There isn’t one type of hairline that can be considered “normal.” A hairline, the area where the hair grows out of the head, can look very different from person to person. Some hairlines may be low or high, others have a widow’s peak or a cowlick, but all hairlines are normal.

As people age, it’s common, especially in men, for the hairline to recede, usually beginning around the temples. This process is gradual, and while you may be quick to notice it, it’s typically not immediately noticeable to others.

Both men and women may experience patterned hair loss, which studies show is the most common type of hair loss for both sexes.

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Illustration by Wenzdai Figueroa

Below we’ll go into more detail about what each type of hairline looks like in both men and women, and how that shape may change if it recedes.

Low hairline

Hairlines that are closer to the eyebrows are considered low, and they can give the illusion of a smaller face and forehead. Low hairlines are similar in men and women, and they may be less noticeable if they recede because not as much of the scalp is exposed.

Middle hairline

A middle hairline may be what comes to mind when people say “normal” hairline; they set toward the upper middle of the forehead. You may notice hair receding more toward the sides in an M-shape with a middle hairline.

High hairline

A high hairline begins at the crown of the head, and both men and women with high hairlines may look like they have large foreheads. A high hairline can be genetic or it can be caused by the hair receding.


A straight-lined hairline does not follow the natural curve of the head, but instead is a straight line in front with 90-degree angles on the sides. It’s sometimes styled in men’s haircut, though sometimes a straight hairline can be genetic.


Bell-shaped hairlines, sometimes called rounded or oval, form an upside down U-shape with the lowest part by the temples and the crest of the bell in the middle of the forehead. These can occur naturally in men or women or may be the result of receding hair.

Triangular hairline

Similar to a bell-shaped except more angular than curved, a triangular hairline starts lower on the temples and rises to a point in the center of the head.

Uneven hairline

It’s not uncommon to have an uneven hairline where one side is higher than the other or appears jagged or zig-zaggy. This can be genetic or the result of excessive styling which pulls the hair more on one side than the other.


Cowlicks are places where a small section of hair grows in a different direction than the surrounding hair, resulting in a swirl. These can occur in men or women anywhere on the scalp, though they are commonly found on the hairline.

Receding hairlines are quite common in men with one study showing that 50 percent of men experience balding by the time they hit age 50. Some notice their hair receding as early as the end of puberty, or in the early 20s.

This is a very common condition and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Kids as young as 2 may experience triangular temporal alopecia, a condition where hair falls out and leaves behind scabs.

If your hairline is receding or you just don’t like how your natural hairline looks, you may be curious about at-home and medical treatment options for hairline restoration.

  • Laser hair removal or electrolysis may be a good option for people with low hairlines who wish to make their hairline higher and their forehead more pronounced.
  • Low-level laser therapy can be used to stimulate hair growth; this procedure is less painful than transplants and is thought to be safe and effective.
  • Hair transplants can make the hairline appear a bit lower, thereby reducing the perceived height and width of the forehead.
  • Medications that are commonly used for balding like Rogaine, Finasteride, and Propecia may help with a receding hairline, though Rogaine works best toward the center of the head. Talk to your doctor about other medications like Dritho-Scalp, a psoriasis medication, which may slow the receding of the hairline.
  • Forehead reduction surgery, also called hairline surgery, is an elective cosmetic procedure that appears to lower the hairline by removing a part of the forehead while keeping hair follicles intact.
  • Scalp micropigmentation essentially tattoos the hairline or scalp in a shading technique designed to mimic the look of hair. It is permanent but may need to be touched up.

One of the easiest ways to make a receding hairline less noticeable is to get creative with styling.

  • Shave your head to make the hairline blend in with the scalp.
  • Opt for a buzz cut to make the thin areas less noticeable.
  • Slick hair back.
  • Grow hair longer.
  • Make a deep part and comb hair to the side.
  • Grow hair longer and messier in the front so it draws the eye down.
  • For longer hair, cut straight or side-swept bangs so the hairline won’t be as visible.

If you’re concerned about your hairline or think it’s receding, check in with your doctor before you start losing a lot of hair. Generally, it’s easier to prevent hair from falling out than it is to regrow hair once it’s lost.

They may be able to prescribe medication to slow hair loss, or help you manage stress which can sometimes cause hair loss.

Normal hairlines come in many different shapes including low, middle, high, widow’s peak, bell, and many more. Receding hairlines, which take on an M-shape, are normal and can happen to any hairline.

If you don’t like the look of your hairline, whether it’s receding or not, talk to your doctor about possible medications or get creative with styling to make the hairline less noticeable.