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Big post today, and an important one. If you're a man under 30 or a woman, this will likely not apply to you. At least not yet. This post is for the rest of you guys. I've talked before about how I was planning on getting a procedure done to deal with my balding head. My plan for the last several years was to get this done at around age 42 or 43, when my hair really needed it. My hair has been thinning, but very slowly. Despite its thinness I still looked "okay". And I was still getting laid often by hot chicks, including and especially VYW. Just like with being chubby, women didn't seem to care much.
-By Caleb Jones
Last year that all changed. Around my 39th birthday last April, for the first time, I looked in the mirror and said "Shit. That doesn't look good." Again, my results with women or business or any other area of my life was not suffering because of it, it's just that for the first time, my head started to look noticeably bad to ME. I started to notice stray hairs in the shower and sink consistently instead of every once and a while, and this was new. Age had finally caught up with me.
So like any other problem, you identify it, research how to fix it, and put in the effort to fix it, and get it resolved. I realized had to bring my baldness remedy timetable up about three years before I planned. Sucks, but such is life sometimes. I knew whatever procedure I opted for would cost a few thousand dollars.
I don't believe in debt, so I wasn't going to borrow the money to do it. Nor do I ever dig into my savings or investments to pay for something that is not an appreciating assert. So I started saving up, just like I did when I was kid. Every month I put money aside to pay for the procedure of my choice. By the way, as a quick aside, there seems to be a misconception with a few folks out there that I'm this super rich guy who has all the money in the world and can buy whatever I want. Sadly, that's not the case. At least not yet of course; I'm working on it. I am successful, that's true. I'm motivated, focused and work hard.
However I'm not a bazillionaire and I hate spending money on just about anything. If you saw the house I live in or the car I drive, you'd see what I'm talking about and would quickly discover that I'm not the Mr. Moneybags some folks out there think I am. If I was, I would have just snapped my fingers and paid for the expensive procedure immediately. Uh, no.
Why Don't You Just Shave Your Head?
That's a question I've gotten a few times, and it's a good question. The answer is simple: I'm a chubby guy with very white skin. Picture a chubby guy with very white skin who is now completely bald. See that? Yikes. Not good. More skinny or buff guys, or guys with gaunt or more narrow faces, or guys with darker skin or nice tans, THOSE guys can look decent when they shave their heads. For example, black dudes look fantastic when they go "Bic bald". I have a younger brother who has way less hair than I do, and he just shaves his head. He's skinny and tan, so he looks great.
It just wasn't an option for me. And no, I'm not going to go get a god damn fake tan every week for the rest of my life. Dude. F that. Plus, look at the picture at the top of this post. See the difference hair makes? It's a picture of the exact same guy, yet with hair he looks not only better, but younger, healthier, and even more trim (even though he isn't). Hair really, really makes a huge difference, especially on big-faced guys like me and the guy in the picture.
The Two Options -
If you're balding and shaving your head is not an option, you have two options left to resolve the problem: hair restoration or a hair mesh. I would write pages and pages on both of these procedures because I've done a lot of research, but I'm just going to summarize here.
Just a heads up, both of these procedures are expensive, as in several thousand dollars. So if you need them, or think you will need them in the future, you'd better start saving now, or plan on digging into your savings. (I suppose if you're stupid you could borrow the money. Hopefully you aren't stupid.)
Hair restoration is surgery where they move individual hair follicles from the back of your head (where you will never go bald) to the top parts of your head where you need it. It is not hair plugs. That's not done any more. They move one follicle at a time. The science behind it is actually very cool. I know several men who have had the procedure and it does work, and it looks completely real. Hell, it is real, since it's your hair.
Both procedures have lots of pros and cons. Here is a chart to help you out, based on my research and experience:
Hair Mesh Hair Restoration
Up-Front Cost $2000 - $3000, depending on how much hair you've lost. $5000 - $12,000 depending on how much hair you've lost.
Monthly Cost $250 - $450+ for as long as you want the mesh None. (Unless you're stupid and borrow the money and have to make payments.)
Is it actual surgery? No. Yes.
Is it invasive surgery? No. Not really.
Do you have a "thing" implanted/attached in/on your head? Yes. No.
Procedure length 2 - 3 hours. 8 hours.
Immediately after the procedure. You look perfect. You look like a mutant from the zombie apocalypse. You must wear a hat for about six weeks at least for the hair to grow in.
How many follow-up appointments needed? One. Then regular monthly appointments thereafter. One or two.
Have to go back in for regular sessions? Yes, once or twice a month for as long as you want the mesh. No. Once you're done, you're done.
Recovery None to speak of. Perhaps some minor discomfort for about 24 - 48 hours. Discomfort and/or pain for up to 10 days. Painkillers required. Takes about six to nine weeks for you to look good.
Any discomfort once fully recovered? Possible mild itching. No.
Does it leave a scar? No. Yes. One huge long scar on the back of your head, covered by your own hair so people won't see it unless you shave your head.
Is it your own hair? No. Yes.
Lasts forever? Yes, but only if you go in every month (and pay) for the rest of your life. Depends on how bad you're balding. If you're still losing hair you have to go in for another procedure in 10 years or so.
Procedure reversible? Yes. And it's painful. No.
