From the classic comb-over to toupees and wigs, styling for thinning hair has gotten a bad reputation over the years for looking tacky and obvious, emphasizing the trait you wish to hide. But what’s the alternative? Hiding hair loss is a tricky undertaking but smart styling can help.

 

If you’re a man with thinning hair, skip the comb-over and the gimmicks and try these 5 strategies instead. By starting with the right base cut and then adding different products, you can achieve a full, natural look.

Keep It Clean

There’s a lot of debate today about how much people should wash their hair – first, we were washing too much and now the word is we aren’t washing enough. Well, when your hair is thinning, washing frequently is the way to go. Daily shampooing helps reduce oiliness and minimizes the amount of visible scalp. Clean hair needs to be the foundation for any man trying to disguise the effects of balding.

After shampooing, skip the conditioner. Since the idea of shampooing your hair often is to reduce oiliness, conditioning it every time will ultimately undo your efforts. Instead, opt to condition your hair only once a week to keep it healthy but not greasy.

Use What You Have

The advice to “use what you have” can feel like a trap for men who see less hair every time they look in the mirror. What can you do with those remaining strands? There are a few options.

In general, with thinning hair, you want to add volume to draw the eye away from the scalp and disguise bald spots. You can do this by using product, a blow dryer, or even with the right haircut. But there’s also another way to interpret the idea of using what you have.

For natural volume that isn’t just an illusion, you can use what you have to fill in the thin spots. Those with male pattern baldness will find that the hair on the back and sides of the head is resistant to hormonal changes. That makes it perfect for follicular unit extraction, a procedure in which hair is grafted from one part of the scalp onto another. With more real hair, you can style your cut however you’d like.

Skip The Gel

Gel is a perennial favorite hair product with men, but if you have thinning hair gel is your enemy. Because it’s stiff and heavy, gel can cause your hair to lose volume during the day ,rather than maintaining height. The alcohol in gel can also dry out your already vulnerable scalp.

Instead of using gel, opt for creams, which are moisturizing and can help your hair maintain volume without getting stiff and droopy. Alternatively, mousse, which women have been using for enhanced volume for years, can help enhance your hair’s texture and make it look fuller.

Hit The Barber

When you have thinning hair, it can seem contradictory to cut it off, but getting regular haircuts can really help you look your best. In fact, unless you’re keeping your hair long enough to get significant height, most men with thinning hair look best with a buzz cut or other short style. Even longer hair, though, should be kept in check since dead ends will weigh your hair down and cause it to lose volume once styled.

Avoid The Scams

For men with thinning hair, the majority of popular solutions are actually scams that won’t help with the most common forms of hair loss. In fact, 99% of mass-market solutions are useless – but hair loss remains a $3.5 billion industry. It’s time to get smarter.

Unless you opt for hair transplantation, there’s nothing these hair loss solutions can achieve that you can’t do yourself with a comb, some mousse, and a good barber. With these styling tricks, you’ll feel happier and more confident.