Comb over

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Don Rickles with combover, 1973

A comb over or combover is a hairstyle commonly worn by bald or balding men in which the hair is grown long and combed over the bald area to minimize the appearance 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"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] In Russia this hairstyle is often humorously referred to as "internal loan" (внутренний заём) for resemblance to the corresponding economic practice.[2]

A variant of the comb over was patented in 1977.


On May 10 1977, Donald J. Smith and his father, Frank J. Smith, of Orlando, Florida, were awarded a patent (U.S. Patent 4,022,227) for their 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




Donald Trump's combover, viewed from behind.


  • 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.[12][13]
  • 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 fiancée (now wife). He told a reporter in 2014 that he spent $600 a week on the hairstyle that included hair extensions and dye.[14]



  1. ^ Yonekawa, Akihiko (Editor) (2006). Slang Dictionary (3rd ed.). Tokyo.
  2. ^ В.С. Елистратов (2002). Словарь русского арго (Dictionary of Russian slang).
  3. ^ Stephenson, Paul (2010). Constantine, Roman Emperor, Christian Victor. Penguin. ISBN 9781468303001.
  4. ^ Handy, Bruce (March 31, 2011). "Shocking Truth Behind Donald Trump's Hair Revealed?". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on April 13, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Mcdermott, Nick; Nicolson, Stuart (June 11, 2008). "A step-by-step guide to the gravity-defying Donald Trump combover". Daily Mail Online. London. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  6. ^ TIME staff (April 14, 2011). "The secret to Donald Trump's hair". TIME. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "The white man pathology: inside the fandom of Sanders and Trump",, archived from the original on 3 March 2016, retrieved 24 February 2016
  8. ^ "الرئيس". Archived from the original on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  9. ^ Former Cambodian King, Prince Norodom Sihanouk (L) is welcomed by Chairman of the State Council of Cambodia Heng Samrin (R) and President of the National Assembly Chea Sim (C) upon arrival at Pochentong International Airport on November 14, 1991 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Prince Sihanouk returns to Cambodia for the first time in almost 13 years. The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images, 14 November 1991, retrieved 7 February 2017
  10. ^ Ministry of Information and the Arts, Singapore Deputy speaker of parliament, Tan Soo Khoon, taking his oath of allegiance as Member of Parliament (Alexandra) at the opening of parliament Archived 2017-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. National Archives of Singapore, 25 February 1985, retrieved 9 February 2017
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-10-16.[dubious ]
  12. ^ Lewis, Rob. "Oxford Student - TT2005 Week 7 - Features - Charlton". Archived from the original on 2005-11-18.
  13. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (3 March 2011). "David Beckham's hair emulates Bobby Charlton's comb-over". Daily Mail. London. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  14. ^ Doyel, Gregg (November 12, 2014). "Doyel:Gene Keady spent how much on that combover". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Dugdale, John (March 9, 2002). "Volume control". Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  16. ^ "Ask the Family, BBC2, Monday". 2012-05-09. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  17. ^ Hamlet commercial - Photo Booth on YouTube

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.