Why Celebs Are Getting Eyebrow Transplants
Here’s everything to know about the procedure.
Only a select few are genetically blessed with Cara Delevingne-esque full eyebrows. If you don’t fall into that camp, however, don’t be discouraged: For those who dream of big, fluffy arches — and aren’t jumping on the thin brow trend — know that eyebrow transplants are a thing. Just ask Chrissy Teigen who, over the past year, has taken to Instagram multiple times to update followers on her journey with the procedure. And she’s not the only one. Teigen’s go-to hairstylist Jen Atkin, founder of hair care brand Ouai, also candidly shared her transplant journey via her YouTube channel. And, as sources close to Bustle can confirm, the list of A-listers opting for this under-the-radar surgery goes on and on. So, is it legit?
Dr. Jason Diamond, M.D., world-renowned facial plastic surgeon (who you may recognize from Dr. 90210 and Netflix's Celebrity Plastic Surgeons), says he’s seen a huge increase in the treatment’s popularity over the last few years. “That’s especially since some of our celebrity patients have willingly shared their experience about how much they loved their results,” he tells Bustle. The founder of The Diamond Face Institute is well known within the inner circles of Hollywood as the expert behind many of these face-framing mini makeovers (among other things), and although eyebrow transplants have garnered more attention as of late, the procedure has actually been around for a while, he assures. “We’ve achieved amazing results in practice, taking patients with virtually no hair to a full brow that frames the eye beautifully,” he says. Here’s what you need to know about the procedure.
What Is An Eyebrow Transplant?
An eyebrow transplant is a lot like a typical hair transplant. “Eyebrow hair transplantation is a procedure where we take grafts of hair and the hair follicle from another area of the head and transplant them to the brows,” Diamond explains. The process, however, is more tedious and lengthy than the kind done to your head of hair. “It can take hours because it must be done skillfully, artistically, and meticulously,” notes the pro. And bear in mind that it’s not a one-size-fits-all procedure: It’s all about the shape and transplant technique (more on that later).
If brow fullness is something you’re looking for, Diamond says this is your best option — and not even popular alternatives — like microblading and medical tattooing — can compare. “Ink and makeup may look fine from afar, but there is absolutely no substitute for real hair when it comes to the look and the feel,” he explains. Another key difference? Eyebrow transplants are permanent.
Who’s A Candidate?
As you might imagine, eyebrow transplants cater to a large audience, particularly those with thinning or sparse brow hair. “This is due to over-tweezing or over-waxing, thanks to previous decades when that was the trend, aging, genetics, and most recently, the lockdown,” says Diamond. While some candidates want to add volume to barely-there brows, many others want to change the shape of their existing brows altogether — which is an option with this treatment.
There are many shapes you can choose from, including straight, curved, high arch, soft arch, upward, and “S” shaped, along with other variations, Diamond says. And this is why you want to go to a professional for the procedure. “It’s important to go to a practice where the surgeons are not only hair transplant specialists, but also board-certified facial plastic surgeons so that they can assess all facial features to determine what shape best frames the eyes for optimal facial enhancement,” says Diamond.
The procedure itself is minimally invasive, however, it requires a high level of precision. “If the transplanted hairs are not placed correctly, they will grow in the wrong direction and look very unnatural,” Diamond explains. “The same applies with the spacing between each transplanted follicle.” In other words, there’s no room for error — and that’s precisely why it takes hours to perform. Typically, the patient will be under a local anesthetic (read: awake but numbed), which Diamond says is well-tolerated. “Most patients sleep through it,” he adds.
For best results, Diamond opts for something called the follicular unit transplantation (FUT) method, also known as the “strip method.” During the procedure, a long, thin piece of tissue is removed from the back of the scalp. “This method is less traumatic to the individual hair follicles, which are very delicate. The less trauma to the delicate follicles that are being transplanted, the better the rate of success,” he explains. From there, the hairs are separated one by one under microscopes. Then, slits are created along the drawn-on brow markings and individual hairs (along with the follicle attached) are transplanted into each.
On the plus side, recovery is as easy as it gets. There’s minimal downtime with most patients fully recovered after a day or two. Immediately post-surgery, you’ll notice your brows will look more “filled in.” You may experience minor scabbing within the first 10 days, Diamond says, and after a few weeks the grafts will individually fall out and the regrowth cycle will begin. However, your new brows will not be obvious right away. Visible growth starts between months three and four, and you’ll have to wait six months to a year to see the big reveal. (Just check out the difference between Teigen’s posts dated from December to May.)
Be warned: There’s some maintenance involved. “Remember, the transplanted follicles are growing like the hair on your head would,” explains Diamond. In a recent Instagram post, Teigen showed off her exceptionally long eyebrow hairs with the caption, “blessing and a curse, this eyebrow procedure. 10/10 would do again lol.” It’ll be something to get used to.
What Are The Downsides?
The main risk is that you’re not happy with your results, which Diamond notes would happen if you go to the wrong doc for the job. “You’d be surprised at how many consultations we see daily for revisions because the last provider didn’t get it right,” Diamond warns. Aside from that, the only danger is a minimal risk of infection, which Diamond says rarely happens. Another potential downside that could occur is if the hair regrowth doesn’t happen at the rate or density expected. That said, your plastic surgeon should discuss all potential outcomes based on your candidacy in your consultation appointment.
Is It Worth It?
Beautiful new brows don’t come cheap. Diamond says the cost of the procedure ranges significantly based on your location and the experience of the surgeon you choose. To give you a ballpark, at his office the surgery starts at a cool $10,000 (note this is on the higher end). But the results do last forever, unlike, say, microblading. “The results are permanent, so you don’t have to worry about constantly touching it up every few months,” says Diamond. As with all cosmetic procedures, if you’re contemplating an eyebrow transplant, do your research and select a surgeon that is well-versed in the treatment.
TL;DR? If you want fuller, fluffier brows and the other aesthetic treatments on the market aren’t cutting it for you, an eyebrow transplant may be your dream procedure.