Beards are no longer the look for fishermen or academics – they have recently become the signature look of urban men in their 20s and 30s who consider themselves witty, creative and politically progressive, i.e. hipsters. And if ten years ago film stars were clean-shaven, today red carpets are all about the bearded guys – Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Affleck, to name just a few.
The unkept, hairy hipster look has triggered a plastic surgery boom in New York, where baby-faced young men are flocking to doctors for beard transplants that can cost up to $7,000, Voice of America reports.
Facial surgeons with private practices in Manhattan and Florida say they have seen a phenomenal increase in demand in the last five years, and hipsters are leading the way.
Facial hair-challenged men who are desperate to perfect the hipster beard are turning for transplants, plastic surgeon Jeffrey Epstein told the website DNAinfo.com.
New York surgeons can perform up to three or four procedures a week for $2,000 to more than $8,000 depending on how much hair needs to be transplanted from scalp to cheek.
Doctors say patients fly in from across the United States, Britain or even Australia, adding that the boom is fueled not just by changing fashion, but rising awareness and social acceptance of hair transplants, and improved techniques that result in pretty impressive beards.
Facial hair has for centuries been a sign of virility and masculinity in many cultures across the world but some men can’t grow facial hair for genetic reasons or lasered their face in their 20s and later realized it was a mistake.
Yael Halaas, a doctor whose practice is just off Park Avenue, agreed that demand had increased over the last three to four years. “These guys kept just streaming in complaining either they can’t grow much of a beard at all or that they have patchy areas that weren’t filing in properly,” she told AFP.
”A lot of them tend to be in their 20s and 30s, they tend to be hip New Yorkers definitely with an eye for aesthetic detail – they may work in the visual arts or performing arts,” she said.
Halaas says she sees four to five patients a week for facial hair transplants.
“A decade ago I would say it was maybe 10 a year,” she said.
Glenn Charles works in Florida but told AFP he gets more beard transplant patients from New York than any other state.
“The trend of the Brooklyn hipsters, the facial hair thing is coming back. The scruffy look, the shadow look is in right now and a lot of guys are interested in having that,” he said.
And it’s not just hipsters. Charles sees businessmen, firefighters, weightlifters – all kinds of people.
“I get a lot of detail-oriented people, artists, architects,” said another doctor, “They may bring in a picture of an actor or a model,” one doctor offered, for example, George Clooney or Ryan Gosling.”
Reprinted from The Voice of Russia.