The Pros and Cons of Shaving Your Head, and Our Conclusion
So you’re thinking about shaving your head. Awesome! We sport the shaved head look during the summer months, and think it looks great.
That said, it’s not for everyone, and there are some things you’ll want to consider. Below, we dive into the pros and cons of shaving your head, and then afterwards, share our thoughts on some of the feelings and attitudes involved with the decision.
Let’s get right to it:
Head Shaving: The Pros
We’ll start with the reasons why you may want to shave your head, and start with one near and dear to our hearts:
You’ll Never Pay for A Haircut Again
This, perhaps, is one of the biggest pros: shaving all your hair off means you'll never need a professional barber or cosmetologist to supply your coifs. That's a bonus for two reasons: 1) you never have to interrupt your busy schedule for appointments (and that's a great thing no matter where you are, but especially if you work long periods in remote areas), and 2) you'll save a ton of cash. The average cost of a haircut for a man in America is $28, and if you get your hair cut once or twice a month, that adds up pretty quickly. Plus: if you're not going to barber and salons, your odds of getting a bad haircut drop to zero. Nice!
(And, if you'd like to make it official and start shaving your head at home, you can check out our reviews of clippers designed specifically to shave your head, as well as hand-held head shavers that make quick work of it).
You’ll Get Ready (A Little Bit) Quicker
A shaved head eliminates the shampooing, brushing, blow drying, and styling routine that you need to do every. single. day. Plus, styling products can be eliminated from your budget, and that'll save you some more money. If you have a long commute, limited bathroom time, or simply just hate the daily chore of hair styling, getting rid of it can free up some time.
Of course, you'll need to shave it off, and that'll add some time to your routine, but we'll talk about that in a minute.
On Some Men, It Looks Better Than a Head of Hair
Try to picture Vin Diesel or Michael Jordan with a big head of bushy, curly hair. They look ridiculous, don't they? Some men—and we'd venture to say, a lot of men—who actually look better with a shaved head, even if they're not greying / balding / whatever. It can bring out the eyes and the eye color, exaggerate the jaw a little bit, and create a more "open" and alert look.
Are you one of these men who look better without hair? No one will know until you shave your head.
Some Ladies SPECIFICALLY Like Men with Shaved Heads
For some reason, this doesn't get talked about a lot, but there are plenty of women who like the no-hair look, and in fact, prefer men without hair to men with hair.
And, if you think about it, that makes sense, anthropologically-speaking: men who have not matured don't lose their hair; only men who have physically matured lose their hair, and therefore hair loss is a sign of physical maturity. So there’s a possibility that hair loss is actually a signature of attractiveness.
And—by the way, we're talking about shaved heads, but there are plenty of women like men who are bald and haven't shaved their heads. That is, guys who are bald on the top but have short, trimmed hair over their ears. Ed Harris is a great example—he's getting a little old, but there are plenty of women (OK, fine—our aunts; our aunts love Ed Harris) who are into Ed Harris. That can be a great look for a guy. Jason Statham would be the “modern day” version of Ed Harris—bald on the top, short hair on the sides, ladies all-around.
You Don't Like Your Hair as It Is
A lot of the discussion about shaving your head is directed at men who are balding, but some guys simply don’t like their full head of hair, and want to get rid of it. It's odd that nobody ever mentions this, but it's true, and we know plenty of them: some have gone grey, some have crazy bushy hair, some don't like red hair, etc etc. There are plenty of guys who don't like their hair, who dye it, or get it straightened, or just kind of put up with it. Why not try getting rid of it for a while?
A Shaved Head is a Groomed Head, and Women Like Groomed Men
This will take a minute to explain, but we honest-to-goodness think there's a lot of truth to this: balding makes it look like you're not grooming yourself—especially if that balding is patchy or a-symmetrical. It can result in a sort of "disheveled" look that a lot of men... well, "disheveled" is not a great look for most guys.
A fully-shaved head looks like you put some effort into it—that is, you're on top of things, and making the best of what you've got—and that resonates with a lot of women.
Yes, there are women—particularly younger women, it seems—who like the bedraggled look, but it seems like there are a lot more women who go for men who have their acts together. A shaved head can be a reflection of that.
It's a Striking Look
This is the truth of it: a well-kept, shiny dome is a striking look. It's a variation from the norm, and it can make you stand out. Again, again—when you're a stand-out, that draws both praise and criticism alike, so this could be a pro or a con, depending on how much you care about the opinions of others.
