Hair Replacement for Women
Hair Systems/Sprays/Weaves For Women
On the positive side, these cosmetic solutions can give you almost any look you want, and you can find cosmetic ‘helpers’ whatever your stage of baldness or thinning. Many of them will look good too, particularly when you have freshly set them!
First, what the terms mean: wigs are a cover for bald spots on the head. They are usually composed of a base made with something that resembles the scalp, and hair is attached to it. Hair systems are life-like wigs made with superior materials that are glued or taped to your head. They are supposed to look, feel and behave like natural hair. Spray-on hair is a powder that comes in a can - when you spray it over your own hair it looks like hair. You can comb your hair over a bald spot and use the spray to create a look of fullness. Weaves are artificial hair woven into your natural hair to cover bald spots.
Hair Systems And Wigs
A wig is a base with hair attached to it, meant to cover baldness and known from ancient times. A hair system, on the other hand, is the modern technologically advanced wig. Like wigs, they are basically composed of a base with hair attached, but they are designed to look, feel and behave much like normal hair.
There is a kind of wig and hair system to suit every need – whatever color and texture of hair you want, whether you want it to cover bald spots or complete baldness or camouflage thinning. Most hair systems are attached with glue or tape to the scalp and are designed to stay on for up to a month. You can style them like real hair.
The kind of hair system you need depends on the kind of balding you have. If you have no hair at all, use a full-cap system that covers the entire head. These are often available ready-made and are comparatively cheaper, though you can make one to your specifications if you prefer. If you have a bald spot, you can have a hairpiece made to cover the spot. Both full cap wigs and hairpieces to cover bald spots involve shaving your scalp.
If you have thin hair and prefer not to shave your scalp, you can go for a hair integration systems or hair weaving. Integration hair systems have slits that allow you to pull your natural hair through, so it looks like you have fuller hair. Like hairpieces, they need to be personalized to your own hair and scalp. But both hair weaves and hair integration systems strain your natural hair, and can lead to hair fall due to traction. They will work only with short hair. It is generally less trouble to go for a full cap system or a hairpiece than have a hair integration system.
Buying A System
First, if you decide you want to try out a hair system, where do you go? Your local barber will probably be a good source of information, but you may see advertisements in magazines or on TV, or you can search the internet.
If you can, you should go directly to a manufacturer of hair systems. Retailers will not be able to offer as much variety in the kinds of hair systems, and the prices will be higher too. You can try to contract manufacturers over the internet, and ask if they can make a piece to your order or sell you something ready made. Some manufacturers have fitting kits that they mail to you for you to take your own measurements. Then you send it back to them so they can custom-fit your hairpiece. You can also send in a sample hairpiece that fits you well.
For a long time, ‘hair clubs’ have been in the business of selling, maintaining, and replacing hair systems. Hair clubs ask for a contract to take care of all your ‘hair needs’ (putting on your system, taking it off, cleaning, adjusting, and making spares) for a hefty fee, usually paid in advance. Joining a hair club is not a good idea. You can learn to do everything they do yourself, and save a lot of time, energy, and money by not having to commute to the club and sit in their waiting room and depend on their technicians to look good.
Before you buy anything, ask the seller for before-and-after photos of people using his hair systems. Ask for phone numbers of at least five of them, and talk to these contacts. If the seller is offended, go to someone else.
Kinds of Hair Systems
Hair systems are roughly divided by the kind of base they have: fabric (lace), or polyurethane (skin), or a combination of polyurethane with silicone to make it more durable (remi). Sometimes the different bases are combined in a single hair system to offer a combination of durability and lifelikeness.
Fabric or lace bases make the most comfortable and lifelike hair systems. You can usually leave a hair system with this base on for at least a few days up to a month, depending on the kind of attachment you prefer. You can style your hair normally once you attach the system, and even wear your hair pulled back or gel it. Lace bases are invisible in the front hairline when carefully worn, and they feel completely natural if someone touches your scalp or combs your hair.
These bases are usually woven from nylon or some other fabric material, and the hair is then attached to the mesh in tiny knots so it looks like it is growing out of it. They are stuck to the scalp with tape or glue, and will not come off even in strong wind, or if you go swimming.
The downside is that these bases deteriorate fast, and they are expensive. Some manufacturers combine lace fronts and partings with polyurethane or remi in other parts to make a more durable and cheaper piece. They will replace just the lace part of your hair system once it begins to look old.
