Some say England rugby great Mr. Jonny Wilkinson was the perfect number 10. But Jonny Wilkinson didn’t reach rugby’s sporting pinnacle without his fair share of blood, sweat and tears. Jonny’s story resonates with me, because in his own search for perfection, he never stopped tweaking, fine-tuning and finding ways to make his own game as good as it could be. I, on the other hand, was forever looking at game-changing hair regrowth products and strategies that would help combat my receding hairline.
On my quest for the perfect hairline, which has a huge impact on the type of hairstyle you can sport, I soon found out I was not alone. In fact, after a number of hair transplant procedures over the years, not to mention meeting more hair transplant patients than you can count, I can say with great confidence that the desire for an impeccable hairline is high on many men’s bucket lists.
You see, the male species are a lot more sensitive than many would give us credit for. Truth is, for some, a full, glossy mane is arguably one of the most important symbols of our masculinity. So it makes sense we want to get it right.
It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint
In June 2018, as part of my journey to achieving the perfect hairline, I took the plunge and booked myself in for another visit to see the specialists at Harley St Hair Clinic. Now, if you’re currently wondering to yourself “Who is this guy, and what does he know about hair loss?” then that’s fair enough. I’d probably be asking the same thing.
To put you in the picture, my own hair loss odyssey has been well documented and began nearly 20 years ago. I’ve become well known as the go-to expert for hair loss. My mission: to help educate and empower guys dealing with male pattern baldness. I’ve written extensively for Ape to Gentleman, on my own website (spexhair.com) and through countless media articles on the topic of hair loss. I became known as “The Hairline Hero” thanks to the Daily Mail, and the name has stuck ever since.
The Good, Bad And Truly Ugly
There’s not a lot I haven’t tried or done in my bid to reclaim my right to a healthy head of hair. I’ve worn wigs, battled with depression and self-confidence, explored countless “natural” and “alternative” therapies and endured more than 10 hair transplant surgeries.
Over time I have researched, analysed, discussed and studied; literally leaving no stone unturned. I’ve subjected myself to painful, draining and useless so-called “cures” and suffered more than my fair share of indignities. Of the vast amount of money I’ve thrown at resolving my hair loss issue, I can say, hands down, that only about 20% of what I’ve spent has been worth the investment.
Fast-forward to today and thankfully the arrival of groundbreaking technology and better scientific knowledge has changed the game – specifically with regards to hair transplants. With that in mind, I felt it was the perfect time to book myself in for an upgrade “up top” – because despite my own hairline being acceptable, I knew it could be even better.
The Day Of The Procedure
On the day of the procedure at The Harley St Hair Clinic, I arrived at 8am, feeling excited like a young boy on Christmas Eve. To make it easier for other patients to understand my thought process and what they can expect from a hair transplant procedure, I started filming the whole experience.
After some initial filming, I met Dr. Kovacheva, an IAHRS associate accepted surgeon who is widely considered to be one of the top hair transplant surgeons in the world. We sat down at length to discuss my concerns and goals and I’m pleased to report that right off the bat she embraced my vision, while also remarking on how good the previous transplanted hairline looked.
We discussed the angulation and overall new design and agreed to not alter the hairline shape, just lower it slightly.
I was in the chair for around five hours. I must admit, after several hair transplant surgeries – all predominantly focused in the frontal zone – the incisions and numbing shots were real stingers. This was due to the volume of scar tissue in the recipient area caused by previous sessions. But as they say: no pain, no gain.
- Dr. Kovacheva harvested 618 FU by hand, via FUE, which equated to 1,021 hairs.
- Placed multis behind the hairline to help bulk up thinner areas.
- Used single hair grafts along the frontal line.
- Implanted in the recipient area single handedly.
Everyone Is Different, And That’s Fine
The pursuit of the perfect hairline has been a mission of mine since I started out on my hair restoration journey. Throughout my experiences, one of the big things that I’ve learnt along the way is that a hairline is unique to every individual. Crucially, it’s important you feel confident with your hairline.
If you’re considering surgery, it’s vital you and the surgeon are on the same page. Be clear upfront on what your end goal is and discuss with them how achievable it is before you go ahead. Most good surgeons will be able to manipulate what you have, so long as it’s within the realms of ethical and, above all, they feel the finished product will look natural. The experience and passion for perfection of the surgeon you chose is vital as no two are the same or have the same vision. You need to find the one who is right for you and who understands your specific goals.
I was delighted with Dr. Kovacheva’s work. Although not as well known in the industry, she has done more celebrity hair transplants than most top surgeons combined – including a number of professional footballers and actors. After meeting a number of her patients in person, it confirmed she was the right choice for me. It’s worth noting that Dr. Kovacheva manually performed the extraction and implantation of the hair – a hallmark of quality.
Update: 20 Months Since My Procedure
It has now been 20 months since my procedure at The Harley Street Hair Clinic in London and I wanted to follow up here with regards to the journey I’ve been on, which has been extremely liberating and enjoyable. It has resulted in my now sporting a very natural and dense hairline, which was the primary objective. I went in the pursuit of the perfect hairline, and I truly feel like I’ve achieved it. You can clearly see from the video above how I’ve not held back when putting my hairline to the test – in the blustering wind it came through with flying colours.
The main benefits of the surgery were evident after approximately 9-10 months (a common timeline). However, I’m pleased to report that over the last year the hair volume, calibre and naturalness in the hairline has only matured and established itself further. Anyone seriously considering hair transplant surgery should be aware that you need to be patient and allow the growth process to evolve – it will take 12-18 months to see the full effect.
I couldn’t be happier with the end result. My hairline now gives me the flexibility and confidence I’ve longed for since I started losing my hair at the tender age of 21. Not only that, due to my standing in the industry I’ve had my new hairline scrutinised by so many people I’ve lost count – from peers to patients – and not one person has been able to pick fault or even call it out as a hair transplant. It just goes to show the calibre of Dr. Kovacheva’s work.
A Last Resort
Remember: surgery should always be the last resort. But if you decide it’s the right option for you, when choosing a clinic and surgeon don’t jump in straight away. Do your research and go for clinics that pride themselves on legitimacy, excellence and impeccable standards. We are dealing with a social media epidemic of cheap, unethical clinics and practitioners offering the world but delivering very little (and potentially even harm). Be sensible, remove desperation and take your time to do your due diligence. In this industry particularly, if it sounds too good to be true, it most certainly is.
The Harley St Hair Clinic are, in my experienced opinion, one of the leading clinics in the world today when it comes to quality, skill, experience, honesty and ethics. They only have their patient’s short- and long-term interest in mind, and that is why they are accepted and associate members of the International Alliance Hair Restoration Surgeons.
To book a consultation, visit hshairclinic.co.uk.
Disclaimer: Spencer received his hair transplant procedure with The Harley Street Hair Clinic free of charge, in exchange for this honest review on Ape to Gentleman.