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Curly Hair Transplant: Transplantation Techniques & Challenges

Curly hair transplant is a surgery for moving oval-shaped hair follicles of curly, coily, or kinky-haired people, to their receding hairlines or balding areas. To avoid damaging the oval follicles, unique techniques are employed while extracting and implanting oval hair grafts.

Worldwide the most curly-haired people live in Africa and around 45% of the world’s population have some kind of curly hair, depending on the location and the definition.

If you have curly hair, you should expect satisfying results when the surgery is performed successfully, thanks to the natural density of curly hair shafts.

Here are some key points we explained in the article for curly hair transplant surgery:

  • ANYONE WITH CURLY, COILY, KINKY HAIR CAN GET A HAIR TRANSPLANT
  • YOU CAN EXPECT MUCH MORE DENSITY WITH LESS CURLY HAIR GRAFTS IMPLANTED
  • THE SHAPE OF THE CURLY HAIR FOLLICLES MAKES IT HARDER TO TRANSPLANT
  • THE HAIR TRANSPLANT IS PERFORMED WITH UNIQUE TECHNIQUES FOR CURLY HAIR FOLLICLES
  • DHI IS THE BEST METHOD FOR A CURLY HAIR TRANSPLANT
  • NOT DAMAGING THE HAIR FOLLICLES IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF CURLY HAIR TRANSPLANT
  • THE TRANSPLANTED HAIR WILL RETAIN ITS CURLY PATTERN


Without further ado, let us explain what makes hair transplant possible with curly hair.

Can You Get A Hair Transplant With Curly Hair?

Yes, if you have curly hair, you can get a hair transplant with today’s technologies. No matter which hair texture you have, a hair transplant can give you a better hairline, temples, and crown. 

However, even with the newest techniques, curly hair transplants might be challenging, and only experienced hair transplant specialists can perform successful surgeries. This is because of the round shape of the curly hair follicles.

What do we mean by that? Let us explain!

Is A Curly Hair Transplant A Permanent Solution?

Yes, a hair transplant fills in your balding areas permanently. The hairs growing from the transplanted area will be there just like the rest of your healthy hairs. This is thanks to the donor dominance theory.

Curly Hair Characteristics And Transplantation

People with curly hair know better than anyone, how annoying it could be to take care of curly hair. Washing or shaping it in the intended way might be your nightmare. Things are a bit similar when it comes to hair transplants for curly hair.

It is hard to define exactly which type of curly hair one might have since there are lots of variations. For better understanding, we divide hair curls into three different categories by the number of rings, loops, or spirals they have.

The chances are higher that your hair transplant surgery can be a little bit more difficult when your hair type is somewhere around kinky.

These two procedures are highly intertwined in most of the cases. That’s why we recommend you read our article about African-American hair transplant, if you seek a hair transplant for your curly or coily hair.

Do Curly Hair Transplant Candidates Experience A Different Hair Loss?

Not really. Curly hair patients experience conditions like androgenetic alopecia or traction alopecia which happens in every type of hair. The only different condition can be central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. This is a common hair loss in people of African descent.

What Is The Difference Between Curly And Straight Hair Transplant?

Curly hair transplant is much more challenging. Straight hair has these follicles that grow directly upward direction, while curly hair follicles grow through a lateral position creating the curve. Harvesting and implanting these follicles is the main difference between straight and curly hair transplants.

The challenge aside, curly hair transplantations produce better and more abundant outcomes compared to straight hair transplants. This is thanks to the inherent properties of curly hair, creating the illusion of a denser and fuller hairline.

How To Get Ready For A Curly Hair Transplant?

First, you need to decide on the new hairline you will have. This is a delicate matter since it will be the defining point of your facial look. Here are all the key points to get ready for a curly hair transplant:

  • DISCUSS YOUR NEW HAIRLINE WITH YOUR DOCTOR
  • STOP SMOKING, ALCOHOL, AND TAKING BLOOD-THINNING MEDICINES AROUND TWO WEEKS BEFORE
  • MAKE SURE TO SCHEDULE YOUR SURGERY AROUND WINTER TO AVOID GETTING FRIZZY HAIR IN SUMMER


Proper planning and choosing the best time for your surgery will help you avoid getting frizzy hair in the humid and hot weather of summer. Getting a hair transplant in winter could be a good idea.

How Is Hair Transplant Done For Curly Hair?

Curly hair transplant is done either with follicular unit extraction (FUE) or direct hair implantation (DHI) method.

