To Shine or Not to Shine

Many men shave their head to show off their “attitude.” For many, this indicates that they have decided to say “I’m gonna let it shine.”  Some bald men consider a pate so smooth that it can be seen from a distance as the definitive sign of a good shave. Others flinch at the thought of head that blinds people with that mirror-like surface and want to know how to avoid it.  No matter which category you fall in, you will find out that some heads will just reflect more brightly than others.  Why?  There are two operators at work that produce that shine – how smooth the scalp, and the amount of oil generated by the body.  Of course the first is entirely under your control, but the other is a product of nature.

First, the smoothness. A mirror reflects light very well so long as it is smooth. Rough up the surface, and it loses some of its ability to clearly reflect an image, as the rough surface will bounce light in all different directions. The same principle applies to your scalp. When you’ve just shaved, your reflectivity will be at its highest. When you have a couple of days stubble, you will not be reflecting a lot of light.  Then there is the oil. Your skin produces oils to protect itself. These oils are produced by all skin, not just the scalp. For instance, it is the oils left behind when your fingertips touch something, and this is what makes fingerprints.  Some people produce more oil than others, and that is why there are so many commercials for shampoos designed for people with dry, normal, or oily hair. Without hair, the oil will remain on the surface of your scalp, where it adds to your reflectivity.  A person with a very smooth shave and some oil on their head will reflect a fair amount of light. Someone else with a rougher shave and less oil will not reflect much at all.

If you want to avoid the shine, the two you need to do is not shave too closely by shaving with the grain rather than against it and clean your scalp with soap and water periodically to remove the oils.  Keep in mind that by removing natural oils from your scalp you will be removing your skin’s natural protection. If you find that it is getting dry and itchy, you should consider a moisturizing lotion. You might also want to consider finding a shine-reducing or matte-finish moisturizer. They are usually intended to reduce that shiny look on the face, but there is no reason it cannot be applied to the scalp.  You can also consider just wiping your scalp with a moist cloth on occasion instead of a full-scale washing.

For those who want to increase the shine, shave closely, regularly, and against the grain and let the oil stay on the scalp. If your scalp tends to be drier, you should use a moisturizing lotion or body oil that can be applied to the wet surface of the scalp after shaving. These oils are made to lock in moisture, and they will help to produce a shine that will make other bald men stare. You may have to experiment a bit to find something that works best for your skin type.  Just remember the more oil on the head the more shine you will shed.

One thought on “To Shine or Not to Shine

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  1. American men should shave their heads and shine them slick and the women should do the opposite. Women should wear long hair that is clean and soft. Get with God on the reason why.


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