But there’s clearly a cultural shift at play, too — a new phase in the metrosexual movement, if you will.
“Men are following women and starting to track the trends,” Aydin adds, noting that in recent years there’s been a shift toward more rhinoplasty in addition to hair transplants.
Men are close to surpassing women in terms of nose jobs, he says.
Social media is another factor.
Brothers Abdullah and Majid Alfaraj take in the sites of Istanbul after their hair transplant procedures. (Turgut Yeter/CBC) “Men who up until now didn’t take care of themselves have faster access to men in other countries. They see their role models on social media and say: ‘Why don’t I get this done? Why don’t I take care of myself?’ ” Aydin says.
Services catering to men who want to spoil themselves are everywhere, even in countries where men are known to be macho. Traditional barbershops in Turkey, even budget ones, have made waxing and facial masks part of their regular services.
Eighty per cent of Aydin’s business comes from hair transplants.
His office recently saw a patient from Canada, but the majority of clients apart from Arabs are from Holland, Italy, Russia and England, he says. Northern Africa is a growing market.
Politics has an impact on where the clients come from, too. The recent rift between the Turkish and Israeli governments has slowed the tide of Israelis, who used to make up a large part of the patient lists. Arab tourists quickly filled the gap.
Interestingly, Hamid says Israelis wanted hair implanted elsewhere. Not on their scalps, but their chests.
Majid Alfaraj is all about his new head of hair. He says he underwent the procedure for his wife but she doesn’t know he’s done it.
“It’s going to be a surprise for her,” he says. “You know women like younger guys.”
Looking to get a hair transplant? This country leads in the business of harvesting hair.
A nurse is arranging the grafts harvested from a patient’s head. The total number of harvested grafts is about 4,000 and must belong to the patient himself. (Emanuele Satolli)
With $1 billion worth of business in 2014 alone, Turkey is the leading country in the world for hair transplant surgical operations. The average cost of a hair transplant operation in Turkey ranges from $1,700 and $2,000, while the same operation in Britain or the U.S. could cost up to $25,000.