Do I have to "wear a thing", then take it off at night, or when I shower, like a toupee? No. No.
Does it look good? Yes. Yes. If you're thinning strongly your hair can still have a slightly sparse look, but it still looks very good.
Does the hair feel real? Yes. Yes.
Can you swim with it and still look totally normal? Yes. Yes.
Can a woman rub her fingers through my hair and not tell? Usually. Yes.
Can people tell you've had something done? Yes, but only if someone looks closely and carefully in strong light while probing with fingers. No. (Unless you later shave your entire head thus showing the scar.)
Permanent? No. You can have the mesh removed and go back to your old balding head whenever you like. Yes.
Do I need to take medication to maintain the procedure? No. No. However post-op they will recommend you take Propecia to keep your existing, non-transplanted hair from falling out. It's not required though.
Can I still lose hair after the procedure? Yes, though no one can tell as long as you have the mesh. Your monthly appointments will adjust this on-the-fly if necessary. Sort of. The transplanted hair will never fall out, but the hair you already had on the top of your head pre-op can still fall out later.
Do I need to use special shampoo/conditioner? Yes. You have to use all kinds of custom crap. It's included in your monthly program. No. Can women have the procedure? Yes. A surprising number of women have, including models. Yes. Contract required? No. There is a monthly fee forever, but you may cancel at any time. No. Financing available? No. Yes. If you're stupid. What else is included in the cost? Depends on the monthly program you select, and there's a million of them. Normally the regular monthly fee includes all of your haircuts, hair coloring, shampoo/conditioner, etc. Nothing, other than your one or two follow-up appointment(s).
Lots of pros and cons for such a big decision. The mesh is great because you always look perfect and don't need surgery. The mesh also sucks because there's a monthly fee forever. The hair restoration is great because it's permanent, and it's your hair, and once you're done, you're done, no more appointments or fees. The hair restoration also sucks because of its massive cost and painful and weird recovery time.
I don't recommend one over the other. They're both valid, they both work, and I have met men (and women!) who have done both and everyone (whom I have met anyway) where happy with the results of either procedure. For many years I was planning on getting the surgery. Over time, I started leaning towards the mesh. In the end, I got the mesh. I just had the procedure done last week. Time for some photos!
This is a picture of my original bald-ass head, with no thickening products in my hair at all, in bright light:
Jesus. Look at that bald bastard. Well hey, at least balding is caused by DHT which itself is caused by testosterone. So if you're balding you can at least say that you're a manly man with a lot of "T". Always look on the bright side.
When I started thinning a few years ago, I did some research and ordered some Nanogen Nanofibres. I've used them for years and they've been more than enough to make my hair look fine...until 2011 that is. The nanofibres are a fine black powder that adhere to your hair and make it look much thicker than it is. If you have a small bald spot or somewhat thinning hair, they make a huge difference and I highly recommend them.
As you can see, it's not nearly as bad, but it's still clearly thin-looking hair. Like I said, for the past several years, the Nanofibres have been more than enough to make me look good. But as of around summer of 2011, as you can see above, it started to look...well...too thin. Not ideal. I realize that since I'm almost 40, it could be considered age appropriate, but I don't' care. It still didn't look optimal, especially when you consider my business career and my lifestyle.
And let me repeat one more thing...I was getting laid plenty with that hair you see above, including 18 and 19 year-old girls. So next time you start to think "I'm not getting laid because of my hair" or something like that, dude, take a look at the above photo. No excuses. Alright. So after much saving and fucking around with the hair mesh place, I finally dove in and got the mesh. Here's how I looked three days after the procedure:
Boom baby. I give you...the cure to baldness! I now look like I used to look about 12 years ago. My fun Charlie Sheen hair is back. Much better. Shit, for all I know, Charlie probably had the same procedure...lots of those Hollywood guys have. Looking in the mirror I now say to myself, "Hey dude! Where have you been? Long time no see." Just like the guy at the top of this post, I look better, younger, skinnier, and healthier. I actually had one of my female clients hitting on me the other day, as in sending me flirty texts after I left her office. (No, I don't fuck women I work with.) This should also help me out when I start doing daygame again later this year, after I've finished losing the weight I need lost before my 40th birthday.
Now it ain't all sweetness and roses. The first mesh they put on me didn't look right, and I had to complain. Hard. They had to pull the fucking thing off of me (that hurt) and "install" a new one. Thankfully the second one was fantastic; it's the one you see in the photo. There's also a definite learning curve to all of this. I'm learning how to take care of my head...things like showering are all different now.
Moreover, now that I have all this hair again, figuring out what to do with it has actually been a problem. I've been trying out different styles. They all look good, but I still don't know what I'm doing. (No big deal...I'm sure some of my MLTRs/FBs will helping out as always.) Lastly and most important, Mr. Frugal Blackdragon is not pleased at all about the new $300 bill he's going to have to pay every month from now on. FUCK!
However! I was ALREADY spending about $120 per month cutting my hair, coloring the grey out of my hair, buying all the anti-baldness products (Nanogen Nanofibres, Nioxin, etc), and all that other stuff, so it's really not a $300 per month net expenditure, it's "only" about $180. Still sucks, but think about this. Multiply that by twelve and that's $2160 per year. Add in the $2500 fee to get it done, and we're still no where NEAR the $10,000 or $11,000 I would have had to pay to get the hair restoration surgery.
