Real Talk: A Hair Convo between two Men
Celebrity Stylist Thom Priano on Hair Loss; the True and the False
By Daniel Geiger
Six months ago, we heard from Dan Geiger as he embarked on a long-term Rogaine trial to test the effects of the touted hair loss miracle solution. While he started to see some benefits, a product like Rogaine needs time to take hold. After more than six months of religiously using the product, Dan has noticed a significant slow in his hair loss. But like all of us 21st century, image-conscious, fashion-savvy young professionals, Dan wanted to know more about what was happening to his hair, why, what else he could do to stop it and how other people like him cope. So he went to the best source around for advice: Thom Priano, lead stylist and partner at GARREN New York, and new resident stylist/spokesperson for Rogaine. Priano’s editorial work has been featured in Vogue, GQ, Rolling Stone and Elle, just to name a few. He has worked his hair wonders on some of the most indubitably handsome men – Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Edward Norton and David Bowie are among them. In speaking to Thom about the myths and realities of hair loss, Dan learned – among other things – that short hair is best, you can’t fight genes, and yes – men DO care about their hair. A lot.
Thom Priano, celebrity stylist and Rogaine’s new resident stylist/spokesman
Dan: Thom do you use Rogaine?
Thom: I do. I use the foam.
Dan: Does it help your hair?
Thom: I was worried about my hair thinning out. In the first six months I saw a little bit of difference. But now that I’ve been using if for a while I feel like my hair has maintained and it’s given me more than I had before. Now I don’t feel so conscious of the thinness. Do you use Rogaine?
Dan: I do.
Thom: Has it worked for you?
Dan: It hasn’t grown new hair for me. But it’s kept the hair I have.
Thom: That’s a plus.
Dan: It doesn’t work for everyone?
Dan Geiger is a real estate reporter and writer living in New York City
Thom: It works for 85 percent of men. But those margins are pretty good.
Dan: How did you get involved with being a spokesman for Rogaine?
Thom: I’ve had a long career in doing men’s hair. I don’t know if you know me or not?
Dan: I don’t.
Thom: Back in the 80s I had an influence on changing the way men look as far as their hair. I’ve built a big portfolio. I do the hair for Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic.
Dan: Like for modeling shoots?
Thom: Yes. Rogaine approached me and I said why not.
Dan: What was wrong with hair in the 80s?
Thom: Men didn’t really have style back then. I got affiliated with this photographer, Bruce Weber, one of the leading photographers in the world of men and what we did, these athletic bodies you see today and the short hair that goes with it, he was one of the people responsible for bringing that to the public eye. And it was a big changeover back then. Now it’s normal to see that.
Dan: Okay, so how did it feel for you to go bald?
Thom: I’m not bald. It’s thinning out.
Dan: To have thinning then?
Thom: It bothers me that I don’t have the great head of hair I used to have. But my hair still looks good because it’s groomed properly. I don’t find people with less hair any different as long as it’s groomed right. If it’s groomed right, you should feel good about your hair. If your hair is just thinning and I called you a bald man, you’d be offended. So I try to categorize that. Most men, if they have hair, they don’t want to say that they’re going bald. They just want to hear that they’re thinning out. It’s kinder. It’s a gentler way of dealing with hair.
Dan: So how did you get to rep Rogaine?
Thom: I’ve worked with men’s hair for over thirty years. I would be pretty good at being a spokesperson for them. I do men’s hair all the time. I see hundreds of men’s’ hair and I have a good perspective on it.
Dan: Did you use Rogaine before you were a spokesman for the product?
Thom: Yes. I’ve been using Rogaine for two years now.
Dan: How do you broach the subject if you see someone is losing their hair?
Thom: I’m sensitive to the fact…to someone’s feelings on their hair thinning, because everyone is freaked out about it basically. Younger guys too, they can start losing in their early 20s; sometimes at 19 I see it, and at that point I usually bring the topic up to them. If you want to try to maintain the hair you have or grow more maybe, use Rogaine. Give it a try, it’s not that big of an investment. It’s a $50 investment for three months.
Dan: You can get it cheaper on Amazon.
Thom: You can get it cheaper at Costco.
Dan: You can? How much do you pay?
Thom: I never bought it there, somebody told me.
Dan: Now I’m going to join Costco.
Thom: The biggest problem I have is that they’re not disciplined enough to use it twice a day. If you can, get in that mold. Use it in the morning and before bed. If you get into a pattern of doing it, it’s not a big deal. You have to have dedication in using this product.
Dan: When did you decide to use it?
Thom: I saw that I was thinning and the choices were use the Rogaine product or have a hair transplant.
Dan: Did you consider that?
Thom: I did.
Dan: Don’t those look weird?
Thom: No. If done properly a regular layman could never tell the difference. But, you know, it’s really expensive.
Dan: How much?
