UFUE Hair Restoration: Can You Have a Hair Transplant Without Shaving?

  • 15th April 2024
  • 9 min read

Are you considering a hair transplant but hesitant about shaving your head? You're not alone. The thought of shaving can be intimidating and might deter you from going through with the procedure – especially if you have long hair.

While hair will grow back, the idea of a no-shave hair transplant can be a welcome alternative. But how does it work, and is it the right treatment for you?

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything from the benefits and drawbacks to the procedure and recovery timeline.




Do you have to shave your head for a hair transplant?

Thanks to technological advancements in hair restoration, an unshaven hair transplant (UFUE) is now possible. It works the same way as a standard Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) transplant, the only difference being that you don't need to shave.

Shaving might simplify accessing the scalp and extracting follicles from the donor area without hair getting in the way. However, surgeons can now perform successful transplants while preserving most, if not all, of your current hair.


How does a UFUE transplant work?

To understand UFUE, you'll first need to grasp the FUE method. 

  1. Preparation – The first step is prepping the scalp. This involves shaving the scalp, and local anaesthetic is administered to minimise discomfort.
  2. Extraction – Next, the surgeon extracts follicles from the donor area, typically the sides of the head, using a precise micro-punch tool.
  3. Implantation – These follicles are then implanted into thinning or balding areas of the scalp.

With UFUE hair transplants, the process is essentially the same, but without the step of shaving the scalp. Depending on the amount of available hair and its length, you may require partial shaving of the donor area, recipient area, or both.

Here are a few ways this step can be carried out during a UFUE restoration:

  • Unshaved donor area – The donor area can be left completely unshaved. The surgeon will identify and isolate the intended hair follicle to extract. The hairs emerging from this follicle will then be trimmed to allow the surgical punch to encapsulate and extract the targeted follicle.
  • Partially shaved donor area – If your hair is long, the surgeon may shave a small section of the donor area to ensure a clear view during extraction. However, because you have more hair, covering up the shaved section afterwards will be simple.
  • Unshaved recipient area – If you have sparse hair in your recipient area, your surgeon will have a clearer view of where to implant the grafts without shaving.
  • Partially shaved recipient area – If you have more hair in the recipient area, you might require a partial shave before implantation. This allows the surgeon to clearly see how to implant and follow the natural hair pattern for a seamless look. While you may notice some redness and scabbing in the early stages, you should be able to conceal this with the surrounding hair.


The benefits of an unshaven hair transplant

Here's why UFUE transplants are becoming a popular choice:

  • Minimal changes to your appearance – After the initial swelling subsides, usually within a few days, your transplant should be almost undetectable. Since you don't have to shave your head, you should have enough hair to cover any scabs, ensuring a natural look.
  • Convenience – With less visible evidence of the procedure, you can return to your daily activities sooner. It's ideal for people with busy schedules or jobs that don't allow for much downtime, like doctors.
  • You can maintain your original hairstyle – With an unshaven hair transplant, you can keep your original hairstyle intact. There's no need to sacrifice your preferred look, ensuring you feel confident and comfortable throughout the process.


Are there downsides to a hair transplant without shaving?

While maintaining your current hair length and style with an unshaven hair transplant is a definite perk, there are some drawbacks to consider. These include:

  • Longer procedure time – With a UFUE transplant, surgeons will need to work more meticulously around existing hair, prolonging the overall duration of the surgery.
  • You may need more than one procedure – Without shaving the head, surgeons will have limited access to the donor area, making it slightly more challenging to extract hair follicles. Also, the longer process of removing hair follicles with this method means fewer grafts can be extracted in one session. This will impact the number of grafts that can be harvested, and you may need more than one transplant as a result.
  • Higher cost – Due to the additional time and skill required for an unshaven hair transplant, it may come with a higher price than a standard procedure.


Who is a candidate for a hair transplant without shaving?

Hair transplantation without shaving is best suited for people with mild balding, like those at stage 3 of the Norwood Scale or with hair loss in the crown area. This approach allows for precise improvements to the natural hairline or targeted filling of small thinning areas.

For people with extensive balding, a UFUE transplant can be time-consuming and may require multiple procedures to achieve the desired results. So, of course, this can get pricey.


Unshaven hair transplant recovery 

A hair transplant without shaving has a recovery and aftercare timeline similar to the FUE method. 

Here are the key stages:

  • The first few days – At this stage, you may experience some swelling, pain, soreness, and minor bleeding. Your surgeon might recommend pain relief medication like ibuprofen. You should also avoid washing your hair for at least three to five days.
  • 7 days – You may notice some itching and aching as the scalp starts to heal and scabs begin to form and fall off.
  • 14 days – The recovery process should now be well underway. The swelling will have significantly subsided, though you may still experience some itching as scabs continue to fall off. You may also notice hair shedding, but don't worry – this is a normal part of the hair growth cycle.
  • 1 month – As hairs continue to fall out and regrow during this period, the scalp may appear patchy. This is expected, as hairs are at different stages of the growth cycle. 
  • 3 months – New hairs will begin to emerge but may still appear thin and wispy at this point.
  • 6 months – You should notice the newly planted hairs becoming thicker and stronger.
  • 12-18 months – This is when you can expect to see the final results. All hairs should have now emerged through the scalp, and you can treat it as you would any other normal hair.

To learn more, read our guide to life after a hair transplant: what you can and can't do.


What is the cost of a no-shave hair transplant in the UK?

Just like FUE and FUT transplants, the cost of unshaven hair restoration depends on factors like the extent of your hair loss, your expectations and the density of the donor. 

However, it's important to consider that a no-shave hair transplant may come at a higher price point. This is because it involves a more intricate technique, potentially extending the duration of the process and may even require an additional procedure.

Booking a free, no-obligation consultation will give you a better idea of the price.


Choose FUE Clinics for your hair transplant

If you're dealing with ongoing hair loss that's affecting your confidence, or you have a condition like male-pattern baldness, a hair transplant could be a permanent solution to restore your hair. 

At FUE Clinics, a free consultation with one of our experts will determine whether you're a candidate for a no-shave hair transplant. 

If you'd like to learn more about what options are available to you, explore our range of treatments today or contact us to speak to our team of hair transplant specialists today. Or, head over to our FAQs or blog for more information. 

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