Research suggests baldness has a number of social advantages
By Barbara Pierce
We all want good hair. We want to feel we look good. How we look is important—our hair is a critical part of that.
To take your hair from dull and dry to smooth, soft and healthy, experts offer these tips:
• Don’t shampoo your hair every day: You might think you’re getting extra clean by washing your hair every day, but you’re actually doing more harm than good.
“Over washing is the number one thing men do that’s wrong for their hair,” said Tito Rivera, owner and operator of Tito’s NY Barbershop on Bleeker Street in Utica. “It’s not good at all to wash your hair every day.”
“This is a problem men have: they wash their hair way too much,” said Leo Gilman, owner and operator of the Union Station Barber Shop, in the historic Utica train station.
“Many men shower and wash their hair every day. Some young men take as many as three showers a day and wash their hair every time,” he said.
“You’re washing out all the natural oils in your scalp when you wash your hair,” he added. “Then your hair gets brittle and breaks off.”
“Two times a week to wash your hair—that’s plenty as far as your hair is concerned; that’s all you need to wash your hair,” he stressed. “And do use conditioner after you shampoo.”
Just rinse your hair with water when you shower; limit the shampoo to two or three times a week.
• Don’t be aggressive when drying your hair: “Rubbing your head with a towel makes your hair break off,” said Gilman.
Your hair is more vulnerable when wet, so towel off gently.
Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet; instead, use a wide toothed comb.
Don’t go to bed with wet hair; you’ll be moving your head as you sleep, which can cause breakage. If you must go to bed with wet hair frequently, consider using a silk pillowcase.
• Don’t expose your hair to high temperatures: Piping hot showers, while they can feel good, strip all of the natural oils out of your hair, making it look dry and prone to frizziness. Instead, shower with lukewarm water.
Beware of blow dryers and heat styling tools as they lead to frizziness and split ends, as well as drying out your scalp. “A hair dryer makes your hair break off,” said Gilman.
If you must use a blow dryer, use a cool setting. Overall, letting your hair air dry is healthiest.
Don’t expose your hair to excessive sun; wear a cap if you must be out in the sun.
• See your barber regularly: “Find a barber you trust and see him/her every two weeks to keep your hair healthy and looking good,” suggested Tito.
• What about balding? As the majority of men will deal with hair thinning or hair loss, we asked our experts if there is anything to prevent badling.
“Nothing works to prevent it. People selling products for balding just want to make money,” said Tito. “I’m bald myself.”
“If your mother’s father was bald, you’ll be bald,” said Gilman. “Some things slow it down; some things speed it up, like washing your hair too much.”
Medications like Rogaine are effective only for people with a hereditary form of hair loss, and do have side effects.
That’s the bad news.
The good news: there is research that suggests baldness has a number of social advantages. Researchers found that completely bald men were perceived by both men and women to be more dominant, more masculine, stronger and with better leadership skills.
Men with thinning hair fared far worse than either bald men or those with a full head of hair.
The truth is that a lot of men shave their heads because they’re going bald.
The message from the research supports this: If you’re going bald, embrace it. It really is a case of all or nothing.
Stop hiding behind baseball caps, spray-on hair and questionable combing techniques. It turns out, women aren’t as concerned about that encroaching bald spot as you may think.
Hundreds of women of different ages were surveyed. The overwhelming majority of them liked bald men.
“Embrace the inevitable. Try to look good bald. Whatever you do, no Donald Trump-inspired ‘dos. That’s a DON’T,” said one woman online.
Most women agreed that the decisive factor is not the hair or its absence, but the personality of the man. Some women even mentioned they see baldness as a sign of honesty, making it easier to trust bald men.
Most find hair loss a nonsignificant factor. They pay much more attention to a man’s sense of humor and other personal characteristics such as intelligence, sociability, confidence rather than his hair.
Photo: Juan ‘Tito’ Rivera, owner of Tito’s NY Barber Shop.