Five things you learn when you have a hair transplant (like James Nesbitt)
Last night’s Ballon D’or ceremony should have been about one question: ‘Is Messi better than Ronaldo?’ (He is, apparently.) But it wasn’t. Across social media the only question being asked was: ‘What in God’s name is that on John Nesbitt’s head?’
While I don’t know the root cause (sorry) of Jimmy’s puzzling new coiffure, I do know what it’s like to have a hair transplant, as I battled baldness by undergoing a gruelling, 20-hour, top-of-the-range FUE hair transplant at London’s The Private Clinic just over a year ago.
This is what I learned from going under the knife…
1. People have no idea what a hair transplant is
Here, in no particular order, are some things a hair transplant is not:
Shaving off the hair from one part of your head and gluing it back on somewhere else.
Taking another person’s hair and attaching it to your scalp.
Removing hair from another part of your body and reattaching it to your head.
These were all legitimate assumptions from (mostly) intelligent friends about what a hair transplant entails.
In reality, it is none of these things. What really happens is a doctor plucks 8,000 hairs from the back of your head – where it’s really thick and you won’t miss it – and re-inserts them one-by-one towards the front of your scalp, where you need it. It takes 20 hours, and yes, it is painful, and it is bloody.
2. It really, really works
Before you have a hair transplant, you have no idea if it’ll work. But with the right doctor (mine was hair-transplanter-to-the-stars Dr Reddy) and the right level of pre-op baldness (there’s no point doing it if you’re already too far gone – see John Travolta and Gordon Ramsey), the results can be nothing short of extraordinary.
3. It changes your life
If you’re reading this and you’re either bald, or on the way, you’ll know how horrific it is to lose your hair. Sure, some people suit a shaved head. But for those, like me, who look like Hellraiser’s awkward son without anything on top, losing your hair can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through.
“With hair, when you go from a have-none to a have-some, you want to show it off.”
Does that make you vain? Probably. But the truth is that having flowing locks again, after years without them, gives you back confidence and self-esteem that you thought would never return.
4. You notice who else has had one
If you own a red Aston Martin, you’re likely to notice when someone drives a red Aston Martin in front of you. Likewise, if you’ve had a hair transplant, you cultivate a sixth sense at spotting other hair transplants.
Wayne Rooney? Check. Steve Claridge? Check. Lewis Hamilton? You certainly wouldn’t bet against it. That bartender serving your drink? Check.
It’s like being in a secret club that only you know you’re in. And with the price of transplants tumbling year-on-year, that club’s only going to get bigger…
5. Having hair doesn’t mean you can pull off any hairstyle
Imagine you’ve been obese for years, and then overnight you shed loads of weight and get a six-pack. You’re going to want to parade your hot new body, right?
Well, similarly with hair, when you go from a have-none to a have-some, you want to show it off. But be warned: this is exceedingly dangerous. Having hair, you see, doesn’t make you a supermodel. So donning a ‘full John Snow’ may work for Kit Harrington, but it won’t work for you.
Trust me on this one.