So there you go. Yes, you could argue I pay that $2160 again next year and every year thereafter and it will add up, but I can't guarantee if I got the surgery I wouldn't have go back in again in 10 years or so, which means with the mesh I'm still ahead of the game financially. Again, I'm not against the surgery, it's a good option and it does work...the mesh was just a better option for me personally at this point in my life, with my hair the way it is (or should I say, was).
Regardless, I'm very happy with it. Every person who has seen it really likes it, especially women (including women I'm dating). One odd complaint I have about it is that it makes me look younger, and I don't want to look younger, I just want to look better. Unlike most men my age, I don't want to be a 40 year-old guy who looks 30. No no no. Age is a DHV for a man and I like looking 40.
I've said before that I'm far better-looking as a man at age 39 than when I was 23, even with the thinner hair and more body fat. Men just tend to look better as they get older in my opinion. So no, I don't want to look 30, I just want to be a good looking 40. And later, a good looking 50, and 60, etc.
I'm busting my ass on this damn diet and I now weigh the lowest I've weighed in three years...same reason. I'm never getting monogamous, even if I move in with that One Girl™, so unlike most men who plan to eventually chuck it all and "go mono" when they "settle down", I have to look at least somewhat good...not just now but for decades to come. Oh well. I suppose you can't look better without looking younger.
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N 2012-02-19 23:23:16
1. One word: Hats. Over the last year, I've become a hat guy (more by necessity than planning). And I have the weirdest, most odd-shaped head imaginable. So finding hats has been a difficulty, but fun. I now have a light summer hat, a dark wintery one and a tophat. My hats are all xlarge or custom. And I love it. If you can pull it off, it looks fucking classy. I'm Humphrey fucking Bogart. It's a form of peacocking. Of course it has to match your overall style - which it does for me; I'm the guy with the three-piece suit and the British accent anyway. I only lack the monocle and gold pocket watch. 2. There is this huge stigma in society against plastic surgery. It's a lot like PU - people view it as cheating against the 'natural order' and resent it for that reason. And powerful people use it but of course don't admit to it. Also, I know a couple of friends who have had all sorts of plastic surgery stuff done (mostly women) and all agree that it's some of the best money they ever spent. They're super happy with it. Studies have actually shown that your look and appearance tends to be one of the biggest factors influencing your happiness. 3. Those Pictures! What a change! Holy wow.
Jonathan 2012-02-20 05:51:07
Great info; thank you. But stay away from Propecia! A small proportion of men who take it undergo some permanent hormonal shift that includes a possibly permanent loss of sex drive and erections, as well as a long-term brain fog that makes working at any technical job nearly impossible. If you get on their discussion groups (which understandably tend to be private), these are one seriously depressed and depressing group of people. There but for the grace of God and the Internet. I'm so grateful I found them before I tried taking any.
Alejandro 2012-02-21 03:50:48
I was also considering taking propecia, but decided against it after reading some of those sexual-related side effects. Granted, the percentage of guys who experience them may be small but they are so serious that the risk is not worth it.
Blackdragon 2012-02-21 17:43:55
I don't do drugs, and along with that I have a hard and fast no-unneeded-medications rule in my life. There's no way in hell I'm ever taking anything like Propecia. Hell, I don't even like taking Tylenol. I'm all for plastic surgery and things like that, but taking meds...not for me.
David 2012-02-23 06:32:52
Hi Blackdragon, with the surgery, do you need to shave your existing hair on top of your head off first? Ive got longish hair that could do with some thickening - although I definitely don't want to have to cut off my hair and wait for it to grow back from scratch, if you know what I mean. Thanks.
Blackdragon 2012-02-23 08:28:13
No, you don't have to shave your hair with the surgery, usually. However after the surgery a some of your existing hair temporarily falls out. It grows right back, but definitely falls out. That's one of the reasons your head looks so weird right after the op. Most guys have to wear a hat for a good 4-6 weeks or longer before all the lost hair regrows and the new hair grows out.
The Cat 2012-05-24 14:51:31
Just shave it all off....within a fortnight you won't even miss it or even think about it...and that attitude is attractive.. Okay some women may not like so what...some do...look at John Malkovich, Sean Connery etc...didn't affect their pulling power - JMK & Michelle Pfeiffer Wigs, weaves & Tx's are for Beta, Omega pussy's.who are afraid of what people think...go for a Navy SEAL Mack look or get it cropped really short. Just do it like I did....you won't regret it!
The Cat 2012-05-24 15:02:17
Plus, look at the picture at the top of this post. See the difference hair makes? It’s a picture of the exact same guy, yet with hair he looks not only better, but younger, healthier, and even more trim (even though he isn’t). Hair really, really makes a huge difference, especially on big-faced guys like me and the guy in the picture Personally I don't agree with your interpretation ...it's all in your mind....probably media programming & what others say...actually if the guy on the left shaved it down even more he'd look a Alpha MOFO... definitely more dominant that the pretty boy on the right! It's all in your mind....read Maltz...Psycho-Cybernetics...fuck what other people think ...do your own thing!
