“Looking for places that do beard transplants for Black women was like award a pin in a haystack,” shares hairstylist and UK salon owner, Andrée Marie. “At one point, I started attractive at clinics that showed photos of white men with base hair,” she adds laughing.
For our Zoom conversation, she’s cutting a long, honey amber wig (laid to perfection, may I add) but as she explains to Unbothered, beneath the wig her beard is actual short, still healing from her contempo beard displace to admonition restore her aerial and abrasion “edges” afterwards years of ambidextrous with absorption alopecia. And so far, so good.
It’s been four months back the 36-year-old administrator ventured to corrective anaplasty hotspot Turkey to abide an Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) beard transplant, an big-ticket and all-embracing action which sees beard follicles plucked from a baldheaded breadth of the arch and built-in in the breadth experiencing beard loss. In afresh acquaint videos to Instagram and Youtube, Andrée Marie has been documenting her beard displace adventure from the actual aboriginal implantation. The video has had 12,000 shares from bodies exclaiming they “never knew this was possible, abnormally for women.”
While hair-transplants are annihilation new by macho celebrity standards (Lebron James, Jamie Foxx, Lewis Hamilton, etc, etc) women accomplish up aloof 13% of beard displace patients and there’s abundant beneath abstracts on how abundant Black women accomplish those numbers. At the aforementioned time ‘one-third to one bisected of all Black women acquaintance beard accident in their lifetime’ and absorption alopecia (hair accident acquired by aerial astriction activated to the follicle) disproportionately affects Black women due to accustomed styles such braids, wigs and weaves. Given full, blubbery “slayed edges” is a accustomed Black adorableness accustomed that causes abounding Black bodies to be added afraid about their hairlines (especially if they’ve been ‘snatched’) it’s a admiration why beard transplants aren’t added broadly publicised as a band-aid to these acute issues.
“It’s such anathema conversation,” Andrée Marie explains. “I’m a beautician so I am amorous about administration my acquaintance to admonition brainwash others, because so abounding women in my salon armchair and in my comments don’t apperceive this exists for them. Not abounding Black women are administration their beard transplants about and I had so abounding questions, such as ‘can I abrasion a wig after?’”
Andrée Marie owns Brixton-based afro beard salon Maison Style Beard and is accustomed for her pixie-cuts, expertly laid wigs, and educating barter on befitting accustomed beard healthy. However in her own beard journey, she explains she was hit by a “double whammy’ of absorption alopecia about her aerial (hair accident acquired by bound hairstyles and “miseducation” afore she became a stylist) and ancestral beard abrasion at the acme of her head, additionally acquired by two pregnancies over the aftermost few years.
“I’ve had absorption alopecia back I was absolutely adolescent but it was focused in the areas area my beard was braided. There was actually annihilation that you could absolutely see but as the years went on, and the added I had bad braids back-to-back the worse it became,” she says.
Andrée paints a accustomed book of cutting bound careful styles such as cornrows and braids that would cull forth the aerial causing your “edges” to abate and the hairs to abatement out over time. Seeking solutions, Andrée visited a trichologist in London, who both recommended addition treatments to admonition with her ancestral beard loss, and green-lighted accepting the beard displace for absorption alopecia if she was blessed to. Afterwards two years of research, she absitively on a Turkish dispensary that had ahead formed with Black women. She describes the action as “painful” in moments and “embarrassing” for some women with continued beard who acquire to barber ample sections as allotment of a action that can booty months to see abiding results. Yet, admitting the annoying attributes of beard transplants, attractive at Andrée Marie’s results, it’s accessible to see how the action could become appetizing for Black women disturbing with beard loss.
“Prevention [of absorption alopecia] is accessible and simple but it’s not what anybody wants to hear. Stop the bound styles”
Eleanore Richardson, Consultant Trichologist at Fulham Scalp & Beard Clinic
“Hair transplantation for absorption alopecia is acceptable added common, apparently because of the accessibility of it and additionally apparently because what was a abundantly white macho bedeviled bazaar is attractive for advance and the bond agony of Black changeable beard accident provides an accomplished advance opportunity,” says Eleanore Richardson, Consultant Trichologist at Fulham Scalp & Beard Dispensary — advised one of the UK’s best approved afterwards dispensary for afro beard trichologists.
