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How to Tell If Your Hairline Is Receding

By Celeigh O'Neil ; Updated December 11, 2018

Waking up to find that the cowlick that used to rule your morning routine has disappeared may be a pleasant but puzzling surprise. When hairlines recede they change the way that your face is framed. Hair loss can be a result of genetics, stress, hormonal changes or illness, and vary from person to person. If you notice hair thinning from the start, choose to seek treatment from a doctor or make a few lifestyle adjustments to minimize the loss. Identify a receding hairline and adopt a new look in the cowlick-free days ahead.

  1. Insert a fine-tooth comb at the front of your hairline and comb your hair back over the crown of your head. Hold the hair in place with one hand and examine your hairline in the mirror. Look for a horseshoe shape with the hairline receding behind both temples and dipping down in the middle. This is the most common recession pattern for men.

  2. Touch the hair that grows between your temples with one hand and the hair on the side of your head with the other. If the hair between your temples feels finer than the hair on the side of your head, it is a sign that the follicle is thinning. This is typically the first area to thin for men; hair usually thins all over the head at once for women.

  3. Place the tail end of the fine-tooth comb at the edge of your hairline in the center of your forehead. Drag it back until you reach the crown of your head to create a center part. Look for a widened part or sparse areas that stem from the part. This is common for women, who often maintain their hairline while thinning at the crown.

  4. Examine the water as you rinse the shampoo from your hair in the shower. If more hair is present than usual, your hair may be thinning. Try washing your hair every other day instead of every day, and massage your scalp with your fingertips to stimulate hair growth when you do shampoo.

  5. Take a photograph of yourself with your camera, computer or smartphone. Pin your hair off of your forehead if you have long hair or bangs, and sit with your head in focus. Compare this photo with older photos of yourself and note whether or not the peak of your hairline has changed.

  6. Clean the hair out of your brush once a week. Examine the brush after every use for excessive fallout. Use a paddle brush to untangle your hair gently and avoid mistaking breakage for balding.

  7. Tip

    Wash your hair using lukewarm water, and gently dab it dry to prevent breakage.

    If some strands of hair at the crown of your head are thick while others are thin, your thinning is most likely genetic. Thinning hair that is of a uniform width is often related to dietary and health issues.

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