If you are reading this, you are considering shaving your head. Congratulations and welcome to the coven. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to buzz it all off. For me, I wanted a fresh start after gradually (and accidentally) making my undercut so drastic it was inevitable I would have to restart my hair growth all over if I wanted it to grow out in a non-bizarro way. It was a decision years in the making, and I don’t regret it one bit.
I shaved my head by myself in my bathroom on a regular weekday morning, and it felt like a great start to an otherwise ordinary week. Still, every time I touch it up again, I feel liberated. You can’t not think of Britney Spears’ journey to self-ownership when you do it, and I think that’s actually amazing. When she was asked why she had shaved her head, she simply said, “Because of you” — because she was tired of everyone touching her and tired of feeling like she was owned. Given how much our bodies are used in the service of public debate, I totally understand the sentiment. Whatever your reasons for contemplating the cut, here are some tips you might find helpful in your endeavor.
1. You’re going to want to cut the length before buzzing.
It will be easier to manage the buzzer, and it gets you in the zone of thinking, Yes, in fact, I will go full Sinead, thank you so much!
2. People are going to want to pet you.
Everyone is going to want to pet your head. Maybe you will even like this. The fuzz is honestly quite soothing, but just a warning: People might reach out to touch it a lot. You are going to get many unsolicited opinions.
3. It comes with a couple of stigmas.
Two of the most common misconceptions associated with a buzzcut on femme-presenting people is that you are queer and/or you are chronically ill. People will treat you differently. I got catcalled more by men, strangely enough, but then again, I lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn. For most people street harassment post-buzz goes down.
4. Your hair will grow…fast.
So you should get your own buzzer for touch-ups. If you’re going for a super simple buzz, it makes more sense to spend $20 on a buzz kit than it does $20 every two weeks, or however long it will take for your hair to grow to an intolerably awkward fluff. All you need is two mirrors (one hand mirror and your bathroom mirror), a buzzer, and some agility. That being said, going to your local barber or favorite stylist for periodic shape-ups (maybe a sick fade) is totally worth it. It makes a huge difference in terms of final look, and you can get a sick design shaped into your head if you want to feel cyber-punk. I’d go to a barber or a stylist specializing in shorter haircuts.
5. At-home maintenance requires a few supplies.
Make sure to get a trash bag or a hair cloak so clean-up is way easier. Inevitably you’re going to want to also take a shower after a trim to get all the small hairs off you that will have fallen into the most bizarre places. For the absolute closest buzz you can use a manual razor after buzzing, but it’s more dangerous and it will take forever.
6. Know your buzzer.
There are several levels of buzzer closeness; they’re recognized by numbers for the size of the hair-clipper guard. Zero means bald (as close to the scalp as possible), all the way up to eight, which is about an inch of hair left behind. Without a guard (clipper only), you’re at zero — the fresh buzz. If you don’t want your cut that drastic, try a level two — it’ll still hide your scalp, and graduate down depending on your comfort zone.
7. Follow the grain.
Shave with the “grain” of your head — yes, your head is like a tree trunk because we are Earth’s living creatures. In all seriousness, it does make for a more polished look afterwards. You can tell the grain by the way your hair falls. It’s not the end of the world if you ignore this advice; I’m not your mom.
8. Everything else changes perspective.
You might get obsessive about other aspects of your body as a result. For example, I got way more gung-ho about having perfect skin than I was when I had a big distracting head of hair to hide my zits.
9. But you use way less hair products.
You will use less product and the products that you do use might change. To deal with a dry scalp you might need to switch to a dandruff shampoo (sorry, Ouai stans), and for just a bit of texture, you could use a hair paste or light mousse once it grows out enough to style. But what about all those hair products you might be using to style your hair right now? Yeah, out the window. I consider this freeing. Praise bald Britney.
10. It opens up a world of styling possibilities.
Experimenting with hair color is a lot easier with a fresh buzz because you need much less bleach, the application is a total breeze, you can do it yourself, and if you don’t like the end result you can just wait a week or two and start all over again.
11. And it’s an opportunity to do something nice.
The first time you buzz your hair, if it’s long enough, consider donating it to charity depending on the length and condition of your hair. Requirements vary, as do charities. You can donate a ponytail to Wigs for Kids or to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, which focuses on women with cancer, and Locks of Love (which sells hair that doesn’t meet their requirements, FYI).
Once you decide to grow it out, be prepared to suffer the endless phases of regrowth. Frequent trims at a stylist will help the anxiety, but wigs are always fun, too. It’s just hair after all — or more precisely, the lack thereof. Anyone can have a shaved head. There are no rules about what shape head you need for it to look good. It’s more a matter of confidence. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
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Wanna see some buzz-cut inspiration?
- Yes, I’m a woman and I shaved my head on New Year’s Day | Charlotte Observer
- Being A Woman With A Shaved Head: Some Thoughts
- Anne Hathaway
- St. Rose of Lima
- Grace Jones
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- Sinead O’Connor
- Queen Elizabeth I
- Bette Davis
- Miss Tanzania 2007
- Britney Spears
- The Bangs Sisters and Their Bald Cat
- Willow Smith
- Natalie Portman
- Bald Barbie
- Amber Rose
- Natalie Darryl
- The Women of Zion
- Charles the Bald
- Cynthia Nixon
- The Death of Alexander the Great
- Demi Moore
- This Woman Shaved Her Head After Years of Holding Herself Back from the Style She Wanted
- Confessions of a Baldy By Sarah Seward
- How Shaving Your Head Will Free Your Mind
- Question of the day: Why did you shave your head?
- Shaving your head isn’t just a physical action.
- Do I regret it? Am I going to keep it this way?
- The freedom of nothing.
- 43 Women With Super Short & Buzzed Hair Who Define Their Own Femininity — PHOTOS
- 1. Short Locks Can Give You Edge, But Without The Fuss
- 2. Confidence Is Always Key
- 3. Let The Short ‘Do Be Your Final Frontier
- 4. Your Worth Isn’t Measured By Inches
- 5. Short Locks Might Make It Hard For You To Recognize Yourself, In A Good Way
- 6. Find Your Spark
- 7. Move Past Fear
- 8. You Might Learn About Yourself Through The Bold Move
- 9. No Look Can Take Away Your Sexiness
- 10. Shaking Off Limited Beauty Standards Is Important
- 11. Don’t Do Things Just To Make Other People Happy
- 12. Sometimes You Just Have To Lop It Off
- 13. Your Femininity Will Never Be Less Valid
- 14. You Can Leave A Little (Or A Lot) At The Top
- 15. Don’t Be Afraid To Become The Person You Need To Be
- 16. Your Femininity Has Nothing To Do With Your Hair
- 17. This Doesn’t Need To Be A Big Decision
- 18. Sometimes The Idea Can Get You Obsessed
- 19. There Will Be Times When You Regret It, But Only For A Hot Minute
- 20. Believe You’re Beautiful
- 21. You Don’t Need To Be “That Kind” Of Person To Rock It
- 22. Other People’s Reactions Should Never Be A Factor
- 23. Dare To Go Super, Super Short
- 24. Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Dressed-Up Outfits More Interesting
- 25. Define Your Style
- 26. Formal-wear Can Work With Any Haircut
- 27. Leaps Of Faith Pay Off
- 28. Who Says Long Hair Is Feminine, Anyway?
- 29. Big Changes Are Important
- 30. So Is Self-Confidence
- 31. Try To Get Comfortable With Yourself
- 32. And Play With Colors
- 33. Surprises Are Everywhere
- 34. Freedom Of Expression Is Everything
- 35. “Your Hair Will Grow And So Will You”
- 36. Don’t Let Preferences Get In The Way
- 37. Say Goodbye To Security Blankets
- 38. Embrace The Unexpected
- 39. Feel Empowered
- 40. Take On A Daring Persona
- 41. It’s All About Freedom
- 42. Standing Out Is Rad
- 43. Even If You Don’t Like It, It Won’t Last Long
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Yes, I’m a woman and I shaved my head on New Year’s Day | Charlotte Observer
“Do you have a match?” An unlit candle sits in the soapstone dish that will serve as our altar tonight.
My friend Courtney asks if I want still images or video. Courtney is a dear friend and Charlotte native living and working in San Francisco. She and her wife, Amberle, are in town visiting friends and family. On this night, we gather to share in a southern New Year’s Day feast.
As a ritual artist, I am rooted in the knowledge that ritual practice provides bones for the fleshy places in our lives. I knew that a shift like this is the manifestation of deeper revolution, one that begs for a moment of reflection and intention. As Coco Chanel says, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”
The candle is lit. We share a cup of tea made from a blend of healing herbs and massage peppermint oil onto our hands. With a pair of scissors, I cut four small pieces of hair – vocalizing each one as an intention. The four portions of hair are collected into a cloth sack. There’s no road map for this kind of ritual. I create my own from the language and elements that have guided me through the changes of the past year.
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For me, 2017 was about distinguishing who I am from who I “ought” to be. I found an awareness of how often I am surrounded by people, systems and media who exploit my fear, pain and insecurities to sell me “solutions” that generally revolve around the idea that there’s something wrong with me.
The fear that this evokes, the fear of never being enough, of all the terrible things that can happen – this fear that grips my stomach in the middle of the night, asks only that I fall in line, never speak out. This fear is the soundtrack of every moment from my life that told me there would be hell to pay if I refused to play along.
“Be careful what you say and do. We may never love/fund/feature/hire/talk to you again.”
This fear sits at the root of every trauma and every moment in my life where someone tried to cut me down, discard me or invalidate my body and personhood.
For almost a decade, I have wanted to shave my head. Every time I got close, someone came along to tell me why people would judge me, think less of me or why it would keep me from getting hired as a performer. It was all fear. And it worked, for a very long time.
This past year, my travels, coaching, therapy, and experiences introduced me to a community of people who refuse to submit to these systems of hate, antiquated binaries and oppressive logic. From Fort Greene lofts, filled with queer artists of color to Seattle streets, from anti-capitalist Austin book clubs to collective spaces in New Orleans, this undercurrent of change helped me to release my grip on fear, and see myself more clearly.
It is this community that has guided me to this place tonight. As Amberle begins to remove my hair with an electric razor, first in broad strokes and then with more precision around the ears and the nape of the neck, I know I am done making decisions out of fear.
I shave my head because I’m tired of having hair by default or because it’s what’s expected of me. I do it because I don’t want to spend so much time thinking or worrying about the “acceptable” aesthetics of my appearance. I do it because we’re taught that a woman’s value is dependent largely on how she presents herself. I do it because I am breaking away from communities who need me to look a certain way or act a certain way in order to honor my humanity and my work. I shave my head so that everything I do with my hair after this is my choice.
