their hair tightly braiding — producing a loss of "some or all of the frontal and temple mound hair."

You might even recall seeing traction alopecia in an episode of Queer Eye.

A change in hairline could be due to things like smoking, or not eating enough protein. Skin disorders, thyroid dysfunction, iron deficiency anaemia, certain medications — all of these can have an impact on your hairline type.

Hairline type factor 4: Age

A mature hairline: technically a type of hairline, but it's also where age plays a factor in determining hairline shape. Essentially, between the ages of 17-29, the concave-shaped hairline begins to slowly recede to one that's more flat or convex.

Age can also result in the next factor type — hair loss.

Hairline type factor 5: Hair loss

We can't really talk about hairlines without talking about hair loss. There can be different types of hair loss, and a surprising amount of causes for hair loss — more complex than the common myth of "It's inherited from your mum's dad."

The type you've most likely heard of is male-pattern hair loss; androgenetic alopecia. It's the most conventional cause of hair loss in men, an "exceedingly common problem", according to one study. It actually affects both men and women.

The onset generally occurs between the ages of 30 to 40 although occurrences can be as early as puberty. Men are likely to notice changes to their anterior hairline.

As the name suggests, this type of hair loss is "genetically predetermined". Often — "but not necessarily" — there is a family history of baldness. And unlike the previously mentioned myth, it's not going to come solely from your mum's side of the family, maternal and paternal genes are involved.

Then there's the non-androgenetic origin of hair loss, resulting in a change to the hairline. This could be ageing, stress, hormonal changes.

The different types of hairlines in men

Now that you're well-versed in what actually causes your hairline, you're probably sitting there asking yourself what the different types of hairlines actually are. So let's get into it.

Juvenile hairline

A juvenile hairline is referring to the hairline you have prior to puberty — the concave shape we've already touched upon.

It's a low hairline (meaning it sits lower on your forehead), and would also be considered a rounded hairline, because of its curved edges. Typically with this type of hairline, foreheads appear more "crowded" from the sides.

Think Bill Clinton — he's still got this rounded hairline.

Widow's peak

The term "widow's peak" stems from English folklore; people believed having a widow's peak hairline was a predictor of early widowhood for a woman. Why? The mourning cap English widows wore after their husbands' death, had a pointed, triangular fold of cloth that covered the middle of the forehead.

Ominous backstory aside — that died out in the 19th century — a widow's peak is a distinctive hairline, where there's a "V-shaped descending projection of the anterior scalp hair in the midline of the forehead."

It's a triangular hairline of sorts — a triangular area of hair protrudes beyond the frontal hairline. You could have a relatively straight hairline, with the tiniest V-shape coming forward. That counts!

Recent studies have suggested that this is an inherited trait; think men like Colin Farrel. Dracula boasts one too.

Inverted Triangle

This is another triangular hairline, except in this instance, the V-shaped hairline ascends upwards at the middle of the forehead. Or, as one study put it: "the hairline moves down nearly straight from the centre of the forehead to the temple."

Receding hairline

The majority of people go through a receding hairline before they even hit adulthood— look at the low hairline from your childhood, and the mature hairline that came with puberty.

A receding hairline is where hair begins to recede upwards, usually starting at the temples or higher corners of your forehead. When the temporal hairline begins to recede, the distinctive V-shape hairline that many Caucasian men have changes, and can start to resemble what's known as an "M-shaped hairline".

This type of receding hairline can look like an exaggerated widow's peak, but they are classified as two different hairline types. Men like Harry Styles have an M-shaped hairline.

There are different classifications of receding hairlines, known as the Hamilton-Norwood scale. As we've discussed before, it has seven stages with accompanying hairlines — you can check if you might have one of such hairlines.

Uneven hairline

Often, an uneven hairline is genetic. However, uneven hairlines can also occur from certain hairstyling techniques — like tugging at the hair too tightly when attempting to pull it back — or from patterned hair loss.

The uneven hairline occurs when one side of the hairline is higher than the other and is often characterised by a zig-zag pattern of hair growth.

Middle hairline

A middle hairline is pretty explanatory — it's the type of hairline that starts at the middle of your forehead. It's considered to be the standard or average when it comes to types of hairlines.

