Man and woman looking at reflection in a mirrorMan and woman looking at reflection in a mirror

Mature Hairline vs. Receding: How to Tell the Difference

The hairline is quite literally your crowning feature, making it a distinctive part of your appearance. Discovering any sort of thinning hair or noticeable shifts in its shape can be unsettling. Whether they happen over time or more quickly, these changes can make you wonder what exactly is going on.

Here, you'll find out how to differentiate between mature and receding hairlines, along with which products you should use to help encourage thicker looking hair.

Hairlines 101

Think of the hairline as a frame, acting as the outline or edge of where hair falls around the face. While hairlines are unique to each individual, there are some universal commonalities that play a role in their shape and location on the scalp.

Elements that influence the hairline include age, genetics, gender, lifestyle, hairstyling habits and hormones. As a general rule, there are more shape variations in the hairlines of women than there are in those of men. However, the male pattern hair loss that occurs with a mature hairline or a receding hairline most often occurs in men.

What Is a Mature Hairline?

Mature hairlines occur when the hairline moves back from its original place; they are typically experienced by males rather than females. In their teens, men typically have a full head of hair, also known as a juvenile hairline. However, between the ages of 17 and 30, many men will develop a mature hairline, characterized by the hairline moving back about a half-inch to 1 inch.

As hairlines mature with age, they can occur gradually over time and may not be dramatically noticeable. In some people, the hairline maturing process can take up to 10 years. However, in others, maturing hairlines can happen more quickly.

What Is a Receding Hairline?

A shift to a high hairline that recedes more than 1 inch from where it was originally can result in an M-shaped hairline or a widow’s peak, which is known as a receding hairline. Hairlines recede more commonly in men than women.

The Difference: Mature vs. Receding Hairlines

So, how do you tell the difference between a maturing hairline and a receding hairline? A mature hairline typically moves back evenly and is only about an inch above the top crease in the forehead. If the entire hairline recedes further back on the scalp, with a more defined hairline, like a M-shape or a widow's peak, those are signs of a receding hairline. But again, mature and receding hairlines are not common in women.

While women are among the 40% of those struggling with hair loss issues, according to the American Hair Loss Association, they are more likely to experience thinning hair than mature or receding hairlines. Thinning hair in women is often attributed to a form of hormonal hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia, which is one of the most common types of hair loss as people age. Androgenetic alopecia also occurs in males and is known as male pattern baldness, which is characterized by thinning at the crown and a receding hairline. According to the National Library of Medicine, 50 million men and 30 million women will experience androgenetic alopecia.

Keep Calm and Don't Panic

Sure, a sudden (or not-so-sudden) shift in your hairline can be stressful. But, more than likely, it's a completely natural occurrence. And hairline shifts don't necessarily equate to extreme hair loss or mean you're going completely bald.

Be sure to keep emotions in check and remember that aging and the maturing hairline that comes along with it is unavoidable. However, how you care for your hair and the products you use are in your control.

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9 Tips to Protect and Nourish Your Hairline

Protect against hairline issues and losing hair by using these hairstyling and care tips:

Check-In With a Dermatologist or Trichologist

Any time you experience troubling hair issues or have questions about changes in your hair, it's best to check in with a trusted professional who can diagnose what's going on and offer advice about your options.

Treat Your Scalp and Hairline With TLC

Your scalp and the health of your hair are intertwined. Tap into the power of phyto-actives and natural ingredients by using scalp serum as a once-a-week detox to exfoliate, deeply cleanse, replenish and nourish the scalp while supporting hair growth and scalp wellness. 

Switch Your Shampoo and Conditioner

Not all shampoos and conditioners are created equal. GRO Revitalizing Shampoo & Conditioner contain plant-based, hair-healthy ingredients that are designed to combat thinning hair. 

Follow Up With a Hair-Healthy Serum

Spot-treating your hairline with GRO Hair Serum can help encourage healthy hair and visibly increase hair density. After 4 months of using the serum, users saw an increase in the appearance of hair density by up to 52%* and reduced signs of shedding by up to 76%.**

Avoid Tight Hairstyles

Hairstyles that require prolonged and repetitive pulling on your hair follicles can result in traction alopecia, which can inflame the hair follicles and result in hair loss, especially at the hairline. Avoid wearing tight buns or ponytails, hair extensions, weaves, braids, cornrows or dreadlocks. Chemical relaxers or rollers or the weight of extremely long and heavy hair can also cause traction alopecia.

Turn Down the Heat

"Another thing to do when styling around the hairline with a blow dryer is to turn the heat down," said Gregory Patterson, Celebrity Stylist and DIY expert for Sally Beauty. "More often than not, our hairline texture and density are completely different than the rest of the hair, especially if we add any chemical processing like highlighting. Turn the heat down to medium when styling the hairline and then power up to full on the rest of the hair. This can help protect that precious hair regrowth at the hairline."

Tame Those Baby Hairs Around the Hairline

Control baby hairs when styling, using them to build volume and texture. "This is my favorite trick to manage the hairline," said Patterson. "What I like to do is take the fine teeth of the comb, holding the blowdryer nozzle horizontal. Flip all of your hair out of the way, take the comb into the baby hairs along the hairline, push them in and do a “lock” technique. I love to use these pieces for volume and grip."

Do a Pre-Bedtime Hair Care Routine

Patterson also said that the way you sleep on your hair is extra important. For example, he has a friend whose hair doesn't grow on one side. "I asked her if that was the side she slept on, and when she said yes, we implemented a plan for her to switch sides."

Minimize Stress

Integrate meditation, practice yoga and try a soothing scalp massage to relax and unwind each day. The mind and body benefits will calm and cultivate a healthier, happier, holistic you from head to toe!

Go the Natural Route

Practice hair wellness by letting your hair go natural, and with the best products for fuller-looking hair. Self care is the most crucial part of your hair journey, and finding the right products that are effective and natural is the key to your best hair yet.

*Results from a double-blind, in-vivo clinical study involving 40 subjects, over 150 days.
**Results from a double-blind, in-vivo clinical study involving 20 subjects, over 150 days.

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Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.