Most of all, I do it because I want to and I’m tired of that reason not being good enough to justify my choices.
Amberle finishes. I put more oil into my hands and work them across my scalp. The feeling is pleasant and strange. My hands recognize the touch of a close cut, but the skin beneath my hair is unaccustomed to that sort of contact.
This past year, I’ve found myself bored by all of the systems, industries and binaries I’m supposed to care about and intrigued by every place where I look over the edge and can’t see the bottom. I realized over and over again that doing a thing that scares you and making your way through to the other side, means you no longer have to fear any hypothetical outcomes.
We pass around the tea, apply more peppermint oil to our hands and extinguish the flame. When I leave, we exchange hugs and I receive a container full of food to take with me. I bundle up and I head out into the new year ready to face anything.
Photos: Brianna Smith
Being A Woman With A Shaved Head: Some Thoughts
Katie FustichFollow May 13, 2018 · 6 min read
To my knowledge, I have never brought a stranger closer to tears than when I arrived at a Supercuts in Chicago and asked the first stylist I saw to shave my waist-length hair into something vaguely resembling a hedgehog.
“But why!” she gasped, mournfully stroking the thick mat of Old World hair. I shrugged, and she proceeded to whisper to the other stylists re: my abomination of a plan. This is not intended to aggrandize my hair as though it were an ancient relic lost to the ages, but a realistic depiction of what a 62-year-old Croatian woman with dyed black hair and chalky eyeliner would say if presented with such a situation. Though the stylists collectively laughed and shook their heads, I was a paying customer and therefore, an hour later, I left, head shorn (and admittedly a bit breezy in the November air).
I had wanted a shaved head for some time. It was an ever-inexplicable urge that drew both guffaws and faintly-impressed nods from those with whom I shared my plan. The strand running through it all was the notion I was somehow making a sacrifice; that I was laying down my femininity in exchange for something hard, invulnerable, and asexual. Perhaps I was challenging myself in some way, or participating in some secret ritual only my heart could explain? Nevermind the freedom from the constraints of hair (particularly: three-foot-long hair) and all of its connotations.
Now, in my quasi-baldness, I don’t claim to be an individual, and in fact I acknowledge my participation in a larger trend. Women/femme individuals are adopting this style at an increasing rate, and one need only to look around a busy intersection in New York City to gather such statistical evidence.
It’s possible, and maybe even likely, that the growing favorability of the femme-shaved-head is directly tied to the current feminist movement. As “women’s liberation” becomes increasingly commercial and commodified, the status quo of what is considered physically radical is pushed towards extremes. So much of the popular discourse surrounding women’s place in 2018 life revolves around appearance (has it ever not?), and the rejection of traditional forms of femininity. Can the shaved head, in some ways, be reduced parallel to the reduction of feminism? If feminism were to merely equal a woman’s place in the world being manipulated to resemble a man’s, as feminist-branded-capitalists may claim, then is a woman’s shaved head merely a symbolic attempt at such a manipulation? It seems as though popular culture would have it so.
In a recent Times piece, fashion editor Vanessa Friedman quotes Princeton-based cultural anthropologist Erin K. Vearncombe. “I don’t think you can ever just shrug it off as a matter of personal expression. Hair is intrinsically linked to assumptions about gender and power relations.” These words are certainly true, as evidenced by the literal legal/political consequences at risk for those with traditional African/African-American hairstyles. I do not aim to reject hair as a political platform, but the context in which it is being evoked: This quote is used to support Friedman’s overall thesis that a woman with a shaved head is, specifically, a symbol of strength; strength offered through masculinization.
The vehicle through which the piece attempts to showcase said thesis is Emma Gonzales, a young woman who rose to prominence for her outspoken anti-gun-violence activism following a mass shooting at her high school in Parkland, Florida. Gonzales’s baldness was the subject of much discussion extrinsic to the Times. One particularly troublesome meme circulated on Twitter, depicting a collage of Gonzales alongside the characters Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road), Eleven (Stranger Things), and Okoye (Black Panther). The collage was captioned “The future is female and it doesn’t have time for styling products.”
Here we have three fictional characters superimposed alongside one very real young woman, yet they are tied together due to the nature of their hair and an implied belief that they have revolutionary capabilities due to their lack of this time-consuming, feminine vestige. While many praised this collection of words and images and all of its implications, there are dangerous unspoken claims being made, beginning with the conflation of the fictional and the real.
Women with shaved heads have served as a trope in film and television nearly as long as the mediums themselves have existed (any number of Joan of Arc movies comes to mind). In nearly every instance, the lack of hair directly correlates to a powerful yet wordless character — every fictional example in the aforementioned meme speaks but a few lines. These characters have trauma often associated with the lack of hair, or in other instances the removal of the hair is shown to be traumatic in itself (V For Vendetta, G.I. Jane). Most importantly: every character and media property thus discussed was written and directed by a man and relies on the patriarchal dynamic that a woman’s power can only come at the expense of herself. This strong, silent, and shaved-headed woman is a uniquely male conception.
Gonzales, while indeed strong, is far from silent, far from stoic, and far from letting her trauma physically define her. This is where the disconnect between a woman’s hair and the culture attempting to interpret her is taking place.
The opposite of the invulnerability one may assume based on these cues from entertainment, in reality the experience of being a woman with a shaved head is one of great vulnerability. Not hardness, but its opposite. Rather than rejecting femininity outright, shaving my head has served as an opportunity to explore and understand my womanhood beyond its traditional signifiers. Having a shaved head offers you very little escape from yourself, and has served to heighten my own self-interpretation.
In some ways, I feel more feminine than ever — or have at least better come to understand the forms that femininity evokes within myself. This takes both positive and negative shapes — shapes of bliss and shapes of reckoning with the doubt of my being and tracing it back to something as frivolous as hair.
Shaving one’s head is analogous to a softening, a calming; a desire to center oneself and connect internally in new ways. It is not an antisocial rejection but an opening of oneself to a new way of living.
Thus, I reject that the blossoming trend of the shaved head runs parallel to an increase in femme aggression. Admitting so would mean that the work of feminism is only serving to create new power structures based on the same artificial power. Women are shaving their heads because we aim and need to create spaces in which our relationships with each other are based on realness, rawness; fairness and unadornment. We wish to be seen. If cutting our hair will allow us to feel that world brushing across our cheek like a cool breeze from time to time, so be it.
Find this essay and more in Katie Fustich’s debut essay collection, On Love and Communism, now available to order.
On Love and Communism, $9.99.
The turning point in Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-nominated Les Misérables performance occurs after she sells her teeth for money, but before she begins to sell sex. “Life has killed the dream I dreamed,” Hathaway sings, followed by the actress’s real hair getting “hacked” off. The experience, Hathaway says, was among the most intense of her acting career: “I’ve now done backflips out of windows. I’ve jumped off buildings. And cutting my hair reduced me to, like, mental patient-level crying. I was inconsolable.”
A woman’s hair has historically been one of the most emotionally and socially fraught parts of her body (no easy feat), located at the nexus of identity, sexuality, and control. In the Book of Isaiah, God punishes the excessively sexy women of Zion by “making their scalps bald.” In medieval Europe, knocking a woman’s cap off her head to reveal her hair was considered a type of sexual assault. Even in modernity, sexual shame may be tied to hair: Earlier this month, Japanese pop singer Minami Minegishi posted a Youtube video in which she tearfully apologized for being seen exiting her boyfriend’s apartment — and then, to prove her penitence, shaved off all her hair. (AKB48, the 87-person girl group Minegishi belongs to, prohibits smoking and significant others.)
Removing one’s own hair, however, can signify empowerment, a rejection of social norms. Figures like Grace Jones and Sinead O’Connor use their shorn heads to announce a willful rejection of mainstream femininity. But even when actresses like Hathaway discard their coifs in the name of their art, they are thought of as self-sacrificing. Head-shaving — like wearing a nose prosthesis orspeaking in a British accent for the duration of a film — is a sign of commitment. “What you see on screen was a little bit of a mixture of my real emotion and acting,” Hathaway explains, noting that she had one rule: “If it doesn’t grow back, CGI.”
From Queen Elizabeth’s wig to Britney’s meltdown to Grace Jones’s defiant buzz, click to see our guide to the most badass (and occasionally heartbreaking) baldies in history.
Photo: Courtesy photo
Anne Hathaway’s shaved head may pay off with an Oscar, but the act of cutting it reduced the gamine actress “to, like, mental-patient-level crying. I was inconsolable.” Her personal hairstylist shaved her head live during the shooting of Les Misérables. The 30-year-old actress told Radar, “When I eventually looked in the mirror I just thought I looked like my gay brother.”
Photo: Arte & Immagini/Corbis
St. Rose of Lima
In the late sixteenth century, Rose of Lima was the first saint born in the Americas. She was devoted to suffering. As a young woman, Rose thwarted sexual attention by shaving her head and smearing pepper on her face. Later in her life, she wore a metal spiked crown concealed with roses every day, and slept on a bed of broken glass every night. Here, head-shaving is both sexless and selfless.
Cleopatra’s history has been the subject of almost constant revision, even while she was alive. She probably wasn’t bitten by a snake, nor did she seduce men by falling naked out of rugs. Modern depictions from Liz Taylor onward show Cleopatra as a light-skinned woman with a full head of square-shaped hair. But like most Egyptians of her time, she probably shaved her head, then wore a wig of tight curls over it.
Grace Jones continually tries to defy gendered and sexual norms, especially with her hairstyle. She sported a traditionally male flat top in the James Bond movie A View to Kill, and routinely shaves her head. There was once a rumor she lived on cocaine and oysters. When the Guardian reported in 2010 that Jones had switched to red wine and oysters, Grace rebutted, “You don’t do oysters and red wine together. That’s a no-no, you just don’t do that. I love a nice white wine with oysters.”
Lady Gaga — who, Grace Jones once said, “pissed off” for copying her style — shaved the back of her head this year as a tribute to Terry Richardson’s deceased mother. Then, at a party for the launch of her perfume, she got a tattoo on the shaved part in front of a room of people she invited to touch her hand. The tattoo is of an angel wearing a crown.
Photo: Edie Baskin/Corbis
The “Nothing Compares 2 U” Singer has almost always worn her head shaved, mostly to “defy old-school rules about women,” according to the LA Times. She once told a reporter, “I don’t feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I’m an old lady, I’m going to have it.”
