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.
Confidence, outcome independence, solid game, and knowing how to dress and present well…these things work even if you aren’t a gorgeous guy. So I let it go and planned on dealing with it in a few years.
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.
A hair mesh is a porous mesh with human hair attached that has been custom matched to your hair in color, style, and volume. It is permanently applied to the top of your head. Once on, it never comes off (unless you go back in and have it removed). It’s a part of you. You swim with it, shower with it, etc, and it never comes off and looks great. It looks completely real, because it’s real hair…sometimes even “mixed” with your own hair, depending on the type of mesh, and there are many. (Over 30 that I’m aware of.)
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.
Here is my same hair with product and treated with the nanofibres:
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.
Not that I’m complaining.