Hair Pieces Demystified – Q & A with Cara

by Cara on September 28, 2009

Many of you have expressed interest in hairpiece options and many have posed the same questions so bear with me as I attempt to provide some answers.

How Do I Know If a Topper or Full Wig Is Right For Me? What Are The Estimated Costs For Hair Replacement?

A topper will work if your remaining hair is in good condition on the sides and in the back. If you have diffuse thinning you should consider a full piece.  The costs of toppers will range anywhere from $450 to $1,500 and a full piece can fit into that range as well. The average cost of tapes or glue will be about fifteen dollars a month . There are so many materials these pieces can be made of. The advantage of a lace piece is that once it is pressed into tape or glue it will disappear into the skin providing a natural look that is ideal for those who do not want to wear bangs at all.

Can I Shower or Swim In a Bonded Hair Piece?

Yes, you can shower and swim in a bonded hairpiece. Most medical grade tapes and glues hold up just fine. If you know you will be swimming certain adhesives will hold up better than others and I’m happy to fill you in on all that if you are planning on doing so. As for showering…not a problem. It is a different feeling/experience when you first start showering in a hairpiece but you get used to it. Once you are out of the shower, it is very difficult to tell your hair isn’t real.  You style it just as you would your own. If you have hair underneath it may take a little extra time to dry it but that’s really as complicated as it gets.

Daily bonding with tape should take very little time  (5 minutes). For longer periods of bonding you will take more time of course, but the longest it should take is 45 minutes. It does take practice though.

What About The Bedroom?

As for the “mattress mambo” (sorry, but many of you asked)…yes it’s all good. Even on the wildest nights you should be fine:) if your hair is bonded. Again, it may take a bit to adjust to the feel of the hair, but trust me, you will feel one thousand times sexier with hair than how you do with thinning hair in my opinion. For those of you who rock the bald look, now that can be just as sexy though! Okay…enough of this subject, hope I didn’t offend anyone:)

Wearing a bonded piece to bed is a small adjustment as well, you will be aware that it’s there but you’ll get used to it quickly.

Waking up in the morning to a full head of hair is a great way to start your day!

Sleeping with it in a low ponytail is sometimes preferred. Sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase will help reduce damage while sleeping also.

How Do I Bond My Hairpiece? How Do I Know If I Should Use Glue, Tape or Clips?

I prefer tape myself over glue because it is easier to clean up and apply. There are so many options out there that it’s best to consider your skin type and how often you plan on applying and wearing your hairpiece. If you choose a top piece then you will have to put bond or tape onto your own hair. The tape or glue will go around the perimeter of your piece and then lay down and integrate into your own hair. Believe it or not as long as you are gentle, it will not harm your hair much to apply and remove. For me, the clips did damage to my weak hair, but that’s just my own personal experience.

If you choose a full unit then you will not have to place tape or glue into your hair since as you can just outline the front of your hairline and the perimeter of the rest of your hair with tape.  You are still able to wear your hair up in a ponytail or updo in a topper or full wig.

Do I have to Shave My Head?

You do not have to shave if you choose not to, but you will most likely have to learn to do your own bonding as most places will have you shave a bit to bond. IT IS  POSSIBLE TO LEARN TO BOND YOUR OWN HAIRPIECE, especially if you are okay with reapplying once a week or every two weeks! If you are at all a perfectionist like me then I strongly encourage you to figure out how to do it yourself! Most likely, no one knows your preferences for your hair than you. It will take dedication, patience and time but it can be done! Reprieve hair systems on the other hand would be nearly impossible to do yourself.

Will People Know I’m Wearing Hair?

Likely not. Done properly, you should not be able to tell. Most people will assume you got hair extensions or a new stylist if you choose a style close to your own.

What Other Advice Do You Have?

Wearing hair can be so liberating, you just have to do your homework and accept that you will have to work through some adjustments! There are so many choices so it’s best to seek out the help of a professional. Many women make the mistake thinking they will just order something from overseas or even in the US and they wind up with a hairpiece that is useless.  There are SO many variables in ordering custom hair, from density, to silk top placement, to color variations, all based on the vendor…it really is an art.

The most important part of finding the hair that is right for you is finding a specialist you can really communicate with. My first hairpiece experience was with a local woman whose English was so poor I nearly gave up altogether. She was nice, but I never felt confident that she TRULY heard or understood what I was asking for. She made me feel as if I should just be thankful to be paying her $800+ dollars for her standard hairpiece and leave her store overjoyed. It was frustrating and expensive. I knew there has to be a better, customized way, and now I know there certainly is. No two heads are alike and no two women are for that matter either

I hope this has answered a few questions, and kudos to all of you who are bravely venturing into the world of supplemental hair. It’s totally worth it!

~KatKat

Visit Cara (aka KatKat) on The Network: http://community.womenshairlossproject.com/katkat/

Cara’s Website: http://www.pieceofmindhairdesign.com/

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

kc September 29, 2009 at 4:53 am

I am unfamiliar with the terminology of bonded hairpiece. The a rticle has me mystified . Can you explain the basic terminology for thise of us who have never heard the terms before. We understand wigs and hairpieces..but this bonding thing and tape..is new to me. Thanks.

katkat September 29, 2009 at 6:43 am

KC–

If you choose to bond a hairpiece you will have to do so with either tape or glue adhesive. The tape is a double sided tape which is very sticky and durable which will hold a lightweight piece in place. The advantage of tape is that is far less messy and much easier to use. It is my advised method for ANY new hair wearer until you get the hang of it all.
The glue adhesive is silicone or acrylic in base and you kind of “paint” it on in a very thin layer and then the hairpiece is pressed into it to ahdere. Depending on the type of glue, the bond can last up to a month. I will look for a more in depth article and post it later. Check back:)