Queen Elizabeth I
Though Cate Blanchett’s portrayal in Elizabeth shows the queen shedding her red hair to prove her devotion to state, it is difficult to know what, exactly, the imperious Queen Elizabeth I looked like — and whether she had hair. “Many painters have done portraits of the Queen but none has sufficiently shown her looks or charms,” her secretary of state Robert Cecil noted. “Her Majesty, in the meantime, forbids the showing of any portraits which are ugly until they are improved.” A bout of smallpox at age 30 heightened Elizabeth’s self-consciousness and allegedly led her to use white lead makeup to cover her scars. Both the lead and the disease could have caused her baldness. Some historians believe her baldness was merely legend; the Earl of Essex once claimed he saw a 60-something Queen Elizabeth with “her hair all-about her ears.”
Photo: Everett Collection
Bette Davis shaved her hairline both times she played Queen Elizabeth I, in 1939’s The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and 1955’s The Virgin Queen. New York Times critic Bosley Crowther described her baldness with revulsion and awe: “er prominent noggin looks like an ostrich egg, surmounted by a thoroughly startling and incredible orange-colored wig. From behind all this ornamentation, Miss Davis projects a thing that seems part man, part woman, part monster, part suppliant and part freak.” Davis also subjected herself to old-age makeup and hair loss for 1944’s Mr. Skeffington, about a vain woman who loses her looks. Of that movie, the snide Bosley Crowther wrote, “Never, in our recollection, has Miss Davis devoted so much work to a character of so little importance as the one she plays in this film. And never has make-up borne so plainly the dramatic responsibilities of a show. … As an exercise in female frippery, this picture has its points. But you have to accept the original premise that Miss Davis is irresistible to men.”
Photo: HENRY ROMERO/Reuters/Corbis
Miss Tanzania 2007
In 2007, Flaviana Matata was the first woman to compete in the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant with a shaved head. Matata came in sixth and is now a model in New York.
Photo: Banks/Splash News/Corbis
In 2007, possibly in a half-baked effort to avoid a drug test, Britney Spears shaved her own head in a Tarzana, California, hair salon as the world watched in fascination. (Strands of her shorn hair reached 1 million dollars on eBay before the auction was removed because the hair could not be verified as Britney’s.) Seeing Spears strip herself of hair in a moment of emotional duress seemed to crystallize her breakdown for the public. One psychologist speculated on theToday show that Spears was trying to “stay away from men a little while,” while others interpreted her actions as “a major form of acting out.” For her part, Spears told photographers she was “tired of everybody touching me.”
Photo: Public Domain
The Bangs Sisters and Their Bald Cat
Early twentieth-century spiritualists the Bangs Sisters (or the Notorious Bangs Sisters as they were eventually known) were “widely known” for their slightly shady practices for contacting “the other world,” according to a 1908 report in the New York Times. The Bangs Sisters’ act involved a hairless cat they called a “spirit kitten,” the appearance of which represented presences from beyond. Lack of hair made the cat seem believably ghostly. Later, they became famous for “spirit paintings,” i.e., portraits of dead people they had never met.
Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Will Smith’s 11-year-old daughter, who achieved viral fame with a song called “Whip Your Hair,” shaved her head last year. The Internet predictably went berserk, with some bloggers wondering if the move was an “attention-getting ploy.” Mother Jada Pinkett Smith defended her daughter on Facebook: “Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires.”
Photo: Kurt Krieger/Corbis
Natalie Portman shaved her head to play an anarchist in the 2005 film V for Vendetta, then kept it that way for several months. Portman called her new haircut “pretty fun” and used her new, slightly more badass image to great effect when she parodied herself on SNL in a skit called “Natalie Raps.” Her short hair allowed her both to lampoon her good-girl reputation and to defy it believably.
In response to a Facebook campaign, Mattel made a bald version of Barbie this year, which they will donate directly to cancer hospitals. Bald Barbie was a minor cause célèbre. The Vatican’s official newspaper pleaded for Mattel to mass-produce the doll in their newspaper, though the clergy also took the opportunity to criticize the iconic toy for representing “plastic beauty and vacuous blondeness.”
Photo: Rob Kim/Retna Ltd./Corbis
Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend and Wiz Khalifa’s current paramour has continually rocked a shaved head for the duration of her public life. Not that the appeal was universal. Kanye, like all bad ex-boyfriends in history, apparently once told her he “didn’t like her hair” and “didn’t like her dress.” After he apologized during a concert, Amber Rose responded, “He was an asshole. He was. I feel like he gets that now, and he’s remorseful about being an asshole to me.”
Natalie Darryl had waist-length hair that was shaved completely off when she appeared in her one and only movie, The Girl From the Kremlin. This movie, by the way, is tremendous. It asks the question: What if Stalin faked his own death and moved to Greece? Then it asks another question: What if Zsa Zsa Gabor plays twins, and one of them is Stalin’s nurse, and the other one is looking for Stalin? In case you’re curious, here’s the scene.
The Women of Zion
Among the earliest women to go bald out of sexual shame were the women of Zion, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The Lord announces in Isaiah 3:16 that women of Zion are “haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.” So the Lord “made their scalps bald” and “snatch away their finery,” including perfume, veils, anklets, and nose rings. “Instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.”
Photo: Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis
Charles the Bald
In 875 AD, a new holy Roman emperor ascended to the throne by the name of Charles the Bald. However, this epithet might have been used ironically. According to Time, contemporary depictions show Charles the Bald as quite hairy all over. Charles was evidently not a very nice man — he blinded his son Carloman — but quite virile, fathering fifteen children with two wives.
The usually redheaded woman sometimes known as Miranda kept getting a five o’clock shadow when she shaved her head for last year’s Broadway production of Wit, a play about cancer. “I thought it was kind of gonna be no muss, no fuss, but I have to shave it every day!” Nixon told Kelly Ripa.
The Death of Alexander the Great
When Alexander the Great passed suddenly after a quick and debilitating illness, many of his different kingdoms reacted strongly to his death. Sisygambis, a woman in Alexander’s court, starved to death out of grief. Subjects of an entire kingdom shaved their heads as a sign of despair. Alexander himself was eventually laid to rest in a golden coffin.
Photo: Frank Trapper/Sygma/Corbis
Before Ashton Kutcher and Vito Schnabel were a glimmer in her eye, Demi Moore was married to Bruce Willis and shaved her head for the lead role in G.I. Jane, a flop of a movie about a woman who joins the Army. Moore won a Razzie for worst actress for her role, but was committed to it, even hosting a “shave your dome” party at a nightclub. Vintage gossip: Bruce never once visited the G.I. Jane set the entire time Demi was filming.
This Woman Shaved Her Head After Years of Holding Herself Back from the Style She Wanted
Photo: Chayapon Bootboonneam / EyeEm / Getty Images
Posting your new haircut on social media is practically expected these days. You feel pretty, and your friends confirm that you are, indeed, fabulous. And then everyone moves on to the next baby snap or unicorn smoothie pic. But when Tricia Minnick recently posted her fresh new look on Facebook, it caused a much bigger stir-not necessarily because of her hair but rather the lack of it. The Austin, TX, mom shaved her head, and no, before you ask, she doesn’t have cancer and she isn’t going through some Girl Interrupted mental crisis. Her new buzz cut, it turns out, has little to do with her hair and everything to do with her body.
“I’ve wanted to shave my head for almost 20 years,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “But, I’ve also been fat for almost my entire life, and society tells fat girls that they can’t do whatever they want with their hair.”
The fact that society has ~opinions~ on how women should wear their hair shouldn’t surprise you. Images of long, flowing locks are everywhere, proclaiming that this is what’s beautiful and sexy. And while there’s nothing wrong with getting extensions or rocking a butt-length braid if that’s what makes you feel awesome, there isn’t a ton of room for other variations on “pretty” hair. Going short (even shoulder-length-gasp!) is somehow viewed as going rogue or something you do after a big breakup or life change. Add to that the judgment reserved for anyone who is overweight and you get a perfect storm of body shaming. The subliminal message is that if you absolutely must have short hair, then you’d better look like Cara Delevingne to pull it off; larger ladies need not apply. (The short hair judgment even reaches as far as children’s sports, like when this girl was disqualified from a soccer match for looking like a boy.)
But Tricia was done with this nonsense. So when her husband came home last week with his head shaved, at first she was jealous of his freedom to do whatever he liked with his body. But then, she says, it inspired her to do the same.
Shaving her head was the culmination of years of hair-hate, she says. Even though she’s always had what others considered “great hair”-thick, bouncy, and fast-growing-she never loved it herself. “I always wanted to be bald. I’m not sure of the exact moment that the desire was born, but I can look back to my early teen years and remember dreaming about shaving my head.”
Tricia grew up in a home where long hair was considered ideal or even revered. Her mother always kept her hair long because it was her father’s preference, and she says that even as a child she hated this idea of women molding themselves to a man’s ideal. At 16, she got a short haircut, but while she felt liberated, family members told her she “looked like a boy” and questioned her femininity.
So she grew it back out, and for a while, tried her best to fit into the beauty norms, changing her clothing and makeup, and always experimenting with her hair-trying different cuts and colors. “I tried hairstyle after hairstyle and loathed every single one,” she says. “I would explain to the stylist that I need something to make me feel like…me. And no matter how technically lovely the cut was, I would sit in my car afterward and cry.” Tricia even lost weight to reach a size she felt was more “acceptable.” Even then she didn’t feel like shaving her head was an option.
“I was thin and no longer had people cautioning me that short hair would make my face look fuller, but when I mentioned shaving my head, or even cutting my hair short, people would get visibly upset and tell me I was much too pretty to have a shaved head,” she says. “I was in the best shape of my life, for once I had control of my demons, but I couldn’t shake the ties that bound my hair to my femininity.”
Many years and many not-quite-right haircuts later, she found herself as an adult who not only hated her hair but hated her body and even herself. She’d regained the weight she’d lost and had given up on makeup and fashion. “I was never going to have that dainty feminine figure and if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I felt like a failure as a woman,” she says.
And then came that day her husband shaved his head as if it wasn’t any big deal…because it wasn’t a big deal. “Something clicked in my brain,” she says. “I have two young boys who are watching me. I actively work with them to dispel bullsh*t gender norms. I celebrate my 3-year-old son who finds joy in wearing twirly skirts. I encourage my 9-year-old to express himself in whichever way makes him happy, even if it’s different from everyone else. And yet, I wasn’t living that truth for myself.”