Blackdragon 2012-05-24 19:54:47
I addressed why I won't shave my head. I have very white skin (to the point where tanning is almost impossible). I've seen plenty of very-white-skinned guys shave their heads, and they look terrible. Not society's opinion, my opinion. So I got the hair mesh and now I look good again. 🙂
Chris 2013-10-11 17:50:36
Is the hair mesh procedure called something else? I googled it and only found options like "Hair Club for Men". And they seem to only use adhesives with toupees. I appreciate any infor you have. Thanks.
Blackdragon 2013-10-12 13:09:29
These days they've started calling it "nonsurgical hair restoration". Search for that. And Hair Club does not use toupees, that's an example of the mesh I'm talking about.
GreenDragon 2014-03-31 17:01:46
Don't forget Option #3 - Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP). Basically a hair tattoo, it's come out of the underground and is now a mainstream procedure. I've done both temporary and permanent - Ask me anything.
Blackdragon 2014-03-31 17:26:17
Yes, if you like the shaved head look, micropigmentation looks fantastic. I've been shocked at how good it looks especially on guys who had a clear bald "spot".
MWC 2014-06-19 14:47:33
BD, Two years later, are you still happy with the mesh? Could you please write about how you selected the place to get the mesh. I'd imagine the quality varies a lot and that there are some crooks in this business. Thanks BD for the great content.
Blackdragon 2014-06-20 01:53:35
Yep. Still very happy with it. I don't even think about it these days. In terms of companies, a company called "Bosley" has bought up all the other major companies offering surgical and non-surgical options, so they're pretty much the only game in town at this point. I would start there.
Buzz 2014-10-13 16:02:03
I don't want to rain on your parade but no matter what you do it is not going to last as long you want to keep dating and then depending on what you did you may have scars you can't cover. Shaving is the way to go. With a goatee it does look good. I know you say you don't like the look but no one likes getting older. You still have to go with the best possible alternative for the long term and shaving is cheaper too. I regret all the years I used minoxidil. Propecia turned me into a premature ejaculator I had to stop that right away, it did grow beautiful hair but that drawback was serious! I wish I would have just faced it and started shaving earlier.
Dan 2014-10-30 22:23:48
Awesome article BD. I'm 39 in good shape and still have hair but thinning. I've been thinking that I'll need some kind of hair procedure for years, and I know it's coming...usually I think transplant and have been watching it's development for years with FUE, and someday hair multiplication which looks promising. But you're right, transplant is more invasive and you sort of have to time it right, so I can see why hair mesh is great. Can you share the name of the company that does your hair mesh, or does it matter?
Mark 2014-11-03 17:27:26
I had the mesh for 25 years. It was a pain in the ass and I was always wondering what woman think when they know it is fake. I usually told them after a third date. I stopped with the mesh about 2 years ago. I am thinking strongly about the surgical option. They have new procedures where rather than the linear scar you talked about there is a computerized sort of robot that analyzes your hair and kinda harvests it in a way that hits the thickest parts.
Blackdragon 2014-11-04 11:56:56
I don’t want to rain on your parade but no matter what you do it is not going to last as long you want to keep dating and then depending on what you did you may have scars you can’t cover.I have no scars, and the nonsurgical option (that I have) doesn't create any new ones. If you're talking about surgery, then yes, that leaves a scar. I didn't pursue that option.
Shaving is the way to go.For many men, yes, shaving is the way to go. But for some of us who are really pale-skinned and/or chubby, shaving doesn't look that great.
Can you share the name of the company that does your hair mesh, or does it matter?As I said above, it doesn't matter, since all companies in the US are now Bosley. Even Hair Club is Bosley now.
I had the mesh for 25 years. It was a pain in the ass and I was always wondering what woman think when they know it is fake.Meshes 25 years ago were completely different than the technology they use today. There's no comparison. I'm almost 3 years with mine, never had a problem, and never once did anyone suspect it was fake.
I usually told them after a third date.With FBs I don't bother but with MLTRs I usually tell women after we've had sex a few times. They're always shocked because women can't tell, even if they have sex with you in bright light. And they never care afterwards. I even had a woman who likes pulling my hair during sex, and even she didn't know until I told her. 🙂
They have new procedures where rather than the linear scar you talked about there is a computerized sort of robot that analyzes your hair and kinda harvests it in a way that hits the thickest partsYes, I've heard of that. The tech gets better and better. I think that by the time they invent a completely scarless, "perfect" surgical option, they'll cure baldness around the same time. As that time I'll just take the cure, have the mesh removed, have the hair grow back in, and not worry about it ever again. I honestly can't imagine baldness not being cured by 2030 at the very latest, but then again I'm no expert.
MARK 2015-04-09 11:27:33
Well, I posted a while back about the mesh being a pain in the ass and I wore one for oever 20 years. December I had the transplant. Not the linear scar type you wrote about. I had FUE done by a great doctor. They also did PRP in the transplanted area which studies show help healing and result. the procedure was long. However since the linear cut method was not used and the hair were hand extracted by the doctor, I am left with no scar at all. The only part that was uncomfortable were the first couple of numbing injections. Other than that, no pain during the procedure. They would ask and if you felt any pain they would just inject you again and that didn't hurt because you were numb already. The first week is a major pain the ass. Once the scab are gone in about a week. There is some redness for about a month. Where they took the hair from is not detectable and no scarring. I am 3 months into it and hair is starting to grow faster now. It takes about a year for the full effect. However, I am much happier with the transplant over the mesh. The cost was 10k. They have zero perfect financing for 24 months so I took advantage of that. The big point is you need to do maga research on the doctor and make sure he is skilled. Like I said, I am much happier than with the mesh. Mark
Blackdragon 2015-04-09 13:35:12
Interesting! Where exactly did they take the donor follicles from? And how did they do it?