Thom: I have no idea. Probably $5,000 a shot. The Rogaine is a much cheaper solution.
Dan: Does every guy have a moment where they realize they’re losing their hair? I think I had that moment.
Thom: Well I think if you are losing your hair you’ll have that moment.
Dan: I remember exactly what time and place.
Thom: When I saw it I said, I think my hair is getting thinner. I had a really thick head of hair. What am I going to do from keeping this from going further?
Dan: When will they invent an instant scientific solution where they can just beam hair onto your head?
Thom: Your guess is as good as mine on that one. I haven’t heard about anything in the near future about that.
Dan: The styling mantra goes: if you’re losing your hair just keep it short. Is it as simple as that?
Thom: It is as simple as that. I’ll tell guys if they’re going thin, keep it short and close to the head if you have straight hair. If you have curly hair, let it be a little longer, medium length so it can have a little curl formation.
Dan: When do you tell a client, hey it’s time to hit the eject button and shave it?
Thom: When the Rogaine doesn’t work. If the Rogaine isn’t working I would suggest to go as short as you possibly can.
Dan: Any Rogaine horror stories? Unintentional hair?
Thom: Absolutely not.
Dan: Is that an urban legend?
Thom: I’ve never heard of that really happening. If they use the product on another part of their body I would imagine it might grow hair, but it’s not recommended for that and I would never tell anyone to put it on their body some place.
Dan: Sometimes I sweat in the summer. Could I grow hair on my eyelids or something?
Thom: No, by that time it’s probably diluted. When you put the Rogaine on you massage it in lightly. You’re invigorating your hair follicles. Once it dries it’s over with. If it drips down in sweat you wouldn’t have a problem with it.
Dan: Have you met with the scientists?
Thom: I’ve had pages and pages of materials sent to me. I’ve spoken to their dermatologists.
Dan: I have dark hair. There was a press release I read that said lighter hair doesn’t enunciate the thinning as much.
Thom: How thin you are? Depends how thin, I would always suggest lightening it slightly, there wouldn’t be so much of a difference between the hair and the pinkness of the scalp.
Dan: Are there any other products that work for hair loss?
Thom: I only know that Rogaine is the only product that was FDA approved to re-grow hair.
Dan: Do any celebrities use Rogaine?
Thom: I can’t answer that. I don’t know any celebrities who use it. If they did, they probably wouldn’t tell me.
Dan: What do the celebrities do, do they get the transplants?
Thom: I have worked with celebrities who have had hair transplants, but they don’t advertise those things at all. They don’t like people to know these things.
Dan: I normally write about real estate. There is a very prominent guy in the industry, a developer, and if you get close to him, you can clearly see he has hair plugs.
Thom: Depends on when he got them. I’ve been with actors who’ve had them and I’ve said this is one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen.
Dan: How come guys care about hair?
Thom: Everyone cares about hair. It’s a vanity thing. That’s what we see when we first look at someone.
Dan: You know those guys who are losing their hair but they’ll have it long, like really long. They’re probably into the Grateful Dead. It’s super thin, but they keep it super long.
Thom: They’re hanging onto their youth. I think it’s a bad choice but that’s just my opinion. It’s not a good look.
Dan: Do guys go into denial about hair loss? I went into denial.
Thom: You did?
Dan: I said, who cares. But then I started realizing: I think I do care.
Thom: Well you know, I try to express to men, eventually you’ll see it thinning and when that happens you should try to maintain what you have or even re-grow the hair. And get these guys into the gym. I always say you look a lot better fit with thinning hair than unfit with thinning hair.
Dan: Yeah. That’s a double whammy.
Thom: You’re going to look like the way you don’t want to look. If you have thinning hair and you’re fit you’ll look great.
Dan: Is massaging the scalp an old wives tale for re-growing hair?
Thom: Nope. It invigorates your scalp with blood in that area.
Dan: That’s for real?
Thom: Yes. But lightly massage. A light massage.
Dan: I cut my hair short. But I go to a barber not a stylist. Just tell them number one on the side?
Thom: Yeah that’s good. You probably have a groomed look.
Dan: I do. There is another old wives’ tale. That you get baldness from the mother’s side. But my mom’s dad, my grandfather, had hair. My dad is bald. Why wasn’t I guarded from his faulty genes?
Thom: If the gene is in your family, it’s a roulette wheel. It doesn’t matter mother or father.
Dan: Is Rogaine going to come out with something even better than foam?
Thom: They’ve only told me about the foam.
Dan: When you talk to them, are there secret scientists with lab coats on?
Thom: No. They’re really nice people actually. They’re owned by Johnson and Johnson. They have smart people working there.
Keywords: Thom Priano, Dan Geiger, Rogaine, hair loss, men’s hair issues, Johnson and Johnson, hair thinning, hair remedies.