Let’s start with the good news: Women don’t care how much hair you have. They really don’t. Study after study concludes a thick head of hair is not among the traits women look for in a man.
Confidence, as you’ve heard, trumps pretty much everything else when it comes to attracting members of the fairer sex. But that consolation could seem like a curse if you’re letting your thinning hair kill your self-assurance around women.
If that’s the case, a few style tweaks can improve your looks and restore your self-confidence, says Diana Schmidtke, a celebrity stylist who has clipped and groomed the likes of George Clooney and Jon Hamm.
Start by taking an honest look in the mirror, she suggests. Maybe you’ve been kidding yourself that people can’t tell your hair is thinning. They can. Acceptance is the first step toward addressing the issue.
Now do this:
GET IT CLIPPED
You could attempt a comb-over or Trumpian front-to-back wave. But unless you’re worth a few billion bucks, those looks aren’t likely to land you a date. Rather than grow out your hair, cut it short. “Cutting your hair in shorter styles helps to make it look thicker,” Schmidtke says. She recommends a crop cut or even a close buzz.
THROW OUT YOUR GEL
High-shine hair products like gels and many pomades attract light to your hair, which can accentuate its thinness. “Instead, use a matte or low-shine clay-type product,” Schmidtke says. “That will help add texture and make your hair appear fuller.” Try to muss up your hair and crisscross its follicles, rather than combing it into neat rows that will reveal your thin or bald spots.
CONSIDER COLORING IT
While this isn’t really necessary, dying your hair a shade or two darker can help it appear thicker, Schmidtke says. You don’t want to make a dramatic change. But a subtle darkening—especially combined with a new close-cropped cut—won’t be detectable to buddies but will give you the appearance of having more hair.
SHAVE IT OFF
If you’re not pumped about those changes—or you’ve tried them and aren’t happy with the results—consider shaving your head completely. It may sound extreme, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently discovered what Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis seemed to figure out years ago: Women are attracted to bald domes. In one experiment, the Penn team found women rated bald men as more dominant—a characteristic that ups a guy’s sex appeal. In another, women looked at pictures of the same guy either with or without hair. (The dude in the photo naturally had a full head of hair, but the researchers used computer software to make him appear bald.) The ladies perceived the bald version of the dude to be stronger and taller, as well as more dominant.
One last tip: While facial hair fashions come and go, research shows women really dig beards these days. If you can’t grow much hair on your head, letting the hair on your face stretch its legs may increase your appeal.