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What Your Hairline Says About Your Ancestry


It turns out that not only is your hair type determined by your DNA, but your hairline is as well. If your hairline forms a downward v-shape towards the middle of your forehead, it’s commonly known as a widow’s peak hairline. While this might simply look like an aesthetic difference from other hairlines, it can actually indicate certain genetic conditions.

Why is a widow’s peak called that, and what does it mean?

A widow’s peak consists of a higher hairline on the sites with a lower point in the center, and it can range from subtle to dramatic on different people. There is also the reverse widow’s peak, which culminates in an inverted V-shape. This style of hairline looks even more distinctive when the hair is pulled back, highlighting it. Just like how your ancestors determine if you have wavy, straight, or curly hair, they also determine if you have a widow’s peak or a straight hairline.

The term originates from the 18th century in England. When a woman became a widow at this time, it was tradition for her to wear a black hood or hat with a triangular shape. Due to this silhouette, the point would fall towards the middle of the forehead.

What causes widow’s peak hair?

If you’ve noticed that you have a widow’s peak, it’s likely that others in your family have this hairline, too. Although scientists have not been able to determine exactly how it is inherited (i.e., if a single dominant gene causes it or if multiple genes cause it), it is often linked to various genetic conditions or abnormalities (some very rare), including Opitz G/BBB syndrome, Donnai-Barrow syndrome, Aarskog syndrome, and Frontonasal dysplasia.


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Other types of hairlines and what they reveal about your ancestry:

1. M-shaped

An M-shaped hairline (seen in celebs like Harry Styles) is often signified by a subtle recession near the temples. For many people, it can mean a history of male-pattern baldness and early hair loss.

2. Receding hairline

Another sign of male pattern baldness, these signs can often show up as early as adolescence and appear via a thinning at the temple, which causes recessions on both sides of the forehead. In women, a receding hairline can sometimes signify different kinds of alopecia.

3. High/low hairline

These are common for women. A high hairline that keeps moving higher can be a sign of women’s hair loss, while a low hairline (seen in celebrities like Priyanka Chopra) means less of a distance between the brows and hairline.

4. Mature hairline

Although men experience a receding hairline more dramatically than women, women will start to experience thinner hair surrounding the temples and forehead as they get older.

5. Uneven hairline

Some hairlines can be uneven, unlike a straight, triangular, or M-shaped hairline. Some people try to straighten this hairline using hair transplants or hair removal methods.



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6. Cowlick

TA cowlick is a swirl of hair growing in a different direction from the other hairs. Both men and women can experience this, but it typically appears at the hairline.

What factors affect your hairline?

Factors such as age (younger people most likely will not experience a mature hairline), health conditions, hormones, and stress levels can all affect your hairline, beyond genetics and your ancestors.

Can you change your hairline?

You can change your hairline at home by plucking with tweezers, shaving, using hair removal creams, or waxing. However, over-plucking can cause permanent hair loss, and with shaving, hair can grow back unevenly or with a sharp texture.

Hair-removal creams should be specifically designed for the face and sensitive areas. For a more permanent solution, you can get laser hair removal, microblading, or electrolysis at a doctor’s office. People can even get a hair transplant to remedy a receding or uneven hairline.

Some people like their hairlines or want to change them, while others don’t give it much thought at all. The only thing for certain is that our hairlines are passed down to us throughout the generations, and they’re part of who we are.