What are eyebrow transplants and do they really work?
Eyebrow transplants are back on our radar after actress Meagan Good admitted to getting them on the Wendy Williams Show.
Meagan visited the set to promote her upcoming film The Intruders, and host Wendy Williams couldn’t help but notice Meagan’s brows. “Your hair looks excellent by the way, and your eyebrows still speak to me,” Wendy told Meagan.
In response, Meagan, the 37-year-old Shazam! (2019) and The Unborn (2009) actress, said she had an eyebrow transplant.
“’90s brow was pluck everything out, and then eventually it was tattooing,” Meagan said. “At 30 [years old], it was microblading, and then I was like, ‘You know what, I need real hair.”
“I got a transplant [from] back here,” Meagan said, motioning to the back of her head. “[Doctors] took the hair, harvested it, and put it into my brows.”
Prior to the transplant, Meagan tried eyebrow tattoos. Speaking to Allure Magazine in 2013, she said:
“It used to take me over an hour to do them because I was so particular about the shape and the symmetry. I would go on set, and the makeup artist would change my brows, and I would get frustrated and change them back in my room. So eventually, I went ahead and tattooed them. Problem solved.”
What are eyebrow transplants?
Eyebrow transplants, like hair transplants, use existing hair from one area of your body to grow new hair on another. There are two kinds of eyebrow transplants:
- Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT). FUT involves the removal of a four-inch-wide slice of scalp from the back of the head. From there, hair is dissected. FUT leaves a scar, although it’s noticeable only if you have a shaved head.
- NeoGrafting. NeoGrafting involves the use of a machine to suck hair from the scalp. This method doesn’t leave a scar, although it has a lower success rate.
The process itself is composed of removing the hair (either through FUT or NeoGrafting); making small incisions in the eyebrows; and planting the follicles. The whole procedure is painless, thanks to numbing agents.
The healing process is a different conversation, however. “Most patients look fine three days later, and within eight days the eyebrows look great,” plastic surgeon Jeffrey Epstein told Allure Magazine. However, new hairs take four months to grow, and maximum fullness will only be achieved in a year.
One account says that they had a difficult time adjusting after the procedure. “The next day, after waking up, my eyelids were completely swollen shut; I looked like a turtle,” wrote Ashley Wilkins for Refinery29.
“I had severe nausea, was unable to fully open my eyes, and I remained swollen and bruised for exactly seven days,” she added. “If you plan on getting brow transplants, invest in a good, cold eye mask—you’re gonna need it.”
A different account, this one from Rachel Nussbaum at Glamour, said, “My eyebrows were red, puffy, and outlandish looking. I felt like Quasimodo, my eyes hidden beneath my swollen brow bone.”
“I cried for a week. Other than sitting and contemplating my despair, the work I had to do afterward was basically nothing—the follicles had to take, so I couldn’t get my brows wet for a week (as in no showering), and I had to gently dab at them with a warm washcloth to get rid of any remaining scabs,” she wrote.
Are eyebrow transplants effective?
There’s no assurance that 100% of all the follicles will take. Ashley notes that she had about 90% of regrowth. She also said that the hairs grow differently. “They didn’t grow like normal eyebrow hair,” she observed. “They grew straight out.”
Meanwhile, Rachel said, “Since the follicles are from my scalp, they grow like the hair on my head would. I have really bouncy curls, which means every few weeks I have to trim them with nail scissors to keep the hair looking like eyebrows.”
That said, neither Ashley nor Rachel express any regret about their eyebrow transplants. While both have to trim their brows every few days, it still beats not having good brows at all, they said.
The downside is eyebrow transplants cost upwards of $5,000, which can be a steep price for most people to pay.
If you’re looking for more affordable alternatives to good-looking brows, try eyebrow microblading. With only annual touchups and a $500 price tag, you can get natural-looking brows that don’t break the bank.
For more information about eyebrow microblading, check out our article: What microblading is for: Permanent makeup, explained