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Yaks, Beards and Blockbusters: Hair And The Hobbit

james nesbitt bofur the hobbit hairThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with its cast of whiskery wizards, hairy halflings and bearded dwarves, required up to 100 people on busy days and 37 permanent staff, just on hair and makeup. These professionals needed to not just strive to make sure that the characters looked the part, but also to ensure that the the actors’ skin and hair beneath the wigs and prostheses was kept healthy, and that no undue hair loss occurred.

Peter King: The Lord Of The Wigs

Peter King, hair and makeup designer for both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, had quite a difficult task on his hands. In addition to designing, hiring or supervising the creation of the hundreds of wigs, the issue of scale also created specific challenges that needed to be overcome. “We couldn’t have a dwarf with silky hair because everything else would look out of proportion. So their hair had to be quite bulky,” he explained.

In order to achieve the right effect, King and his team had to use yak hair (which is thicker than human hair). The 60 to 80 kilograms of yak hair they used cleared out all of England’s supplies for a whole year!

The Perils Of Latex

In addition to the difficulty of sourcing yak hair at short notice, Peter King and his team would no doubt also have faced the challenging task of ensuring that the wigs and prostheses worn by the cast of The Hobbit didn’t cause them any health problems. Heavy wigs can cause a condition known as Traction Alopecia, by pulling on the hair follicles and distressing them so that existing hair is shed and not replaced. The Belgravia Centre offers various high strength minoxidil formulations which can be particularly effective for this condition.

A small proportion of people (about 2% of the general population) have an allergy to the latex used in prosthetics – including John Rhys-Davies, the actor who played the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings. In addition to a host of other symptoms, an allergic response to latex can cause Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. Given that members of The Hobbit’s cast (such as James Nesbitt, who played Bofur) are already receiving treatment for hair loss, no doubt Peter King would have had to work hard to ensure that the prosthesis he designed were as well-fitted and hypoallergenic as possible.

Less Epic Causes Of Hair Loss

Although it’s unlikely that you are wearing latex prosthesis or yak-hair wigs on a regular basis like the cast of The Hobbit, more day-to-day accessories like hair extensions or even some shampoos can also cause problems like a receding hairline or thinning hair. If you are worried that you might be having an allergic reaction to your hair care regimen, why not book an appointment with The Belgravia Centre? One of our hair loss experts will be able to identify the precise cause of the irritation, and advise you about how to eliminate the cause and promote regrowth. We can even tailor our clinical treatment therapy to your specific needs, including your allergies and sensitivities, and provide shampoos and conditioners that can sooth your scalp.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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