Polyurethane (skin) bases look like skin and can be dyed, like fabric bases, to any skin color. They are also very lifelike, and can be stuck to your head with glue or tape so they will not come off easily. They last longer than fabric bases.
But they can be uncomfortable, especially in hot weather. Though they may be advertised as ‘gas permeable’, they will not allow your scalp to breathe. They are slightly less lifelike than fabric bases, but sometimes they are combined with lace fronts and tops so you can have the advantage of a natural front hairline with a more durable top and back.
Conventional bases usually combine silicone with polyurethane, and they are the most durable, and also the least life-like, of all hair system bases. The base will last almost forever if you take care of it, though you may need to replace the hair. Because silicone is inert (which is why it’s used for breast implants), it is very safe for your scalp. But the same quality also makes it difficult dye to your skin color, and to attach it with glue or tape. The risk of your wig coming off accidentally is greater.
Many people combine a conventional base with a polyurethane top, or a fabric or polyurethane frontline or parting with a conventional top and back, for a more natural appearance. These can usually support higher hair densities than either only-fabric or only-polyurethane bases, but they don’t feel as natural. When someone runs a hand through the hair, the bump where the materials change is noticeable.
About the hair: hair systems can have human hair or synthetic hair. Human hair looks better and is more expensive than synthetic hair. Aside from that, you can find hair in any color and any texture, curly/straight, blond/black, coarse/fine. Getting a color close to your own natural color looks best. Older people need to get hair specked with white or silver hair to look most natural.
Taking Care of Your Hair System
This is the most difficult part – to get the most out of your system, you need to be very careful with it. But you can learn how to attach, clean, and maintain your system all by yourself, and this will be better than depending on a hair club for your hair system’s needs.
You should be careful to wash and brush your system gently, and use only shampoos, adhesives, tapes, and other conditioning solutions meant for hair systems. Drying out is a problem with hair systems because they don’t have sebum to moisturize the hair shafts like natural hair. Try to restrict blow-drying only for special times when you want to style your system.
Friction through wearing a helmet, or by sleeping on a pillow with a coarse fabric, can make hair come out of your system. Exposure to the sun can discolor it and make it look frazzled. Protect your hair system with a cap when you go out, use satin pillowcases and a soft kerchief under your helmet.
With very good care, even a fabric-base hair system can last up to a year (most of them look good for at least two or three months). Without care, even the more durable polyurethane bases will begin to age after two months.
Disposable hair systems can make much of this hassle history, if you can afford on of them (approximately $200 a piece). They are sold in sets of twelve, one of every month of the year.
Hair Integration Systems And Weaves
Hair systems and hairpieces always involve shaving the scalp to help the system attach properly, and many women don’t like this. If you want to conserve your thinning hair but still want a thicker look, you should look to hair integration systems and hair weaves.
Hair integration systems are like hair systems, but they have slits for you to pull your natural hair through, and you can attach the system with clips. Hair weaving uses a technique that resembles weaving hair attachments to your braid to make it look thicker.
The main advantage of hair integration and hair weaving is that you don’t need to shave any part of your head. If you have short hair, this solution is easy to attach and maintain. However, the process generally becomes more complicated the longer your hair is – it is harder to pull hair through the slits in the hair system, and you will need to be more careful to prevent tangling of your hair. There is also more stress on the hair roots, and you may lose hair through traction (pulling at the hair follicles).
Spray-on hair is a powder that clings electrostatically to natural hair and looks like hair fibers. Women can use spray-on hair to disguise small bald spots. You comb some hair over the spot, then spray over the hair to make the spot invisible. Spray-on hair (Toppik, for example) is available in many different colors to match your hair.
Spray-on hair looks good, and few people will be able to tell you are using it unless you choose to tell them. On the downside, this solution will work only for women with small- to medium-sized bald spots and enough hair elsewhere to comb over the spots. If you use the spray directly on the scalp, it will look like you have painted your scalp – not good! It is also disrupted by sweat, so you cannot use it if you are planning anything strenuous.
In the end, I should remind you: if you can carry it off, just shaving your head and/or covering it with a scarf can be a good option too. It’s cheapest and the least trouble! Simply shaving it off is often recommended for men, and there is no reason why women cannot try it too. After all, you are going through the trouble of medicines, surgery, or hair systems to feel better about yourself. If they don’t help you feel better and maybe make you feel worse, what’s the point? When Nobel-prize winning scientist Richard Feynman worried about his colleagues’ opinions of his work, his wife Arlene used to ask him, ‘What do you care what other people think?’ and this is what you should ask yourself when you think about what you should do for your hair.