From Dark Blonde to Bald: My Hair Loss Journey

Markus Scharnowski
Markus Scharnowski
Going-Bald-in-your-30s-markus

I used to think I was OK-looking. I was never particularly proud of my hair. Varying from dark-blonde to brown depending on the season and time spent in the sun, it was just…there. It was good enough to not have to worry about, but certainly not a distinguishing mark of my good looks. 

going bald at a young age, the signs
Me at age 17, with the classic gel style teenagers used to run with back then.

Up until around 25 years of age, I had no inclination of baldness beyond a pretty big forehead. My father had been bald for a long as I could remember, but that was no reason to worry at the time. 

Approaching 30, I started to notice my receding hairline. In fact, it was my grandmother who told me and started the conversation around how my father had gone bald at a similar age.

how to deal with going bald in your 20's
Me at age 27: The forehead is clearly taking over.

That was the point in time I started researching male-pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, as the symptom is scientifically known. I was still quite happy with my looks and had no intention of taking any radical steps such as implant surgery, but I wanted to keep things as they were. Any further than that would start to look ridiculous pretty quickly, I feared. 

I ended up with Propecia, which contains finasteride. In short and very simplified terms, finasteride suppresses dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is largely responsible for hair loss in men. I took a blue pill a day, and while I did not re-grow any hair (apparently a certain percentage of Propecia users experienced regrowth…), it certainly fulfilled its promise to keep the hairline in place. 

I took Propecia (but switched to a generic product with the same ingredients as soon as they became available) for about 3 years and managed to keep my forehead-hair ratio at an acceptable level. Whilst I did not suffer any of the known side effects of Propecia (turns out many other men did), I began wondering if I really wanted to be taking a pill a day for the rest of my life just to maintain a hairstyle. 

So approaching my 30th birthday, I started to cautiously approach baldness. I suspected my jawline was not strong enough to look good naked in the absence of top hair, so I opted for a more “even” distribution of hair on my head: I trimmed my hair to the second-lowest setting on my trimmer, but at the same time grew a beard roughly the same length. The result was visually satisfactory to me and provided the additional benefit of being extremely easy to maintain: A 3-minute trim all around every 2 weeks or so did the trick. 

 

mostly bald by age 30, journey to loving your bald head.
Age 30: less hair, more beard.

That style worked just fine for a while. It was rather neutral, nothing particularly exciting or offensive about it. I did not mind the hair at all, but I did grow very fond of the concept of a beard. 

Turns out that what I lack on the top of my head, I more than make up for with my beard. Because I had never done it before, I was completely unaware that I could rock a very solid beard in no time, without any patchiness or other issues some guys struggle with.

That did make me wonder: With my beard growing skills so much superior to my hair growing skills, could I risk going all-in? 

During a one-year backpacking trip around the world with my wife, I figured I had nothing to lose: She’d said “yes” at that stage already, and every single person we met had never seen me before and therefore had no point of comparison. 

So in January 2015, aged 32, I took the leap.

took the leap to shave my head at age 32, happy, bald journey.
Hair be gone: The first picture of the new, bald me.

It felt strange – but literally only for a few minutes – that day and the next day when I woke up and felt my naked head. 

That moment was over 6 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I threw out the remaining Propecia pills and bought a pack of safety razors. I’ve kept my head shaven clean ever since, and have experimented wildly with a variety of beard styles. 

And guess what? I get compliments for my beard. People dig it. My wife loves it – she calls it a “bada** look”. I cannot recall a single time people have complimented me on my hair when I still had some, but the times people have mentioned my cool beard must be in the dozens by now.

Sometimes people ask me why I shave my head, or if I’d grow hair again if there was a way to make it happen. My answer is always the same: I’ve been dealt a certain hand by life and this hand includes not having great hair. I could be angry about that and try to fight it with chemistry or even surgery – or I can accept it, roll with it and focus on what I can do instead. 

I’ve chosen the latter and today, I’m more confident than I’ve ever been before.

You may also like

7 Stages of Hair Loss Grief

The 7 Stages of Hair Loss Grief

Losing your hair, like any other significant loss in life, can have serious psychological repercussions. Hair is a major part of who we are and

Holy-Shit-Am-I-Going-Bald-Signs-of-Hair-Loss

Holy Shit. Am I Going Bald?

If you’re reading this, we feel you. We’ve been where you’re at right now; looking for answers and reassurance, a quick fix anything to make

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only awesome content for everyday bald winners.

Losing to Win

Transform from bald loser to bald winner

Losing to Win

Masterclass

Subscribe for the upcoming release