Is blending it like Beckham a cure for thinning hair?
An expert says Becks used nanogen keratin fibres, so I tried it and the results are surprising
If the rumours of the past couple of weeks are to be believed, David Beckham is cheating. But worry not, Victoria, for the object of his affection isn’t another woman.
According to those in the know, it’s allegedly a little black bottle of keratin hair fibres, used to conceal the early signs of male-pattern baldness. Yes, the man who gave us curtains and cornrows and mohawks seems to be afflicted by the same hair-shedding gene that troubles almost half of men by their 40s.
Last week, not long after poolside paparazzi photographs had circulated showing Becks with a thinning pate, he unveiled a noticeably different look: a thicker, fuller, darker head of hair – in the eyes of some observers, unnaturally so. I watched with interest.
Five years ago I had a hair transplant, and honestly, it was one of the best things I’ve done. The results were great and the impact on my self-esteem immeasurable. But the experience taught me that it takes several months for transplanted hair to settle in and grow, and Beckham’s makeover appeared to be far more sudden. What was his secret?
Spencer Stevenson, a hair loss expert who has had many hair transplants, thinks the answer lies in Nanogen keratin fibres, a type of hair concealer: “These are essentially very small particles which magnetise to the hair shaft, and they work brilliantly when the right amount is used and they are applied correctly. You only need to sprinkle a little on, like dust (or cocoa on the top of a cappuccino), and it thickens up the hair shaft, which in turn increases the density. It gives the illusion that you’ve got more hair.”
Stevenson says the hair fibres are “a well-known A-list essential” because they hide the bald truth and no one can tell. So why are we all talking about Becks?
“I think he overcooked it,” says Stevenson. “Less is more. It seems he just used too many of the fibres, so it looks a little unnatural.”
Despite Becks’ apparent over-sprinkling, I’m intrigued to find out if these “magic -fibres” work. Although I have a fuller head of hair post-transplant, I wouldn’t mind it being a tad thicker, particularly when viewed from above – the angle that, as Becks found out, reveals the true extent of any thinning.
Getting hold of the proposed solution is easy. I pop into Boots and pick up a bottle of dark brown Nanogen fibres for £19.99. Applying it is just as simple, the packaging assures me. The instructions are essentially to “sprinkle, rub, repeat” until you’re happy. Back home, staring in the mirror, I learn it’s a little more fiddly than that. Without an assistant to apply the powder, I find it hard to know if I’m dousing in the right spots.
I scatter the fibres on little by little, gradually building it up over the course of five minutes or so, until I feel I’ve given my head sufficient coverage. Then things start to get sticky. I apply my usual hair wax and the powder clings to my fingers, turning them brown. Although it washes off easily, it makes me worry what else the powder will mark. The last thing I want is to leave a head-shaped halo on my girlfriend’s pristine white pillowcases.
Thankfully, this is where the second part of the solution comes in: a spray that is applied post-sprinkle, to bind the powder to the hair and keep it locked in. I give it a few spritzes, let it dry, then tested it out on the pillows. Bar a couple of flecks here and there, it stays in my hair.
Would I feel confident in a downpour? I’m not so sure, but for now I feel my new “hair” isn’t going anywhere. The big question, then: does it work? Remarkably, yes. Looking in the mirror, my hair undoubtedly has the illusion of being significantly thicker, especially from the all-important “above” angle.
And I genuinely believe that if you’d never seen me before, there’s no way you’d be able to tell I was using it. There’s no scent, no unnatural clumping, no film of Nanogen dust on my shoulders. Contrary to my preconceptions, I’m surprisingly pleased with the results.
Perhaps Beckham has done the balding community a service by bringing this panacea into the spotlight. Going bald is an awful prospect for many men, so anything that might help heighten their hairlines gets my approval. As for me, I’m not sure the powder is something I’ll use regularly. As much as it works (and it really does), I felt very self-conscious over the course of the day using it; much as I would, I imagine, if I was wearing make-up.
Every time I went in for a hug, or a rain cloud appeared in the sky, a wave of panic washed over me. It wasn't helped by the advice on the packet that tells you the fibres stick around until the next time you wash your hair. Later, in the shower, I found that it doesn’t take a lot of scrubbing to return your bonnet to its natural, less fulsome state.
Still, in the absence of a hair transplant, which can cost upwards of £20,000, a bottle of fibres for under 20 quid is a very attractive, and affordable , alternative. Just go easy on the sprinkles next time, Dave.
– © The Daily Telegraph