Lee Mead’s Hair Transplant

Known as the leading man of West End and a man with some of the most bodacious curls, it’s impossible to discuss Lee Mead without mentioning his hair. And so, needless to say, the actor’s fans were pretty shocked when he took to Instagram to share pictures of his completely shaven scalp for a hair transplant.

Many were left puzzled as to why Lee needed to undergo this surgery when he had excellent hair and no apparent signs of balding. However, the actor definitely had his reasons, and that too, more than one. Here, you will find out more about Lee Mead’s hair transplant journey, what type of procedure he had, how much it cost, and how many grafts he needed.

Who Is Lee Mead?

Born on 14 July 1981, Lee Stephen Mead is a British theatre actor. Lee started his career in theatre, and before he became the titular “Joseph” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the actor had already been a part of its older production as both Levi and Pharaoh.

However, when the show’s revival was going to take place, BBC held a talent show in 2007 called “Any Dream Will Do” to find the lead for the show, and through that, Lee finally got his big break as the leading man for the musical.

Following that, Mead was a part of other notable projects, including Fiyero in Wicked, Jack in Jack & the Beanstalk, Robin in Robin Hood, Prince Charming in Cinderella, and more recently Khashoggi in the musical We Will Rock You.

Did Lee Mead Have A Hair Transplant?

By his own admission, Lee Mead has undergone two hair transplants. He had the first one in around 2008 and then another 15 years later, in the beginning of 2023.

In January 2023, he shared a video of himself on Instagram where he was getting his head shaved at a hair transplant clinic. The post captioned “hair today gone tomorrow” saw Mead with surgical markings on his head where his new hairline was going to be drawn and the grafts transplanted.

Lee Mead bald hair transplant
Image credit: leemead_official/Instagram

And the even more surprising part for many of his followers was that Mead had his hair transplant surgery in none other than Istanbul, which is considered one of the most popular destinations for medical tourists seeking restoration surgery.

Why Did Lee Mead Have A Hair Transplant?

Lee Mead’s hair loss was probably due to something known as pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. It’s the most common type of hair loss affecting both men and women. In this, dihydrotestosterone – a byproduct of testosteroneminiaturises or shrinks the hair follicles on the scalp permanently, eventually causing baldness.

Classic androgenetic alopecia

The reason why this type of hair loss is known as “pattern” baldness is that it progresses in a distinct pattern. The hairline starts to recede, forming an M-shape, and you can also lose hair in the top and crown areas of your scalp. In an interview with the BBC, Lee said, “I hid it really well, but my crown was receding quite a lot and the centre top part of my head.”

While getting to hide the bald spots was one thing, it was also about confidence for Lee. In an interview on ITV, he said himself that “there’s nothing wrong with being bald, at all,” however, at the end of the day, it’s a very “personal thing as to whether you want to be bald or not.

And for me, I had this great hair, but I was receding underneath, and it affected my confidence a little bit.” In another interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he also said that although “loads of men look great bald,” he “wasn’t quite ready for that yet.”

Lee also hadn’t anticipated the true extent of his hair loss. “When they shaved my head for the operation I didn’t realise I was actually losing a lot more hair than I thought. I did have a large mop of hair that covered those areas,” Lee told the BBC. Here’s a look at Lee Mead’s new hair now:

Lee Mead hair transplant results
Image credit: leemead_official/Instagram

What Type Of Hair Transplant Did Lee Mead Have?

Lee Mead has had both FUE and FUT hair transplants. During the interview with ITV, Lee mentioned that the first hair transplant that he had “15 years ago” was done with the Follicular Unit Transplant or FUT technique. And the second one was done with what he mistakenly referred to as “FEU” instead of the correct FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction.

FUT is the older technique for hair transplantation in which a piece of skin is taken out from the back of the scalp. From this, individual hair follicular units are extracted and then transplanted into the bald spots through small incisions. The problem with this technique is that it requires stitches, has a relatively more difficult recovery and can leave a prominent linear scar at the back of the head.

The FUE technique, on the other hand, doesn’t require cutting out a strip of skin from the back. The surgery directly extracts the grafts from the back using a motorised punch tool. As a result, its scars are relatively much smaller in size. They are also circular instead on being long and linear. No stitches are needed for this surgery either and its recovery is comparatively easier.

FUE VS FUT hair transplant

While the FUE technique was introduced in 2002, it took some time for it to become more mainstream. According to the practice census results of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), in 2009, most of the hair transplants – 88.5% – were done using the FUT technique. This could be the reason why Lee Mead’s first hair transplant was an FUT. Over the time, however, FUE became more popular.

How Many Grafts Did Lee Mead Need To Achieve His New Hairstyle?

In 2023, on Good Morning Britain, Lee revealed that he had 2,600 hair grafts for his transplantation surgery. This is within the range of the average number of grafts people usually get in one session of the surgery, as per the ISHRS.

Lee Mead hair transplant
Image credit: leemead_official/Instagram

As mentioned above, Lee had pointed at the noticeable thinning of his crown and top parts of the scalp. A crown hair transplant alone might need around 2,300 grafts, while the front and temples might need around 1,000 to 1,600 grafts. You can even use a graft calculator to estimate the number of grafts you might need.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the final estimate can vary depending on the type of hair you have, for instance, curly hair tends to take more space, the size of the balding area, the strength of the donor area, your desired aesthetic goal, among other things.

Another important to note here is that Lee mentioned that he had “10,000 hairs” in the 2,600 grafts that were transplanted. It’s important to understand that each hair graft or follicular unit can have 1-5 strands of hair. On average, it’s assumed to be 2. In his case, the total would’ve come to 5,200 hairs. But then we also don’t have the exact details of how many hairs were in Lee’s grafts.

How Much Did Lee Mead’s Hair Transplant Cost?

On Good Morning Britain, Lee revealed that his hair transplant in Turkey cost £3,500. And in his interview with the BBC, he also mentioned that it was “three times cheaper than in the UK.”

On average, hair transplants in Turkey cost around £1,500 to £2,000. The surgery here is cheap, not because the quality is poor. It is this way because of the exchange rate and the low cost of living. Provided you do your research, you can find an excellent surgeon here. Lee himself seems to be enjoying the results of his hair transplant.


Lee Mead’s hair might have looked dreamy to everybody else, but because curly hair can be so voluminous, it can sometimes act as the perfect camouflage for bald spots. So, the curls helped hide Lee’s hairline and thinning hair for quite some time. However, the West End star eventually decided to go under the knife to get his hair (and confidence) back.

Of course, Lee’s isn’t the first celebrity hair transplant (although the honesty is quite refreshing), there are others, such as Wayne RooneyRob Holdingand James Nesbitt, who’ve all openly admitted to getting restoration surgery.

But before you decide to have the surgery, if you’re experiencing hair loss, make sure to consult a board-certified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

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