MARK 2015-04-10 12:59:14
I don't mean to ramble about this but I think some information is required before I answer your question. I have regular male kinda horseshoe baldness, ie bald on top and hair on my sides and back of my head. It was a large area. I live in the Chicago area and was not going to travel to get this done. So after hours of repetitive research over a period of months, I narrowed my choice down to 3 doctors. I brought a picture with me from college (I am 50 now) and said I want that back or something very close to it. You know like a low hairline and thick hair in the middle. 2 Doctors told me they could do it fairly easily. That is complete bullshit. There is no way they could so I no longer trusted them. Plus both did procedures other than hair which lead me to believe they were not as good as a doc that does just hair. My thoughts were it is almost an art. Because every one is different and the bald area was his canvas to make sure it looked good, grew in the right directions, and utilized the person donor hair in the most efficient manner. Because there are no do overs. Once they harvest that donor hair from your head, it is gone forever. I did the same thing with the 3rd doc and he said not a chance. The donor area I have (sides and back of head) was good thickness and texture but no way is there enough to get you back to the picture I showed him. He then used a wax pencil and drew on my bald head what he could do and it made total sense. He drew a curved line from where my hair was now (temple to temple) across to the other side. He said that is where your natural hairline is now. It was like maybe 2 inches higher than my hair line when I was 20. This made sense because you want a natural looking hairline for your age with a little receding and thicker on top. He also indicated that the main objective is to get a normal looking head of hair from the front view. So there is like a bald spot on the top back of my head which I am fine with. Since he loaded up the front and middle and a perfect natural looking hairline. Not one that is straight across and looks fake. After meeting the doc I had full faith in him. Did a ton of research on him. All he does is hair. Nothing else. He does about 80% men and 20% women. He is a great doc who wont hard sell you or lie to you or tell you he can get results which are unrealistic. In addition, before I agreed to the procedure, I met with him 3 times over a period of 6 months. He never followed up with me for the hard sell. I contacted him those times. He was patient and repeated everything each time I went there. He also offered a discount if I picked a day that he didn't have someone already scheduled which was nice of him. I did it this past December 23. I am self employed and I close my office the last 2 weeks of December and the first week in January. That was plenty of recovery time. The entire procedure took 8 hours. It was a long day but well worth it. The first 3 days are the day which you need to be very careful with washing and not really touching your head. After that, everything scabs up and the scabs fall off in about a week to 10 days. After 7 days you can wear a hat if you want. After about a month, all the hair he transplanted fell out which is normal and the regular cycle of hair growth begins like it does naturally. So depending on the cycle of the hair he harvested depends on how fast it will grow. There are some temporary side effects which are not horrible but you have to deal with. The area he put the hair in has a red tone to it for a month or so. I am fair skinned so mine was 2 months. However, he has a concealer that you can use (makeup) a tiny dab on top concealed all the redness. You get some ingrown hair which are like tiny mini infections. Antibiotics cleared those up in a couple of days. Other than that, not anything bad at all. The doc shaves the back and sides of your head to see the density and determines which hairs he wants to harvest. He uses a devices with extracts the follicles in a very mosaic manner. So when my hair on the back and side grew back there was no sign or scaring from the 2500 he extracted. The procedure is called FUE. I would never do the other method where they slice as swath of the back of your head and stich it back. The important things from this is: 1) Find a skilled doc. It is really an art. They have to create a nice hairline and determine where they can best create the best result possible. 2) Avoid the bullshit docs who will tell you what you want to hear rather than let you know what whey can realistically do. 3) FUE is the way to go. No visible scaring no matter how short you cut your hair. You can google it and see plenty of info on it and pix. The pix look bad with someone threw 100's of darts at the back of your head, but it does not hurt and heals fast. What else do you need to know. I can answer all of your questions. Right now I am a little over 3 months in. Plenty of hair is growing but looks like crap because all the hair he transplanted grow at different rates. I just kinda gel it down and it looks ok. He said in June which would be 6 months it will look decent. In August it will look good. And by December it will be perfect and mostly grown in. It is not a fast fix. But after wearing the mesh for over 20 years, this is much better or will be in a few months. Any other questions, just ask. Mark
Blackdragon 2015-04-10 13:48:18
Wow, great stuff. Not bad for $10K either. I know a few guys who've gotten the FUE and they're happy with it. You should update us in about 6 months when all the transplanted hair is full and grown. The no-scarring aspect is great. Very impressed.
