How To Easily Know If You Have A Widow’s Peak vs Receding Hairline

Hair loss is a scary thing. For guys, this means that you are officially getting old and aging.

If you are losing your hair there are things you can do to stop your hair loss and even regrow your hair.

Therefore, being able to tell if you actually have a receding hairline or if it’s a plain old widow’s peak is important.

In this article we will explain to you what a widow’s peak is, what a receding hairline, and how to spot the difference.

What Is A Widow’s Peak Hairline?

Widow's Peak Hairline
Widow’s Peak Hairline

A widow’s peak hairline is seen as a triangle or a V-shape point as part of your front hairline above your forehead. Your hair will look the thickest near the center of your hairline and the thinnest by your temples.

How prominent your widow’s peak is, is different on a case by case basis. For some men you can see it right away as part of your natural hairline, while others need to pull their hair back to make it visible.

Interestingly, the term “widow’s peak” refers to a piece of clothing from the 18th century. Back then, women wore a pointed black hat with a V-shape after their husbands had passed away. 

Thus, a widow wearing a peaked hat. This term basically carried over time to describe hairlines and male pattern baldness.

Key Elements:

  • Genetically Inherited
  • V-Shape
  • Natural Maturing Hairline

What Causes A Widow’s Peak?

Just like eye color, hair color, or your height, having a widow’s peak is a genetic trait. This means it is passed along as a dominant or recessive gene from someone in your family.

Having a widow’s peak is completely normal and does not mean that there is something wrong with your hairline. If you’re not sure how you got a V-shaped hairline, take a look at your family.

Lastly, it is common for some men to develop a widow’s peak later in life. So they might not be born with one, but it can start forming in old age.

Men’s Hairstyles With A Widow’s Peak?

Leonard DiCaprio Widow's Peak
Leonard DiCaprio Widow’s Peak

Depending on what your style is, you can either feature or hide your widow’s peak with different hairstyles.

For example, slicking your hair back or tying your hair in a ponytail will highlight your widow’s peak.

Do you take focus away from your widow’s peak hairline? Then you should avoid hairstyles that make you push your hair away from your forehead. In this case, you can have a medium side sweep or hair hanging over your forehead.

What Does A Receding Hairline Look Like?

Man with a Receding Hairline
Man with a Receding Hairline

In general, a receding hairline occurs when you age. More specifically, it can occur any time after you hit puberty. Therefore, men can experience hair loss as early as their 20s.

A receding hairline looks like patchy hair near your hairline where you can see your scalp more and more over time. The reason for a receding hairline is male pattern baldness (MPB) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Everyone loses hair. Actually, you lose 50 to 100 hairs on a daily basis. But, this hair typically grows back. So when your hair doesn’t grow back, you will get a receding hairline.

Hair growth stops when your hair is affected by the hormone called DHT. The hormone shrinks men’s hair follicles. As the follicles become smaller, your hair becomes thinner and then falls out. This is what is happening at your hairline if you have male pattern baldness.

Key Elements:

  • Male Pattern Baldness
  • M-Shape
  • Changes Over Time

What Causes A Receding Hairline?

A receding hairline is caused by a type of alopecia called androgenic alopecia.

Receding or a maturing hairline can occur at any age and is caused by your genes or a change in hormones in your body. If you look at your family, and they don’t have a full head of hair, then you might be more likely to lose your hair.

A receding hairline typically happens at the same time as balding around your crown or hair loss at the top of your head. When your hairline recedes you may also experience thinning hair near your temples.

Men’s Hairstyles For Receding Hairlines

David Beckham Receding Hairline
David Beckham Receding Hairline

Regardless if you have a straight hairline, mature hairline, or receding hairline, you should know how to style your hair. Knowing the right style for you will make you more attractive and give you more confidence.

When it comes to receding hairlines, the most common styles are a shaved head, buzz cut, or crew cut. More trendy styles for a hairline that is receding include a layered comb over, undercut, or a fade.

If you really want to be bold, consider waxing your head or shaving your hair off entirely. But this isn’t an easy decision. To make a better decision you can use an augmented reality app to see what you would look like bald first.

Do I Have A Widow’s Peak Or A Receding Hairline?

First and foremost, if you have a widow’s peak, this does not mean you are losing your hair and have a receding hairline.

One of the key differences between a widow’s peak and a receding hairline is that one you are with while the other develops over time. In general, a man’s hairline will start to mature between ages 18 and 30 years old.

