By 30, it’s estimated that over 25% of men have noticeable hair loss. I wouldn’t say that I’m quite there, but to me, it’s noticeable. Partially to avoid this, and partially because I had been traveling full-time for over two years, I grew a travel beard and long hair. When I was traveling, it was easier to maintain (or not do anything really), and at the time, it was definitely the look for me. But there comes a time where you look at yourself, and look at how your life has evolved, and realize that the hair isn’t just about the hair. It’s about the lifestyle. Now that my lifestyle has changed , and I live in Brooklyn, the long hair semi-homeless travel look no longer served a functional purpose for me. I was already thinking of cutting it off, but when I went to go get a trim, my barber informed me that having long hair was exacerbating my balding. As such, he recommended cutting off damaged hair in order to better preserve what hair I have left.
I agreed — I had the impression that my hair had gotten more damaged recently. It was getting frizzier and more brittle, and the curls did not have the same bounce that they used to. But cutting off damaged hair didn’t immediately occur to me as an option. I had thought that I wanted to keep my long hair — at least as long as I had enough hair to do so. After all, I had been rocking the style for two years, and I didn’t see any reason to change things up now.
But it wasn’t exactly a choice for me. Sure, I could have gone to another barber and saved the decision for another day. But not cutting off damaged hair would have just made my balding worse. Many men in their late 20’s to early 30’s have this problem, and if you let it, it can totally destroy your self-confidence. But genetics are genetics, and while there are certain products you can use, you can’t escape your fate. There might be a certain Greek tragedy element to this, but hair loss, like any form of loss, is somewhat inevitable.
It’s just that you choose how to deal with it.
The truth is, cutting off damaged hair has really helped me to see myself beyond who I’ve been. Hair is just hair, of course. But when facing the inevitable, it’s better to allow your body to make the changes it’s going to make. After all, by the time most men hit 50, they lose their hair anyway. Maybe sometimes it’s just better to go gentle into the good night, and to decline to rage against the dying light. Or maybe not. Who knows?
But for me, cutting off damaged hair has been eye-opening, and has allowed me to feel more like me. It’s a good feeling to know that you don’t regret a big decision about your body and your identity. But even if you do, it’s just hair, and damaged hair can always grow back.