We’ve all heard of catfishing – but what is hatfishing?

The new dating term is used to describe people who conceal their baldness under a hat on social media or apps.

According to research, the trend has surged in popularity.

Hatfishing is a trend on dating apps at the moment

In a survey of those who suffer from thinning hair or baldness, 21% admitted they’ve tried to conceal their lack of hair in pictures.

And 16% have used a hat to do so, which turns them into a ‘hatfisher’.

It comes after a survey of 1,000 adults found that one in 10 Brits claim they have been hatfished.

A sizeable 40% of women say they’d go no further with a potential love interest if they were hatfished by them.

And what’s more, a quarter of adults also admitted that when scrolling through dating apps or meeting for a first date, they make a judgment on the person’s hair first.

Of the women polled, 56% admitted that they would prefer to date someone with a full head of hair.

Meanwhile, 45% would completely lose interest if their date had a combover.

In fact, they would rather have a partner who has a low-paid job or a partner who can't cook rather than one with a combover.

It goes both ways too – more than three quarters of men would prefer to date a woman with lustrous locks rather than thinning hair.

Have you ever 'hatfished' someone?

The findings also revealed that three quarters of adults feel social media and dating apps have had a direct role in damaging their self-esteem, with 57% blaming them for feeling more worried about their hair and losing their locks in the future.

But while six in 10 women say that hair loss or thinning hair plays a huge role in negatively affecting their self-esteem - along with 41% of men - 59% of adults claimed they would rather have a full head of hair than one million followers on social media.

Simone Thomas, founder of Simone Thomas Wellness, which commissioned the research, said: “Our clients are from various backgrounds with hair loss issues, scalp conditions and skin conditions.

“Most recently, we’ve seen a huge number of Covid-19 patients suffering with health issues and hair loss.

“We have treated children as young as five with hair loss issues, right up to people in their 90s.

“There is no limit when it comes to hair loss and how it makes you feel.

“But we can all do with working on our self-love more and boosting self-confidence, now more than ever.”

Some deliberately wear hats to cover thinning hair

Another poll, which surveyed a cross-section of bald or hair loss sufferers and those without hair loss issues, found that 48% of those suffering from baldness feel that beauty standards are not inclusive of balding or bald people.

Additionally, Brits believe that there is a real lack of representation of bald people in the media, particularly in reality shows such as Love Island – as the smash hit TV series has NEVER featured a bald or balding contestant in the UK.

In fact, a shocking 39% believe reality dating shows like Love Island discriminate against balding men, while 45% think they discriminate against women with thinning hair.

But one in three women want to see a balding man or woman win a TV reality show rather than a luscious-locked winner.

Video Loading

Simone Thomas added: “We treat thousands of people a year at my clinics from the UK, Europe and the Far East, including royalty, who are desperate for a solution and I’m not surprised after seeing these stats.

“We must be kinder and more inclusive when it comes to casting television shows and prove the point that baldness can still be viewed as attractive."

The study also found that 48% of participants would like to have hair loss treatment, while 12% have used home remedies such as essential oils, olive oil or egg whites.

One in five of those polled, via OnePoll, also said they would consider having hair loss treatments as a solution to thinning hair after seeing celebrities having successful results.

Marvin Brooks, former Love Islander (2019) and personal trainer, said: “The beauty standards are high in reality TV.

“Although I believe more programmes are taking the necessary steps to ensure they’re more inclusive, I’m yet to see balding or bald men represented.

“In my experience it’s actually after the show that the pressure is cranked up.

“More and more people feel they need to do all the things that are considered ‘celebrity’, which is a real shame as many walk into the show happy the way they are.

“I think bald people or those who suffer from balding or thinning aren’t represented as much as they should be on reality TV shows.

“I think the more people identify with the people they’re seeing on screen, the more people would have the chance to apply.”

Excessive hair loss is a problem that affects large numbers of men, women, and children for a number of reasons.

Factors that can induce unwanted hair loss include: genetics, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, illnesses, certain medical treatments, extreme stress, trauma, medications, pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, menopause, and harsh hair care products.

Hair loss, and hair thinning can have a devastating effect on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Further reading on hair loss awareness and information on the role diet and nutrition can play on the condition of hair and health can be found here.