  1. Administering local anesthesia.
  2. Planning a precise extraction of round-shaped follicles to avoid transection.
  3. Extracting the healthy hair follicles without damaging them by getting under the scalp skin surface.
  4. A suitable method gets chosen between FUE or DHI.
  5. Collected hair follicles get implanted over your balding areas.


The procedure can take a bit longer than a straight hair transplant due to the challenge of the extraction process.

What Is The Best Method For A Curly Hair Transplant?

DHI is the best method for curly hair transplant. In this method, every hair follicle is collected one by one considering the position of the round-shaped roots of the hair. Then these follicles are loaded into a choi pen to be implanted over your balding areas directly. Only partial shaving is needed for this method.

How Many Grafts Are Needed For A Curly Hair Transplant?

In most surgeries, a good amount of 1500-2000 hair grafts are needed to cover the balding areas. Depending on the extent of your hair loss you might need much more grafts. Compared to straight hair follicles, curly hair follicles provide much more density and a fuller head of hair look.

Difficulties In Curly Hair Extraction And Implantation

While harvesting the grafts doctor should make sure that they are not damaging the curly hair bulbs. This is called the hair transection rate. Follicles should be collected with a gentle grip of the sharp-edged micromotor device at a certain angle to increase graft survival rates.

Here are some more difficulties:

  • Finding the natural direction:
    While straight or wavy hair has an easy-to-find natural direction, it can be harder for curly hairs
  • The shape of the follicles:
    Curved follicles have an oval shape which makes them difficult to extract and implant without damaging
  • High hair transection rate:
    It refers to accidentally excised follicles while harvesting, the hair transection chances are higher with curved follicles
  • Position of hair follicles:
    The curved hair follicles are found in many different positions which requires unique solutions

Hair Follicle Positions Of Curly-Haired Patients

curly hair transplant, curly hair, wavy hair, hair types, hair type

While it is expected to see an angled follicle under the scalp of curly-haired patients it does not have to be the case all the time. The hair follicles can come in various positions for curly hair.

That is why doctors use different heads for the micromotor harvesting device during the transplant process. The adjustable head will come in handy here to avoid damaging the follicles.

Besides, for most of the oval-shaped follicles of curly-haired patients, doctors use an angle of 85 degrees of insertion since the follicles are a bit lateral. However, when the root of the follicle is sparsed it requires a vertical 90-degree insertion of the device.

Aftercare Steps For Curly Hair Transplant Procedure

Once the surgery is done, you will have strict recovery steps to follow:

  1. Your first hair wash will be done in the clinic
  2. You may wash your hair gently as your doctor suggested
  3. A headband to cover your forehead could be helpful
  4. Never scratch the scabs as they will shed by themselves within weeks
  5. Sleeping on your back is recommended with a bit of elevation on the head
  6. Try to use loose hairstyles to avoid making your hair tense
  7. You can wear clips outside of the surgery area to shape your hair
  8. Take a week off from work and school, rest
  9. Avoid strenuous activities for at least 2 weeks
  10. The recovery process should settle down within the first 3-4 months, so be patient

Graft Survival In Curly Hair Transplant

While it is harder to transplant curly hair during surgery, it gives much more sustainable results thanks to the thicker hair shaft diameter of curly-haired people. The thicker the hair, the more likely that it will fit the planted area.

Will Transplanted Curly Hair Retain Its Curl Pattern?

Yes, it will retain the curl pattern since the implanted follicles are collected from another part of your scalp which has curly features again. However, you might lose the curly hair texture due to natural reasons like aging or due to the usage of hair care products.

Now, let’s look at one of our happy patient’s before after hair transplant picture!

(1) What Percentage of People Have Curly Hair? by TheMewsBeautyon May 2, 2023

(2) Mettrie, R. de la., Saint-Léger, D., Loussouarn, G., Garcel, A.-L., Porter, C., & Langaney, A. (2007). Shape Variability and Classification of Human Hair: A Worldwide Approach. Human Biology, 79(3), 265–281. doi:10.1353/hub.2007.0045

(3) Gabros S, Masood S. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559187/

(4) Umar S, Shitabata P, Rose P, et al. A New Universal Follicular Unit Excision Classification System for Hair Transplantation Difficulty and Patient Outcome. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2022;15:1133-1147. Published 2022 Jun 27. doi:10.2147/CCID.S369346

(5) Hair Transplant Forum International November 2021, 31 (6) 205-214; DOI: https://doi.org/10.33589/31.6.205