So after two decades of waiting, Tricia gathered her family and handed her husband the razor. It was time. As her hair piled up in the sink, her boys cheered her on and her confidence grew. “My 3-year-old excitedly proclaimed, ‘Mommy, you look beautiful!'” she says. “And in that moment, I realized I had never felt more beautiful or more alive. I was free.” (Related: These Women Show Why the #LoveMyShape Movement Is So Freakin’ Empowering)
The reaction to Tricia’s bold cut has been overwhelmingly positive, but even if it wasn’t she says it doesn’t matter. She didn’t shave her head for anyone else. For the first time in her life, she got a haircut purely to make herself happy.
“I don’t know if I’ll stay bald forever, but I do know that shaving my head has been an incredibly healing experience,” she says. “I feel strong. I feel joyful. And I feel a connection with myself as a woman that I feared I had lost. It turns out, my femininity doesn’t come from hair or from some other physical attribute, it comes from inside of me.”
- By Charlotte Hilton Andersen @CharlotteGFE
Confessions of a Baldy By Sarah Seward
May 21, 2015 · 5 min read
“It is only hair, you will be just fine.” Five years later, that phrase still rings in my head. Is hair just hair? To this day, that is the question I struggle with daily. Society has led us to believe that men will only love us if we have long, flowing locks. We can’t turn on the radio without hearing someone singing about hair flips and whips and heaven forbid we be able to watch a commercial without it emphasizing a woman’s perfect hair.
Our focus on hair isn’t limited to the length, either. We even have stereotypes on hair color. “A blonde, a brunette and a redhead walked into a bar…” The classic blonde joke. Can brunettes not have more fun and can redheads not have a brain fart every now and again? Society has branded hair as the image of beauty, power, intellect and, sadly, self-confidence.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. My body attacks my hair follicles causing my hair to fall out. Before being told I had alopecia, I knew nothing about this horrid disease. All I knew was that my long, curly, majestic hair was falling out in the shower more than normal, so to be pro-active, I made a doctor’s appointment. Who knows, maybe my thyroid was out of whack? Flash forward to a few days later when the doctor handed me horribly graphic pictures of hair loss. I was still digesting those photos when he looked me dead in the eyes and said the most selfish statement anyone could make in that moment: “It is just hair.” To him, maybe, but under the circumstances I wanted to test him. What if I pulled out a pair of clippers and shaved his head? Would his response be the same? To me, my hair was more than that. It was my identity. It was my source of creativity, it was what I used to find ways to cover my chubby face on days I felt fat and it was my lifeline.
Two weeks after being diagnosed, my hair all fell out. I did not leave bed. I cried tears that lead to rivers. I even questioned something I never had before: my existence. If it hadn’t been for my support team, I may never have gotten out of that bed. Even now, five years post-diagnosis, they keep me going. They dance with me during my successes and lay down next to me when I’ve been knocked down. And, trust me, that support system is essential, because the most horrific thing about my disease is the most painless part about it: hair loss. My hair continues to fall out in circular patches all over my head and starts to grow back on its own terms until it is ready to bid adieu again. My body is at a continuous war with itself. I repeatedly get sick, my lymph nodes in my armpits swell to the size of golf balls, I experience pain throughout my body and when my body inevitably surrenders, my hair soon departs. Alopecia is not only physical; it is a brutal, unrelenting mind game. I like to refer to those of us with Alopecia as warriors. We crawl out of our beds every morning to face the attacks our bodies will put us through and every single day we suffer the ignorance of our peers’ thoughtless and hurtful comments.
One afternoon, I was standing in the grocery store, contemplating what I was going to make for dinner that evening and I overheard one woman as she leaned down to her child and said, “Don’t you ever cut your hair like that; people will never take you seriously.” Or there was that time while working in a salon when my boss casually mentioned that I should wear wigs so that my clients would feel less uncomfortable. She didn’t want them to feel like I couldn’t do hair since, you know, I didn’t have any. The most common (and most uncomfortable) is when people feel the need to jump to conclusions and apologize to you — for having cancer.
People say things without thinking twice. We tend to use the word “understand” far too often. It’s quite the opposite. As a whole, empathy is often harder to come by. Because we are often lacking in the “empathy” department, curiosity is even more important. We need to seek to learn about the unknown instead of shutting it out or brushing it off. That is why I get out of bed every morning: to educate and to inform. I believe I was diagnosed with this terribly selfish disease for a reason and that is to help show others the true meaning of “beauty.” I want to be able to show others that we are so much more than our appearance.
These days, I give myself a time frame of how long my pity party can last because I want to start my mornings strong and fearless. When asked how to describe myself, I no longer classify myself by my physical characteristics. How awful does it sound to say, “I am Sarah Seward. I’m the bald, tall, fat girl?” It reeks of someone who lacks in self-acceptance. Today I am Sarah Seward, a confident woman with a smile that lights up a room and the drive to do my part to change this world. I am more determined than ever to demonstrate that being beautiful has little to do with your physical appearance. As women, we are more than the cookie cutter images that have been drilled in our brains since we were young girls. Once you stop searching for acceptance from others and embrace who you are, your world will change.
Our flaws do not label us. I am not bald and beautiful. I am beautiful and happen to be bald.
Sarah Seward is part of the team that lobbied the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to gain more funding for Alopecia research. She has worked closely with Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and her team to bring awareness to the disease.
Princess Art Image Credit: Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros
How Shaving Your Head Will Free Your Mind
Ever since I was young, I was adventurous. Now all my hair is gone.
I have a problem.
That problem is that I have a million ideas, but no specific focus or outlet for making them become reality.
Sometimes this leads to me making rash decisions.
This means that I plant a ton of seeds, and wait to see which ones take root.
Sure, occasionally I accidentally stomp on some while I’m watering others — but the point is, after a while the best of ideas somehow push through the soil into the sunlight.
Most recently? I shaved my head.
Question of the day: Why did you shave your head?
I’ve had a lot of people ask me, eyebrows raised, why on earth did I shave my head?
Am I planning on keeping it this way?
Do I like it?
Do I know I look like a boy?
Shaving my head was a decision I made, like most of them, without really understanding why I was making that decision.
There’s plenty of pros to having a shaved head — easy maintenance, cheaper hair cuts, +10 resistance to heat, and not having that claustrophobic feeling that you get from your hair on the bad days.
There’s also plenty of cons to having a shaved head (as a woman). I look like a cancer patient to some people. I get mistaken as a guy when people fail to realize that my boob-to-body ratio doesn’t make sense for a booby fat guy. People can also be pretty blunt about telling you they don’t like it when a woman shaves her head.
So… why did I actually go through with it?
Shaving your head isn’t just a physical action.
It’s not just a physical thing when a woman shaves her head.
There’s a lot of social and environmental aspects that are going to play a role, no matter how removed you think you are from those sorts of things.
As I’ve considered shaving my head in post-action, I’ve decided that it was kind of a game.
“What if I shaved my head? How would people would react?”
It also feels pretty hardcore to me, and I like the idea of being hardcore.
It was a way to prove to myself that I can do anything. If I have the guts to shave my head in the face of all the perceived tribulations… if I can take the zing out of something that many people view as a sign of social craziness… then what can’t I do at that point?
As someone with visions of contributing to humanity on a global level, that’s an empowering feeling.
That, plus a pleasant shock factor, all contributed to my ultimate decision of shaving my head.
Do I regret it? Am I going to keep it this way?
I haven’t regretted the decision for a moment.
Sure, a few elderly folks have had full conversations with me without realizing I was a girl (my tomboy wardrobe sure doesn’t help) and I’ve confused many a small child while walking into the women’s restroom, but all said and done I have really enjoyed having no hair.
Initially, I was planning on growing it back out from that first shave… but I’ve since bought a Wahl razor and kept it buzzed down to about 1/4” most of the time.
I don’t have a plan for it, but right now it’s looking like short hair is here to stay.
The freedom of nothing.
Shaving what was left of my hair seems to have been an act of rebellion, the resolution of an epiphany in which I realized I’m sick of dealing with stuff — my hair included.
(My physical items have been proving harder to get rid of, but I’m working on it.)
To be honest, my daily life doesn’t really seem to be impacted other than having to spend zero time on my hair in the morning.
But often enough, I think to myself: You can do anything you want.
And that’s enough.
UPDATE: 2 years later.
43 Women With Super Short & Buzzed Hair Who Define Their Own Femininity — PHOTOS
There are so many women with short hairstyles these days who not only look knock-out gorgeous, but who probably make you want to pick up a pair of scissors immediately. So have you ever debated taking the plunge and chopping off all of your locks to sport a cropped ‘do? What’s stopping you? If you’re worried you can’t pull it off, that a pixie will somehow invalidate your femininity, that short cuts are only for certain types of face shapes, or that you won’t be able to style it in different ways, fear not. The truth is that anyone and everyone can rock the hell out of a short pixie or even a buzz cut if they feel so inclined.
While it’s true that you can’t necessarily create interesting up-dos or elaborate braids when you’re only working with two inches of hair, there are other alternatives for styling your mane in fun and different ways. Granted, the chopped-off look is popular with the bros, but that doesn’t mean you’ll look like a frat boy the instant you sport something that hovers above your ear — unless that’s the look you’re going for, in which case, please rock on.
The idea that we “can’t pull something off” is usually all in our heads. But anyone can make a trend or look work for them, as long as they incorporate it in with their personal style. Below are 43 women who don super short hairstyles, all of them in their own unique ways. And the lessons they can teach us.
1. Short Locks Can Give You Edge, But Without The Fuss
Can’t handle spending hours styling your hair into something interesting? Then the pixie is for you. Netta Cabell tells me via email, “One day I woke up with a certain urge to start wearing my hair in its natural state and also shave my sides. Giving me some ‘edge’ while also allowing me to get up and go!”
2. Confidence Is Always Key
Soraya Verheul’s advice to women uncertain as to whether they can pull this ‘do off? “Many women think that they would be less attractive while this isn’t the case. Confidence is key!”
3. Let The Short ‘Do Be Your Final Frontier
Sylva’s inspiration for cutting off her hair? She said that she dyed it every color imaginable, sported a variety of haircuts, but the one look she never dared to try before was the buzz cut. “It was kind of the final frontier for me in terms of hairstyles, so I had to give it a go.”
4. Your Worth Isn’t Measured By Inches
Melody Riders loves her super short crop because she believes “a woman’s value is not measured by the length of her hair or any other physical feature.” Why not go wild?