You're in Good Company
Check out this list of bald dudes: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Taye Diggs, Pitbull, Bruce Willis (who is older now, but has been hairless for a long time), Dana White, Common, Ving Rhames, Mike Tyson, Kelly Slater (maybe the most successful pro surfer of all time), Floyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant (sometimes), Walter White, the OG James Bond, Sean Connery, and GHANDI. Not a bad list.
No Hair Equals No Lice Risk
This may seem like a secondary concern—children and women are more likely to get hair lice than men—but thousands of men still get hair lice every year. Believe it or not, research suggests men are less prone to lice because lice don’t like testosterone. Lucky, right?
That said, certain factors can up your lice odds: having school-aged children; working in certain professions, like health care or corrections; or even coming into contact with people who work at / drop their kids off at a day care / day camp / school.
Whatever the case, having a shaved head where there’s no hair for the lice to attach to and lay eggs can be a plus.
Our next “pro” in our “pros and cons of shaving your head” is fantastic:
You May Be Seen as More Masculine
Yes, that’s correct. According to a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, bald men were perceived as more masculine, more confident, more dominant, and more attractive than non-bald men. How’s that for a paradigm shift?
Not only that, but baldness can actually be an advantage in business, as well. The Wall Street Journal theorizes (paywall site; our apologies), based on the UPenn study, that those traits are so important to business dealings, that baldness is actually an advantage when it comes to business.
Improves Body Image / People May Think You’re a Bodybuilder
OK, that’s probably not true, but have you ever wondered why so many bodybuilders shave their heads? It’s an old trick that plays with ocular perception, and it’s all about making your head look smaller so that your body looks bigger and more muscular. Bodybuilders say that a shaved head improves symmetry and composition appearance and focuses the viewer’s eyes directly on the upper body.
Don’t Like the Look? It Grows Back
One of the biggest pros to shaving your head is that it’s not a permanent decision. If you’re not bald or balding, and you try it and you don’t like it, simply wait. For most men, it only takes a few weeks to go from a bald look to a buzzcut look. Wouldn’t it be nice if most problems were solved by simply waiting?
Head Shaving: The Cons
So those are some bona fide reasons to get the clippers. Now let’s take a look at some reasons that suggest you should keep your hair where it is.
It's a Drastic Change / Interviews from Everyone You Know
The transition from "haired man" to "absolutely no-haired man" can be pretty severe, and you'll most likely get a lot of attention from loved ones, acquaintances, and people you thought didn't know you were alive. You may be amazed at how many people you work with, who have never once spoken to you, who have thoughts about your decision to shave.
Seriously—they'll have questions ("Have you joined a gang?" and/or "Do you have cancer?" and/or "Are you joining a cult?"), opinions ("Looks good!" and/or "You look insane"), and warnings ("People are going to think [insert ridiculous assertion]").
Depending on how you feel about attention, shaving your head can be a bit of a pain.
You Got a Lumpy Head
The last time you were bald was probably when you were an infant, and the truth is, if you've never shaved your head, you have NO IDEA what your head is shaped like. It can run the gamut—you may have a perfectly round head (which, ironically, isn't always the best shape for a shaved head), a lumpy head, or you may have discoloration here or there. Prepare for surprises. Plus, with certain cuts, like fade haircuts, you can hide the shape of your head a bit. Not so when fully bald!
There are Maintenance Issues
This is, perhaps, the biggest "con." While a shaved head means that you get to skip haircuts and cut down on time spent getting ready day-to-day, there’s still maintenance involved in the actual shaving. How often you shave your head will depend on the look you want to maintain every day. To prevent stubble from becoming visible, most men will need to shave their heads twice a week, and plus there's scalp care, which requires routine washing and moisturizing.
It'll Be Colder Outside / Environmental Issues
Seriously—this is one of the surprising things about shaving your head, especially if you do so in the fall or winter months: you're going to be surprisingly cold. You really don't realize how much heat your hair captures, and without it, how cold you can get. So, here's a free tip—if you do shave your head, invest in a warm, soft hat for the winter months. Seriously.
There are other year-round considerations, though—during the summer months, you'll need to use sunscreen, because a sunburnt scalp can be agonizing (and can lead to skin cancer). And if you bump your head into something and get nicked, it'll bleed all over the place, and there will be no hair to staunch the bleeding.
