Words by Brian Wilder

Peep the scenario: You weren’t born with the genetics needed to grow and maintain a full, healthy head of hair, or maybe life just came at you too fast and now your hairline has decided to take its talents to the back of your head. Either way, there are ways to mask (and minimize) the damage that comes with hair loss, and we’re here to bless you with some undefeated advice.

Chill on the Chemicals

As soon as we see a bit of hair loss, some of us are quick to break out that dusty box of Rogaine that’s been sitting in the back of the closet for Lord knows how long. But before you get too extra, put the box down and really evaluate why hair loss bothers you enough to willingly put a bunch of not-so-great chemicals unto your scalp several times a week?

Usually, the answer lies somewhere between hyper-masculinity and a long-reinforced inferiority complex among ethnic men, but that’s the whole article in and of itself. So, instead of needlessly covering the one scalp you have in a collection of creams and ointments that “promise” hair regrowth, focus on some ways in which you can elevate the hair you have.

Catch the Fade

Speaking of which, investing in a well-cut, faded hairstyle is one of the best ways to embrace your receding hairline, especially if you’re starting to see thinning on the sides first. This is also a time to have some real talk with your barber, as they have witnessed every stage of the male hair growth and loss.

They’ll set you up with a list of hairstyles that compliment your natural hairline while maintaining your style, so buzz cuts, high skin fades and taper fades are all possible options. If you plan on maintaining any of these cuts at home, make damn sure you know where your natural lines begin and end, so you don’t run the risk of looking lopsided out here.

Go Bald or Go Home

The biggest myth about sporting a bald head is that you have to have the “attitude” or “personality” to pull it off, and maybe that’s half true. In reality, though, the only thing you need to have is discipline. Deciding to go bald means having to keep up with a much wider and more sensitive shaving canvas. Making sure you’re using the right products, blades and after-shave equipment will mean the difference between a bald head you can be proud of and a head that resembles a old, dirty tennis ball.

If you’re not sure when’s the best time to say f*ck it and go bald for good, a quick rule of thumb: if more than 50% of your original hair has already left the building, it’s time to let that hairline go—looking at you, LeBron.

You Have Choice. Make it Yours.

We get that some guys just can’t escape things like genetics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put up a fight to save your follicles. A large part of it relies on getting creative with the ways you wear your hair, but also making sure you stay on track with any and all daily hair-care routines. On the other hand, if you don’t feel like all that, going bald is also an option that comes with its own set of rules and routines.

Ultimately, balding is a part of life for a lot of us, so make sure you settle on something that suits you and your lifestyle above all else.