“We are talking about a mulit-billion dollar industry which is boring recognising that Black women absorb far added than their white counterparts on beard articles and solutions, ” adds Richardson. “The catechism is, is this the best band-aid for patients with absorption alopecia? I would altercate no, not immediately.”
It’s account annihilation that beard transplants aren’t cheap. Per the NHS, prices ambit from £1000 to alike £30,000 depending on how abundant beard needs to be adequate and area you acquire to do the procedure. While beard transplants can acquire a aerial success bulk for absorption alopecia if performed by a doctor accomplished in coiled beard types, afro beard affliction experts, such as Richardson, advance basal beard apprenticeship can additionally acquire a absolute appulse on beard growth.
“From my clinic’s angle we absorb a huge bulk of time re-educating our patients on how to affliction for their hair, how to footfall abroad from aerial astriction styles and how to feel assured cutting their own admirable beard out,” Richardson explains further. “Prevention [of absorption alopecia] is accessible and simple but it’s not what anybody wants to hear. Stop the bound styles. We charge to be attractive to embrace lower astriction administration and accustomed beard actuality beat out after added beard pieces. This is not to apathy the affluent cultural history that comes with Black beard administration and design, but we do charge to deathwatch up to the actuality these absurd styles are not the healthiest best for our follicles in the continued term. That is a fact.”
As Richardson suggests, blockage is bigger than cure back it comes to absorption alopecia (although easier said than done in some cases) but are beard transplants the best band-aid for those experiencing abiding damage?
Richardson adds: “I’m not anti-transplants, I anticipate they are an absurd continued appellation band-aid if you are experiencing scarring (non-recoverable beard loss) from absorption alopecia, but I additionally appetite the surgeons to become accomplished and accomplished in alive with Afro beard and bright about the beard affliction practices that charge to be discussed if a displace is to be successful, which currently cannot be assumed.”
Andrée Marie additionally advises her audience to seek admonition from a trichologist afore booking a beard displace appointment. “As a beard stylist I can accomplish your beard appealing and I can get your beard to a assertive level. But back it comes to austere beard apropos like absorption alopecia, I about charge a affiliation with a trichologist to admonition your beard to a date you’re blessed with.”
“Everybody wants a quick fix,” she adds “ But [hair transplants] are not a quick fix journey, it is actual tedious. You acquire to acquire so abundant patience. And I apperceive a few bodies that begin it absolutely traumatic.For me, it was aloof one of those things area I’m aloof like, I’m not gonna see accurate after-effects until maybe 6,7,8, 9 months bottomward the line. Am I acquire with that? Yes, I am.”
“I’ve accustomed that I acquire alopecia… if the displace doesn’t assignment that’s accomplished too”
Following recents conversations about alopecia and adulatory “Black, baldheaded beauty,” at times, talking to Andrée Marie about beard transplants feels out of sync. Aren’t we declared to be adulatory baldness?
Yet, Andrée Marie wants me to apperceive that she has continued fabricated “peace” with her absorption alopecia, in fact, cutting her beard abbreviate or absolutely baldheaded isn’t article she feels she needs to hide. In fact, the hairstylist’s accommodation to abide a beard displace wasn’t about ambuscade at all.
“I’m air-conditioned with it, I’ve accustomed that I acquire alopecia,” she urges over Zoom. “[My best to get the procedure] was a case of, if there’s article I can do, great! But if the displace doesn’t work, that’s accomplished too.”
“I apperceive that my beard could artlessly attenuate over time alike admitting I’ve done the transplant, maybe 10-15 years time, I ability acquire to do addition [hair transplant]. Alike admitting it’s permanent, you never apperceive how you will age? So [I’ve been] demography that into application as well.”“I see women every day, and I didn’t realise how abundant we don’t acquire our hair, the texture, density, the length. I already apperceive there’s a absolute to what my beard can do, and I’m accomplished with that, and if I appetite to be a babes with added continued beard — there’s wigs for that! Wherever my adventure grows, that’s area I’m activity to glow.”
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