What Are the Different Types of Hairlines?

Laura M. Sands

Included in the many different types of hairlines is the straight hairline, the receding hairline and the widow’s peak. Other types include the high hairline, low hairline and the abnormal hairline which may include irregular hairlines such as those containing a cowlick. Different styles of hairlines can be found at the front hairline as well as the back hairline.

A man with a receding hairline.
A man with a receding hairline.

A straight hairline is often seen as a normal hairline. Such are hairlines that are not high or low and do not contain irregularities. As the name of these types of hairlines suggests, straight hairlines are positioned at the top of the forehead and extend the width of the face and usually are not recognized as being abnormal in any way. Individuals intent on fixing a hairline often strive to acquire this type of hairline in the process.

A widow's peak is one type of hairline.
A widow's peak is one type of hairline.

The receding hairline is one of the most common abnormalities detected in hairlines. While some develop a receding hairline in their youth, this type most commonly begins to affect men and women at a certain age. A receding hairline is formed as hair begins to thin or bald at the hairline and continues to do so until a new, noticeably different, hairline results.

The widow’s peak hairline is defined by a sharp point at the center of the hairline along the forehead.
The widow’s peak hairline is defined by a sharp point at the center of the hairline along the forehead.

Most types of hairlines are inherited from a person’s birth parents. Some people, therefore, have a naturally high hairline while others may have a very low hairline. Those who have a high hairline are often characterized as having large foreheads since the space where a hairline normally begins is left bare. Those who have a low hairline are often characterized as having small foreheads in that the hairline extends into the normal forehead area.

Wigs may be worn to change the appearance of one's hairline.
Wigs may be worn to change the appearance of one's hairline.

Some hairlines may begin in what are considered to be normal locations on the scalp, yet are still considered to be abnormal hairlines. Most often, such is characterized by the presence of a widow’s peak or a cowlick. A widow's peak is when the hairline forms a pointed shape at the center of the forehead. A cowlick, on the other hand, is when hair grows in several different patterns or directions in a particular area. A cowlick may occur in any area of the scalp, but when it occurs near the hairline, the result often causes a noticeable irregularity.

A receding hairline may begin as a thinning of hair on either side of the forehead.
A receding hairline may begin as a thinning of hair on either side of the forehead.

People often try to correct abnormal types of hairlines in an effort to change their physical appearance. Receding hairlines, for example, can sometimes be fixed by stimulating hair regrowth in that area. The positioning of high or low types of hairlines may also be corrected in certain cases, as well.

Men who are experiencing a receding hairline may benefit from drug treatment.
Men who are experiencing a receding hairline may benefit from drug treatment.
Individuals who are unhappy with their hairline may undergo hair transplant surgery.
Individuals who are unhappy with their hairline may undergo hair transplant surgery.

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Discussion Comments

anon996736

My hairline doesn't look good. There is a certain area on my head without hair and it's sad that I can't cover that empty area technically.

GrayArmanda

I think no matter what type of hairline you have, it can look good or bad depending on what you do with your hair. Some people who are fortunate to have a "perfect" hairline probably have a few more options open as to what they can do with their hair, but it's not to say having an abnormal hairline is the end of the world.

Remy E.

kentuckycat

@JimmyT - That is the way I feel, too. As a guy, I think a lot of people think having a receding hairline is the end of the world. I noticed once I got out of college that my hair was thinning a little in the front. I think that was probably mostly from the stress, though. It has gotten better since that time. There are ways to get around it, though.

I just grew my hair a little bit longer and combed it differently, and it looked fine. You couldn't even tell unless I pulled back the hair to expose the hairline. There are even a lot of movie stars who have receding hairlines and cover it up well. I think if you don't have a normal hairline, you can either try to regrow the hair or style it differently or else just let it happen and live with it. There is no use complaining about something that you can't change. The sooner you learn to accept it, the better off you will be.

JimmyT

@jcraig - My brother had something like that. He cuts his hair short, as well, so it's not really a problem. I always wondered what would happen if the hair were really long. The way he puts his hair now, though, the parted section actually looks pretty good, almost like it was put there on purpose.

I think no matter what type of hairline you have, it can look good or bad depending on what you do with your hair. Some people who are fortunate to have a "perfect" hairline probably have a few more options open as to what they can do with their hair, but it's not to say having an abnormal hairline is the end of the world.

I have seen people with receding hairlines and even people who are going bald who have found ways to make their hair look good.

jcraig

@TreeMan - I agree that the sides and back of the head can have just as many strange things happen as the front. I guess most people talk about the hairline in the front, though, because that is what people notice most often.

I think I have something that would probably fall into the cowlick category. It definitely wouldn't be considered a receding hairline. Basically, I have a natural part in my hair where half of the hair goes one direction and the other half goes the other way. None of the hair in that section goes straight down like it should. I used to have a little bit longer hair, and it was pretty noticeable. It didn't necessarily look bad, but you could tell it was there.

For the last several years, though, I have had shorter hair, so you can't really tell it is there until it starts to get longer and needs cut again.

TreeMan

I have never heard of anyone having a cowlick in the front of their head. I usually think of a spot in the back of the head that sticks up.

In this article, it sounds like hairline refers just to the front of the face. Are there any terms for the way hair grows on the sides or back of the head? Those would also be hairlines, wouldn't they?

I always think it is interesting to see how different people can have hair that reacts differently. I think I would probably be classified as the straight hairline, since my hair isn't receding, and I don't think I have a particularly large or small forehead. The article mentions that most hairlines are determined by genetics, but what exactly causes hair to grow like it does? Does your scalp just not produce hair follicles in certain areas?

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