By Jessica Chia
Going to extreme lengths in the name of beauty is nothing new (stem cell face lift, anyone?), but a new trend may take the cake for kookiest. Women are paying the equivalent of a down payment on a nice car for, wait for it: eyebrow transplants. “There’s been a big increase recently in the popularity of this procedure as people are becoming aware that it exists,” says hair restoration surgeon Marc Dauer, founder of Dauer Hair and Eyebrow Restoration in Los Angeles.
Aimed at combatting the natural brow thinning that happens with age, the procedure—which takes 2 to 3 hours and will set you back anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000—is actually pretty simple. A surgeon numbs your brow and back of your scalp with a local anesthetic, then grafts hair from the back of your scalp to your brow, trimming the strands to match the length of your brow hairs. (Don’t worry—you won’t end up with a bald patch back there.) You can go out in public the next day, though it takes about a week for the skin to fully heal, says hair restoration surgeon Ken Williams, of the Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery’s OC Hair Restoration clinic in Irvine, California.
Sure, it’s a little out-there, but the surgery can completely, permanently change the shape of your brow in a way brow pencils and powders never will—we’re talking a barely-there-to-Lauren-Bacall level transformation. The catch is, your brows will be even more high maintenance after the surgery: trimming every 7-10 days is a must, since the hair grafted from your head naturally grows longer than the brows you were born with, Williams explains.
Still game? Williams suggests penciling in your brows the way you’d want them to look after the procedure to make sure you like the effect. Trying them on for size for a few weeks at least is smart, since you’ll be stuck with them, for better or worse, after the transplant. As for finding a qualified MD to do the deed, “look for a surgeon who can show you at least 40 or 50 before-and-after photos of eyebrows you think look aesthetically pleasing before you even consider them,” Dauer suggests.