5. Short Locks Might Make It Hard For You To Recognize Yourself, In A Good Way
Jay Peitzer, a hairstylist in Los Angeles, loves specializing in short cuts because he finds the look self-assured and striking. He tells me via email, “I enjoy doing the large changes and helping to bring things out in women that often they don’t know they possess. A confidence and beauty that shines from within. I love when they see themselves for the first time as a short haired girl and say that they don’t even recognize themselves… very often that is true for the inner self as well as the outer.” Here, Tiffany Alice definitely looks like she’s got all the confidence.
6. Find Your Spark
Kate Welch had an asymmetrical undercut for years, but the novelty wore off. This was the next step in growing it out. But now that her hair is all the same length, Welch isn’t ready to change it. “I don’t really want to grow it out! It’s extremely low-maintenance, suits my face shape, and if I get tired of it, WIGS.”
7. Move Past Fear
It’s not like every woman with a sassy haircut was ready for those scissors. Sometimes you just have to hold your breath, scrunch your eyes, and take the risk. Rebecca Steele points out, “Cutting my hair was a terrifying prospect when I had hair down to my bottom! But it’s liberating! Anyone can rock a pixie; I feel feminine and sassy, and had nothing but compliments.”
8. You Might Learn About Yourself Through The Bold Move
Brianne swears by the short haircut because she’s not one to hide behind anything. She shares, “Hair grows back, but the things you learn about yourself, when you stop living behind your hair are forever. Trust me it’s very freeing!”
9. No Look Can Take Away Your Sexiness
There’s likely a reason so many models have long, curly locks — it’s a sexy look. But that doesn’t mean that the opposite is not sexy. Brenna Womer tells me, “I’ve always loved pixie cuts and thought I’d have a lot of fun with one, but it wasn’t until about six months ago I realized the reason I wasn’t getting the cut was because I was afraid that without my long hair I wouldn’t be ‘sexy.’ I think the moment you realize fear is keeping you from doing something you really want to do, you have to take the plunge. I fell in love with the style, and now I can’t imagine ever going back.”
10. Shaking Off Limited Beauty Standards Is Important
Limited beauty standards are just that: Limiting. But if you do something to defy them, you’ll hopefully learn that there are so many other ways to feel beautiful. Lena Taryanik says, “Growing up I’ve always conformed to what society and others expected me to look like. it’s just hair. It doesn’t define us. I stopped hiding behind it and chopped it off. Because of my openness for change, I now feel more beautiful, confident, and more liberated than ever before.”
11. Don’t Do Things Just To Make Other People Happy
Jessica Zurell first cut her hair off in the dorm bathroom her freshman year of college and it was one of the most liberating things she’s ever done. Since then she’s had many women tell her they can’t pull off that kind of cut, that their partners wouldn’t like it, etc., and this is what she tells them: “If you’re keeping your hair long to keep other people happy, you have a bigger problem than just your hair. We should always do the things we’re afraid of.”
12. Sometimes You Just Have To Lop It Off
Sometimes cutting our hair is the best thing for our locks. In I’na Saulsbery’s case, she had to change her ‘do by default. She explains, “I had severe heat damage and after waiting almost a year for my natural curl pattern to return, it became quite evident it wasn’t going to happen. So without hesitation, I went to my hairstylist and asked her to do the honors. I’m so glad I did.”
13. Your Femininity Will Never Be Less Valid
A buzz cut doesn’t take away your girly personality — it’ll still shine through! Moe Williams wanted to rock this style since the seventh grade. She tells me, “The mix of wanting to fix my overdone bleached hair and also crush the idea that women have to have long hair is why I finally did it.” And crush she did.
14. You Can Leave A Little (Or A Lot) At The Top
Do you like a lot of hair around your face, hence your hesitation? Try buzzing the bottom half and then leaving a lot on top to play with and frame your eyes. That way you can still rock the short look, but have the volume that you’re used to.
15. Don’t Be Afraid To Become The Person You Need To Be
For Ashley Jagmohan, lopping off her hair was the perfect way for her to transition into a new stage of her life. There’s nothing like a new haircut to make you feel like a new person. She shares, “I had really long hair growing up that I hated and had just reached my 20s when I decided to cut my hair. I was going through a transition in my life and stuck with it ever since!”
16. Your Femininity Has Nothing To Do With Your Hair
A lot of women worry about chopping off their hair because they think it’ll make them look too boyish. But that’s not true! Giany Franco shares her experience. “The most fun thing about being a woman is that we’re able to play with different looks! Femininity is not about how long our hair is; it’s all about your attitude.”
17. This Doesn’t Need To Be A Big Decision
Sometimes when you hear about women buzzing all their hair off, you hear about how it took a lot of thought and contemplation. But sometimes, chopping off your hair isn’t such a big deal. Kat Wittig tells me, “Hair grows, life is short.”
18. Sometimes The Idea Can Get You Obsessed
When Casja Wessberg got the idea to cut off her hair, she literally couldn’t wait an extra moment to do it. Casja says, “I had been thinking of cutting off my long hair for a while because I had this terrible bleach, but I wanted to wait until after mid-summer (you know that Swedish tradition where you and all the family dance around this big pole covered in flowers?). But in the middle of the celebration I couldn’t wait any longer. I snuck out and cut it off over the green grass. When I came back my grandmother was so shocked.” How absolutely perfect is that?
19. There Will Be Times When You Regret It, But Only For A Hot Minute
Sometimes the drastic change could put you into temporary shock. But it doesn’t usually last long. Annette Kemp tells me, “At first I was shocked and unhappy with myself for making the decision. I felt I looked like a little alien and everyone was staring all the time. But after a while I started feeling edgy and daring and now I can’t ever see myself with long hair again.”
20. Believe You’re Beautiful
When you don’t have something to hide behind (like long locks), you might begin to appreciate how beautiful you are. Haley Corn says, “Since shaving my head, I’ve never felt more confident. There’s something about throwing beauty standards out the window and actually just believing you’re beautiful that makes you feel so alive.”
21. You Don’t Need To Be “That Kind” Of Person To Rock It
Sometimes we’re hesitant to try a certain trend or style because we think we’re not the “type of person” to pull it off. But that’s never true. Francesca Di Valerio explains, “Shaving my head was one of the funniest thing I’ve ever done in my life. You don’t have to be perfect to rock the buzzcut or the super short cut, you just have to feel like doing it.”
22. Other People’s Reactions Should Never Be A Factor
How many times have you wanted to do something fun, but stopped yourself because you were worried about how others would react or judge you? Just imagine how many fun things you have probably stopped yourself from enjoying because of that mentality. Mia Munini offers, “Don’t be afraid of people’s reaction, be curious to find yourself happy in a whole new level. It’s your head, your body, your happiness, your choice.”
23. Dare To Go Super, Super Short
Hell, go all the way. Meagan Williams cut her hair because it was time for a change. She says, “I’ve built confidence with my short hair and I love to just wake up and go without doing much to it. Plus the cool thing about hair is that it grows back.” So, go for it!
24. Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Dressed-Up Outfits More Interesting
Having a short ‘do might help you create more interesting formal outfits because you can no longer rely on curls or braided up-dos as accessories. Williams shares, “I think short hair makes every outfit more interesting especially formal wear. If I’m getting ready to go to an event that requires formal wear, I enjoy trying on dresses and using jewelry to create a unique look.”
25. Define Your Style
The way we wear our hair can also affect what we wear on our bodies. Williams shares, “I know my hair affects my style which is why I enjoy wearing it short. It accentuates my natural beauty and I believe my hair brings life to my outfits and creates a more edgy look especially when it’s colored. My hair is an essential part of me and I love it!”
26. Formal-wear Can Work With Any Haircut
Never think that a formal dress can’t work with a pixie. It’s just as good as any up-do. Kemp says, “I think it creates a whole new look from the ‘formal princess look’ we’re used to and I love it. It’s liberating going against societal norms and taking back your femininity and reinventing it!”
27. Leaps Of Faith Pay Off
Jennifer Wright wasn’t sure she could pull off her look, but she went for it anyway. She tells me, “I went from a grown-out pixie cut to this 1920s bob style, which I’ve never had before. I wasn’t sure if it would suit my round face, but I’ve never had so many compliments on a haircut! So any ladies not sure about going for the chop, I would say go for it, as your perfect haircut could be waiting for you!”
28. Who Says Long Hair Is Feminine, Anyway?
What, exactly, about long hair is so “feminine?” Why is there only one standard for femininity — and who’s in charge of deciding these things? Franziska Herberg tells me, “I think more girls should cut their hair in a shorter way because it looks feminine and really no need to have long hair in our generation.”
29. Big Changes Are Important
Do you feel like you have a new personality and need your outside to match the inside? Maybe that crop will help. Anisa Sanusi shares, “For a while I didn’t feel particularly confident with myself. I needed to ‘start again’ and part of that meant looking in the mirror and being able to see the change.”
30. So Is Self-Confidence
When Jette Rybak saw a girl with a buzzed head on TV, she immediately wanted to copy the look. She turned to her boyfriend and asked him to buzz it all off, to which he was rather apprehensive. But according to Rybak, “When he did it, he kissed me and said I looked beautiful. I’d suggest it to any woman who wants to try it — it’s a big step for your self confidence.”
31. Try To Get Comfortable With Yourself
Kemp shares how her cut helped her accept herself, saying, “For a long time I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my face and hair — I think most girls are insecure at some point — and I decided that the only way I could force myself to love my looks was to get rid of all my hair and start over. Looking at yourself in the mirror with no hair makes you have to love yourself anyway!”
32. And Play With Colors
If you’re going to make a statement, make a loud one, amiright? What made Liz decide to give her hair so much amazing personality? She says, “Impulse drove me to cut my hair off, and it’s easy maintenance and the edginess it gave me led me to keep it.”
33. Surprises Are Everywhere
How are you to know if a look suits you or not unless you try it? For Alyssa O’Connor, she felt like short hair fit her to a T. “I feel more me with short hair than any of the many lengths of hair I’ve had in the past. I wanted to feel free again so I cut it all off.”
34. Freedom Of Expression Is Everything
Changing your style (and sense of self) drastically after years of sameness is probably going to feel so freeing. Margie Ashcroft encourages, “I hesitated to cut my hair short in fear that because I was plus size I couldn’t pull it off. Having taken the pixie hair plunge a few years ago I am a huge believer that short hair is definitely a one size fits all look and worth trying out at least once!”
