What Are M-shaped Hairlines?

m-shaped hairlines

There are many different hairline shapes, but one you may have heard of frequently is an M-shaped hairline. Here, we’ll answer the definition of an M-shaped hairline, discuss what causes men and women to have an M-shaped hairline, and suggest courses of action for taking care of an M-shaped hairline and preventing it from becoming a balding one.

What is an M-shaped hairline? 

An M-shaped hairline, as the term suggests, is a hairline shaped like an M. The characteristic ‘m’ shape is often a sign of hair loss or thinning and is often the result of a receding hairline. Hairlines can, in turn, recede in different ways; it’s possible to get an M-shaped hairline after it recedes horizontally, which leaves more of your forehead exposed. If you have an M-shaped hairline, it’s possible that your hairline has either stopped receding or will continue to recede (which could be detrimental because this may result in balding).

The difference between an M-shaped hairline and a Widow’s Peak 

If you’re familiar with hairline shapes, you might also be familiar with the Widow’s Peak, which looks similar to but is not the same as an M-shaped hairline. The Widow’s Peak is much less triangular than an M-shaped hairline (it resembles the top half of a heart more than it does an M). Additionally, the Widow’s Peak hairline tends to be a hairline that people are born with, but an M-shaped hairline is usually the result of a receding hairline. However, with age, a Widow’s Peak can eventually recede and become an M-shaped hairline.

What causes an M-shaped hairline?

An M-shaped hairline is linked with a receding hairline, a form of hair loss, which in turn is linked to a variety of different factors.

  • Hormone levels: Hormones play a great role in hair growth and hairline development. Both men and women are susceptible to getting higher levels of DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, especially as they age; DHT causes hair loss by blocking hair follicles from growing completely. 
  • Age: Hair loss can start at puberty and can worsen as you get older, resulting in an M-shaped hairline. 
  • Stress: Stress has been strongly linked to hair loss in scientific and clinical research.  Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss directly linked to stress, and other stressful events. Therefore, regular stress may result in an M-shaped hairline. However, stress takes many forms, and as such, stress-related hair loss is oftentimes temporary.

Keeping your M-shaped hairline healthy

Having an M-shaped hairline doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to lose all of your hair soon, but it’s important to take steps to halt hair loss and make sure your hairline doesn’t worsen and recede even more. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your hairline doesn’t become balding.

Drug treatments

  • Minoxidil: This FDA-approved drug has been around for a long time and was originally developed as a blood pressure medication. According to Mayo Clinic, it works for around two-thirds of women who try it, though it can have undesirable side effects.
  • Finasteride: This FDA-approved drug is not over the counter and works to promote a positive environment for hair growth by focusing on DHT formation, where, in certain places on the scalp tends to be the most susceptible to getting a receding or M-shaped hairline. However, it has also been known to have undesirable side effects.

Lifestyle changes

  • A healthier, well-balanced diet: A healthy diet filled with nutrients like protein, fatty acids, and especially antioxidants (nutrients that help stop aging in your cells) will help to keep your hairline from aging. Foods with high quantities of antioxidants include kale, blueberries, and pecans.
  • Not heating your hair and avoiding chemical treatments: Heat and hair damage have also been linked in research by the NIH. For women, using a curling iron on your hair or doing chemical treatments on it, like dying or perming, could trigger hair loss and turn a stagnant M-shaped hairline into a receding or balding hairline.

Wrapping up M-shaped hairlines

Now that you know more about the definition and causes of an M-shaped hairline and are more aware of what you can do about it to keep it from getting worse, you can hopefully be more informed about why your hairline has taken the shape it has! If you’re worried about your hairline getting worse, consider trying Revela’s Hair Revival Serum! By “reawakening” dormant hair follicles using our breakthrough ingredient ProCelinyl, the Hair Revival Serum focuses on increasing hair health and stopping hair loss in its tracks. Learn more about it here!
Profile photo for David Zhang

Reviewed by: David Zhang, PhD |

David is an immunologist and bioengineer with over a decade of medical research experience. He completed his PhD at Harvard University, where he worked on developing life-saving cancer therapies. He received his undergraduate degree in immunology from McGill University and his master's degree from the University of Toronto

Written by: Kyle B. Martin |

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