Reality TV star Calum Best has undergone his sixth hair transplant — this time using locks taken from his beard.
The son of soccer legend George wanted to fill out bald spots around his crown and thicken his hairline.
Calum, 42, was so short of donor hair on his scalp that his surgeon needed to extract some from his his neck.
Experts said Calum was particularly well-suited for the pioneering procedure because his beard was like a ‘rug’.
The procedure, which is often done in multiple two-to-four hour sessions over the course of several days, can cost in the range of £3,000 to £10,000.
Calum Best relaxing with staff ahead of his sixth hair transplant – which was conducted at Crown Clinic, in Manchester
Experts said Calum was particularly well suited for the pioneering procedure because his beard was like a ‘rug’.
Hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak (left) extracting hairs from Calum Best’s beard
If Calum — who says he has been battling hair loss since his early 20s — needs another transplant in the future, surgeons have suggested taking hair from his chest.
Thicker hair works best for transplants, as it require fewer drafts to get the same effect as those with thinner hair. This is because thicker hair blocks light from being reflected off the scalp – which is what gives the appearance of baldness.
Beard hair is much thicker than hair found on the scalp, so provides extra density for those who are experiencing hair loss, Dr Shahmalak said.
The procedure was conducted at the Crown Clinic in Manchester, which has treated the likes of Coronation Street star Jack Shepherd, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and former footballer Didi Hamann.
Calum said: ‘I had my sixth hair transplant because I have a very aggressive hair loss gene.
‘While all the transplanted hair I’ve been given has stayed permanent, I’ve continued to lose more of my natural hair.
‘It is very unusual to use beard hair for a scalp but I have been running out of donor hair on the back and side of my scalp where surgeons normally extract it because of my previous procedures.’
The ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant will enjoy the full benefits of the procedure after about nine to 12 months.
By then, all the transplanted hair will have fully grown back and there will be minimal scarring from the surgery on his neck and scalp.
Calum began balding two decades ago ago, and underwent his first hair transplant procedure in Ireland when he was in his 20s – though it is not known where.
He then underwent three more with Dr Asim Shahmalak at Crown Clinic between 2012 and 2015.
In 2021, the model had a fifth transplant in Turkey, at Istanbul’s Cosmedica Clinic
Calum said: ‘Without Dr Shahmalak’s help, I would look completely different.
‘I feel and look ten years younger with my hair preserved, thanks to the wonders of science and the skill of my surgeon.
‘But more important than that I feel so much better about myself. If science can sort out a problem, why not use it if it is going to improve your mental health and put a smile on your face?’
His dad, former Manchester United star George, had a full head of hair right up to his death 18 years ago aged 59.
Balding Calum, 42, was so short of donor hair on his scalp that the surgeon took more than a quarter of the donor grafts from his neck
Beard hair is much thicker than hair found on the scalp, so provides extra density for those who are experiencing hair loss, Dr Shahmalak said
Calum Best, who has been losing his hair since his early 20s, joking with staff at Crown Clinic ahead of his sixth hair transplant
Calum pictured after his third hair transplant in 2015 (left) and before he had it done (right)
Medics used the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique for the procedure — where individual grafts are taken out one-by-one and then replanted.
Dr Shahmalak transplanted 2,000 grafts to bulk up Calum’s hair, including 550 from just beneath his jawline.
Dr Shahmalak said: ‘Calum has a very thick beard particularly just beneath the neck where the density is like a rug… he has such a strong cover there.
‘Neck hair is thicker and great for providing added density for a patient such as Calum who chooses not to take medication to slow down his natural hair loss.’
Calum could have kept more of his hair by taking the clinically proven prescription drug finasteride which slows down or halts balding.
But he works out daily and is reluctant to take any unnecessary medication.
Some men taking it experience a loss of libido — which concerned him.
He added: ‘I am very conscious of what I put in my body. I have been fighting my hair loss for the past two decades and I know lots of guys in their forties and fifties trying to save their hair and they are taking Finasteride. It’s just not for me.’
Dr Shahmalak was the first in the UK to perform an eyelash transplant on a young woman from Manchester in 2008.
He is also one of the few surgeons in the UK to offer eyebrow, beard and sideburn transplants.