When White House senior advisor Stephen Miller showed up on Sunday’s Face the Nation, it was hard to watch. Looking like Mr. Burns got in the way of Bart’s spray paint can, Miller’s obvious attempt to cover up his receding hairline drew the attention away from what he was saying, at least if you looked at Twitter.
Maybe distraction was the point. Or maybe he’s out of practice since his TV duties were downgraded since last January when he had to be escorted out of a studio. Or maybe, as suggested on Twitter, he was getting trolled by the hair and makeup department.
Today’s real hero is Face the Nation’s makeup artist and what I assume was their impeccable poker face while telling Stephen Miller that his hair looks “very natural” pic.twitter.com/9iG3G8StUS
Whatever the case, know that “spray-on hair” is actually a thing. (See way below for products.) Most of these sprays use a combination of color and keratin fibers, which are similar to actual hair, to attempt to mimic the real thing in places where there isn’t any. The problems most men face when using them, including Miller it seems, are twofold. First, the colors are flat, just like spray paint, and they never actually blend with natural hair completely. Second, the keratin fibers work by attaching themselves to existing hair and building them up to create the effect of thickness. If there is no hair, they have nothing to attach to. This seems to be the issue with Miller: he attempted to fill in the blanks.
Whatever happened, we feel for Miller. Hair loss plagues 85% of American men by age fifty and those who are affected know that it’s a daily struggle. It can affect your self-confidence deeply, if you’re on TV or not. The issue with Miller’s hair debacle is that he tried to do too much too soon. You can’t go from Mr. Clean to Fabio overnight. The cardinal rule of hair loss is that if you don’t want people to notice it, don’t call attention to it.
So here are some helpful tips to Miller and anyone else dealing with the reality of male pattern baldness.
If we’ve learned anything from Jude Law, it’s that it’s the style that makes the man, not the hair. If you’ve got thinning hair, the best camouflage isn’t necessarily adding more stuff, it’s working with what you still have. With a little length, and a matte styling product like a clay or pomade, you can use texture to your advantage. Spray products like salt sprays can also add texture to thinning hair without the weight. Style your hair toward the front and mess it up. The more shellacked your hair, the more visible the holes. Avoid products like gel which can clump and never comb it away from your forehead. And yes, we said with a little length, but don’t be tempted to go too long since longer hair is more prone to being pulled out by brushes, combs and hands. And never, ever comb it over.
Baxter of California Clay Pomade, $23:
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Rudy’s Clay Spray, $24:
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Prevent Further Loss
The biggest reason men experience Male Pattern Baldness is genetics. It happens thanks to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone. DHT can cause hair follicles in the scalp to shrivel and eventually stop producing hair. It gets worse as we get older. Tried and true ingredients like Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine) work by blocking DHT in both the scalp and the follicles themselves. They won’t regrow hair you’ve already lost, but they are recommended by most doctors to help prevent further hair loss.
Hims Hair Kit, $44:
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Keeps, $70 for 3 months:
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Bring in the Heavy Artillery
There is only so much you can do on your own when it comes to hair loss. If you’re really committed to seeing a change, you need to get to the big guns, and that involves seeing a doctor. These days, many doctors are excited about a new treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which involves extracting platelets from a patient’s own blood and reinjecting it into the scalp through microneedling. The platelets act as a fertilizer for the hair follicles, stimulating growth and increasing the health (and some say thickness) in the hair. Microneedle devices create tiny channels in the surface of the skin, which allows the PRP to sink in deeper and stimulate growth from below.
PRP is promising, but the most effective way to truly get new hair when it’s gone, is to get a hair transplant. The surgical procedure involves taking hair from another place on your body and surgically grafting them into a new place on your scalp. These days, these hairs are often placed individually, which can avoid the tell tale horizontal scar along the hairline. It’s not a quick fix (full results typically take up to 9-12 months to show) and it’s something only a highly trained surgeon can accomplish, but it’s the most permanent solution out there.
Many men, of course, don’t do any of these things. These men chose to embrace their hair loss and not let it define them. They are the Shorn, those who buzz, shave and crop their hair to cut it out of their lives before it leaves them for good. It takes balls, and some getting used to, but we believe one of the most important and praiseworthy decisions a man can make. Next time, maybe Miller should head to the barber instead of Benjamin Moore.
However! If You Do Spray Your Hair, Less is Way More
When it comes to these sprays, less is more. They are never going to give you new hair, even temporarily, so don’t try to make them. Hold the spray far away from your hair and gradually bring it closer if you want more coverage. Focus on areas where you have hair and want to build it up and keep the spray away from your forehead. Consider a keratin hair powder, which use the same fibers, but are typically with less color and easier to use (you shake the powder into your hair instead of spraying). For details, consider a root powder, which can be subtly painted on in small areas like hairlines and parts to create the illusion of fullness. And note to Miller, if you’re going to do the front, don’t forget the back.
Boldify Hair Fibers for Thinning Hair, $20.95:
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Color Wow Root Coverup, $24.15:
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