MARK 2015-04-10 14:12:27
No problem. I will update you in a couple of months. I might do more but the doc won't any under circumstances to anything until after 12 months and he can see how things look. A very honest doc. The key is to find a skilled honest doc and do hours of homework. Ask him every question you have. With me, I would rather know the potential complications and step by step needle by needle process than wonder. In my opinion, you have to be insane to do that old strip method. I would rather be bald than have that. Plus I know you are a "fiscally conservative" so on the financial end, as I told you 24 months free financing. With all the PRP and a few other costs it was 11,500 out the door. No additional follow up fees ever. So my interest free monthly payments are $480 and I have hair and am done with payments. The mesh place I went was $ 300.00 a month with a new mesh every 3 months. It had to be removed and re-glued every 3-4 weeks. A royal pain in the ass. Plus in the morning it had to be styled. You just couldn't get up and bush out. The mesh place I went to was as high end place. I used to go to Hair Club for Men in the 80's and 90's but my technician left and opened her own shop so I went with her. Far better product that Hair Club. Most Celeb in Chicago use her and so do many that come to Chicago for TV shows, Sportscasters, and Movie Stars. I cannot give the names but they are very well known. Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog. Mark
Han 2015-10-10 17:17:11
Hi Blackdragon, Had you tried Rogaine (5% Minoxidil) at any point in the process? What are your thoughts on it? I've started to recede lightly at age 27, where I just noticed it and came to terms with it when my barber acknowledged it. I think I can still catch it early, as my family doesn't really bald but recedes heavily at the temples (leading to a kind of kind of a strong widow's peak that can be coiffed to one side). Any word on the effectiveness of Minoxidil creams or drops? Thanks, Han
Blackdragon 2015-10-10 17:54:47
Had you tried Rogaine (5% Minoxidil) at any point in the process?Many years ago, way before I did all of this, yes, I tried that and was consistent with it for over a year. It made zero noticeable difference. I'm not sure if it's one of those "works on some guys but not others" things, but it didn't work for me at all.
Franco 2015-12-11 18:03:13
Mark, I was wondering if you could give us a status update on your FUE procedure if you ever see this? Judging by what your doc said, it sounds like you should be reaping the full benefits by now. Any complaints? Would you recommend it? Thanks!
mark 2015-12-11 19:57:30
Here is the one year update. Yes I am very happy and enjoying the benefits. The doctor was very honest about the process and it is a process. It is a very slow process which you never really want believe or hear when the doctor explains it to you everything. The only thing you can think of and hear is that I will have my real hair back. Like I said, it is a very slow process, but well worth it. I did tedious research on which doctor I was going to use. Had a half dozen consultations with various doctors before I decided on the one I chose. There are a lot of doctors who dabble in it along with fake tits, face lifts and other cosmetic procedures. I eliminated them from my possible choices because want a doc who just did hair and did not just dabble. I had the usual male pattern baldness horse shoe pattern with nothing at all on top and hair on the sides and the back. I met with this doctor more than four times over the course of about a year asking him pretty much the same questions over and over. A really nice patient doctor who actually cares about his patients and not the paycheck. He told me what he could do and what he could not do. I was 50 then, so he explained to me and drew on my head with a marker what would look like a natural hairline and where he would transplant the hair to make it look most natural. Remember, I have zero on top so he was working with a huge patch of baldness. So my expectations of having a full thick head of hair were unrealistic due to the vast emptiness on top. I appreciated his honesty. After the procedure, the first week is the only week that is a bit stressful. It takes about a week for the folicals to implant and fuse into the skin on top of your head. After than week, there is pretty nothing you can do to fuck it up. But the first week you have to cup wash your hair and keep the donor area and implanted area moist. After about 10 days there were no marks left on the back of my head where he took the hair from and hair was growing back to cover the little marks that were there where he took the hair from. The implanted area takes about the same time for the scabs to all fall off. Like I said the first week or 10 days are the worst and do not mean painful. There was no pain at all during or after the procedure. They pretty much numb you head so you cant feel anything. The only thing that might be considered painful is the initial injections which are no more painful than a blood test. By worst I mean you have to be careful not to disturb the hair on top that was implanted for that first week. The first month is kinda cool because the hair he transplanted is there but is a only a bit more than stubble. That falls out after a month and you look pretty much like you did before the hair transplant. I am very fair skinned so the top of my head was red for about 3 or 4 months. That was annoying and there is no way to tell how long it will last but it does go away completely. For some people 2 or 3 weeks others like me 3 or 4 months. I went to the make up counter at Macy’s and the woman there sold me some concealer to cover the redness. That worked great and made the redness undetectable. For a few months I would get a few bumps like infected hair folicals. Maybe 10 or 12 over 6 months. You just put a warm compress on it and take antiboltics for a week and it goes away. It is a good sign that the folicals are active and starting to pop out. Now at the 1 year mark, I was happy with the results. The key is a natural look and no scaring. I went to the doctor last week for my 1 year pictures. He kinda looked at my head and said are you happy. I said yes. He said he was not happy with it and wanted to do another procedure to add about another 400-600 to thicken up the hairline and dense up the middle. Now I know what you are thinking. He is trying to make more money off me by doing another procedure. This is not the case. He is doing it for free because he feels it could be