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Widow’s Peak Vs Receding Hairline: What’s The Difference?

Confused about which type of hairline you have? It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a widow’s peak and a receding hairline. And if you’re worried about male pattern baldness, it can be an important distinction to make.

Here, learn everything you need to know about a widow’s peak vs receding hairline, so you can determine which hairline type you have, and whether it’s time to take action against hair thinning.

Table of Contents

What is a widow’s peak?

A widow’s peak is characterised by a V-shaped frontal hairline. It’s a hairline type you’re born with, meaning men, women, and children can all have a widow’s peak.

Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kourtney Kardashian have a widow’s peak:

Celebrity examples of a widow's peak

Causes of a widow’s peak

Widow’s peaks are hereditary [1]. That means they’re inherited from other family members — so if your mum or dad has a widow’s peak, you may be more likely to have one yourself.

A widow’s peak is thought to be caused by multiple genes, so it can be hard to predict for certain if someone will or won’t develop this type of hairline.

How can I tell if I have a widow’s peak?

Here’s how you can tell if you have a widow’s peak:

  • You’ve had a V-shaped hairline since childhood — If your hairline is the same as it was when you were younger, you may have a widow’s peak.
  • Other people in your family have a widow’s peak — Widow’s peaks are genetic, so if a sibling or parent has one, you may have one too.
  • Your hair is even on both sides — Hairlines that are more or less the same on both sides can indicate a widow’s peak rather than a receding hairline.

What is a receding hairline?

A receding hairline is characterised by hair loss around your hairline and temples. It affects men more than women, though some conditions can cause hairline recession in women.

A receding hairline is one of the first signs of balding in men. Celebrities including Jude Law and Harry Kane have a receding hairline:

Celebrity examples of a receding hairline

Causes of a receding hairline

Male pattern baldness is the number one cause of a receding hairline in men [2]. This hereditary condition affects millions of men, but it can still be a major concern, especially if it starts at an early age. Some men develop a receding hairline at 20 or even earlier.

In women, a receding hairline is more likely to be caused by frontal fibrosing alopecia or traction alopecia.

How can I tell if I have a receding hairline?

You can tell if you have a receding hairline if:

  • Your hairline gets thinner over time — Receding hairlines are progressive, so they tend to get worse as you get older.
  • You have an M-shaped hairline — Unlike a widow’s peak, which typically forms a V-shape, receding hairlines are often M-shaped.
  • You’re also losing hair on your crownCrown hair loss is another symptom of male pattern baldness, so it might sometimes (but not always) accompany a receding hairline.
  • You’re losing hair in the shower — If your hairline is receding, you may find more hair than usual coming away when you wash it.

Is my hairline receding or do I just have a widow’s peak?

In the early stages of hair loss, it can be hard to tell the difference between a receding hairline and a widow’s peak. But there are some key differences that can help you tell if you have a receding hairline or a widow’s peak:

FactorReceding hairlineWidow’s peak
AgeGets worse as you get olderStays the same as you get older
Hairline shapeM-shapedV-shaped
Family historyInherited from other family membersInherited from other family members
ProgressionCan lead to total baldnessNo progression

Compare your hairline with the photos above to determine which one most closely resembles yours.

Can a widow’s peak become a receding hairline?

Unfortunately, having a natural widow’s peak doesn’t make you immune to hairline recession. It’s possible to have both a widow’s peak and a receding hairline, as seen in Keanu Reeves:

Younger and present-day Keanu Reeves

If you have both a widow’s peak and a receding hairline, you’ll have some symptoms of each. This may include:

  • A pointed V-shaped hairline that becomes thinner over time.
  • A family history of both widow’s peaks and hairline recession.
  • A widow’s peak that becomes more pronounced as your hairline recedes.

Which hairstyles work well for widow’s peaks and receding hairlines?

Finding a hairstyle that works for your hairline is important if you feel self-conscious about it. Here are three hairstyles for a receding hairline or widow’s peak.

1. Textured brush forward

Textured brush forward haircut

Brushing your hair forward over your hairline can hide signs of recession and a widow’s peak.

2. Fringe

Fringe haircuts

Like the textured brush forward, a fringe can hide any signs of an uneven hairline. The fringe works well for various hair types, including thick straight styles and tousled cuts.

3. Side-swept

side swipe haircuts

A sharp side parting and side-swept style won’t hide your hairline, but it’s a modern style that can work around your thinning or widow’s peak.

See 12 more great hairstyles for male receding hairlines (and four you should avoid).

How to deal with a receding hairline

If your hairline recession is too severe to be hidden with careful styling, there are other treatments you can try. Here are some of the best treatments for a receding hairline.

1. Minoxidil

Applying topical Minoxidil to your hairline once or twice a day can slow hair loss and even stimulate regrowth, especially if used in the early stages of hairline recession.

Make sure to use the right Minoxidil strength for your hair type. Choose from Minoxidil 2%, Minoxidil 5%, and (less commonly) Minoxidil 10%.

2. Finasteride

Taking 1mg Finasteride daily is a proven way to reduce hair loss and stimulate regrowth on both the crown and hairline. Like Minoxidil, Finasteride works better the earlier it’s used.

3. Hair transplant

Hair transplants are one of the best treatments for male hair loss. With a hair transplant, you can restore lost hair from your hairline, or change your hairline shape with a hair transplant for a widow’s peak. The FUE and FUT techniques have fantastic success rates when performed by a skilled, qualified surgeon.

At the Wimpole Clinic, our patient advisors can help you find the best way to treat your receding hairline. Book a consultation for a diagnosis and advice about your hair loss treatment options.

Widow’s Peak Vs Receding Hairline: What’s The Difference?, Wimpole Clinic

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