35. “Your Hair Will Grow And So Will You”
Pip Hicken explains her decision beautifully, saying, “I always wanted to shave my head but I was afraid I’d feel ugly and would regret it. Oh was I wrong. It’s a very liberating experience and I feel beautiful with my bald head. If you’re thinking about doing it — do it! Your hair will grow and so will you.”
36. Don’t Let Preferences Get In The Way
Some people like short hair, some people like long hair, and some people like no hair. Don’t stop yourself from trying out a look just because a handful of humans won’t appreciate it. Emma Welch put it best: “Never try to be what you think others expect you to look like.”
37. Say Goodbye To Security Blankets
No hair, no security blanket. It’s just you and your face, and you now have to have the confidence and self-love to flaunt it. Isabelle tells me, “One thing is clear: Short hair will give you more confidence, because you can’t hide behind it!”
38. Embrace The Unexpected
For Sofia Wetterling, the change was a permanent one. She shares, “I’ve had my short hair for about a year now and I’ve never even considered growing it out. It makes me feel brave and I’ve never felt more confident or truly like myself since I cut it.” That’s incredibly awesome.
39. Feel Empowered
There’s something about chopping off all your locks that can make you feel in control and fearless. Aurelia shares, “How long your hair is says nothing about your beauty and I just feel empowered.”
40. Take On A Daring Persona
You know how once you do a scary thing, you then get a taste for boldness? Ellie Sparda points out, “Pixie cuts, in my opinion, are for daring, bold girls who like a cute and easy style to show off to the world!”
41. It’s All About Freedom
Imagine waking up and not having to deal with the stress of long hair. All you have to do is run a hand through it, and you’re done. For Anna Spencer, she can’t get over that fact. She tells me, “It feels freer, and in my opinion, more womanly.”
42. Standing Out Is Rad
In a sea of curls, buns, and braids, a short crop will help you stand out from the rest. Laura Saxler says, “In my opinion, the style is something special and definitely an eye catcher!”
43. Even If You Don’t Like It, It Won’t Last Long
While cutting off all your hair might feel like a big decision, Chelsea Smith wants you to know that it doesn’t have to be so life or death. She shares, “I figured hair always grows back, and if I didn’t like it I would grow it out. Two years later it’s still short, and even with little hair to work with I still find ways to mix it up.”
So whether you’re chopping your mane off because you love the style, want to do something bold, are hoping to learn to accept yourself more, or are just taking a leap of faith, the bottom line is this: If you like the short ‘do, try it out!
Want more fashion and beauty tips? Check out the playlist below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!
If you are craving a bold hairstyle that also reflects a bad-ass personality, then you’ve come to the right place. Shaved hairstyles can be both intimidating and charming at the same time. Shaved hair reflects a very punk-rock style making it a very classy look. Shaved hairs are all the rage these days. From the celebrities on the red carpet to the models on Instagram are rocking this look with utter ease and elegance.
Shaved hairstyle comes in a lot of versions and styles. You can opt for the shaved hairstyle on any kinds of haircuts or hair lengths. You can shave your hair on any side or sides, whichever favors you the most. You can also choose to be playful with the colors, patterns, hair designs, and proportions just the way you like it.
Rocking a shaved hair isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! But the women who have the heart to try it out surely deserve and get the attention and praise they need for the standout allure of a shaved hairdo. Female celebrities like Rihanna, Kate Hudson, Keke Palmer, Angelina Jolie, etc have surely invited a big-time talk for their shaved head moments. So, let’s find you a shaved hairstyle that totally works you!
Blue Pixie Haircut With Shaved Sides
Over the most recent years, pixie haircut has taken a good spin on a edgy hairdo! You can get a pixie haircut and wash it with a blue shade and have you sides shaved. This look is surely hair goals and it looks so edgy, too!
Under-shaving is pretty popular among both men and women. It gives the shaved vibe to the hair, restraining the super strict shaving. The pink bob as shown in the picture is partitioned on the side that has an undercut to it. It looks totally achievable!
On a Bushy Hair
As I mentioned earlier, the shaved hair goes along with any kinds of hairs and patterns, too! Here a short and tightly curled hair with a bushy effect is shown. The hair is undercut given a star-like pattern. The given design actually help the whole shaved head accentuate more.
A Line Shave
Who doesn’t love curls right? You can keep the top-half of your head full of big curls and start the shaved portion from the mid-section of the head. This look is super easy to carry and the lines show off the cool shade of the hair.
An Inverted Lotus
As I said earlier, the shaved hairs can be given any kinds of patterns and designs. Here, the top end of the hair is shaved that looks like an inverted lotus flower! This is one of the most creative shaved hair designs of all time. You gotta love it!
Shaved Side On Asymmetrical Bob
Bobs are the new talk of the town. They look very classy and stylish. Bob with a shaved side is all you need to walk out that door and feel confident and fierce. The brown undertone really goes very well with the blonde highlight. You should definitely try this hairstyle for a change.
Short Layered Hair
Next up we have a short layered hair with cool ash tones. Here, the ash hue really comes out together with the layers and the undercut down below. This is a signature hairdo of Ruby Rose, the Batwoman!
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how stunning this hairstyle looks! The blonde cornrows fall from the top of the head leaving the sides of the front shaved cleanly. This look has a great potential for leaving people in awe!
Side and under Cut
One of the most poplar hairstyles that is easy to manage and go along with is definitely a short hair with trimmed sides and back. The side cut and the undercut bring out a flashy element to the whole outlook.
Another cool example of shaved hair goes to the fascinating and flowing back bob with one side shaved. This actually is a great hairstyle for young women with medium size hair. First, get a nice stacked bob, then get a side shave to standout from the crowd.
Very Short Black Pixie
Pixie haircut seems to do all the favors for a short hair. Yo can get a pixie haircut on placed on the very top and shave your hair all around your head. This look is the rock-bottom of the shaved hairs to make you look edgy and punk-alike!
On a Faux Locs
Getting a faux locs has become a great trend to follow these days. You can get these locs and look more dashing with one side shave. If you want a fierce look once and for all, then this will be a perfection for your persona!
The perfect mix of a vintage classic hairstyle and a punk-rock shaved hairstyle. The floppy curled pouf on the top of the head is accompanied by an all-round shave. The bold makeup accentuates the presentation of the whole look. Are you ready to try out this winning combo of a hair?!
Shaved Side On a Long Hair
Even the longest of hairs can have a fling of affair with a shaved side. The shaved side comes out really well with a long hair, doesn’t it? To get the same effect, try out the Gothic makeup texture and accessories.
Caramel Bob and Undercuts
Caramel is a rich shade that actually brings out any skin tone in the spotlight. I am loving this hairstyle with a short and edgy bob and side undercut. You can get the same doble lines for a slightly extra look.
Next in the line we have an anime inspired shaved haircut. The long brown hair is given a side shave in a beautiful design that seems to look like a stylish blade with two sharp ends. As sharp the blade is, the whole hair look seems to be equally sharper, too!
Shaved hair on a Bun
For a slight change of style this season, yo can add an undercut to the shaved sides of your hair. I really love this look as it shows off the face and the whole hairstyle without any kinds of disturbances. Add a high pony or a bun as shown in the picture to show the shaved hair perfectly.
Long Beachy Waves
I am absolutely digging the combo of the long beachy waves and the shaved hair on the sides. You can either shave both the sides or leave it only on one side. This fade haircut will effortlessly flaunt your long beachy waves, for sure!
Space buns are pretty cool when it comes to kids and teenagers. If you wanna adopt a shaved hairstyle, then get a zig-zag patterned shave and let it show off by coiling up rest of the hair into two small space buns! This hairdo is a perfect combo of a childhood memory and punk rock style.
Criss Cross Shave
You can get a back shave on a side swept bob to look fascinating. If you think that the plain shave style is a bit boring for you, then you can go with a criss-cross pattern like shown below. The two intersecting lines look so simple but it also takes the hair into a whole another level.
Shaved Hair Designs
Another piece of art! I know that we usually don’t look at the back of the head but this shaved hair design is unmissable, isn’t it? The design lies inside a triangle shaped ring giving a splendid vibe!
Trimmed and Shaved
This is another very popular shaved hairstyle that includes a shaved side on a finely trimmed hair. Go with this haircut if you are looking for a go-to hairstyle as it is easy and super manageable!
ultimate Side Sweep
This hair-look is another marvelous shaved hairstyle for women. The boring tousled feathers need a break sometime and at those times a shaved hair comes in handy. Turn all the heads with this great side sweep hair.
Pink Braided Bun
The pattern of the shaved hair in this picture looks like water bubbles placed on the nape. The pink braid is coiled up into a beautiful bun which makes the shaved design more visible and glance-worthy. To get the same effect you can either choose the same shade or go with other vibrant shades depending on your choice.
Full Head Shave
If you have a perfectly round head, then you should definitely catch up with the ongoing trend that is: the shaved head. To give your hair little tweaks, you can add a edgy ‘S’ like pattern to the shaved hair.
Half Shaved Hair
Another rocking version of the shaved hair is the half shaved hair! This hairstyle looks great on any face types and gives the face a deep frame, too. Here, only the half of the head is shaved leaving the top finely trimmed only.
Blondie Shaved Hair
One sided shave on a blonde hair might be a great transformation to the blondies out there! The peach blonde hair with a darker undertone looks so contrasting yet still complementing each other. Dye your hair blonde and shave a side for an amazing look.
Long, Pink Pixie
Another chic pixie cut which is painted by the most vibrant pink color is the one to opt for! The semi-shaved sides and back has a slight hint of pink hue too that makes this look marvel worthy! Here, the sides are given a subtle touch of triangular patterns that yo might want to try, too!
Every hairstyle has a story to tell and so does this interesting hairstyle! The beautiful curls are added with an interesting undercut design that looks like a Mandala pattern . Try out this hairstyle for a change gals. I promise, you won’t regret it!
Shaved Hair for a Bridesmaid
Who knew that a bridesmaid style could be a shaved hair, right? If yo are a bride or a bridesmaid to be, yo can go with this side shaved hairdo and still have all the eyes on you!
Short Red Hair
For a flashy look of your hair, you can color your hair with a very pigmented red color and get a mahogany haircut. Then, shave your hair giving it a dragon flap design and rock the stage!
If you are planning to get a side shave and a bob haircut, then yo might as well think of highlighting your hair. Highlights bring out all the charms in a woman’s hair.
Shaved patterns in women’s hair is always an artistic thing to watch. You can get double line cut underneath the big tank of curls and get the chic look you’ve always opted for!