From this, you can make a pretty fair judgement as to what a high hairline is, and what a low hairline is. The higher up the forehead, the higher the hairline; and vice versa.

Cowlick hairline

A cowlick is where the hair aligns to form a "spiral" or the "shape of an S", in a "peculiar growth direction" that's at odds with the rest of the hair growth. In other words, a cowlick hairline is one thing you just keep trying to style away — and eventually give up on (probably).

L'Oréal states, that like many of the other types of hairline we've talked about, a cowlick is genetic. It's typically located toward the back of your head — the crown — but it can appear at the hairline, in the middle of your forehead.

As for where the name came from? Purportedly from the swirled effects on the hair of a baby calf, after the mother cow bathes it.

Straight hairline

A straight hairline may also be called a "linear" type of frontal hairline type. Straight hairlines are where the hairline is horizontal across the anterior hairline; it lacks the curves around the temples you see with other hairline types.

This is another hairline that is determined by genetics, however, a straight hairline is considered to be recessive, according to one study from 2014.

How to maintain a healthy hairline

Well, we told you how your lifestyle can have an impact on your hairline (and not in the best way) — but here we're talking about factors that can help you maintain a healthy hairline.

Implementing a healthy diet is important — things like sugar, processed foods and saturated fats aren't great for your hair health. Crash dieting can also have a negative impact on your hair, as can stress and smoking.

And, as much as we love a good man bun, try to take it easy on the styling front to avoid excess traction.

You can also incorporate products into your routine that encourages hair growth like Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit. This includes the Thicken Shampoo and Keep Conditioner as well as the Pilot Biotin Hair Gummies, which support your hair follicles, and a Derma Roller, to stimulate growth.

Do women's hairlines differ?

There are differences and similarities in the hairlines of men and women— namely, an overlap of potential hairline shapes.

Starting with differences, studies have found that, on average, men have greater width and height to their foreheads. Specifically focused on hairlines, men are considered to have a high hairline in comparison to women.

A male's hairline is reported to be seven to eight centimetres above the glabella (the space between your eyebrows), whereas women's hairlines are lower, at five to seven centimetres above the glabella — but this wouldn't be classified as a "too low hairline".

Although men and women share hairline types, the most common shape differs. Men are more likely to have m shaped hairlines, with one study finding it occurred in 46 per cent of young men surveyed.

Apparently, an M-shaped hairline can "resemble a more masculine appearance."

In women, the rectangular hairline (straight hairline), was the most popular at 30 per cent, closely followed by a rounded hairline at 28 per cent (concave); the latter is said to "resemble femininity".

Another overlap is when it comes to androgenetic alopecia. Although both genders experience hair loss, this type of patterned hair loss in women appears differently.

A sign of male pattern baldness in men is often a receding hairline; whereas women are likely to experience "widening parts". Those with dense hair may notice hair feels less thick.

General hair thinning is often the outcome for women experiencing female pattern baldness.

Can you change your hairline?

Yes, it is in fact possible to change your hairline — taking what you consider a "bad hairline" and turning it into a "good hairline".

Hairline surgery

According to research, there's a "current trend" in hair transplants, that's grown in prominence over the past 15 years.

It's known as "follicular unit transplantation", and is a major correct method for hair loss in men. Considered to be minimally invasive, it extracts hair follicles from a donor site (your own existing hair growth) before inserting them via incision to the necessary part of the scalp.

However, there are requirements to undergo a hair transplant, which include sufficient hair loss, good donor area hair, a healthy scalp, general good health and "reasonable expectation".

Style it away

If you're concerned about your hairline, or just want to change your look up a bit, you can just style it out. We've even got 10 hairstyles for you to try out.

Laser hair removal

If you want to make like Kim Kardashian and change your hairline — yep, she famously got rid of all her baby hair at one point — you can use laser hair removal to do so. Maybe just note that she did regret it, years after.

Alternatively, it can be used to create fine hairs from thick hair growth, something that's "critical" in the correction of the frontal hairline region following hair transplants in women.

Clinical treatments

Another less invasive option is clinical treatment, like Pilot's personalised hair loss treatment. Pilot can help you on your journey with hair loss, with a treatment plan that is personalised for you by one of our Australian practitioners and delivered to your door discreetly.

Got more questions? We've got you covered, here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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