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How To Fix A Messed Up Hairline

Having a messed up hairline can have a serious impact on your self-confidence. It can make you want to hide your hair or face, inadvertently drawing attention to your problematic hairline.

Whether you have a mature or receding hairline, a failed hair transplant or you’ve just had a bad trip to the barbers, here are all the major causes of a messed up hairline and what you need to do to fix it.

Table of Contents

What causes a messed up hairline?

When we talk about a messed up or bad hairline, we don’t mean widow’s peaks or naturally uneven hairlines. Many people have asymmetrical or pointed hairlines that look great and aren’t a cause for concern.

However, some people are unhappy with their hairline for other reasons. Here are four of the most common causes of a bad hairline.

How To Fix A Messed Up Hairline, Wimpole Clinic
Example of a widow's peak (left) and mature hairline (right)

1. A bad haircut

Whether it’s a bad DIY job or a barber gone rogue, a bad haircut or lineup can easily cause a bad hairline.

Examples of bad haircuts causing a bad hairline
Examples of bad haircuts causing a bad hairline

2. Genetic hair loss conditions

Androgenetic alopecia (known as male pattern baldness in individuals assigned as male at birth or female pattern hair loss in individuals assigned as female at birth) is caused by a combination of genetics, age, and a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). These factors often lead to a receding hairline or M-shaped hairline in men.

Examples of receding hairlines caused by male pattern hair loss
Examples of receding hairlines caused by male pattern hair loss

3. Bad hair transplant

If your hair transplant goes wrong, it can leave you with an unnatural-looking hairline characterised by lack of density or limited hair growth, as demonstrated by these two patients who had hair transplants in Turkey.

limited hair growth on receding hairlines after hair transplant surgery

4. Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by tight hairstyles tugging at and damaging the hair follicles. Hairstyles that often lead to traction alopecia include weaves, braids, scraped-back ponytails and buns.

Examples of hair loss from traction alopecia
Examples of hair loss from traction alopecia

Do dreads mess up your hairline?

Dreadlocks are a major cause of traction alopecia. Traction alopecia often causes hair loss around the hairline, and is common in people with Afro hair types who are more likely to wear their hair in dreadlocks:

How To Fix A Messed Up Hairline, Wimpole Clinic

Do hats mess up your hairline?

Hats don’t normally mess up your hairline, despite the myth that wearing hats may cause hair loss. In fact, one study suggests they can actually prevent hair loss [1].

That said, if your hat is too tight, it could restrict the blood flow to your scalp and pull on your hair follicles, which probably won’t help your hairline. So make sure any hats you wear are a good fit.

Can shaving your head mess up your hairline?

No, shaving your head won’t have any impact on your hairline. If you’ve had a bad haircut and you want to regrow your hair from scratch, you can safely shave your head without worrying about how your hairline will grow back.

How to fix a messed up hairline

There are lots of options for fixing a bad hairline. It all depends on the cause and how keen you are to address your hairline problems.

Here are nine ways to fix a messed up hairline.

1. Be patient

If your hairline is messed up as a result of a dodgy haircut or too-tight styling, the best thing to do is wait it out. Depending on how long your hair is, it may be just a matter of weeks before your hairline resets itself. In the meantime, you can wear a hat to hide your hairline.

2. Ask your barber

If your lineup doesn’t look quite right, ask your barber for options on how it can be fixed or improved.

It may be too late to do anything about it, in which case your best bet is to wait it out. But your barber may be able to offer some styling tips, or recut your hairline to your taste.

3. Wash your hair often

Add volume to your hair by washing it regularly, ideally at least every other day.

To promote hair growth, try washing your hair with a caffeine shampoo like Alpecin. You can usually leave the shampoo on your hair for up to half an hour, which can increase the caffeine absorption. Leave-in caffeine hair treatments may also be effective.

4. Cut your hair short

If your hairline issue is caused by a barber mishap, cutting your hair short can mask your messed up hairline while your hair regrows.

Buzzcuts are popular with tons of bald celebrities and even some bald women. So if you’re after a bold new look that hides your problematic hairline, grab the clippers and go for a short shave all over.

5. Try a new hairstyle

Not everyone can or wants to rock a buzzcut. But there are plenty of other great hairstyles for a receding hairline.

From cutting in a fringe to slicking back your hair, find a new style to hide your hairline. This is a great option for all causes of a bad hairline, as there are options for all hair textures and lengths.

Learn more about how to style a thinning fringe.

6. Use Minoxidil

Minoxidil is one of the most popular non-surgical treatments for thinning hair and hair loss. It is safe to use for both men and women who are experiencing female pattern hair loss. Minoxidil a topical solution you can apply to your hairline to stop hairline recession and stimulate hair growth.

Minoxidil isn’t usually necessary if you’re waiting for your hair to regrow after a bad trim. However, if you want to use Minoxidil for a receding hairline, it can help your hair start to grow back after around three to six months of use.

7. Try Finasteride

Finasteride for a receding hairline is only effective if you have male pattern baldness, which is caused by genetics and hormones. It won’t work for other hairline problems but can help restore a receding hairline if it’s used early enough.

If Finasteride doesn’t cut it, you may be able to try Dutasteride at your trichologist’s recommendation.

8. Get a hair transplant

hair transplant is the only way to permanently restore a hairline that’s thinned due to genetic and hormonal factors. A hairline transplant is one of the more costly ways to fix a messed up hairline, but it’s extremely effective, and the results will be permanent:

Receding hairline before and after hair transplant at the Wimpole Clinic
Wimpole patient following a 1,500 graft hairline transplant after 8 months

9. Try scalp micropigmentation

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) creates the illusion of hair density without the invasiveness of a hair transplant. It involves tattooing tiny dots onto your scalp, creating the appearance of a shaved head.

before and after scalp micropigmentation to fix a bad hairline
Many people choose to have SMP alongside a hair transplant, as it makes the hairline appear straighter while your new hair grows in. So it can be less obvious you’ve had a hair restoration procedure.

What should you do about your messed up hairline?

First, you need to understand the cause of your hairline woes. If it’s down to a bad haircut or traction alopecia, the best thing to do is to take good care of your hair while you wait for it to regrow. That means:

  • Avoiding heat styling that can lead to hair loss
  • Avoid wearing your hair in tight hairstyles to prevent further hair fall
  • Washing and conditioning your hair regularly to maintain healthy hair and scalp
  • Eating a healthy diet with plenty of hair growth foods.

However, if your hairline is messed up as a result of a failed hair transplant or male pattern baldness, you may need to take clinical action. Non-surgical hair loss treatments like Minoxidil and Finasteride should be your first port of call, especially if you’re in the early stages of hair loss.

For those who’ve already had a hair transplant, or have extensive hair loss across the scalp, a hair transplant may be the most effective way to address your hairline problems. If you’re considering a hairline transplant, see how much a receding hairline transplant costs.

How To Fix A Messed Up Hairline, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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