Background
This analysis is based on an older version of our inference model which is accurate but more difficult to read

Question

What is the story behind Donald Trump's hair?

Hypotheses
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Calculated Conclusions
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Conclusions
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1

60%
Flap surgery:

Donald Trump's hair is a result of

flap surgery
.

60%

2

31%
Transplant:

Donald Trump has hair plug transplants.

31%

3

6%
Toupee:

Donald Trump wears a toupee.

6%

4

3%
Full head:

Donald Trump has a full head of hair (but chooses a hairstyle that looks like a comb over).

3%

5

0.1%
Comb over:

Donald Trump uses a comb over to hide a bald patch that is only on the crown of his head.

0.1%

6

0.03%
Weave:
Donald Trump's hair is a weave (supplied by
Ivari International
).
0.03%

Summary

Donald Trump's hair is a mystery; it has been compared to cotton candy (by Jeb Bush and Stephen Colbert), soft serve ice cream at Dairy Queen (by Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live), a rare caterpillar, and other objects. While The Donald claims that he has a full head of natural hair, others doubt his story, suggesting that he has an involved comb over covering his baldness, that he wears a toupee, or that he has undergone surgery to reconstruct his hairline.

A toupee is the most common explanation for hair abnormalities among 70 year old men, and there is even an anonymous source claiming that Trump has a weave, but the evidence does not support this hypothesis. Trump’s unusual pattern of front-to-back hair over a layer of side-to-side hair is likely to be covering up a lack of hair underneath, which wouldn’t be necessary with a toupee or weave.

Trump consistently likes to show his front hairline, which seems to be atypically healthy for his age and genetics (photos show his father and brother balding) and forms a relatively straight line. This strongly supports hypotheses that involve surgical intervention, such as hair plug transplants or flap surgery. The analysis considers whether Trump had either flap surgery or hair plugs, but it's possible to have both, and even to have scalp reduction surgery in conjunction with one or both. Of the two, transplants are more common in general, but statements made by his family support the "flap surgery" hypothesis.

When considering all of the evidence together, the Rootclaim analysis concludes it is most likely that Trump’s unique hairstyle is the result of flap surgery (or possibly hair plug transplant surgery) combined with a complex comb over.

Key Evidence
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Contribution
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1

Trump's family members said that he had

scalp reduction surgery
.

Sources: Harry Hurt III, former Texas Monthly and Newsweek reporter, Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury in the Trump White House
Flap surgery

63%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

9%

Full head

1.6%

Comb over

1.6%

Weave

9%

Flap surgery

63%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

9%

Full head

1.6%

Comb over

1.6%

Weave

9%

2

Trump's hair appears to have a layer of hair going front-to-back over a layer going side-to-side.

Double layered hair
Double layered hair
www.playbuzz.com
Flap surgery

33%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

0.06%

Full head

0.6%

Comb over

36%

Weave

0.06%

Flap surgery

33%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

0.06%

Full head

0.6%

Comb over

36%

Weave

0.06%

3

Trump has a relatively straight hairline (there is no

widow's peak
or apex at the front of his hair).

Sources: Dr. Paul McAndrews
Trump's even hairline
Trump's even hairline
www.menshealth.com
Flap surgery

35%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

30%

Full head

2.5%

Comb over

1%

Weave

1%

Flap surgery

35%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

30%

Full head

2.5%

Comb over

1%

Weave

1%

4
There has not been any obvious improvement in Trump's hair quantity or quality over the last 30 years (published pictures of Trump start at around age 37).
Sources: BuzzFeed
Trump wearing the same hairstyle in 1983
Trump wearing the same hairstyle in 1983
www.buzzfeed.com
Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

9%

Toupee

9%

Full head

46%

Comb over

18%

Weave

9%

Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

9%

Toupee

9%

Full head

46%

Comb over

18%

Weave

9%

5
Although Trump usually combs his hair back, in some posed pictures it looks like his hair is combed forwards.
Trump's hair looks like it is combed forwards
Trump's hair looks like it is combed forwards
www.kansascity.com
Flap surgery

24%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

1.7%

Full head

9%

Comb over

26%

Weave

17%

Flap surgery

24%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

1.7%

Full head

9%

Comb over

26%

Weave

17%

Combined contribution of 17 remaining elements.
Flap surgery

1.7%

Transplant

1.1%

Toupee

0.008%

Full head

0.7%

Comb over

4.5%

Weave

92%

Analysis

Evidence
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Starting Point (1 item)

Interacting with Trump's hair (4 items)

When proving that his hair is real, Trump consistently pulls up the front to display his roots.

