Cowlick or Balding: The Key Differences and Their Best Treatment

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By Rehairsystem

2 common hair-related issues that people often confuse are cowlicks and balding. While both can affect the way our hair looks, they have distinct characteristics and require different approaches for treatment. In this post, we will analyze the key differences between cowlicks and balding, shedding light on their causes, symptoms, and the best treatment options available.

What Is Cowlick?

Cowlick or Balding

A cowlick is a natural pattern of hair growth that causes a section of hair to stand or grow in a different direction than the surrounding hair. It regularly appears as a swirl or a spiral-like pattern on the scalp. Cowlicks can occur in various areas of the head, such as the crown, bangs, or temples. They are typically present from birth and can persist throughout a person’s life.

What causes cowlick?

Here are 5 common reasons that can contribute to the formation of a cowlick:

  • Hair follicle direction: The direction in which hair follicles grow plays a significant role in the formation of cowlicks. If the hair follicles in a particular area of the scalp grow in a different direction than the surrounding follicles, it can result in a cowlick.
  • Genetic factors: Cowlicks are often inherited traits. If your parents or close family members have cowlicks, there is a higher chance that you may have them too.
  • Natural hair growth patterns: Each person’s hair has its own unique growth patterns. Sometimes, the natural growth patterns of hair follicles can result in the formation of a cowlick. These patterns can be influenced by factors such as the shape of the scalp or the positioning of hair follicles.
  • Hair texture and thickness: The texture and thickness of your hair can influence the appearance of cowlicks. For example, individuals with thick, coarse hair may have more pronounced cowlicks compared to those with fine or thin hair.
  • Hairstyling habits: Certain hairstyling practices can exacerbate the appearance of cowlicks. For instance, repeatedly brushing or combing the hair against its natural growth direction can make the cowlick more prominent.

Is a cowlick an early sign of balding?

No, a cowlick is not an early sign of balding. It is important to note that cowlicks are entirely separate from the process of hair loss or balding. Cowlicks are simply a characteristic of hair growth patterns and do not indicate any underlying hair loss issues. However, it is possible for individuals to have both a cowlick and experience balding simultaneously. In such cases, the presence of a cowlick does not cause or contribute to the balding process.

What Is Balding?

Cowlick or Balding

Balding, also known as hair loss or alopecia, is a condition characterized by the gradual thinning or loss of hair on the scalp. It is a common issue that affects both men and women, although it is more prevalent in men. The early signs of balding can vary from person to person, but there are a few common indicators to look out for.

What are the early signs of balding?

  1. Receding Hairline: One of the most common early signs of balding in men is a receding hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward, creating an “M” or “V” shape.
  2. Increased Hair Shedding: Another early sign of balding is an increase in hair shedding. You may notice more hair than usual coming out during brushing, showering, or styling.
  3. Thinning Hair: Balding often involves the gradual thinning of hair on the scalp. Thinning hair is more common in women and can be a distressing early sign of balding.
  4. Miniaturization: Miniaturization refers to the shrinking and weakening of hair follicles over time. As balding progresses, the affected hair follicles produce thinner, finer, and shorter hair strands.
  5. Itching or Irritation: Some individuals may experience itching or irritation on their scalp as an early sign of balding.

What causes bald spots?

  • Autoimmune Disorders: Alopecia areata is typically caused by an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
  • Genetic Factors: In some cases, bald spots can be attributed to genetic predisposition.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal imbalances can contribute to the development of bald spots.
  • Stress and Trauma: Severe emotional or physical stress, such as a traumatic event, surgery, or major illness, can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium.
  • Infections and Skin Conditions: Certain infections, such as fungal infections (like ringworm) or bacterial infections of the scalp, can cause inflammation and hair loss in localized areas, resulting in bald spots.
  • Hair Styling Practices: Excessive pulling or tension on the hair, as seen in hairstyles like tight braids, ponytails, or extensions, can lead to a condition called traction alopecia.

Also Read: Best Mustaches for Bald Men

Cowlick vs. Balding: The Key Differences

Cowlick vs. Balding

Nature of Hair Growth

Cowlick: A cowlick is a natural pattern of hair growth where a section of hair grows in a different direction or stands upright due to the angle of the hair follicles. It is a normal variation and not related to hair loss.