You Have Really Light Eyebrows
Something to consider. Guys with full, dark eyebrows have an advantage when it comes to head-shaving, and eyebrows can "frame" your face in an attractive way. Guys who have barely-there eyebrows can look a little sick after they shave their heads. Something to keep in mind.
It Doesn't Fit Your Personality
This one is a little bit more difficult to explain, but it's a thing. Thing of your group of friends, and focus on the most responsible one (every friend group has one—he may not be very responsible in the grand scheme of things, but in your group, he's the responsible one). Now consider him with a shaved head. He looks little odd, doesn’t it? It doesn’t quite fit.
So, that's a "con," but here's the good news—and we've seen it, so we know it's true: once you do something, it does fit your personality. That guy—the one who might look odd with a shaved head—may look normally eventually. Time tends to normalize things.
Risk for Ingrown Hairs
If you shave your head in the opposite direction of hair growth, or you shave your head too often, you run the risk of getting ingrown hairs and scalp breakouts, both of which can lead to infection if not properly treated. Pro-tip: to minimize the chances of in-grown hairs or head rashes, do the following: 1) shave with the grain of your hairs; 2) keep a close eye on how much shaving your skin can handle, and don’t push it; and 3) use a sharp razor but don’t use too much pressure.
You Might Not Like the Results
There’s always the chance that you won’t like how you look hairless! It’s a temporary problem, but you might be stuck with the look for several days before stubble shows, and several weeks or months before you have enough hair for a stylist to work with for a new look.
And… that’s it for the cons!
Neither a Pro nor a Con but a Bit of Advice
So, let's talk about what most sites don't mention, and we didn’t mention in our pros and cons: there are a LOT of emotions related to men and their hair. Walk up to the average guy on the street who's got a full head of hair and ask him if he wants to keep it, and he'll most likely say something along the lines of "Yes, absolutely, yes." After all—there wouldn't be so many hair growth products if guys didn't care about it.
So why is that? Why are so many men so afraid to lose their hair?
We live in a culture that 1) worships youth, and a full head of hair is equated with youth, and a bald head is equated with age; 2) both wants men to be fashionable, but pokes fun at them if they make too much of an effort at being fashionable; and 3) is pretty unforgiving towards men who aren't conventionally attractive. That's a pretty powerful trio, and for a long time, it was assumed that if you lost your hair, it meant the following:
Women would find you less attractive, and would be less interested in you;
You'd look old (that is, not youthful, and our culture places value on youth); and
You'd be the butt of the joke (think Homer Simpson or George Costanza from Seinfeld).
The message is that your life, in general, would be worse off if you lose your hair.
Here's the thing, though: that's all nonsense. Literally none of that is true.
Are there some very shallow, very superficial women who won't date guys without hair? Sure, but 1) you want avoid those women anyway and 2) at the end of the day, women don't really care about bald vs. not bald, they care about grooming habits and self-respect and charisma and a whole range of other things. There are plenty of women who say there not interested in bald men, but then go out and fall for a man without hair who's also caring and charismatic and fun and interesting.
In other words, the belief that losing your hair equals a more difficult or different existence is simply wrong. It's an antiquated concern. If you're getting the message that your life is definitely going to suffer because you're losing your hair, that's not the case.
So, that's our last bit, and it's not really a pro or a con but a bit of advice: if you're having negative feelings about yourself because you're losing your hair (or your hair isn't what you want it to be), drop that nonsense right now, man. There's no need for it. There may be forces in our culture that try to make you feel bad, but rise above them. Be your best self, hair or no hair, and live the life you want to lead. Everything will work out.
Come for the pros and cons, stay for the pep talk!
Our Conclusion: Go for It
So, here’s our conclusion, and if you’re of a different mind, that’s fine, but… why not give it a try? If you’ve got a full head of hair, it’ll grow back, and it you’re bald or balding, why not try all the options you’ve got at your disposal? You might like it!
If you’ve got something truly coming up, like a wedding or a big sales meeting, or something like that, maybe you want to wait off, but why not give it a go and see what you think?
Or not. It's up to you. That’s just our way of thinking. If you read the cons above and thought, “Yep, that’s it, not for me,” then go with that.
Alright, there you have it! The pros and cons of shaving your head. Hopefully something here got you thinking or helped in some way. Have fun, be good, and happy shaving!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.