Sources: CNN, CBS News, Ryan Seacrest Presents, The View
Trump shows his roots at a rally
Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

16%

Full head

16%

Comb over

19%

Weave

16%

Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

16%

Full head

16%

Comb over

19%

Weave

16%

A picture showed that Trump's hair got mussed up in strong winds but did not fly off, and did not show an obvious bald spot.
Sources: PA
Trump's hair in the wind
Trump's hair in the wind
www.telegraph.co.uk
Flap surgery

15%

Transplant

13%

Toupee

18%

Full head

19%

Comb over

16%

Weave

19%

Flap surgery

15%

Transplant

13%

Toupee

18%

Full head

19%

Comb over

16%

Weave

19%

Trump's ice bucket challenge showed his hair getting wet; no bald spot was apparent.
Sources: YouTube
Trump's ice bucket challenge video
Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

8%

Toupee

25%

Full head

25%

Comb over

9%

Weave

25%

Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

8%

Toupee

25%

Full head

25%

Comb over

9%

Weave

25%

Trump let Jimmy Fallon muss up his hair.
Trump lets Jimmy Fallon muss up his hair
Flap surgery

13%

Transplant

12%

Toupee

19%

Full head

23%

Comb over

14%

Weave

19%

Flap surgery

13%

Transplant

12%

Toupee

19%

Full head

23%

Comb over

14%

Weave

19%

Describing Trump's hair (8 items)

Trump's hair appears to have a layer of hair going front-to-back over a layer going side-to-side.

Double layered hair
Double layered hair
www.playbuzz.com
Flap surgery

33%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

0.06%

Full head

0.6%

Comb over

36%

Weave

0.06%

Flap surgery

33%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

0.06%

Full head

0.6%

Comb over

36%

Weave

0.06%

There has not been any obvious improvement in Trump's hair quantity or quality over the last 30 years (published pictures of Trump start at around age 37).
Sources: BuzzFeed
Trump wearing the same hairstyle in 1983
Trump wearing the same hairstyle in 1983
www.buzzfeed.com
Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

9%

Toupee

9%

Full head

46%

Comb over

18%

Weave

9%

Flap surgery

9%

Transplant

9%

Toupee

9%

Full head

46%

Comb over

18%

Weave

9%

Trump's hair color has changed multiple times (from dark brown to light brown to red and to bleached blond, with some gray occasionally showing).

Sources: BuzzFeed
Trump's changing hair color
Trump's changing hair color
popdust.com
Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

13%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

15%

Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

13%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

15%

Trump has a relatively straight hairline (there is no

widow's peak
or apex at the front of his hair).

Sources: Dr. Paul McAndrews
Trump's even hairline
Trump's even hairline
www.menshealth.com
Flap surgery

35%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

30%

Full head

2.5%

Comb over

1%

Weave

1%

Flap surgery

35%

Transplant

30%

Toupee

30%

Full head

2.5%

Comb over

1%

Weave

1%

Although Trump usually combs his hair back, in some posed pictures it looks like his hair is combed forwards.
Trump's hair looks like it is combed forwards
Trump's hair looks like it is combed forwards
www.kansascity.com
Flap surgery

24%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

1.7%

Full head

9%

Comb over

26%

Weave

17%

Flap surgery

24%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

1.7%

Full head

9%

Comb over

26%

Weave

17%

Trump's hair is often described in unflattering terms.

Sources: Donald Trump, Penn Jillette, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal
Flap surgery

19%

Transplant

19%

Toupee

4.8%

Full head

10%

Comb over

19%

Weave

29%

Flap surgery

19%

Transplant

19%

Toupee

4.8%

Full head

10%

Comb over

19%

Weave

29%

Trump's scalp can be seen through his hair.

Sources: Gawker
A pink scalp shows through Trump's hair
A pink scalp shows through Trump's hair
cryptome.org
Flap surgery

22%

Transplant

20%

Toupee

7%

Full head

24%

Comb over

24%

Weave

4%

Flap surgery

22%

Transplant

20%

Toupee

7%

Full head

24%

Comb over

24%

Weave

4%

Trump's hair and scalp don't show any scars.

Flap surgery

14%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

18%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

18%

Flap surgery

14%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

18%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

18%

Trump talks about his own hair (3 items)

Trump implied that his hair would get messed up if not handled gently (when other people were touching it).

Sources: Associated Press, CNN, 20/20
Trump asks a supporter not to mess his hair up too much
Flap surgery

17%

Transplant

17%

Toupee

18%

Full head

14%

Comb over

17%

Weave

16%

Flap surgery

17%

Transplant

17%

Toupee

18%

Full head

14%

Comb over

17%

Weave

16%

Trump states definitively that he does not wear a toupee, consistently says it's his natural hair, and denies combing it over, albeit not vehemently. 

Flap surgery

22%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

6%

Full head

13%

Comb over

29%

Weave

8%

Flap surgery

22%

Transplant

22%

Toupee

6%

Full head

13%

Comb over

29%

Weave

8%

Trump said that if elected President he would probably just comb his hair back, because he would not have time to style his hair.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter
Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

12%

Full head

24%

Comb over

18%

Weave

12%

Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

12%

Full head

24%

Comb over

18%

Weave

12%

Ivari International (3 items)

Ivari International
had an office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower (on a private floor now reserved for the offices of Trump's children).

Sources: Ivari International
Flap surgery

7%

Transplant

7%

Toupee

7%

Full head

7%

Comb over

7%

Weave

67%

Flap surgery

7%

Transplant

7%

Toupee

7%

Full head

7%

Comb over

7%

Weave

67%

An anonymous source said he was told that Trump used

Ivari International
’s non-surgical hair treatment.