better. He explained every hair transplant is different based on the quality of the donor hair (mine is very good) and how large of an area that needs to be implanted. There is just no way to take a completely bald guy like me and have a full thick head of hair. The skill of the doctor is very important. Otherwise it will not look natural. They are kind of like artists and have to envision what angle, placement, and which hairs to put where. In addition, no scaring is key. He purposely does not harvest all the possible hair he can in case another procedure is needed because the final results are not really known for a year. So I am going back in two weeks. This time the procedure is about 3 or 4 hours max. He takes the donor hair from places which can be hidden by the hair still there in the back. Unlike the first procedure where they completely shave the back of your head to examine the best hair to be harvested. The top will probably be red again for a while, but this time I have a lot of hair to cover where he transplants the additional hairs so it will only be the initial week or so that I have to be careful with it. I did not really see any growth until about the 4th month. After that, it grew slowly and not very uniform. You just do what you can to make it look decent for about 8 months. After 8 months you have a very noticable hair growth. After about the 8 month mark I had a very quick growth for the next 3 months. I am happy with it. It met my expectations. It looks like a 50 year old man with a small bald spot on top but full in front and a nice natural hair line. It does not look pluggy and there is no scaring at all. The person who cuts my hair says she cannot even tell I had the procedure because there is no scaring that she can see. She has seen some butcher jobs and mine is totally unnoticeable. So, that is the 1 year update. If you want, I will give you another update in a few more months after he does the 2nd procedure later this month. Bottom line, I am very happy I did it. It is a bit of a drag for about 8 months, but the freedom from the mesh is awesome and well worth the money I am happy I don’t have to go every month of so to have fresh glue and every 3 months a new mesh and pay $ 300 a month. It is freedom. Anything else you want to know, just ask. Mark
Franco 2015-12-11 20:14:12
Mark, I really appreciate the quick reply! I'm still rather young (27 at the moment), but I can already see the exact same type of thinning happening to me that you have (all receding on top but perfectly thick hair around the "horse shoe" area still). If there was one more thing I would have to ask, it would be: would you recommend getting this done relatively soon when the thinning is only slightly noticeable? Or does it seem better to wait until it gets to a point where you really feel like the balding is affecting your overall appearance? In other words, are there any advantages to getting this done sooner rather than later? Maybe the redness is less noticeable if I do it sooner? BD, Are you still happy with the mesh? Is the money and maintenance worth the look, in your opinion? Thanks!
Blackdragon 2015-12-12 10:10:50
Are you still happy with the mesh? Is the money and maintenance worth the look, in your opinion?Yes and yes. Highly recommend. Though the surgical procedure works too.
Jarod 2015-12-28 15:08:09
Thanks for the update Mark. I decided to go with the HT as well. I went in about 3 months ago. At this point there is some slight redness, but it's not noticeable unless I am in the sunlight. I am hoping that I will see a lot of growth in a few months as well. I do still have a thin spot in the rear that I may like to have addressed. I am debating this since I am still healing from the first HT and it haven't gotten enough growth to be excited about the idea of a second procedure. I am anxiously awaiting the results. My only concern with the HTs is whether I will have to continue going back to have additional procedures since I may get a bit thinner over the next 20 years. This is where the mesh my prove to be a better option. With the mesh it seems that you will have continuity and a nice look for the foreseeable future. I have decided that I will do the HT first and then will keep the mesh plan as my plan B if the results do not yield the results that I want. Questions. BD- I have read some forums about doing the mesh install at home. Apparently it is a much cheaper way to do it. Have you looked into this? If so, why did you choose not to go this route?
Blackdragon 2015-12-30 13:21:58
I have read some forums about doing the mesh install at home. Apparently it is a much cheaper way to do it. Have you looked into this? If so, why did you choose not to go this route?Yes, I looked into that in detail. I skipped it because it's really, really fucking hard to do, and the odds of screwing it up are great. Those videos they show make it look easy. It's not. I know I'd screw it up. And if you screw it up, it's very painful to fix it and re-do it again. Ouch. And you have to keep doing it semi-regularly. If you're on a very tight budget and you're very skilled with your hands and you endless patience, I guess go for it. Otherwise pay extra and have them do it for you.
mark 2015-12-30 13:35:50
Bd, You asked me to follow up earlier in the month regarding my HT last year. I did make a post. I went in for my 2nd HT last week. This one was less time consuming much less noticeable that anything was done to my head. The Dr. is great like I said and did the 2nd HT free. He likes perfection. He did another 500 graphs to fill in the front density. Like the first HT, this was pretty pain free. The initial 2 0r 3 injections felt like any other shots, just a pinch. The procedure was pretty quick. It took him 3 hours to finish. There was no pain afterwards and now I just have to wait until this 2nd HT starts to grow in. Patience is needed with this. I know it will be at least 6-8 months until this 2nd procedure shows the fruits, but I am patient. He indicated I might need a 3rd even smaller HT but wont decide until next fall. Don't forget, I was completely bald - horseshoe style up top. So it is impossible to give me a full thick head of hair. I am happy with the thinning look which will be permanent. I will keep you posted. As a side not, it is not the hair that women are really interested in. It seems they want guys who are not fat. You don't have to be buff. They just don't want an obese guy. I have to work on that now. I am not obese, but from my experiences out there, trim trumps hair more than anything else. Happy new year to all !!
