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The Mystery of Matthew McConaughey’s Hair

Maybe he didn’t have to go bald for ‘Gold.’ Maybe it was that way all along?

Don’t even think about coming at me like the McConaissance is over. We’re only a couple years removed from his Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club and an Emmy nomination for True Detective. The internet melted down at the discovery of his “hidden” YouTube channel. He’s got two huge animated films out this year and will be the sinister Man in Black opposite Idris Elba in The Dark Tower.

This Christmas he’s pulling a full-on Christian-Bale-in-American-Hustle act (gut and all) in the Oscar-bait film Gold, “where he’s portraying struggling businessman Kenny Wells, who teams up with a geologist to search for gold in the jungles of Indonesia.” According to the Daily Mail, McConaughey had to shave the top of his dome for his role. Of course, this set the internet on fire again. Suddenly everyone was freaking out about how “natural” the bald look was on him. (Oh, comment sections!) Speculation started flying: Does he always wear a wig? Did he get plugs and then have them taken out for this movie? Can you even un-plug hair plugs?

This isn’t as ludicrous as the Affleck Hair Piece Conspiracy Theory. Looking back, the McConaughair was at one point rather thin, and then by the mid-2000s it was back. That Rust Cohle ridiculousness was likely a wig, though that mustache was impressive. But on the daily? We scoured the corners of the internet to find out.

1.Men’s Hair Forum breaks it down pretty clearly. In 1999 McConaughey was arrested at his home in Texas after police responded to a noise complaint and found a shirtless McConaughey playing bongos and smoking weed — but of course. The charges were eventually dropped, but not before the greatest mugshot in history, where McConaughey was clearly losing it up top. 1999 was not a good year for the McConaughair. But when placed side-by-side with a photo from 2005, it’s clear that McConaughey did… something.

2. But what is it? Men’s Hair Forum suggests it’s some combination of hair plugs (where hair is taken from the back of the head and applied to the front of it), minoxidil (Rogaine), finasteride (Propecia) and Toppik (spray-on fibers). According to the author’s sources, McConaughey either did or did not get a transplant on top of the Rogaine. The author can’t seem to decide on a definitive answer; he also provides a side angle photo from backstage at the 2014 Oscars to show McConaughey’s “too deep temples,” which, according to Complete Image Hair Design, are a tell-tale sign of baldness. Side note: This Oscar photo features Lupita Nyong’o performing the single greatest celeb photo bomb I’ve ever seen.

3. So what does McConaughey have to say about his hair? In an interview with Elle, he claims it’s almost entirely due to his regimen of Regenix. (He talked Regenix with David Letterman once, too.) “Back in 1999, my hair was fallin’ out, so I started this stuff,” he told Elle. “And son of a gun if I didn’t bring my hair back so well that people think I went and got plugs.” According to the Regenix website, it “consists of a series of naturally derived, liquid bio-pharmaceuticals applied topically to the scalp, and can be followed at home. … [Your] treatment program is individually formulated for your needs to address the numerous factors that contribute to hair loss, in order to prevent baldness and enhance your existing hair.”

4. Even though he’s pimped the product on multiple occasions, Regenix claims McConaughey isn’t a paid spokesperson. It’s just that when he likes something, he makes sure everyone knows it. As Elle notes: “Whether it’s love, tapioca, hair tonic, or Matthew McConaughey himself, the boy’s a closer: ‘I believe in what I’m selling. I believe in the product. I believe that I’m proving the product.’” In other words: He’s not a paid spokesperson, but he’s gonna sell you anyway; he can’t help it.

5. Whether they’re in business together or not, Regenix has McConaughey’s back — in addition to the top of his head. “Many experts assume that Matthew McConaughey must have had a hair transplant, but the only thing he has done for his hair is use Regenix.”

6. In the aforementioned Elle interview, McConaughey goes on to talk about his other, even more natural strategy — the moon cycle, because McConaughey: “If you want your hair to be thicker, cut it when the moon is about to be full — a heavy, full, waxing moon. Do not cut it when the moon’s waning. Right now, it’s 14 percent waxing on, it’s a crescent, so you don’t want to cut now. In about 10 days, the moon’s going to be 94 percent full — that’s a great time.”

7. “Dave,” a guy in the comments section of an article on a London hair restoration clinic’s website, isn’t buying the Regenix or the moon theory, however. He cites inside information as proof: “I was an assistant to MM’s agent at CAA in Los Angeles. Strictly speaking he had 3 agents but I became point person for main agent, helping w MM’s sundry affairs, coordinating everything from doctors appts to real estate purchases and vacation travel plans. A Dr Konior in Chicago performed 2 different HT [hair-transplant] procedures on MM over 4 month period. I know because I coordinated w Konior’s office. End of story.”

8. Plugs or no plugs, the ongoing saga of the McConaughair continues unabated. Just look at the trailer for Gold. Fat, bald McConaughey in sagging tighty-whities — is it any wonder that people think that hair is the real deal?

9. After filming Gold, McConaughey then buzzed the whole damn thing. But miraculously, four months later the mane was back on the Oscars red carpet. Must’ve been the moon.

10. As recently as the last few weeks the McConaughair has been looking pretty healthy. McConaughey was omnipresent at the Olympics. Then, in the days leading up to Texas’s thrilling double-overtime win over Notre Dame to start the 2016 college football season, he showed up to Longhorns practice (he’s an alum) and delivered a speech that Coach Taylor would envy. He wore a hat in both Brazil and Austin, but the hair that we can see is good.

11. In terms of family history and genetics, McConaughey’s older brother, Mike “Rooster” McConaughey, a self-made millionaire who hosts a Shark Tank-style show on CNBC called West Texas Investors Club, generally wears hats, too. But I did find one photo of him from April 2016 sans cap. And while it looks like his hair is receding at the temples, THAT’S A FULL HEAD OF HAIR, which bodes well for his younger brother. (BTW: Rooster, whose motto is “Beer goes with business,” has a son named Miller Lyte McConaughey — swear to God.)

12. Photos of their father, James McConaughey, who was drafted by the Packers, show good hair up top, with the same deep temples. Papa McConaughey died of a heart attack in 1992, before McConaughey’s big-screen debut. McConaughey’s motto “Just keep livin” is a tribute to his dad. In true McConaughey fashion, Mama McConaughey claimed in her 2008 book, which doesn’t seem to contain any follicle insight, that Jim’s heart attack happened while they were having sex.

13. In the end, it’s entirely possible that none of this talk of the McConaughair makes any difference at all. There’s a MUCH bigger conspiracy at play here: It’s entirely possible that McConaughey’s a vampire. That’s why he just keeps livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N. Forever.

Jesse Graff heads up MEL’s McConaughey Bureau and serves as our leading The Rock conspiracy theorist.