Prince William has been rocking some increasingly thin wisps for many years, but finally debuted a newly shaved head on Thursday.
Although Prince William is only 35 years old, he is not in the minority with his receding hairline. According to the American Hair Loss Association, over 60% of American men have significantly thinning hair by the age of 32 and approximately 25% of men who experience male pattern baldness begin to lose hair before the age of 21.
Celebrity hairstylist Leon Gorman can sympathize: he began to lose his hair at the age of 25.
"It began to get very thin and when I stood under lights, you could see my scalp. It was a shock," he told INSIDER. "When I actually shaved it off, I was relieved to find that my head was a good shape. Growing up in the UK, there were a lot of men with comb-overs, like the famous soccer player Bobby Charlton, and I thought he looked ridiculous and I didn't want to go that way."
Gorman, who is the the Creative Director at Marie-Lou & D Salon in New York City and founder of Leon Gorman Hair Care, has worked with stars like Ewan McGregor, Jessica Biel, and Anne Hathaway. He believes that the fear of hair loss is particularly intense for people who tend to broadcast their appearances on social media. However, there are benefits to embracing it.
"As soon as you lose 65% to 75% percent of your hair its time to start thinking of a new look," he said. "To be honest it's down to the individual, but for me, [when I shaved] I felt younger and fresher."
According to Gorman, clients with receding hairlines often ask for styles and cuts to make their hair look thicker.
"The best way to achieve this is to actually cut short the area where it's balding," he said. "This creates fullness and texture in that specific area."
"The irony in thinning hair is that the shorter you cut it, the thicker it will look," Brooklyn hairdresser Tommy Lovell told INSIDER.
Lovell says that pulling off a shaved head — or any haircut, for that matter — needs only one thing: confidence.
"I've never told anyone that they should shave their head. I think each person should figure that out on their own," Lovell told INSIDER. "I had one client who wanted his hair to look like he didn't care. And I said, 'well the way you achieve that is you've got to stop caring.' I can't do that for you."
Lovell, who co-owns WHITEROOM Salon and Apothecary with his wife, sees his job as giving his clients exactly what they want — which often empowers them to wear the style with confidence — rather than advising them for or against a certain look. And although he agrees that there are benefits to embracing baldness, he believes that each person must come to that conclusion of their own accord.
"I feel like as the hairline recedes, generally men want to cover it up, or they have historically. What I'm seeing less and less of is [a desire to hide thinning hair] and actually a specific desire to not look like they're covering it up," Lovell told INSIDER.
"I have several men whose hairlines are receding and they almost want to show it off because they're really afraid that if they let any hair go over it, it's just going to look like they're trying to cover it up," he said. "This is definitely a shift I've seen over the past few years, for sure. I'm not sure why, but I'm really glad it's happening."
Prince William joins a growing list of men who wear their hairless heads with pride, but there are steps you can take to discourage hair loss if you still feel apprehensive.
Lovell recommends stimulating your scalp — massaging with natural oils, for example — and avoiding heavy styling products that might clog the scalp and damage follicles further. For products, Lovell's salon carries Reverie's CAKE Restorative Scalp Tonic, while Gorman recommends his brand's own Organic Seaweed Shampoo for Hair Growth.
Renowned New York stylist Nunzio Saviano recommends Rogaine, a regrowth treatment, "as it actually does work to stimulate hair growth," but cautions that it is "a commitment."
"If Rogaine does not work I recommend they take Propecia, a hair growth supplement that requires a prescription from a doctor," Saviano told INSIDER. "As a final way to combat hair loss, if you don't want to embrace it and go bald, there is hair transplant surgery."
Although it certainly took Prince William a number of years to come to terms with his new look, one thing is clear: the Duke of Cambridge is a certified heartthrob, with or without hair.