Culture

New York's Hottest Trend: Beard Transplants for Wannabe Hipsters

How Brooklyn's chief aesthetic is making Manhattan's top plastic surgeons a pretty penny.

Trendspotters take note, it looks like there is a new type of “fake” on the market, but this one is of a more subtle variety: the popularity of the Brooklyn hipster aesthetic, namely the crazy surrounding facial hair, has grown so popular that well-heeled men in New York are reportedly rushing to their doctors looking for “facial hair transplants”—a non-invasive surgery that helps make beards look thicker and less patchy.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The follicley-challenged men in question are reportedly spending up to $8,500 for the beard impants, according to the New York Post. The popularity of the procedure has spiked in the last few months, say some of the city’s most well established plastic surgeons.

“Brooklyn is probably the nucleus of the trend, it’s the hipster ‘look’ guys want,” Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a Midtown-based plastic surgeon told the New York Post. “If you have a spotty beard, and you let it grow our, it looks sloppy.”

Epstein performs two or three beard implants per week—up significantly from just a handful each year just a couple years ago.

“[Patients] want full beard because it’s a masculine look,” he explained. “Beards are an important male identifier.”

Neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Bushwick and Park Slope have popularized that lumberjack-meets-GQ look that has men city-wide going crazy. According to the Post, a 27-year-old patient named Danny used to have a patchy beard that he was forced to fill in with an eyebrow pencil, until he found out about the surgery two years ago, and paid the nearly $9,000 to have it done. The rest, to him, is fashion history.

“I have a baby face but now I’m able to look older,” he told the Post. “My fashion statement is a little edgy, and I do like the ‘rugged look’…it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

The procedure largely works by removing hair from other body parts—including head, chest and leg—in an effort to match follicles precisely before implanting it in the face. The new top-of-the-line beard will then grow back normally and can be shaved as the patient sees fit. The (literal) hair-raising trend has also found popularity amongst the female-to-male transgender community, Hasidic jews, men looking to feel younger, and men who simply aren’t very hairy to begin with.

“It’s the style,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Yael Halaas, “and it’s just more common now to see scruff than ten years ago. We’ve been getting a lot more calls about it.”

It’s unclear if and when exactly this trend might halt, but it’s safe to say that as our contemporary style icons keep rocking this Amish-chic look, New York’s plastic surgeons will have plenty of patients to please.

 

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.