Lee Vincent 2016-05-12 09:35:09
Remember you also have the option to fly to Bangkok to do hair restoration, it will cost about half what it does in the US and there are top-class US-trained doctors here.
Blackdragon 2016-05-12 15:45:41
Very true and good point.
Ross 2016-05-17 16:02:22
Hey BD, I remember when you posted this and found it very informative. It looks like I may be coming up to a point where a procedure is needed. Just curious to know how the mesh is working out 4 years later. Does it still look as good and did you have any more procedures done? Did the $300 monthly cost end up going up or down? Thanks
Blackdragon 2016-05-18 12:00:40
Just curious to know how the mesh is working out 4 years later.It's still great. I recently I told a woman I had it, and she had no idea even though we had been having sex for over a year.
Does it still look as goodYep.
and did you have any more procedures done?No. I won't until they cure baldness. It will be in my lifetime but will probably be a while. I'm patiently waiting.
Did the $300 monthly cost end up going up or down?Up, by choice. I switched things around a year or two ago and I'm up to about $370 per month. However there are other cheaper options that are much lower. There are many different types/levels of these meshes and of the service they offer.
Dan 2016-07-24 12:12:38
BD - have you seen this scalp protocol? I'm trying it now along with Rogaine. It takes some work and apparently is backed by a study and also talks about how people can lose hair even after transplants because of the core issue of baldness doesn't get solved. http://www.jdmoyer.com/2015/08/03/hair-regrowth-update-and-faq/
Blackdragon 2016-07-24 20:41:11
BD – have you seen this scalp protocol?Yes. It's very hit or miss. Not worth it in my opinion unless you are very low-income and can't purchase the surgical or mesh options.
Jack 2016-08-10 15:15:19
Man! That looks great! I am going bald at age 24 and going back and forth on deciding what to do. My father has a complete horseshoe / completely bald on top and that is where I am heading too. So I wonder if a hair transplant can yield a good result, considering that I WILL be completely bald on top at one point? Also, all the hair mesh I've seen is always of longer hair. I've always kept mine fairly short. Have you seen good results using hair mesh with short styles? Good tips on the Nanogen fibers. I'm giving that a shot meanwhile!
Blackdragon 2016-08-11 10:40:15
So I wonder if a hair transplant can yield a good result, considering that I WILL be completely bald on top at one point?Yes, it will.
Have you seen good results using hair mesh with short styles?It depends on how short. You can't have a fade cut or anything like that. If you really want super short hair, you're going to have to go for the surgery option. I don't like super short hair so I didn't have that problem.
Jack 2016-08-13 09:55:41
@Blackdragon Thanks! I've kept the hair on top around 15mm, due to thinning. I'm thin for my age so this article applies to me aswell. I got a potential solution, I think if I do a hairtransplant + mesh I can manage to keep it short. I place the hair in the front for a natural hairline, and then have a mesh at the crown. I need to do more research!
Kingslayer 2017-01-25 10:35:52
Hey man, Thanks for writing this post, would never have known about non-surgical hair replacement if I hadn't come across your blog. Just curious to see if you would still recommend the hair mesh in 2017? The 2 big companies that offer it around me are Hair Club and Virtual Reality. Best, Kingslayer
Blackdragon 2017-01-25 13:29:13
Yes I would. I still have mine and it's awesome.
John 2017-01-27 03:59:48
One important thing you neglect: finasteride daily. You need this to maintain and possibly regrow hair. Performing hair transplantation surgery without using finasteride down the line will just make hair recede further beyond the transplantation point which will look even more weird. The cure for hair loss is as follows: hair transplant + minoxidil 5% 2x a day + finasteride / dutasteride for rest of your life. You can also add Toppik or Nanofibres to that. That should be enough to cure most hair loss types unless you are Norwood 5 or something.
Mark 2017-01-27 07:13:21
I just finished my third procedure. My dr doesn't do a massive one time transplant. He does a major one. Then waits to see how it grows. And if subsequent procedures are needed he does them. We only have a limited amount of doner hair so he likes to target spots one year later after the results of the first one are complete. The first one he did like 2500. Then the second one about 500 to firm up hair line. Then third one this past December 1200 firm up more hairline and make the front more dense. That is his approach. Great doc. It takes some patience to do it but well worth it. The key is to have realistic expectations and a skilled dr. creating a natural hairline and look is important. So it's more of an art than a science or routine. No regrets and very happy. Minimal pain. Mine doesn't use the strip method. Mine harvested each folical by hand. The strip method leaves scars. This leave none that are visible. I use a 2 blade on the back and can't do that with the strip method. Do your homework. My dr is Dr Yates in Chicago. Mark
KB 2017-10-15 19:02:03
Do you still color your natural hair? If so how do you keep the color matched?
Alan 2017-12-24 23:01:47
Great article. Now my problem is that I am 29 black male with a highly receded hairline. I am tired of wearing hats when I go out. I want to do a microscalp pigmentation, Any advice on this? Will women notice it because I heard that it is just a tatoo lacking that three dimensional aspect hence when touched feels unreal. Secondly, I heard that it fades in almost 1 to 2 years. Who has done this?
sa 2018-02-23 22:16:31
has anyone tried onion juice to regrow hair ?
Varun 2018-10-28 18:19:36
Would you still recommend the hair system?
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