Mature Hairline vs Receding Hairline: How To Tell The Difference?

Age brings maturity, both physically and mentally. While there are many indicators of physical maturity, your hairline is one of them.

Your age will affect the hairline’s overall shape and density. And this is something that alarms many people.

Receding hairline is not just a characteristic of maturity. More commonly, a receding hairline is indicative of pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

So, many people mistake hairline maturation for pattern baldness even when it isn’t.

What Is A Mature Hairline?

When the shape of the hairline changes from a smooth, concave arch to an irregular, convex shape, it is known as a mature hairline.

Children have what is known as a juvenile hairline. It is right along the border of the highest forehead wrinkle (visible on crunching the forehead muscle). The hairline curves inwards towards the face with a smooth boundary. 

However, ageing results in changes in the shape of the hairline. It moves backwards and may end up forming a widow’s peak with prominent changes in temples.

Instead of being concave, it takes on a convex shape. Researchers have also identified a third type of hairline known as an intermediate hairline. It is in between the concave and convex hairlines. 

A mature hairline is something that happens as a result of ageing, and it is normal. It does not always mean that you are going bald.

So, you shouldn’t worry if you notice that your hairline has receded a little.

It should be noted that you’d start noticing the changes in your hairline around puberty, and there are differences between the hairlines of males and females.

It is also determined by your genetics and even your environment. 

What Does A Mature Hairline Look Like?

Most prominently, the hairline becomes convex after being concave in childhood.

However, as mentioned above, there are differences between the hairlines of males and females. In males, you might notice the formation of a widow’s peak, where there’s more hair at the centre and less on the two sides.

It has a more “V” than an “M” shape, which is what appears in the case of androgenetic alopecia.  

As far as the hairline of females is concerned, it mostly remains unchanged even years after puberty.

The hairline has a U-shape, but you may notice it moving forward on the sides (the temple region). However, this isn’t always what a mature hairline looks like. The environment can influence its final shape. 

For instance, if you wear your hair too tightly, the constant tension on the hair follicles can cause permanent hair loss. The mature female hairline will be convex rather than concave if that happens. 

What Age Do You Get A Mature Hairline? 

You will start to get a mature hairline around puberty, between 9 to 14 years old. The changes in the hairline will continue when you enter your 20s.

At this point, you may have an intermediate hairline that is more square-shaped. However, eventually, you will notice the recession of the temples. 

It is around the age of 25 that the mature hairline takes on a stable pattern (a reason why patients are advised to wait till the age of 25 to get a hair transplant).

However, you should note that hairline maturation will not stop at that age. It will continue to take place gradually even when you’re well into your 60s. 

Other than the shape of the hairline changing, you’ll also notice overall thinning, even in the crown region of the head.

And as for females, their hairlines usually don’t change unless traction alopecia results in the recession of the hair in their temple region.

But women also experience thinning hair with ageing. 

How Far Back Does A Mature Hairline Go?

A mature hairline will move less than an inch back.

Many people test whether or not they have a mature hairline by placing their finger above the topmost crease on the forehead.

If the hairline is about one and a half inches above the crease, it is considered “matured.”

Therefore, unlike a receding hairline, a mature hairline does not move too farther back. It may be barely noticeable to some people. 

What Causes A Mature Hairline? 

Age is the reason why people end up with mature hairlines. However, there are a few internal processes taking place that guide this change.

Mainly, it comes down to the combination of your hormones and genetics.

The reason why the hairline starts maturing around puberty is that the production of testosterone increases. 

Some hair follicles are affected by the presence of the by-product of this hormone: dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

After binding itself to the androgen receptors, the DHT results in the gradual shrinking of the follicle. Eventually, the hair falls out permanently.

The hairline starts to bald and not just mature when there are large quantities of the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT.

If that’s not the case with you, you’ll merely experience maturation of the hairline.

How To Know If You Have A Mature Hairline?

One of the best ways to know if you have a mature hairline is to compare your “before” and “after” photos.

If you have a photo of yourself during your teenage years, compare your then-hairline with what you have now.

Your hairline might look different even in the photos taken a couple of years ago.

Of course, you need to make sure that the way that photos have been taken is somewhat similar so that you can come close to making an accurate assessment. 

Other than that, you can also consider asking your close friends and family members about any changes that they have noticed in your hairline.

The best thing to do is to consult a dermatologist or trichologist as they can clarify to you whether you have a mature hairline or a receding hairline.  

How To Tell The Difference Between Mature Hairline And Receding Hairline?

The following are the differences between a mature hairline vs receding hairline: 

Pattern Of Hair Loss 

Androgenetic alopecia is more commonly known as pattern baldness because it progresses in a distinct pattern.

These patterns have been identified in the Norwood-Hamilton and Ludwig scales for men and women, respectively. In males, the hairline recedes in an “M” shape until eventually the top of the head goes bald, and so does the crown. 

In females, the “M” turns into a deep “U” as the hairline continues to recede. However, none of this happens in the case of hairline maturation.

The front of the hairline usually retains the original shape while the temples recede a little. However, the changes are not too drastic or significant. 

Amount Of Hair Loss 

In case of pattern baldness, you’ll lose a significant amount of your hair permanently. A pull test can be a helpful indication of it. If you’re losing more than 10 hair strands per 100 hair, it may be pattern baldness.

However, this is something that happens when you’re losing hair actively. Since that doesn’t happen when the hairline is maturing, you won’t lose more hair than what’s considered normal (50-100 strands/day). 

Speed Of Hair Loss 

As mentioned above, hairline maturation is something that happens very slowly and continues even in old age without drastic changes.

However, that’s not what people with androgenetic alopecia experience.

\You’ll notice significant thinning and balding in a matter of a few years. And that’s not what normally happens due to ageing. 

Region of Hair Loss 

Those with pattern baldness often lose both their hairline and crown hair. So usually, the hair on the sides and back of the head is left.

On the other hand, if it’s just your hairline maturing, only the hairline is going to be affected.

What Can You Do About Your Maturing Hairline? 

There’s nothing that you need to do about a mature hairline because it is a normal part of ageing.

However, if you have a large forehead, even a subtle recession of the hairline can be alarming. In that case, you can consider talking to your hairstylist.

They may suggest some hairstyles that can better conceal the changes. 

For instance, you can consider getting a French crop or crew cut. Females can benefit from layers and bangs. However, if you wish to make permanent changes, a hair transplant could be an option. 


There are many things about us that change with age and our hairline is just one of them. It can move a couple of centimetres back, but many people end up confusing it with a permanently receding hairline.

And it’s understandable because pattern hair loss is quite common.

In any case, you should get a professional medical consultation to clear any confusion and get a treatment plan (if needed).

Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Cagla Yuksel.

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