Balding: Balding refers to the gradual thinning or loss of hair on the scalp. It is a progressive condition that can result in visible bald spots or overall hair thinning.

Hair Density

Cowlick: A cowlick does not affect hair density. The hair in the affected area may have a different growth pattern, but the overall hair density remains the same.

Balding: Balding leads to a decrease in hair density. The affected areas may have visibly thinner hair or complete hair loss, resulting in bald spots.


Cowlick: A cowlick does not alter the natural hairline. It only impacts the direction or pattern of hair growth in a specific area.

Balding: Balding can cause a receding hairline in men, where the hairline gradually moves backward, creating an “M” or “V” shape. In women, balding may result in a widening of the part line or overall hair thinning.


Cowlick: A cowlick remains consistent over time. It is a permanent characteristic of the hair and does not progress or worsen.

Balding: Balding is a progressive condition. It typically starts with subtle signs, such as a receding hairline or increased hair shedding, and gradually worsens over time if left untreated.


Cowlick: A cowlick is primarily determined by the angle and direction of hair follicles, which is determined by genetics. It is not related to any underlying health conditions or hormonal factors.

Balding: Balding can have various causes, including genetics, hormonal changes (such as dihydrotestosterone sensitivity), age, autoimmune disorders, certain medical conditions, and medications.

Treatment Options

Cowlick: There is no specific treatment required for a cowlick. It can be managed with appropriate hairstyling techniques, such as using a hairdryer, comb, or styling products to tame or redirect the hair.

Balding: There are several treatment options available for balding, including medications (such as minoxidil and finasteride), hair transplant surgery, laser therapy, and lifestyle changes. The choice of treatment depends on the underlying cause and individual circumstances.

How to Fix A Hair Cowlick?

  1. Blow-Drying: Use a hairdryer and a round brush to blow-dry your hair in the opposite direction of the cowlick. This can help train the hair to lay flat and counteract the natural growth pattern.
  2. Styling Products: Apply a small amount of styling product, such as a gel, mousse, or pomade, to the cowlick area. Use your fingers or a comb to smooth the hair down and hold it in place.
  3. Wet Styling: When your hair is damp, comb the cowlick in the desired direction and apply a styling product.
  4. Haircut and Hairstyle: Experiment with different hairstyles, such as side-swept bangs or layered cuts, which can help camouflage the cowlick.
  5. Hair Accessories: Utilize hair accessories like headbands, hair clips, or bobby pins to hold the cowlick in place.
  6. Consult a Professional: They can provide personalized advice and suggest techniques or products that work best for your specific hair type and cowlick.

How to Treat A Balding Crown?

Custom A Hair System

Treat A Balding Crown

When it comes to a balding crown, there are various treatment options available. One effective approach is to consider a custom hair system, which offers a natural-looking solution to restore the appearance of a full head of hair.

A hair system, also known as a toupee or a wig, is a non-surgical hair replacement option designed to seamlessly blend with your existing hair. It is custom-made to match your hair color, texture, and style, providing a natural and undetectable result.

If you want to customize a hair system, go to Rehairsystem hairpiece shop. At, we specialize in creating high-quality men’s hair systems that cater to individuals experiencing a balding crown.

Our team of experts will work closely with you to design a toupee that meets your specific needs and preferences. With our commitment to excellence and attention to detail, we ensure that you receive a hair system that looks and feels natural, boosting your confidence and transforming your overall appearance.


How do you tell if you’re balding at the crown?

To determine if you’re experiencing balding at the crown, you can follow these methods: self-observation, mirror examination, or seek professional advice.

What does an early balding crown look like?

In the early stages of balding at the crown, the following characteristics may be observed thinning hair, miniaturized hair, lack of regrowth, and increased shedding.

Is my hair thinning or am I paranoid?

Determining whether your hair is thinning or if you’re simply feeling paranoid can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider, including family history, hair care practices, overall hair density, and scalp visibility.


Remember, hair-related issues are common and can be addressed effectively with the right knowledge and professional guidance. Whether you’re dealing with a persistent cowlick or experiencing signs of balding, there are treatments available to help you manage and even overcome these challenges. Embrace your unique hair characteristics and seek the support you need to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.

About Rehairsystem

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