Sources: Gawker
Flap surgery

2.2%

Transplant

2.2%

Toupee

2.2%

Full head

2.2%

Comb over

2.2%

Weave

89%

Flap surgery

2.2%

Transplant

2.2%

Toupee

2.2%

Full head

2.2%

Comb over

2.2%

Weave

89%

Ivari International
stated that Trump has never been a client of Ivari and that Ivari has not treated his hair in any way.

Sources: Gawker
Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

18%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

10%

Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

18%

Full head

18%

Comb over

18%

Weave

10%

Other evidence (3 items)

Scenario A:

Donald Trump is genetically inclined towards baldness.

Scenario B:

Donald Trump is not genetically inclined towards baldness.

Donald Trump and his father Fred
Donald Trump and his father Fred
www.artsjournal.com
Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

18%

Full head

8%

Comb over

18%

Weave

18%

Flap surgery

18%

Transplant

18%

Toupee

18%

Full head

8%

Comb over

18%

Weave

18%

Trump's family members said that he had

scalp reduction surgery
.

Sources: Harry Hurt III, former Texas Monthly and Newsweek reporter, Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury in the Trump White House
Flap surgery

63%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

9%

Full head

1.6%

Comb over

1.6%

Weave

9%

Flap surgery

63%

Transplant

16%

Toupee

9%

Full head

1.6%

Comb over

1.6%

Weave

9%

There was a slight skin discoloration just behind Trump's hairline.
Trump scalp discoloration
Trump scalp discoloration
www.gospelherald.com
Flap surgery

17%

Transplant

17%

Toupee

17%

Full head

17%

Comb over

17%

Weave

17%

Flap surgery

17%

Transplant

17%

Toupee

17%

Full head

17%

Comb over

17%

Weave

17%

Storyline Assumptions
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Assumptions that derive from the evidence above are presented and evaluated here for each hypothesis.
Storyline assumptions:
Likelihood given hypothesis
(including preceding assumptions)

Discussion
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To view the discussion pages of the subanalyses, click below:
userIcon
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Diana

Jul 14, 2021 at 12:43 PM

Very interesting

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Snoopy6029

Apr 8, 2021 at 11:13 AM

very interesting

user avatar

Olivia Corbin

Apr 4, 2019 at 12:01 AM

He likes his hairstyle because it is different.

user avatar

Wultaire

Dec 9, 2016 at 1:04 PM

An anonymous source said he was told that Trump used Ivari International’s non-surgical hair treatment.

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Rootclaim

Dec 12, 2016 at 10:50 AM

Source reliability is the probability that if the evidence is false then there would not be a report by the source stating it as true. In other words, it’s 1 less the probability that if the evidence is false then the source would report it as true. Therefore, a source reliability of 90% implies that only in 1 out of 10 cases of false evidence, on average, the source would report it as true. In the other 9 cases it would not make such a report. Note that this probability is assessed in the context of the specific evidence claim, as a source may have more motivation to misreport about certain issues rather than about others.
The source reliability assessment is based on assessment of two factors:
1) The net benefit for the source from misreporting – benefit (financially, politically, emotionally, morally, socially, etc.) less any direct costs.
2) The expected cost for the source from misreporting – penalty it would incur multiplied by the probability of being exposed.
The current assessment suggests “Moderate net benefit” and “Moderated expected cost”. In this case, it means that Gawker could expect a moderate net benefit from doctoring the pictures to make it look like Trump's scalp showed, and that their concern over being caught and facing consequences (perhaps in the form of a Trump lawsuit) was similarly moderate. Do you disagree with these assessments? If so, what do you think should be there instead and why? Please substantiate your reasoning.

user icon

Anonymous

Dec 9, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Trump's scalp can be seen through his hair.

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Rootclaim

Dec 12, 2016 at 10:50 AM

Source reliability is the probability that if the evidence is false then there would not be a report by the source stating it as true. In other words, it’s 1 less the probability that if the evidence is false then the source would report it as true. Therefore, a source reliability of 90% implies that only in 1 out of 10 cases of false evidence, on average, the source would report it as true. In the other 9 cases it would not make such a report. Note that this probability is assessed in the context of the specific evidence claim, as a source may have more motivation to misreport about certain issues rather than about others.
The source reliability assessment is based on assessment of two factors:
1) The net benefit for the source from misreporting – benefit (financially, politically, emotionally, morally, socially, etc.) less any direct costs.
2) The expected cost for the source from misreporting – penalty it would incur multiplied by the probability of being exposed.
The current assessment suggests “Moderate net benefit” and “Moderated expected cost”. In this case, it means that Gawker could expect a moderate net benefit from doctoring the pictures to make it look like Trump's scalp showed, and that their concern over being caught and facing consequences (perhaps in the form of a Trump lawsuit) was similarly moderate. Do you disagree with these assessments? If so, what do you think should be there instead and why? Please substantiate your reasoning.