The Truth About John Travolta’s Hair Transplant

Hollywood in the 70s and 80s wouldn’t be the same without John Travolta. It is easy to remember the actor with his long, flowing hair or greased-back hair, even though that’s not the case anymore. The actor’s hair had so much influence over his persona that one could argue it was an entity in and of itself. 

Maybe that’s why it drew so much attention when it started to change. But the way it changed was more interesting. It left many people scratching their heads about what was exactly happening with Travolta’s hair. He was balding, yes, but did he get a hair transplant or had he been wearing a wig all this time? Let’s find out. 

Who’s John Travolta?

Born John Joseph Travolta in Englewood, New Jersey, Travolta’s walk to Hollywood fame started with an American sitcom – Welcome Back, Kotter – with the show running from 1975 to 1979. Despite leaving the show after its third season, the actor made a lasting impression as the head of the “Sweathogs.” 

John Travolta

It was also during the filming of the show that he played a supporting role in the 70s cult horror classic Carrie. And he also released a single, “Let Her In,” in 1976 (which became quite a hit). However, it wasn’t until Saturday Night Fever and Grease that the actor became a household name. 

He even got his first Academy Award nomination for the former. And Travolta ended the 80s on a high note with the release of Urban Cowboy. However, a string of unsuccessful films in the following decade made it appear that he wouldn’t be able to make a comeback. 

That was until Pulp Fiction came out. Since then, he has starred in many other successful films, such as Face/Off, Primary Colors, Wild Hogs, and Hairspray, among others. Most recently, he starred in Paradise City and is now filming the action thriller American Metal. . 

What Caused John Travolta’s Hair Loss?

Like millions of other men and women, Travolta lost his hair due to androgenetic alopecia. Also known as male pattern baldness, it’s the most common cause of hair loss. And it results from a combination of genes and hormones. You’re born with a genetic predisposition to it. So, there’s no escaping it. 

John Travolta bald

In pattern baldness, what usually happens is that the hairline starts to thin and recede. At the same time, you also lose hair in the crown of your head. But sometimes, the pattern of hair loss is different in that you don’t lose hair in the crown area. As the hairline recedes, the hair keeps being pushed farther and farther from the forehead. 

Looking at the Grease star’s photos, it seems that this was the pattern of hair loss. He would eventually have no hair left (with the exception of the back and sides of the head). According to the Norwood scale, he was a 4A.  

What Was John Travolta’s Hair Loss Timeline? 

Now that’s a bit fuzzy, considering the actor wore a wig on several occasions, but we’ll try our best to clarify things. 

Full Hair: 1975-1990 

When Travolta had just entered the industry, his hair was full and long. And during the height of his career, his hair stayed right by his side. While Travolta’s Grease hair remains the most iconic to this day, off-screen, sometimes, his hair was short and sometimes, it went on to become a mullet. However, mostly, his hair was long and luscious. 

Signs of Hair Loss: 1991-2000

Aged 37, Travolta’s hair had started to thin around this time. It wasn’t as visible, but the actor’s hair had started to thin on top. Not just that, but the shape of his hairline was also changing

John Travolta hair in 1997
Image credit: Georges Biard, John Travolta 1997CC BY-SA 3.0

It had started to take on an “M” shape, which is one of the most common signs of pattern hair loss. At the end of the 20th century, Travolta had significant hair loss, resulting in his scalp being visible through his hair.

Era of Wigs: 2001-2018 

Seeing how the actor was losing so much hair, he (not so secretly) started wearing hairpieces. One of the biggest giveaways of that was the length of his hair kept changing (quite a lot), and that, too, in a matter of days. 

John Travolts hair in 2001
John Travolta’s hair in 2001

The shape of his hairline also looked quite different. So, everyone assumed that it was the magic of wigs. While the actor did go bald in 2010 for his role in “From Paris With Love,” and he did say that it felt “great,” he went on to wear hairpieces in public for quite many years after that. 

John Travolta wig in 2018
John Travolta’s wig in 2018

Going Bald: 2019-2022

After struggling with his hair for quite some time (or maybe he’d had it enough with the wigs), the actor decided to embrace “baldhood.” According to the actor, it was something that he did “on a whim” on New Year’s Eve. However, it stuck, and now, Travolta only keeps his head completely shaved. But he pairs it nicely with a full, thick beard.

Did John Travolta Ever Have A Hair Transplant?

Since Travolta’s hairline kept changing, many people wondered if it was just a wig or if he had finally gotten a hair transplant. In 2016, it was rumoured that the Hollywood star had permanently restored his hair through a transplantation surgery. However, it seems unlikely. 

John Travolta hair transplant
John Travolta’s wig in 2015

At that time, there were quite a lot of convincing photos (especially those taken at Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday celebration). But seeing how he just decided to go bald 3 years later, we think that he probably didn’t have the surgery in the first place. And it was just a really good wig, after all. 

That’s because in the years that followed, although the actor’s hair remained full, the shape of his hairline kept changing. Sometimes, you could notice a hint of widow’s peak, but then all of a sudden, the hairline would become straight. 


John Travolta’s hair doesn’t seem so mysterious once you realise that it changed so dramatically over the years due to different hairpieces. However, wearing wigs can be a hassle, and one of the biggest fears people have about wearing them is that they’ll fall off in public. That’s why so many people turn to hair transplants in Turkey

However, keep in mind that hair loss can occur due to different reasons. It’s not always permanent. So, if you’re losing your hair, make sure to consult a medical professional.

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