Neon Green Color
The use of a neon green color on the hair has accentuated the whole vibe of a mohawk hairstyle. The colors have worked best for the short hair and has covered the style in a perfect way. Yo should definitely dare to adopt this shade for once.
High Pony And Razor Cuts
Yet another stylish shaved one side hair! The high pony and the front falling bangs really do justice to the whole outlook. The dark black makeup gives a gothic vibe and the side design portrays a firework design.
Spikes look great with the addition of shaved hairstyle on both men and women. Here, her short and sharp spikes are colored in a cool ash tone that gives the whole hairdo a very refreshing take. You gotta fall for this at once!
Auburn Pink Hair
This whole outlook serves as a pretty cos-play hair. The auburn hair as a whole is highly pigmented and the shaved side with multiple linings are also colored in a faint pink-ish hue. You should try this hairstyle for a certain occasion.
Even among the celebrities, the fade haircut has been very very popular. Here we have a fade cut on a medium size hair length with a half shaved side. Get this look to change the MOOD of your hair.
Shaved hair can also be paired up with an edgy looking haircut. This look is made more glamorous by the dark red lipstick.
The Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer wears a side swept blonde hair with a cleanly shaved side. Not only does this haircut favors her style, but it also influences a lot of women to get a fade haircut.
The short version of tousled hair looks great with a shaved side.
Color your hair with a chestnut color to brighten up your whole look and get quarter half of your hair shaved to get the charming aura.
The long and straight bangs go hand in hand with a shaved hair. Get a bob with long bangs and get ready to rock this look!
Just another red-carpet shaved hair look for you to try out any day! The black waves look so amazing on her skin tone. I am in awe of this look!
Female Fade Haircut
This is the trending haircut in today’s world as it is super convenient and awe-worthy. Highlight your hair with a soft pink shade to get the exact fade haircut.
This hairdo literally looks like caramel colored noodles placed on the top of the head. The thick curls are the way to go for any season, and anytime of year. Try out this hairstyle with some patterns of shaved hair.
Another refreshing take on the shaved hairstyle for women is the cool ash colored pixie haircut. This hairstyle looks great on a woman with pale complexion and will favor any face shape.
Rather than getting designs, you can simply go for a clean shave on either side of your hair and look like a rock-star any day!
A pink-colored curled bob and an undercut shave will not hurt no one, gals. Go get a vibrant hairstyle to turn the tables.
The rose gold colored mohawk has a very spike-y element to it. The rose color makes the hair look amazing along with the combo of side shaved hair. I am loving this style!
Barbie Pink Hair
This is another ideal example of a pixie cut with a ashy shaved side. The contrast of two cool tones makes her hair-look very catchy and edgy.
Silver Blonde with Braids
Silver blonde is a strong and stunning hair color that favors all the women with short hair. Here, the hair is braided beautifully upwards and the rest is left shaved.
Going completely bald is a challenge but it surely is also more beautiful than you think. I realize that it is a big step; but also a worthy one at the end. Draw attention to your look with the help of colors and makeup like in the picture below.
Hot Pink And Black Hair
I am digging this hairstyle as it looks so bad-ass and the two contrasting colors: pink and black go justice to her whole face and outlook.
To make your side shave more stylish, you can add a french braid right up where the shaved hair portion starts. You will love this style!
Long and voluminous hair looks very charming on any woman but with a simple twist like a shaved side can totally take the same voluminous hair on the next level, girls!
Bowl cuts are usually very boring and dull, but with a simple shave on both the sides can take a bowl cut to a whole new place. Change your old fashioned bowl cut into a fancy-looking shaved cut!
Short Mohawk Cut
A mohawk cut goes a long way on any blonde hair. Shaved sides look gorgeous all the way.
Being playful with the colors was never a bad idea, nor will it ever be one! Paint your hair with this spring color on the top of an undercut and slay the hairstyle all the way.
Asymmetrical Long Hair
Gosh! I am in awe of this hairdo because it looks so amazing with the half side shave! Get this hairdo on long or medium lengths to get the similar effect.
Here, the shaved side is given a very unique and flashy design that is the heartbeat followed by a red heart. This hairstyle can actually prove to be a great over-the-top style.
I wouldn’t miss on the extra dramatic designs for my shaved hairdo.
Neon colors bring out any kinds of styles on the hair because of its pigmented matte finish. You can get an under shave with galaxy patterns and tie your hair up in a bun for a great view.
Scarlett’s Shaved Hair
She is one fine woman who can literally pull off any designs and styles of hair.
Also See: 150 Chic Box Braids Styles That You Should Try
Plain Side Shave
For an astonishing look, you can get the plain side shave haircut. This hairstyle is plain and effortless.
Curls And Side Shave
Some bold auburn curls on the top of your head is what you need for this season. To give it a slightly different and striking effect, go for an undercut on both the sides. It doesn’t just look cool; it exudes high class, too!
I hope you fond some hair shaving inspo from this article. Let us know in the comment section below which shaved hairstyle is your favorite. Choose a shaved hair that reflects your personality and that flatters you the most. Happy styling ladies, xx!
You’re not alone if you’re still searching for the perfect hairstyles for round faces to suit you. The good news is there’s a whole host of celebrities who have mastered the art of balancing a good hairstyle with a round face shape.
So, what are the key things you should bear in mind when choosing a hairstyle for your face shape?
‘Stay away from a bob or cut that is all one length, advises award winning hair stylist, salon owner and Natural Afro hair expert, Charlotte Mensah. ‘Instead, opt for layers that will give definition and more structure visually.’
Another key point to remember is to choose a style that will lengthen your face – ‘Elongate round face shapes by creating soft layering just below the jawline, keeping the shape square throughout,’ says Sam Burnett, KMS Global Style Council Member and Owner and Creative Director at Hare & Bone.
Keep reading for the best hairstyles for round faces 2019 has to offer (and take them straight to your next salon appointment).
How do you know if you have a round face?
Round faces are characterised by a softer jaw line and equal dimensions; the widest point of your face is the middle and your face is as long as it is wide (a face that’s longer than it is wide needs one of these hairstyles for oval faces).
See our favourite round-faced celebrities below and compare to your own face shape if you’re not sure.
And to be ensure you get the most out of your facial features, read our handy guides on how to contour for your face shape and eyebrow shapes for your face shape next.
Long hairstyles for round faces
When it comes to hairstyles for long hair that also suit round faces, you have a lot more choice than you might first think. Long and sleek styles with a soft side part work well, as does added volume and texture past the chin to elongate your face.
Celebrity inspiration: Priyanka Chopra, Kate Upton and Gemma Chan
Medium length hairstyles for round faces
If you’re after a middle length hairstyle, the good news is that your choice is a pretty simple one. ‘Medium length hair looks great when it’s maintained well; think fuller, blunt styles with no layering,’ advises Sam. Browsing these hairstyles for medium-length hair is sure to inspire you.
Celebrity inspiraton: Chrissy Teigen
Short hairstyles for round faces
You might have written off all hairstyles for short hair as you’re worried it will accentuate the round shape of your face – but in fact, you can work a short hairstyle with a bit of expert advice and celebrity proof.
‘If a bob is your choice of style, go a few inches longer than a traditional bob to balance the roundness of the face,’ advises Sam. ‘By creating layering, you ultimately affect the shape – round faces should opt for square layers.’
And when it comes to Afro hair, ‘the tapered, natural hair is perfect for women who want a short style with options,’ adds Charlotte.
Celebrity inspiration: Miranda Kerr, Selena Gomez and Emma Stone
Hairstyles for round faces with thin hair
When it comes to adding oomph to fine hair, lots of layers are your best friend – but don’t overdo it. ‘If you have fine hair, keep layers longer as over-layering will only make the hair appear thinner and sparser,’ Sam explains. These hairstyles for fine hair are all the proof you need that fine hair and a round face can look great.
Celebrity inspriaton: America Ferrera and Keira Knightley
Hairstyles for round faces with thick hair
The hairstyles for thick hair don’t have to be difficult – in fact, the added volume will make a round face seem less spherical with a few longer layers. When it comes to celebrities with round faces, Kate Upton is one of the stars of thick, long hair, as is Priyanka Chopra.
Celebrity inspiration: Kate Upton and Priyanka Chopra
Hairstyles for round faces with curly hair
The good thing about curls, whether natural or tonged, is they add natural lift to the hair and therefore help to lengthen out your face shape – essential when trying to balance a round face shape. In terms of style inspiration, any of these curly hairstyles will see you straight (or should we say curly?).
Celebrity inspiration: Kate Upton, Miranda Kerr and Kirsten Dunst
Hairstyles for round faces with bangs
‘This face shape suits layered fringes,’ Charlotte tells us – a textured full fringe adds lift, while layered side fringes can help to contour the roundness of your face. Blunt fringes with harsh edges are a big no-no – think feathered and sweeping à la Cameron Diaz, or side fringes like Chrissy Teigen and Emma Stone.
Celebrity inspiration: Selena Gomez and Emma Stone
Hairstyles for round faces and big foreheads
To take attention away from a larger forehead with a round face, follow Charlotte’s above advice on layered bangs or add soft layers around the face for added texture and depth. But, chances are, it’s only you that notices your larger forehead anyway.
Scroll through our go-to guide of celebrities with the perfect hairstyles for their found faces below.
Treating female pattern hair loss
Noticeable hair loss in women can be deeply distressing. Here are some medical treatments that may help.
Updated: November 14, 2018Published: June, 2009
About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss in women often has a greater impact than hair loss does on men w, because it’s less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life.
The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is men. It’s called androgenetic alopecia, or female (or male) pattern hair loss. In men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic “M” shape; hair at the top of the head also thins, often progressing to baldness. In women, androgenetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. A woman’s hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.
There are many potential causes of hair loss in women , including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. If you notice unusual hair loss of any kind, it’s important to see your primary care provider or a dermatologist, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your clinician for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss in women can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.
Patterns of female hair loss
Clinicians use the Ludwig Classification to describe female pattern hair loss. Type I is minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques. Type II is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part. Type III describes diffuse thinning, with a see-through appearance on the top of the scalp.
What is androgenetic alopecia?
Almost every woman eventually develops some degree of female pattern hair loss. It can start any time after the onset of puberty, but women tend to first notice it around menopause, when hair loss typically increases. The risk rises with age, and it’s higher for women with a history of hair loss on either side of the family.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it’s important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
In either sex, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair’s growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase. (See “Life cycle of a hair.”) That means it takes longer for hair to start growing back after it is shed in the course of the normal growth cycle. The hair follicle itself also changes, shrinking and producing a shorter, thinner hair shaft — a process called “follicular miniaturization.” As a result, thicker, pigmented, longer-lived “terminal” hairs are replaced by shorter, thinner, non-pigmented hairs called “vellus.”
