These days, a fair number of people are taking razor in hand in pursuit of a smooth head. Some have health conditions that affect hair growth, while some just want a new look.
Whatever your reasons, you should consider a few potential pros and cons before proceeding.
Read on as we explore the benefits and side effects of shaving your head, as well as tips on how to do it safely.
Once you get the hang of it, shaving your head isn’t complicated — and it does have several benefits.
Deal with hair loss
Hair loss affects both males and females. Maybe you’re not fond of your receding hairline, thinning hair, or irregular growth pattern. Plus, certain health conditions, such as alopecia areata, can cause patchy hair loss.
You can try topical treatments and other remedies. There are always hairpieces, wigs, and hats. But if you’re tired of all that, shaving your head could be an easier way to go.
A shaved head means less maintenance than taking care of hair. There’s no need for a comb or a blow dryer, and you can even take shorter showers.
You can cross hair care products off of your shopping list. Shaving is often a do-it-yourself task, so you can likely save on the salon or barbershop, too.
Try a new look
Forget about bad hair days. Sometimes a new look can lift your spirits.
Perceptions on baldness change with the times. Some research from 2012 suggests that men who shave their heads are seen as having attractive dominant traits. In general, women are viewed as more confident when they disregard convention with regard to their appearance.
Barring a health issue that affects hair growth, it’s not an irreversible decision. You can always grow a new crop of hair.
Hair density has to do with how closely strands of hair are packed together.
Older growth tapers out at the ends and lightens with exposure to sunlight. Fresh growth may a bit darker at first. It’s blunt, so it tends to stick up, which creates the illusion of higher density until it grows longer.
The fact is that hair sprouting from your scalp is dead. Nothing you do to it affects the living follicles underneath the scalp.
It’s the same principle that applies to hair dye. If you color your hair blue, new hair growth will be your natural color, not blue.
Some things that can affect the hair follicle include:
If you’ve never had a bare scalp before, it can take some getting used to. There’s a chance you won’t like it at all.
It can also cause a few minor problems, including the following.
Frequent shaving can lead to dry, itchy scalp. You’ll have to be careful not to scratch with your fingernails and to use moisturizer liberally.
Even the most careful person can end up with nicks and cuts. Shaving can also result in red, inflamed skin known as razor burn.
An ingrown hair is when hair grows back into your skin and causes inflammation. It’s more likely to happen if you have tightly curled hair.
You can try to prevent this by using an electric razor, but avoid the closest shave setting.
Your shaved head will be more exposed to the elements. Wearing sunscreen and covering your head in cold or wet weather may help.
That freshly shaved smoothness doesn’t last. If you don’t like stubble or short growth, you may need to shave every day, depending on how quickly your hair grows.
Bald hasn’t always been in, especially for women, and it may garner some unwanted attention. Remember that you’re under no obligation to explain yourself to anyone.
You don’t want to rush your first shave, so leave yourself plenty of time.
What you’ll need
- adequate lighting
- hand mirror to check the back, the sides, and behind your ears
- scissors or clippers
- razor with a new blade
- shaving cream or gel
- moisturizer or aftershave lotion
- soft towel
If you have long hair, cut the bulk of it off before shaving. Get as close to the scalp as you can. It may help to use clippers. Then, give your scalp a thorough washing with warm water.
Next, follow these steps:
- Apply shaving cream or a warm compress to your scalp for a few minutes to soften the hair.
- Use a sharp razor. Dull blades make nicks and cuts more likely.
- Start with the top of your head. Use gentle strokes, going in the direction of hair growth.
- Rinse the blade after every stroke to get rid of excess shaving cream and hair.
- Move to the sides, taking care to fold your ears down to avoid nicks.
- Shave the back of your head, working down toward your neck.
- Use a handheld mirror to make sure you haven’t missed any spots.
- Rinse your scalp with cool water.
- Pat dry with a soft towel.
- Apply moisturizer or aftershave lotion.
You can also use an electric razor, but the result may not be as smooth. On the other hand, it’s faster and easier because you don’t need to use shaving cream or keep rinsing the blade.
How often you’ll need to shave depends on how smooth you want your head and how quickly your hair grows.
Whether your reason is health, practicality, or style, shaving your head for the first time can feel a bit intimidating.
Rest assured that side effects and risks are minimal and easily addressed. If you have ongoing scalp issues, see a dermatologist for treatment.
A shaved head can be freeing, among other benefits. In the end, the choice to shave or not comes down to personal preference.