M Shaped Hairline

What Is an M-Shaped Hairline? The Causes and How to Get Rid of It

  • 25th March 2024
  • 9 min read

If you've ever glanced at your reflection and wondered about that distinctive "M" shape on your forehead, you're not alone. This distinctive pattern is actually quite common and could potentially signal the early stages of balding, especially in men.

In this guide, we'll explore what an M-shaped hairline is, the causes, and options for addressing it if it's knocking your self-esteem.


What is an M-shaped hairline?

An M-shaped hairline is a type of hair loss that forms the letter "M" on your forehead. The hair at the front of your hairline protrudes forward while the sections on the sides recede towards the crown, forming the characteristic M shape. 

What causes an M-shaped hairline?

An M-shaped hairline is typically associated with male pattern baldness, a common form of hair loss characterised by a predictable pattern of thinning hair. The NHS predicts that it affects 6.5 million men in the UK.

Pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is primarily influenced by genetics and hormonal factors. In people predisposed to this condition, hair follicles become increasingly sensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which leads to the gradual shrinking of hair follicles over time. As a result, affected hair becomes thinner and shorter until it eventually ceases to grow altogether.

The process often begins at the temples and crown of the head, manifesting as the distinctive M-shaped pattern. This is stage 2 on the Norwood scale – a classification system used to measure male pattern baldness. 

To learn more, read our guide on the Norwood Scale and the seven stages of male pattern baldness.

While pattern baldness is the primary cause of an M-shaped hairline, other factors such as stress, poor nutrition, and certain medications can exacerbate hair loss or accelerate its progression. 


What is the difference between an M-shaped hairline and a widow’s peak?

M-shaped hairlines and widow's peaks might seem similar at first glance, but they're actually quite different in both appearance and cause.


  • Widow's peak – This hairline has a gentle curve, if it's there at all, that goes from the middle of your forehead to the sides.
  • M-shaped hairline – This is a bit sharper, with a noticeable dip in the middle.

Widow’s peak

Widow’s peak

M-shaped hairline

M-shaped hairline


  • Widow's peak – This isn't usually a sign of alopecia; it's often just how your hair naturally grows, thanks to your genes. In fact, some kids even have it from a young age.
  • M-shaped hairline – An M-shaped hairline is often a sign of pattern baldness, especially in men. It usually starts at the temples and can lead to thinning or even complete baldness at the crown of the head.

Learn more about what a widow’s peak is with our guide.

Can women have M-shaped hairlines?

Women can experience an M-shaped hairline, but it's not as common as with men. In female pattern baldness, thinning along the parting or overall hair thinning typically occurs first rather than receding from the temples. 

It's relatively uncommon for women to experience complete baldness at the crown or across the entire head.

To learn more, read our guide on the main causes of female hair loss.

How do I know if I have an M-shaped hairline?

Take a good look at yourself straight-on in the mirror. If you notice a gentle curve and some receding at the temples, chances are you might have an M-shaped hairline. Or, if it forms more of a V-shape and appears somewhat straighter, it's more likely to be a widow's peak, which isn't usually a sign of hair loss.

If you've noticed that your M-shape has become more pronounced over time, it could be a sign of pattern baldness.

To get a clearer understanding, it's a good idea to visit your GP to pinpoint the cause. Or, book a free no-obligation consultation with our specialists at FUE Clinics, where we can assess your scalp and the extent of your balding.

Celebrities with M-shaped hairlines

There are many well-known celebrities who sport an M-shaped hairline, with some of the most notable examples including Jude Law, Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey, and Daniel Craig.

Jude Law

Source: Wikipedia

Harry Styles

Source: Instagram

The best hairstyles and cuts for M-shaped hairlines

There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to having an M-shaped hairline. However, if you do want to minimise the appearance, here are some of the best cuts and styles to consider:

  • Forward styling – Opting for a hairstyle that allows you to style your hair forward can help to conceal the receding areas around the temples. This style works well with medium-length to longer hair, allowing you to create volume and cover the frontal hairline.
  • Short back and sides – Keeping the back and sides of your hair short while leaving some length on top can create a balanced look that draws less attention to the receding areas. This style offers a clean and polished appearance while still allowing you to maintain some versatility in styling.
  • Side parting – A side parting can help to divert attention away from the frontal hairline. By styling the hair to one side, you can create the illusion of fuller hair and minimise the visibility of the M-shaped pattern.
  • Buzzcut – For those who prefer a low-maintenance option, a buzzcut can be an effective way to embrace your M-shaped hairline with confidence. This ultra-short style eliminates any noticeable contrast between the receding areas and the rest of the scalp.

How to fix an M-shaped hairline

An M-shaped hairline often signals the start of male pattern baldness, but there are some medications that can help slow it down and even promote new hair growth. Here are the most popular ones: 

  • Minoxidil – Also known as Regaine, Minoxidil is a widely used treatment for male pattern baldness. Available as a topical solution or foam, it's applied directly to the scalp. It works by prolonging the growth phase of hair follicles, which can help to slow down hair loss and promote regrowth.
  • Finasteride – Another option for treating male pattern baldness is Finasteride. This medication comes in the form of a pill taken once a day. It works by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone linked to hair loss. By reducing DHT levels, Finasteride can help slow down hair thinning and stimulate regrowth. However, it's important to note that Finasteride can't be used to treat female pattern baldness due to hormonal differences in men and women. It can also have side effects for women, like headaches, irregular menstrual cycles and dizziness.


Can you get a hair transplant for an M-shaped hairline?

A hair transplant is a permanent solution to reshaping your hairline. During the procedure, grafts are taken from the donor area, typically the sides of the head, and then implanted into the temples to even out your M-shaped hairline.

There are two primary methods of hair transplantation, both achieving the same outcomes. At FUE Clinics, we offer both options:

  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) – This technique involves extracting healthy hair follicles individually from the donor area, typically the back or sides of the head, using a specialised punch tool. These follicles are then transplanted into the areas experiencing thinning or baldness, resulting in a natural-looking hairline and increased density. FUE is preferred for its minimally invasive nature and reduced scarring compared to FUT.
  • Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT) – In this approach, a strip of scalp is surgically removed from the donor area before being dissected into individual follicular units for transplantation. The follicular units are then transplanted into the recipient site.

The best candidates for hair restoration are those who have been experiencing hair loss for at least five years or more, ideally beyond stage 3 of the Norwood Scale. This timeframe allows the surgeon to thoroughly assess the pattern of hair loss and ensure it's stabilised before proceeding with the transplant. This step is crucial to prevent further hair loss after the transplant, reducing the need for future procedures.

Read our guide to learn if you’re the right candidate for a hair transplant.


Learn more about FUE Clinics

If your receding hairline is knocking your confidence, a hair transplant could be a long-lasting solution. At FUE Clinics, we deliver precision, results, and attentive care to our clients, both physically and emotionally. As a patient, this is something that you should expect as well as depend on.

To discover the available options, explore our selection of hair loss treatments, take a free online consultation, or contact us today to speak to our team of hair transplant specialists. You can also visit our FAQs or blog for more information.

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