Life cycle of a hair
Each hair develops from a follicle — a narrow pocket in the skin — and goes through three phases of growth. Anagen (A), the active growth phase, lasts two to seven years. Catagen (B), the transition phase, lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft moves upward toward the skin’s surface, and the dermal papilla (the structure that nourishes cells that give rise to hair) begins to separate from the follicle. Telogen (C), the resting phase, lasts around three months and culminates in the shedding of the hair shaft.
A clinician diagnoses female pattern hair loss by taking a medical history and examining the scalp. She or he will observe the pattern of hair loss, check for signs of inflammation or infection, and possibly order blood tests to investigate other possible causes of hair loss, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and iron deficiency. Unless there are signs of excess androgen activity (such as menstrual irregularities, acne, and unwanted hair growth), a hormonal evaluation is usually unnecessary.
Hair loss treatment for women
Medications are the most common treatment for hair loss in women. They include the following:
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman’s hair loss.
Clearly, minoxidil is not a miracle drug. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some — not all — women, it can’t restore the full density of the lost hair. It’s not a quick fix, either for hair loss in women . You won’t see results until you use the drug for at least two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer, so plan on a trial of six to 12 months. If minoxidil works for you, you’ll need to keep using it to maintain those results. If you stop, you’ll start to lose hair again.
How to use minoxidil: Be sure that your hair and scalp are dry. Using the dropper or spray pump that’s provided with the over-the-counter solution, apply it twice daily to every area where your hair is thinning. Gently massage it into the scalp with your fingers so it can reach the hair follicles. Then air-dry your hair, wash your hands thoroughly, and wash off any solution that has dripped onto your forehead or face. Don’t shampoo for at least four hours afterwards.
Some women find that the minoxidil solution leaves a deposit that dries and irritates their scalp. This irritation, called contact dermatitis, is probably caused not by the minoxidil itself, but rather by the alcohol that is included to facilitate drying.
Side effects and concerns: Minoxidil is safe, but it can have unpleasant side effects even apart from the alcohol-related skin irritation. Sometimes the new hair differs in color and texture from surrounding hair. Another risk is hypertrichosis — excessive hair growth in the wrong places, such as the cheeks or forehead. (This problem is more likely with the stronger 5% solution.)
Because the patent on Rogaine (the brand-name version of minoxidil) has expired, many generic products are available. They all contain the same amount of minoxidil, but some include additional ingredients, such as herbal extracts, which might trigger allergic reactions.
Anti-androgens. Androgens include testosterone and other “male” hormones, which can accelerate hair loss in women. Some women who don’t respond to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) for treatment of androgenic alopecia. This is especially true for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because they tend to make excess androgens. Doctors will usually prescribe spironolactone together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age. (A woman taking one of these drugs should not become pregnant because they can cause genital abnormalities in a male fetus.) Possible side effects include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.
Iron supplements. Iron deficiency could be a cause of hair loss in some women . Your doctor may test your blood iron level, particularly if you’re a vegetarian, have a history of anemia, or have heavy menstrual bleeding. If you do have iron deficiency, you will need to take a supplement and it may stop your hair loss. However, if your iron level is normal, taking extra iron will only cause side effects, such as stomach upset and constipation.
Hair transplantation, a procedure used in the United States since the 1950s to treat androgenic alopecia, involves removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head and using it to fill in a bald patch. Today, 90% of hair-transplant surgeons use a technique called follicular unit transplantation, which was introduced in the mid-1990s.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger “plugs” associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
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Female and losing your hair? Don’t worry- here’s what you can do about it
Shiny, lustrous hair is what we all strive for. As women, we associate a head of glossy locks with our femininity, attractiveness and sense of style. But recent studies show that for many of us, thinning hair is a very real problem. An estimated 8 million women in the UK are now suffering from hair loss and one in three has thinning hair.
“Hair loss is a very taboo subject that a lot of females tend to not talk about or even ignore,” says trichologist Iain Sallis, one of the country’s leading experts in hair loss and scalp disorders. “80% of the people who visit my clinics are women.” But before you dash out and buy a wig, read on to find the best solutions to regain your crowning glory…
Hair loss explained
Overexposure to harsh chemicals and heated styling tools, as well as hair extensions and weaves that have been put in too tightly, can all cause your hair to break
and fall out.
“Heat weakens hair proteins, no matter how many protective products you use,” says organic hairdresser Tabitha
“Constant heating and drying, as well as colouring with harsh chemicals, can lead to brittleness and fragility
that causes hair loss that would not have occurred otherwise.”
Other factors can make the hair’s growth cycle slow down or even stop.
“Medication, underlying medical problems such as diabetes or a thyroid problem, micro-nutrient deficiencies,
poor diet and even genetics can all cause the hair to thin,” says Iain Sallis.
What can I do about it?
Hair loss is a taboo subject for most women (Image: Getty)
1. See an expert before you do anything about your hair loss.
“Get a proper diagnosis from your GP, dermatologist or qualified trichologist,” advises Iain Sallis. “This way, you will be less inclined to spend money on products that may only affect a certain aspect of hair loss, which you may or may not have.” You could be prescribed a lotion called Minoxidil or a course of Finasteride tablets, which help with growth.
2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
“The hair follicle is one of the last tissues in your body to receive nutritional substances, so specific deficiencies can affect the hair,” says registered nutritionist Angela Dowden. “Healthy hair comes from a balanced diet that is nutrient-dense.
“Because hair is mostly protein, this is an important area of your diet to look at, and essential fatty acids, iron, silica, biotin and zinc are also important for growth and preventing brittle, unhealthy looking hair.”
Worried your diet isn’t up to scratch? Then supplement it with Viviscal, £39.95, Boots for a one month supply of vitamins,. Proven to reduce hair loss, each supplement combines all the nutrients vital for a healthy head of hair.
3. Boost iron levels.
“The most common trigger of female hair loss can be iron deficiency, as iron in the body binds ferritin – a protein involved in the production of hair cells, which guard against shedding,” says Head & Shoulders principal scientist Dr Rolanda J Wilkerson.
Low iron stores are known to reduce the growing phase of hair, so load up on plenty of dark leafy green veg like spinach, kale and broccoli, which can be good sources of iron.
In addition, vitamin C-rich foods, like citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries and peppers, can help increase the absorption of iron into the body. You could try an iron-rich supplement too. NutriHair, £24 for 180 tablets, Naturesbest.co.uk , boosts iron and improves hair thickness.
4. Invest in the right haircare.
Thicken up thinning strands with a redensifying shampoo and conditioner like Nanogen Hair Thickening Shampoo, £7.95 and Conditioner, £8.95, Nanogen.co.uk . Massage your scalp to help stimulate hair growth with Kent SH1 Shampoo and Scalp Massage Brush, £2.45, Kentbrushes.com .
The special rubber quills help improve blood flow, nourishing the hair shafts and strengthening hair roots. Encourage strong hair growth with Hairjelly, £29.95, Hairmedic.co.uk , which is loaded with proteins.
5. Try hair restoration.
Designed for women with moderate to severe hair loss, the Intralace Hair Restoration System, Lucindaellery-hairloss.co.uk , is a pioneering hair replacement prosthesis. It’s a breathable mesh that’s placed between your existing hair and scalp, which contains human hair to totally disguise your hair loss. While not a cure for baldness, it allows you to do sports, swim and to wash, brush and style your hair as you would normally.
Pat has finally found a treatment that’s worked for her
Pat Marshall, 70, a librarian from Lincoln, suffered from severely thinning hair after stopping HRT treatments.
“Thin hair had always been a family trait, but after stopping HRT mine became noticeably worse. I even told my hairdresser not to show me the back of my head because it made me so depressed. Friends and family were quite sensitive and didn’t really bring it up – maybe they thought it would upset me – but it was something I often discussed with my husband.
“It was after a family event that I decided to take action – a video camera had been positioned behind my head without me knowing and when I watched the video, all I could focus on was my scalp showing through my hair. It was distressing and embarrassing. I was about to start looking for wigs when I saw an advert for Nourkrin and thought I would give it a try. Nothing else had worked and I had nothing to lose.
Nourkrin has helped Pat get her confidence back
“Designed to help support normal hair growth cycles, I took a supplement each day and I started to see a significant difference in my hair after six months of taking it. My scalp was no longer showing, I had a lot of regrowth and people
were even commenting on how thick my hair looked. It’s wonderful to be able to look in the mirror again with pride.”
Nourkrin Woman Hair Supplements, £29.95, Nourkrin.co.uk.
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Female pattern baldness: Treatment and genetics
The type of treatment recommended will depend on the extent of the hair loss, in addition to other factors.
Treatment for female pattern baldness can help prevent future hair loss and may result in regrowth of some hair. In most cases, long-term treatment is needed to prevent hair loss from recurring.
Treatment options include:
Minoxidil is a topical medication that is used to treat hair loss in both men and women. The treatment is applied to the scalp every day and may stimulate hair growth, as well as prevent further hair thinning.
Minoxidil can take 6 months to a year to produce visible results and does not work for everyone. Side effects can include dryness, redness, and itching. Hair loss may return after a person stops using the product.
One well-known brand of Minoxidil is Rogaine, which is available to buy in many pharmacies and online.
One of the most common oral medications used to treat female pattern baldness is spironolactone, which is a diuretic. Diuretics remove excess water from the body.
The medication may also block the production of androgen, which may prevent hair loss and help hair regrow. Spironolactone can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, and dizziness.
Women who are pregnant should not take spironolactone due to a possibility that it might cause congenital disabilities.
Share on PinterestA hair transplant involves moving hair to an area of the scalp where it is missing.
Some women may choose to have a hair transplant. Various techniques may be used to perform hair transplantation.
Usually, hair loss affects only some areas of the scalp. During a hair transplant, a doctor removes hair from an area with healthy hair growth and transplants it to another spot where the hair is missing.
The area from which the doctor transplants the hair usually remains unaffected by hair loss. The doctor performs the procedure while a person is awake, and it takes several hours. A person will be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain.
Some people may wish to try at-home laser treatment for hair loss. These devices work by emitting low levels of laser light to stimulate hair regrowth.
According to some research, low-level laser light therapy can stimulate hair growth in women and men. However, additional studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this type of treatment, as it is possible that laser treatment companies may have partially funded this research.