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What is an M-shaped hairline? 
Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Updated on May 21, 2024

It’s not uncommon for men and women to feel uncomfortable about their hairline – regardless of what shape it may be.

Our hairlines are something that we constantly see in the mirror and can’t help but compare to all the other types of hairlines we see on the people around us.

Although many hairlines may naturally be a certain shape, many people may be looking closely to see whether it’s receding or showing the early signs of male pattern / female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).

Over 50% of women are expected to experience hair loss at some point in their life [1], as well as 85% of men [2], so it’s easy to see why so many people may feel insecure about the shape of their hairline.

One such hairline, which many women and men may be concerned about, is the M-shaped hairline. As the name suggests, this hairline is in the shape of an M where the central part of the hairline is at the front and then recedes at the two signs.

If you want to learn more about the M-shaped hairline and whether it’s an early warning sign of hair loss, keep on reading.

Table of Contents

What is an M-shaped hairline?

Our hairlines come in all different shapes and sizes, from naturally curved shapes to widow’s peaks and cowlicks.

example of different hairlines in men
Chris Hemsworth has a typical widow's peak. Tom Hardy has a slight cowlick in his hairline.

Whatever the shape of your hairline is, chances are that it’s caused predominantly by genetics – like widow peaks which are known as a morphogenetic trait [3] that presents itself in 29.6% of women and 32.8% of men [4].

Some people choose to have a hair transplant for their widow’s peak, although many others embrace their natural hairline. Your hairline can also be caused by things like your age and diet as well. In particular, low-carb diets may be linked with hair loss.

An M-shaped hairline is where one section of hair sits lower down on the forehead while the other two sections are more towards the crown, which creates a slight M shape. It can look slightly similar to a widow’s peak hairline, but they are not the same thing.

M-shaped hairline vs. a widow’s peak

Many people may compare an M-shaped hairline with a widow’s peak as they both have one section of hair that is slightly lower down on the forehead, but these two hairlines are not the same thing.

The main difference is that a widow’s peak is curved up the sides and meets in a triangular midpoint, whereas an M-shaped hairline is much more triangular, even along the sides.

A widow’s peak is not normally a sign of future baldness, whereas an M-shaped hairline could be the result of some hair loss. Find out more about widow’s peaks vs receding hairlines.

What causes an M-shaped hairline?

M-shaped hairlines are commonly associated with hair loss. If you’ve noticed that your hair is gradually turning into more of an M-shape, here are some of the potential causes:

  • Hormones: Dihydrotestosterone, (DHT), is a hormone that plays an important role in hairline development and higher levels of it are one of the major causes of hair loss in men [5].
  • Stress: Hair loss due to stress and anxiety [6] can result in an M-shaped hairline. However, hair loss due to stress (also known as telogen effluvium) is normally only temporary.
  • Age: As we grow older, or hit puberty, our hairlines can change greatly – sometimes starting to recede and start to look like more of an M-shape.

Does an M-shaped hairline mean you’re balding?

Although an M-shaped hairline doesn’t always mean that you are balding, it is a strong sign that you may be suffering from male pattern baldness.

Receding hairlines are very common in men. In fact, 50% of men will have experienced a receding hairline by the time they’re 50 [7] – some even notice male pattern balding at the end of puberty or in their early 20s.

Hair loss is often assessed on the Norwood scale for men and the Ludwig scale for women, and it’s a good guide to see where you sit on the hair loss scale. An M-shaped hairline will normally be considered Norwood stage 2 – 3, for example.

Understanding your hairline and receding hair patterns can help you find the best hair loss treatment for men.

Maturing hairline vs. receding hairline

As we get older, it’s natural for our hairlines to change so it’s common for men and women to mistake their maturing hairline for one that’s receding.

A mature hairline may show some of the same signs as a receding hairline, however, there will come a point where it stops. On the other hand, a receding hairline will show some irregularities and go through stages where it recedes significantly, and other times when it slows down.

Normally, male pattern hair loss is when the hairline has receded by more than 1.5cm, with significant recession and hair loss around the temples. A mature hairline will rarely recede past the ears.

It would be unusual for women to experience a receding hairline, so we recommend seeking advice from a medical professional for the correct diagnosis. At the Wimpole Clinic, you can get a trichological diagnosis and tailored hair loss treatment for women.

Examples of a mature hairline in both men and women
Celebrity examples of a mature hairline in both men and women

How to fix an M-shaped hairline?

If you feel self-conscious about your M-shaped hairline, there are a few ways that you can hide it, or get rid of it entirely.

The first thing you can do is switch up the way you style your hair to make the m-shaped receding hairline less noticeable, for example:

  • Shave your head to make the thin areas less noticeable
  • Slick your hair back in a sleek pompadour, side-swept, or caesar cut
  • For longer hair, try cutting in a fringe so your hairline isn’t as visible
  • Make a deep part by combing all of your hair to one side

However, if you want to encourage hair to grow back, there are a range of medications and treatments that you can also use.

Some of the most popular options include oral tablets such as Finasteride and Dutasteride which work to prevent testosterone from turning into DHT. However, these cannot be used by those who are experiencing female pattern baldness.

The other option is a topical treatment such as Minoxidil.  Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment meant to encourage more blood flow to the scalp which in turn provides more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles, stimulating hair growth in the process. You can apply this solution directly to the areas where you’re experiencing hair loss regardless of whether you’re male or female. 

Treat your hair loss at Wimpole Clinic

If you want a more permanent solution for your receding hairline and hair loss, the best thing is to invest in a hair transplant procedure.

At Wimpole Clinic, we specialise in hairline transplants using FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplants and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantations) which are effective ways to restore your hair to its glory days.

Take a look at our gallery and read our reviews to get a better idea of the type of high-quality work we provide to our patients.

If you’d like to learn more about hairline transplant surgery and what we can do to treat your hair loss, contact us today to book a no-obligation consultation call with one of our experts.

What is an M-shaped hairline? , Wimpole Clinic

Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)Updated on May 21, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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