For his new film, called Alex Cross, the fairly adorable Matthew Fox has been promoting the movie with his newly shorn head.
At the various premieres and television appearances he looks cute and clean cut. His follicles sleek but pet-able.
He looks like a charming Chocolate Lab.
One Step Away From Ken Doll Head
In the film it’s a different story.
He plays Picasso, the crazed, homicidal, torturer antagonist to Alex Cross, opposite another bald man, Tyler Perry, as the titular character.
His balder pate projects terror.
Perry’s oft-bald head tells a different story. In the film he might be the heroic protagonist, but in real life his hair always look one step away from Ken Doll head.
His cut is so finely sculpted and perfectly shaped that it looks like it’s been painted on.
There’s no fun in Perry’s hair, no surprise, no stylishness to his style.
Bald heads can project a variety of personas -- both good guys and very, very bad.
They can also be executed both very well and quite horribly.
A Hair Everyman
Let’s briefly go back in time and track the progression of Fox's hair.
Yes, let’s go all the way back to the 90s. Fox was a young pup in his 20s when he appeared on TV show Party of Five.
His hair was the perfect blown-out and full coif to make young girls swoon.
On Lost he appeared with a shorter cut, more serious, but still there was some of his previous swoony locks.
He was a hair-everyman in a strange, adverse situation.
The Bald Index
Shaving his head can signal a big change in a famous dude’s life.
He may want to project a new image, he may just be losing his hair, but either way it’s a big statement.
Not everyone does it right. There are gradients, levels and sometimes these attempts fall flat.
Here I present the Bald Index, beginning with the highest forms of baldness and trailing down to the disappointing hairless.
Clean-Cut and Cute
This look is often for those who either have a youthful face or are downright otherworldly handsome.
The sad fact is that to achieve this you already have to be pretty damn good looking.
Former teen heartthrobs and sports stars do well to sport this look after their long locks have become either passé, started to recede, or they need to change their image from boy to man.
This is often accompanied by a skiff of stubble along the top and is never a full clean scalp look.
A small amount of well-groomed hair goes a long way.
Examples: Matthew Fox, David Beckham, Taye Diggs.
Lean and Mean
This is a mere step below the pinnacle of bald excellence.
This is the preferred bald “cut” of men famous for their roles in action films. It can be fully shorn or show just enough hair along the top to be noticeable.
This cut can be worn by heroes or villains, and its diversity has made it popular among action stars who jump between playing baddies and good guys.
The Lean and Mean offers stability, purpose and a serious demeanour that will intimidate enemies, but also charm and seduce fine ladies.
It’s designed to impress and instil fear. A fine balance.
Examples: The Rock, Bruce Willis, Natalie Portman (in V for Vendetta), Jason Statham.
Comedians are not immune to the charms of the bald head.
These are men who want their baldness to project a goofy, fun-loving and mockable vibe.
This level of baldness is all about humility.
These chrome domes are saying, “Yeah, I’m bald, but it’s pretty funny, right?”
Examples: Jason Alexander, Larry David, Karl Pilkington, Matt Lucas.
Just A Little Off the Top:
Like the above-mentioned Perry, sometimes an almost straight-to-the-bone razor-cut has a strange shape.
This is often an attempt to look stylish that fails.
Trying to create a “look” can often lead to creating a “terrible look.”
Examples: Tyler Perry, Wayne Rooney (though I don’t think he’s trying for a “look”).
Sometimes a bald head kind of looks a bit off.
And yes, the word dopey here refers to the Disney dwarf from Snow White.
There’s something about it on a certain man that makes him look like a gigantic newborn baby.
This look is often similar to the Curly, but the intention is not to be humorous.
This is a failed Lean and Mean.
Sometimes shorn isn’t the answer.
Sometimes, it just makes you look like you’re Benjamin Button.
Examples: Vin Diesel, Michael Chiklis, Chris Daughtry.