With hair loss it’s not all about the overall volume of hair. When embarking on a hair transplant journey, many don’t consider the impact of an appropriate hairline in the ultimate result.
Why is your hairline important?
Bald spots, thinning hair and the inability to style hair as desired are all big deals, yes. But a person’s actual hairline is a critical contributing factor to their perceived success of their hair transplant.
You may have encountered a person at some time who, when you look at them, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but there’s something ‘not quite right’ about the way they look. Every person’s hairline has a great role to play in how they look and therefore, in how they feel about themselves.
Like the frame of a picture, your hairline is the frame for your face. We typically focus on eye colour and shape, nose size and shape, lip fullness, jawline, cheekbone angle and teeth whiteness, but if asked what you find attractive about someone – including yourself – you may not mention hairlines at all. Interestingly, it’s every bit as important.
Men who deal with frontal balding instinctively choose the comb-over because it’s a way to manipulate the hairline. It frames the face at the top and at the temples. Unfortunately, it also makes it glaringly obvious that it’s to disguise balding.
Like a picture frame, your hairline completes your face. Where frontal hairline balding ‘blurs’ or ‘deletes’ the visually appealing framework, restoring the hairline also restores the frame. As a result, you look younger, more vital and more aesthetically appealing.
Planning your hairline
This is where you really have to work with your surgeon. Often, people have a tendency to want their new hairline to be too high or too low. Low and rounded like an adolescent won’t look appropriate for a man in his forties. In fact, it could look ‘too hairy’; think furry Neanderthal! Even in their twenties, hair replacement patients can request a hairline that’s too low, purely because they’re distraught at having to face hair loss at such a young age. This is why, when under going permanent hair replacement, you have to use foresight. How will a low hairline look as the years pass?
As for a hairline that’s too high, well sometimes a patient may feel that their result will be too unrealistic to be believable so they choose a look that actually does them no favours.
A good and ethical hair restoration surgeon will counsel patients and create a solution that works not just now but for the years ahead. Playing on the patient’s fears to make a quick profit is not only unethical but downright unkind.
Aim to get it right the first time
It’s crucial that you settle on the right hairline for you before your first procedure. However, if you’re unconvinced, even after a good consultation with an ethical surgeon, then choose to start a little too high rather than too low. That way, in your second session, you can have follicular units added artfully beneath the existing border.
The problem with trying to correct a too-low hairline is that even if your grafts are large ones which can be cut out and dissected into follicular units (FUCs) for use elsewhere, you could be left with scarring. Dermabrasion and maybe lasers can help with the scarring but it will likely still be visible.
Dr. Scott Alexander of biltmorehairrestoration.com
What could go wrong with a hairline?
A ‘bad’ hairline, my friend, can be a visual disaster as well as a financial blow. Who wants to spend thousands on a hair transplant only to be left with a result that needs to be rectified? A bad hairline is one that is:
- symmetrical beyond natural;
- so asymmetrical that it looks unnatural;
- tufted so that it looks like a manufactured broom;
- too high or too low; or
- too rounded across the forehead, resembling a bowl.
Hairline repair or revision
If you’ve undergone hair transplant surgery and are left with an unnatural-looking, poorly executed hairline, then your first decision should be to find another (read: better) surgeon! All hairline deficiencies can be remedied to some degree.
- To correct an unnaturally straight or regular frontal border, careful, selected placement of follicular grafts will be needed in front of and among the existing grafts.
- Large grafts within and behind the hairline may be excised and re-used if necessary, and the hair around them can help to camouflage scarring.
- To soften the hairline, single hair FUs can be judiciously added in a more random pattern. This is more difficult than it sounds because the human brain often leans towards logic. What’s needed is what I call ‘controlled disorder’.
- For an overly rounded hairline, the surgeon can blunt the fronto-temporal angles at the sides of the head to apply a more graceful curve to the margin. Or, a widow’s peak can be constructed mid-forehead to soften and dissipate the arc of the frontal border.
- If the hairline has temporal recessions that don’t correlate with a patient’s ethnic background, they can be moderated by adding FUCs to flatten the margin. If enough donor reserves are available, the density of the frontal area can be increased in a repair session. The same technique can be used to fill in around mini-grafts that look tufted, or simply to augment the density after an initial, successful follicular unit transplant.
Keep your hairline front-of-mind
Word play aside, keeping your hairline front-of-mind at every stage of your hair transplant journey is critical. Here are your top 3 takeaways:
- Planning your hairline is of key importance to the ultimate result of your hair transplant.
- Plan for the future, not just for aesthetics but for the availability of your donor hair in case you need revisions or repairs.
- Go in with a conservative mindset. You can always add but taking away can bring less than desirable results.
- Hair transplants are permanent and that includes your hairline.
- Think long term, not short term.
- Keep it age appropriate.
When you invest the time to understand why your hairline is so important and plan it for the best possible result, you’ll look back on it as time very well spent indeed.
For all hair loss and hair transplant related questions visit spexhair.com – for more expert opinion.