When you notice a bald spot on your head, your first thought (after “why me?”) is likely to be “cover it up.” Ideally today. For as long as guys have been losing hair, they’ve been hiding it with hats, wigs, scalp tattoos, and everything else you can wear on your head.

Some companies say they have a better way to hide your bald spot: hair loss concealers. They come in a variety of forms, but they all aim to cover up bare scalp with something that’ll blend in with your real hair.

Let’s dive into what these concealers are, how they work, and if they’re really worth your money.

What’s a hair loss concealer?

Put simply, a hair loss concealer is a product made to hide bald spots and thinning hair. If that sounds a little vague, it’s because these products vary pretty widely in terms of what they’re made of, what they’re called, and how they work. The best way to wrap your head around your options is to think of these concealers as falling into three broad categories: fibers, liquid, and powder.

Fiber concealers

Probably the most popular of the three types, fiber concealers use natural or chemically-derived fibers to make hair look thicker. These products are usually made from cotton, wool, keratin, or real human hair. How do the fibers stay put? They use static electricity to cling to the scalp and surrounding hair. That may not sound very secure, but most fiber concealers are designed to resist wind, water, and other weather conditions—plus, you can boost their hold with hairspray. They’re also a bit more convincing than their liquid and powder counterparts, especially for anyone taking a close look at your hair.

These products are all fiber hair loss concealers: - Caboki Hair Loss Concealer - Toppik Hair Building Fibers - XFusion Keratin Hair Fibers

Liquid concealers

The vast majority of liquid concealers are sprays, which you apply just like you would a normal hair spray. You can also find gel and cream concealers, such as Dermmatch, but those are far less common. These products typically use dyes and other chemicals to temporarily stain a bald spot to match the surrounding hair.

Here are a few examples of liquid hair loss concealers: - BOLDIFY Hair Thickening Spray - Jerome Russell Spray-On Hair Color Thickener - Old Spice Thickening System Treatment for Men

Powder concealers

Sold in circular containers and applied with sponges or brushes, powder concealer products look a lot like makeup. That’s no coincidence—they work a lot like makeup too, by camouflaging bare scalp and thin hairs with a color that matches your mane. As with liquid concealers, using these products means running the risk of someone noticing the artificial color on your head if they get too close.

Here are some popular powder hair loss concealers: - Dermmatch Waterproof Hair Loss Concealer - Joan Rivers Beauty Great Hair Day Fill-in Powder - Thicken It Scalp Coverage Hair Powder

What are the benefits of hair loss concealers?

The biggest (and most obvious) benefit of using a hair loss concealer is that it covers up your bald spots instantly. Hair loss medication can take months to show results, and plenty of guys would rather skip the wait and use something that’ll make their hair look thicker in just a few minutes. (That’s not to say that you can’t do both—the effectiveness of minoxidil won’t be affected by hair loss concealers or other styling products, so using a cover-up while you wait for results is perfectly fine.)

Compared to longer-term treatments like medication and procedures such as PRP or hair transplants, concealers are cheap, easy to use, and don’t require a ton of commitment—after all, you can just wash them out at the end of the day.

That makes them a great choice for guys who haven’t quite decided what to do about their hair loss (or just need a fast fix while they wait for their medication to take effect), and people who need to temporarily make their hair look thicker but otherwise don’t mind their thinning mane. For example, an actor might need a full head of hair for a particular role but be perfectly happy to wash off the artificial locks once they’re off the clock.

What are the downsides of hair loss concealers?

That old saying “easy come, easy go” may not have been coined with hair loss concealers in mind, but it might as well have been. These products’ biggest strength is also one of their main weaknesses: They’re quick and easy to apply, but that means they come off easily too. That’s great when you’re showering at the end of the day. When you get caught in the rain or splashed in the pool? Not so much.

Even when the weather is cooperating with you, many concealers look fine from afar but don’t stand up to close scrutiny. That’s especially true for people with more advanced hair loss, since you’ll need to use more of the product with less of your own hair to camouflage it. In fact, some concealers won’t work at all if you don’t have enough hair for it to cling to.

That’s even more concerning when you consider the fact that excessive use of these concealers can irritate and inflame the scalp, and even cause folliculitis. Scalp irritation causes hair loss and makes follicles already weakened by male pattern baldness even more vulnerable. If you want to hold onto your hair for as long as possible, you need to treat it gently and keep your scalp healthy—and daily use of products like these won’t help you do that.

To sum all this up, hair loss concealers are a quick fix for bald spots. They’re cheap, easy to use, and don’t require any kind of long-term commitment. Once you’re ready to let that bald spot breathe, all you have to do is wash it out.

On the other hand, covering up hair loss is not the same as treating it. Concealers won’t stop your hair loss or encourage regrowth, and using them too often can even worsen the problem. If you’re ready for a long-term solution to your hair loss (that’s still easy and affordable!), try Keeps. We deliver the only two FDA-approved hair loss treatments directly to your door.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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