Here are some key signs of a receding or mature hairline.

Key Signs:

  • Excess Hair Shedding
  • Hair Thins On Your Temples
  • Thin Hair Behind Your Hairline

Receding hairlines develop gradually and are not very noticeable. However, there are some cases where guys can experience hair loss rapidly.

If you want to really tell the difference between a receding hairline and a widow’s peaks, here are a few checks you can do.

#1. Wrinkle Test

With this test, we are looking for the distance between your highest forehead wrinkle and your hairline. 

You have a mature hairline if the distance between the top wrinkle and hairline is approximately one inch. This means that this is the furthest your hairline can rise.

On the other hand, if your hairline is beyond this point, you likely have a receding hairline and might have male pattern baldness.

#2. Even Recession

Generally speaking, men will notice their hairline moving backwards gradually. A small number of guys will get an uneven progression to a mature hairline. 

However, if you notice that your hair is falling out faster in certain areas, then you might have a receding hairline.

#3. M-Shape

Another way to tell the difference between a mature hairline and a receding hairline is if you have a M-shaped hairline. This means that the hairline by your temples sits higher than the middle area.

If you have a widow’s peak in your hairline you will also have the M-shape, but also the V-shape in the middle area that is a patch of hair with a downward point.

Can A Widow’s Peak Become A Receding Hairline?

Yes, a widow’s peak can become a receding hairline over time. This happens when your hairline moves further and further back.

If you were born with a widow’s peak, the shape of your hairline might become a distinct M-shape or V-shape. If you don’t have a widow’s peak, your hair will thin near the temple areas and a receding hairline can take the same M or V-shape.

A sign that you might have male pattern baldness is if the hair near your temples thins out. This thinning can ultimately develop into a widow’s peak. We recommend you monitor the situation to understand if you have MPB and need to address it.

Below is a graphic that shows the stages of male pattern hair loss.

Stages of Men's Hair Loss
Stages of Men’s Hair Loss

Best Hair Loss Treatments

Hair Growth Treatment Results
Hair Growth Treatment Results

Male pattern baldness (MPB) affects a large portion of men as they age. Approximately 67% of men will experience hair loss by the age of 35.

On the bright side, there are clinically proven treatments to stop your hair loss and even regrow your hair. Especially if you identify hair loss early and start treatment.

The following are some treatment options for hair loss you can try today.


The main two medications prescribed by dermatologists and hair loss experts are Finasteride and Minoxidil.

Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia and works to lower the hormone DHT in your body. Reducing DHT levels prevents miniaturization of your hair follicles and promotes a healthier hair growth cycle.

Minoxidil is the generic form of Rogaine and is a vasodilator. This medication works to increase blood flow in your body by expanding your blood vessels.

The hair loss treatment combination of Finasteride and Minoxidil has proven to be very effective where 85% of men have been able to regrow their hair.

If you are considering these medications, speak to your physician first.

Low Level Laser Therapy

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a hair regrowth treatment that uses cutting edge laser technology. Red light therapy or cold laser therapy uses lasers to stimulate dormant hair follicles on your scalp.

The stimulation encourages blood circulation which pushes important nutrients to your hair. Therefore, the added blood and nutrients promote new healthy hair growth.

DHT Blocker Supplements

DHT is the main driver of male hair loss and preventing it can regrow hair. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) comes from testosterone.

Testosterone is a natural hormone found in your body, and it turns into DHT when the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase changes testosterone.

DHT blocking supplements as well as DHT inhibitors disrupt the process that creates DHT. There are both oral and topical treatments to block or inhibit DHT.

Lowering DHT slows hair thinning significantly and provides other health benefits in addition to hair health. For example, having too much of the DHT hormone can cause heart disease and prostate cancer.

Putting It All Together

Having a widow’s peak and a receding hairline are two different things. One you are born with and the other develops over time based on your hormones.

Being able to tell the difference between the two comes down to the shape of your hairline and the progression of your hairline over time. If you want to know what kind of hairline you have, there are specific checks you can do.

If you find out that you do have a receding hairline, then you want to act on it as soon as possible and take a proactive approach. Lucky for you, there are a number of clinically proven hair loss treatments.

Fact Checked by our Director of Dermatology We know that understanding how your skin and hair work can seem scary, so my team and I devote our time to thoroughly researching every single topic and product we write about. We hope you find our reviews helpful and informative.

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