Hairlines are defined in men and women by several characteristics, such as shape and height. Every person’s hairline is different and distinctive, but typically falls within one of several categories.
Hairlines also change with age. If you have a hairline you don’t like, you may be able to alter it.
In this article, we’ll go over the most common types of hairlines in men and women, and discuss options for changing a hairline you’re not happy with.
Hairlines are affected by multiple factors, including genetics, hormones, age, and lifestyle habits. Just about any hairline can be styled to look attractive.
Hairline types in women include:
Hairlines that sit relatively close to the eyebrows are considered low. Women with low hairlines give the appearance of having narrow, or short foreheads.
Since hairlines in both men and women may recede with age, starting out with a low hairline could be an advantage.
If your hairline begins high up on the crown of your head, you have a high hairline.
High hairlines are often the result of genetics, but can also be caused by hair loss.
A middle hairline is also referred to as an average, or normal, hairline. This type of hairline sits in the middle of the forehead.
While there’s no actual data indicating the most common type of hairline in women, midline hairlines seem to be the most customary kind.
If your hairline has a distinctive V-shape, you have a widow’s peak. This distinctive hairline may be inherited. It may also be the result of several rare genetic disorders, such as frontonasal dysplasia.
Widow’s peaks may become more prominent or less prominent with age.
A triangular hairline has the opposite look of a widow’s peak. It can also take on the appearance of a slightly off-center triangle, with the upwards point occurring on one side of the hairline.
In some instances, a triangular hairline may be caused by temporal triangular alopecia, a condition also referred to as congenital triangular alopecia.
Lack of symmetry is common in hairlines. You may find that one side of your hairline is slightly higher than the other. You may also have a hairline that zig zags slightly, or significantly.
Uneven hairlines can be the result of genetics. They can also be caused by hair styling practices, such as pulling or tugging the hair too tightly over time.
A hairline can also become uneven if your hair starts to recede.
Rounded, oval, or bell-shaped hairlines are typically symmetrical. They may make the forehead appear long in shape.
Bell-shaped hairlines have a curved look, with no uneven lines.
If your hairline is straight across your forehead, it’s considered straight-lined, or rectangular in shape. This type of hairline is sometimes referred to as a juvenile hairline.
Receding hairline or M-shape
Receding hairlines in women are less common than they are in men. However, they’re far from rare, and can be caused by:
- lifestyle habits
Receding hairlines in women differ from female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).
If you have a receding hairline, your hair may stop growing at one or both temples, giving you an “M” shape.
Your hairline may also recede straight back horizontally, exposing more of your entire forehead.
Lifestyle habits, like wearing too-tight hairstyles every day for years, can cause a hairline to recede. This phenomenon may be temporary or permanent, and is known as traction alopecia.
If your hair is treated regularly with chemicals, traction alopecia may be more likely to occur. Receding hairlines can also be related to the hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Some women may notice that their hairlines have receded slightly at the temples after pregnancy. This type of hair loss is often temporary.
Men can have any of the hairline shapes that women do. The male hairline, however, can change much more dramatically over time.
Some of the most common hairline types in men include:
Low hairlines in males may be most common in boys and young men, who have not yet started to experience any hair loss. When a low hairline is straight across, it’s referred to as a juvenile hairline.
As with women, a low hairline is one that starts closer to the eyebrows than the average hairline does. It gives the appearance of having a narrow forehead.
Men who have middle, or average hairlines have a proportionate look to their foreheads. This type of hairline is common in men, during their teens and twenties.
A middle hairline may sometimes be uneven, or asymmetrical. It may also appear straight, or rounded.
Receding hairline (male pattern baldness)
Males may start to notice their hairlines begin to recede at any point after puberty.
Receding hairlines can take on the appearance of high hairlines that continue to show more scalp as they recede.
Receding hairlines in men can also cause a deep “M” shape, if the hair recedes dramatically at the temples.
Cowlicks are swirls of hair that grow in a direction other than their surrounding hairs.
Cowlicks may occur anywhere on the scalp, but are often found at the crown, or hairline.
Cowlicks know no gender, and can occur in males and females. They are more commonly seen in men who have short hair, and few styling options for taming them.
If your hairline makes you unhappy, there are ways to alter it. These include medical and at-home treatments:
- Strategic hair styling. Before you reach for yet another hat, or succumb to a “comb over,” talk to a hair stylist. There are hair styling techniques and haircuts that can alter or disguise a less-than-flattering hairline.
- Hair removal. A too-low hairline or widow’s peak can be adjusted with laser hair removal or electrolysis.
- Laser treatments. Specific types of laser therapy, such as those using red light, may also be used to stimulate hair growth along the hairline.
- Shaving. Many men prefer to go completely bald by shaving their entire head, rather than watch their hairlines recede dramatically.
- Tweezing. A widow’s peak or uneven hairline can be straightened out by plucking errant hairs with a tweezer. It’s not recommended that you shave a widow’s peak or hairline if you have dark hair, as an unsightly shadow may result.
- Medication. Medications that are used to stop balding, such as Rogaine and Finasteride, can also be used for a receding hairline. Other medications may also work. These include corticosteroids, or Dritho-Scalp, a psoriasis medication. Since drugs can cause side effects, it’s important to weigh the benefits versus the risks with your doctor before trying them.
- Microblading. Microblading is a tattooing technique that mimics the look of individual hairs. It’s not permanent, but can last anywhere from 6 to 18 months.
- Hair transplant. A hair transplant is an in-office procedure done under a local anesthetic. Your plastic surgeon will remove hair, typically from the back of your head, and transplant it along the hairline, to alter its shape.
If you wish to change your hairline, talk to your doctor, to determine your options.
A receding hairline can be distressing for some people. Your doctor may be able to help you determine its underlying cause, and they might be able to recommend treatments that can help.
Some medications are associated with hair loss. These include certain types of antibiotics, acne medications, and cholesterol-reducing drugs. Make sure to let your doctor know about all of the drugs you currently take.
Also mention your stress level, especially if it’s high. Stress may not always be a direct cause of hair loss, but can exacerbate a diminishing hairline.
Just like people, every hairline is unique. Hairline types vary in shape and height, and also change with aging.
Hairlines can be influenced by genetics, hormones, and lifestyle practices, such as how you style your hair.
If you don’t like your hairline, there are medical and at-home strategies for altering its appearance.