Naturally, there are different types of hairlines, and some are considered more attractive than others. One type of hairline – widow’s peak – is a bit controversial. Many famous Hollywood icons, from Blake Lively, Kourtney Kardashian, Kerry Washington, Leonardo di Caprio, and Keanu Reeves, to Jude Law, have this v-shaped hairline. However, not everyone is happy with it.
Because of the v-shape of a widow’s peak, it is often confused with a receding hairline, which can also make a somewhat similar pattern. But there are differences between the two that you should know about so that you can seek the right solution.
What Is A Widow’s Peak?
A widow’s peak is a v-shaped hairline, where the centre is thicker and sits lower than the sides; the pointed centre of the hairline may be in a straight line above the nose. In some people, the v-shaped of the widow’s peak is quite distinctive, but it is more subtle in others (the ‘v’ is more spread out). Having a widow’s peak does not always mean that you’re going to go bald or are going bald. It can occur naturally.
As far as the term “widow’s peak” is concerned, it originates from the tradition of widows wearing a headdress that had a ‘v’ pointed middle. There’s even a myth that having a widow’s peak (even due to genetic hair loss) is predictive of early widowhood. However, it is just folklore.
According to a study published in Dermatologic Surgery, naturally, 81% of women have a widow’s peak. In one survey done in India, almost half of the participants had a widow’s peak, with its incidence being 49.35% in females and 46.15% in males. Even though it is believed that a widow’s peak may be a result of genetics, there’s no conclusive evidence of that.
Even though many people don’t like having a widow’s peak, an interesting study by political science and psychology professor Shawn W. Rosenberg at the University of California-Irvine showed that having this hairline may help female political candidates win elections. Those who had it were seen as being ‘more competent.’ So, clearly, it’s not all bad.
Reverse Widow’s Peak
A reverse widow’s peak is exactly how it sounds. In a reverse widow’s peak, the ‘v’ doesn’t project forward and outward onto the forehead. Instead, the pointed centre of the hairline sits at a higher point than the sides. Reverse widow’s peak is also not always a sign of pattern hair loss, but it could be indicative of that.
A bald spot at the centre of the hairline may form as a result of traction alopecia (tight hairstyles causing hair loss in one spot). In women, it may also be a sign of frontal fibrosing alopecia – scarring alopecia characterised by the recession of the hairline. So, if you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s important to get in touch with a trichologist or dermatologist.
What Causes A Widow’s Peak?
Although it is believed that genetics influence who gets a widow’s peak, it’s not exactly known what causes it. But it is also true that if someone in your family has this particular hairline, you’re also likely to have one (hence why genes are thought to be at play).
Other than that, there are some medical conditions in which a person may end up with a widow’s peak. These are as follows:
- Donnai-Barrow Syndrome – Genetic mutations are responsible for this inherited disorder which can affect many parts of the body. In addition, it can result in unusual facial features and a widow’s peak hairline.
- Frontonasal Dysplasia – Another rare congenital condition that can result in abnormal development of the face. Its patients are also seen with a widow’s peak.
- Aarskog Syndrome – Aarskog–Scott syndrome is also a rare inherited disorder that affects the muscles, skeleton, genitals and the appearance of a person. Those who have this condition often have a widow’s peak hairline.
- Opitz G/BBB Syndrome – It is a rare genetic disorder that affects the midline of the body.
This list is not exhaustive. And although it’s not a medical condition, androgenetic alopecia may be another reason why you have this hairline. In this, the testosterone in the body gets converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which then attaches itself to the hair follicles and shrinks them. Eventually, it results in permanent hair loss. However, this type of hair loss usually progresses in a distinct pattern. And at one point, you might have a v-shaped hairline.
Widow’s Peak vs Balding: What’s The Difference?
When you have androgenetic alopecia, the hairline will recede significantly, and you might also lose your hair from the top of the scalp and the crown area. Those who have a widow’s peak don’t experience this. Their hairline may move a few inches back as a result of maturation, but it won’t change drastically.
Also, keep in mind that hair loss is normal. Hair is naturally shed and replaced by new hair. But in the case of permanent hair loss, the lost hair will not grow back, and your hair will continue to thin. You might end up with a widow’s peak even if you didn’t have one before, or it may become more and more prominent and then withered over time. These are usually signs of pattern baldness.
For further confirmation, you can consider comparing your old photos with your latest ones. If your hairline has only moved back a little, that’s a mature hairline. However, if it has changed significantly, it might be a result of pattern hair loss. You can also ask your friends and family members about any changes that they’ve noticed in your hairline. That’s because androgenetic alopecia can take years to progress.
How to Get Rid Of Widow’s Peak?
There are different things that you can do to either hide or completely get rid of your widow’s peak. These are as follows:
If you have a naturally existing widow’s peak or have formed one due to genetic hair loss, you can fix it with the help of a hair transplant. In a hair transplant, follicles will be placed around the pointed centre, helping straighten the hairline. The hairline shape can be permanently altered with this surgery (even if you aren’t losing hair).
Laser Hair Removal
While laser hair removal is popularly used for the removal of unwanted body hair, it can also ‘fix’ your hairline. In this, a powerful beam of laser permanently damages the hair follicles, so no hair growth takes place from them. The procedure can cause discomfort, and you might need multiple sessions of it.
Electrolysis is another popular procedure that’s used for the removal of unwanted hair from different parts of the body. In this, an electric current damages the hair follicle, which prevents any growth from taking place. Marilyn Monroe quite famously had this procedure done to get rid of her widow’s peak.
Minoxidil & Finasteride
Minoxidil and finasteride are hair growth medications. These can be helpful if you have a widow’s peak as a result of hair loss. These medicines are effective, but you have to keep using them to see results. Also, they can cause some unpleasant side effects.
Physical Hair Removal
A rather unconventional way to get rid of your widow’s peak is to wax it off. However, keep in mind that face waxing can end up damaging the skin, so you should consider consulting your dermatologist about it.
Another painful way of getting rid of your widow’s peak is to tweeze each and every single hair that’s making the V. This will give it softer edges. But you need to make sure that you’re tweezing properly so that you don’t cause any skin damage. Furthermore, your hair will grow back after some time after tweezing, so you’ll have to repeat this painful process.
Widow’s peak is just hair, after all, and you can also shave it just like other hair on your body. If you’re going to shave your hairline, make sure that you have a good razor and a steady hand. One wrong stroke can ruin the overall shape of your hairline.
If you’re unhappy with your widow’s peak and want to hide it, you can consider changing your hairstyle. One way to do this is to get bangs or messy fringe. That’ll cover up the forehead, and neither you nor anyone else will be able to see your hairline.
Another way to draw attention away from your widow’s peak is to do a mid-part instead of a side-part. With hair slightly pushed at the front, you can give the illusion of a straight hairline. Also, avoid wearing your hair too tightly in a bun or ponytail, as that’ll only accentuate the widow’s peak.
Many people don’t like having a widow’s peak because it can appear as if you are balding. While some people naturally have it, in others, it may be a result of a genetic condition or tight hairstyles. It’s important to identify the cause of the problem before you seek treatment. For that, make sure to consult a hair specialist.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.