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What Are the Different Types of Forehead Hairlines?

By Judith Smith Sullivan
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are many types of forehead hairlines and each is unique, but most are considered regular or irregular based on the symmetry of the hairline. Within these two categories, there are three recognized forehead hairlines. The widow's peak, the high hairline, and the receding hairline are common. They may be regular or irregular and occur in both men and women. Hairlines can also be affected by hair loss, either from male or female pattern baldness or other hair disorders.

Hairlines typically fall into one of two categories: regular or irregular. Regular hairlines are symmetric, smooth, and uninterrupted. They may be squared-off or rounded, depending on facial shape. Irregular hairlines are not smooth, straight lines. Instead, they may follow areas along the head, like the temples, or other parts of the bone structure, with multiple peaks and valleys in the line.

The widow's peak hairline has a point at the middle of the forehead, framing the face in a modified heart shape. The peak can be quite small or very pronounced. There are various theories of the etymology of the name, including a superstition that said the feature was an omen of eventual widowing to a connection with an architectural feature on old-fashioned beach homes that included a small, high balcony where women awaiting their husbands could stand and watch for ships.

Another forehead hairline is actually a result of the length of forehead between the eyebrows and the hairline itself. About 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6 cm) for women and up to 3 or 3.5 inches (8 cm) for men is considered average. A lengthier measurement is known as a high hairline or "Tudor hair". The nickname comes from a popular style in the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth in England, when women commonly plucked their hair to achieve a higher hairline.

Some forehead hairlines are due to hair loss. The receding hairline typically occurs to the left and right of the midpoint of the hairline. As the hair loss continues, the line becomes more distinct, forming the shape of a rounded M, with the midpoint often remaining intact.

Individuals who have suffered hair loss can have their hair replaced with surgery. Hair loss replacement surgery typically involves removing donor hairs from another area of the head or body, and placing them in the desired location. The process is meticulous, time consuming, and costly. Usually, the patient consults with the doctor to determine the forehead hairline that is appropriate for the patient's facial shape. Slightly irregular forehead hairlines are preferred as anything too perfect can look artificial.

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Discussion Comments

By anon319899 — On Feb 15, 2013

I have a question. I seem to to have a slight reverse widows peak. Is that a sign of balding? I never noticed it until now and I'm 23, but I had longer hair until recently.

By TreeMan — On Jul 02, 2012

@jmc88 - I had an uncle that got the hair transplant surgery. I think it takes about a year for the follicles to accept the hair, but once it happens, it is supposed to grow like normal hair forever.

I think a lot of people put too much emphasis on what their hair looks like. I can understand wanting to style your hair and make it look nice, but I don't think it is worth going through surgery just to get your hair back. I have seen plenty of people who look fine with a receding hairline or even going bald. It is all what you make of it.

I also don't think there is really the social issues with being bald that a lot of people seem to think there are. I've never looked down on someone or treated them differently because they are losing their hair. The one exception that may warrant treatment would be for a woman losing her hair, since that is much less common.

By jmc88 — On Jul 01, 2012

@matthewc23 - I agree. Some of the pictures of women with the Tudor look almost appear to be going bald. I think it is interesting to look back and see how things have changed. I'm sure in a few hundred years people will think our hairstyles looked odd, as well. Just thinking back a few decades, I don't think the vast majority of people would be caught dead walking around with the teased hair of the 80s.

I am curious if anyone has known anyone who got hair replacement surgery. How does the finished product look? Does the new hair look natural? The other thing I always wondered was whether or not the transplanted hair grows like normal hair. It seems like it would be pretty weird if only certain parts of your hair were growing.

By matthewc23 — On Jul 01, 2012

@Emilski - I think some people would look completely different if it weren't for their widow's peak. Marilyn Monroe is very famous for having a widow's peak. I think when a lot of people think of that type of hairline, they automatically think of Eddie Munster, but I have never met anyone with a hairline that distinct. Just like you said, though, it all comes down to what you do with your hair. Anyone can have bad hair if they pick a hair style that doesn't suit the shape of their face and head.

I have never heard of the measurements for a high and low hairline on men and women. I guess those are the averages, but I think it would really just depend on the person's face. I think I am familiar with the Tudor hair look, though, and I don't think it would be very attractive in today's society. I think even women who have shorter hair would feel uncomfortable with a hairline that high.

By Emilski — On Jun 30, 2012

That information about the origin of the widow's peak is interesting. I can't believe some of the strange superstitions that people used to believe, especially now that we know hairlines are mostly determined by genetics.

I remember when I was in biology class one of the genetics examples was always whether or not you had a widow's peak, since I believe it is caused by recessive genes. That being said, does anyone have any idea what percent of the population has a widow's peak?

I feel like depending on how to style your hair, it can be hard to tell whether or not someone has a normal hairline. On the other hand, I have seen some people with things like a widow's peak who pull their hair back, and it is very noticeable. I suppose whether or not you want your hairline to be exposed is your own choice.

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