Depending on whom one asks, staying bald can be high- or low-maintenance. The low-maintenance faction is of the do-it-yourself school. Tim Showalter, who balds at home, zips hair off with a safety razor. "The trick is to do it by feel," he says. "I started by trying to do it in the mirror and hit a lot of nicks." Practice eventually brings the confidence to lather and zip in the shower. He does have to be more aware of heat and cold. That means a hat and sunscreen in summer, an even fuzzier hat in winter.
Professional buzzes take more planning. Barber Kedric Gough, owner of Kedric's Place in Randallstown Plaza, says keeping a professionally finished bald pate is definitely a high-maintenance choice.
"It depends on the individual's hair growth rate," he says. "Some men can manage with a cut once a week, others twice. African-American men also have to consider skin and hair texture. A too-close shave can lead to skin irritation and bumps."
The maintenance cycle speeds up, he says, because frequent cutting tends to stimulate hair growth. He prefers to use electric clippers, but he will do a razor shave at a customer's request. Kedric's charges $10.
Once started, baldness can't be ignored without resulting in a 5 o'clock shadow or the stubbly boot-camp look. That's a different style statement, and a different fashion story.