Comb over

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Don Rickles with combover, 1970s.

A comb over or combover is a hairstyle worn by bald or balding men in which the hair is grown long and combed over the bald area to minimize the evidence of baldness. Sometimes the part is lowered so that more hair can be used to cover the balding area.

In Japan, men with comb overs are called "bar code men" (バーコード人), referring to the similarity between the striations caused by the comb and the UPC on products. The "barcode style" is called "bākōdo na kamigata" (バーコードな髪型).[1]

A variant of the comb over was patented in 1977.


In 2004, Donald J. Smith and his father, Frank J. Smith, of Orlando, Florida, were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for their U.S. Patent 4,022,227, a variation of the comb over that conceals baldness by combing long hair in three separate directions.

Famous comb overs[edit]

Charles, Prince of Wales with side parted comb over.
Modern combover of Mohamed Rabbae derived from the Mod haircut, where the hair on the back of the head is combed forward.
Combover of Swedish King Karl IX was arranged to resemble a cross.



  • American general and war-hero Douglas MacArthur was known for wearing an extreme comb over that he usually hid under his military hat.


  • World Cup winner Bobby Charlton was noted for his comb over in the UK.[5][6]
  • Purdue University basketball coach Gene Keady wore his hair in a comb over for decades until 2013, when he shaved it off at the behest of his fiancee (now wife). He told a reporter in 2014 that he spent $600 a week on the hairstyle that included hair extensions and dye.[7]


Business people[edit]

Donald Trump's combover viewed from behind
  • American business magnate Donald Trump has been lampooned for his comb over. Vanity Fair described it as a two-directional "double combover", made visible in harsh lighting,[11] and the Daily Mail called it an "astonishing coiffure".[12] Cautioning that it should not be confused "with a classic side-part comb-over", Time magazine published a four-step guide to emulating Trump's grooming process.[13] Stephen Marche described the unique comb over at length: "Behind the technical display of the comb-over, as counterpoint, the back is as traditional and old-fashioned as a haircut can be. It’s a classic ducktail. It’s such a classic that I have only seen it in movies set in the 1950s. .... In between the comb-over and the ducktail, between the two follicular spaces representing the modernistic and the atavistic, the fantastical and the nostalgic, there is a third tranche. Even in person you have to look closely to catch sight of it. It bulges, slightly but only slightly. It is the real part of the hair, the human part, the actual hair".[14]


  1. ^ Yonekawa, Akihiko (Editor) (2006). Slang Dictionary (3rd ed.). Tokyo. 
  2. ^ Stephenson, Paul (2010). Constantine, Roman Emperor, Christian Victor. Penguin. ISBN 9781468303001. 
  3. ^[dubious ]
  4. ^ "الرئيس". Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  5. ^ Lewis, Rob. "Oxford Student - TT2005 Week 7 - Features - Charlton". Archived from the original on 2005-11-18. 
  6. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (3 March 2011). "David Beckham's hair emulates Bobby Charlton's comb-over". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  7. ^ Doyel, Gregg (November 12, 2014). "Doyel:Gene Keady spent how much on that combover". Indianapolis Star. 
  8. ^ Dugdale, John (March 9, 2002). "Volume control". Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  9. ^ "Ask the Family, BBC2, Monday". 2012-05-09. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  10. ^ Hamlet commercial - Photo Booth on YouTube
  11. ^ Handy, Bruce (March 31, 2011). "Shocking Truth Behind Donald Trump's Hair Revealed?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ Mcdermott, Nick; Nicolson, Stuart (June 11, 2008). "A step-by-step guide to the gravity-defying Donald Trump combover". Daily Mail Online. London. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  13. ^ TIME staff (April 14, 2011). "The secret to Donald Trump's hair". TIME. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The white man pathology: inside the fandom of Sanders and Trump",, retrieved 24 February 2016 

Further reading[edit]

  • Walker, W. H. (2010). "Is the "Comb Over" Dying? A Mouse Model for Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic Alopecia)". Endocrinology. 151 (5): 1981–3. doi:10.1210/en.2010-0217. PMID 20410210.