D-star September 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Hello, I’m new to all of this and very scared. Can someone help figure out how to even start the research for toppers? For example, is it better to go to a salon that specializes in this (does that even exist) or is it possible to go straight online to look for a topper?

katkat September 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Hi D-Star,

A great starting point for toppers is to ask women who are presently happy with theirs about theirs. KAWAWA, myself, LDK, Hdawn and many others have worn them and are happy to help and answer questions. You can look in your local phone book under hair replacement and go on consults in your area but ASK FOR FEMALE REFERENCES and check them. Go with your gut–if you go to a salon or center and feel comfortable that is a great sign. Don’t rush into anything and be wary of signing any long term contract. You can certainly order online but again, make sure whomever you work with really takes the time to explain your options and finds what is best for you.

missybuzz80 September 30, 2009 at 4:50 am

You said: “A topper will work if your remaining hair is in good condition on the sides and in the back. If you have diffuse thinning you should consider a full piece”. My hair itself is in good condition. It is soft and appears fairly healthy although I do have difuse thinning. It is way more noticable in the front, hairline and crown area but I have lost all over. My whole head of hair is thinner than it was. Should I go with a topper??

katkat September 30, 2009 at 6:32 am

Missybuzz–

A topper is a great place to start. A good hair replacement specialist should be able to walk you through all stages of hair loss and options. If your hair is good but thinning you can definitely wear a topper for as long as you can and then go to a full wig thereafter if necessary. If the topper has enough hair on it then it will lay over your existing hair and kind of “veil” the diffuse thinning. It’s nice to be able to still “use” as much of your existing hair as possible. I’d be happy to take a look at your pics and offer my suggestions based on your existing hair looks.

Carla September 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I was just having this conversation with a Salon this morning! I’m considering a topper that clips into place since my thinning is just in the front, but I’m really concerned about the piece shifting during the day or during windy days. The salon I spoke with assured me that I would not have to worry about that, but it doesn’t seem possible that a clip-on topper can really be secure. The stylist showed me a piece that had a comb in the front and 4 tiny snap clips along the edges to keep it in place. What is your opinion on a clip-on topper that I can remove at night? The Salon told me that I could consider a bonded topper but that I would definitely have to shave my head – I’m not ready for that yet. I would appreciate any thoughts you have about living with a topper – concerns about wind, rain, excercise. Thanks!

katkat September 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Carla–
I’m happy to talk live with you any time if you’d like to chat–my number is on my website. There are many advantages to bonding but clipping in can be a great way to start. Yes, they can be secure but it also depends how much hair you have currently to act as the “anchor” for the piece. I did worry with wind when I had mine but much of that was because I was unfamiliar with wearing hair and I always worried about it coming off (which wasn’t likely but I was still worried)
I would really have to get a better idea of your everyday life/your current hair and activity level to really offer an opinion. Feel free to call anytime –I’m happy to help however I can in trying to decide what’s best for you.

Carla September 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Cara – Thanks for your quick reply! I look forward to visiting with you.

Sunshine October 2, 2009 at 5:16 am

Thank you so much for this information. I am 25 and have suffered with hair loss in the front and sides for 4 years. I thought my only options were Rogaine or a hair transplant. Is there anywhere that I can see pictures of women with toppers? I think that would be the best option for me. Also, could I continue using Rogaine?

LDK October 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Sunshine – I would join the network – there are lots of women there who wear toppers, myself included. Good luck!

katkat October 3, 2009 at 7:57 am

Sunshine–There are lots of pics of women on this site wearing toppers. Look up LDK, KAWAWA, HDawn for a start. And yes…you can still use Rogaine if you are clipping in a topper.

Bethany October 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

All this info about toppers is wonderful but scary. I am being treated for my hair loss with meds and rogaine but this whole subject makes me see that it is not going to work ! Did all of you try all the suggested treatments.

I feel now like all the Drs. are telling me it will work just to get appease me.

Have already quit my job and stay inside all the time . Have two boys who will soon notice I come up with excuses not to go to ballgames and school functions.

Why do they keep giving spiro , yasmin and rogaine to me if it obviously never works?

shaun October 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Hi,

I just want to know does hairpieces and adhesives cause any side effects to the scalp area where they are attached ?
Would they cause permanant baldness to that scalp area, in case someone wants to stop using them later on ?

Joann October 27, 2009 at 9:31 am

I have a very small head and most times the petite wigs are too big. How and where are they made? Average cost?

Barbie November 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Thanks so much for this explanations. I just decided that I need to get me a topper or a wig and just enjoy my life. Its been miserable for like 2 years and I have to stop this suffering now and enjoy the moments I have with my family. I might contact you for more info later since I am going to bed soon. Thanks. All of you guys have made me realized I need to do this. Thanks again.\
Barbie

Ash. March 10, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I’ve been entertaining the idea about using a topper for some while now.
But, even after reading this and doing research I still don’t get it!
I’ve been losing hair since I was 11-12 and I’m pretty sure I just have female pattern baldness. My hair is just thin all over, do you think I would be a good candidate for a topper?
I’m just at a loss of where to post, and who to ask about this.
Ahhhh!

Jenny August 4, 2010 at 12:33 am

Hi, I really hope you reply to me. I have thin, fine hair with just a tiny bit of thinning at the crown (you can see my scalp a little bit). I wear clip in hair extensions for length but because my own hair doesn’t grow much, one can always see that I’m wearing extensions as my own hair is a lot shorter than the wefts. I was thinking of getting a clip in topper to wear with the extensions so that I can hide the wefts and blend them better. Does on just wear the topper on top of your own hair?
I also want to know what density to get so that it doesn’t look wiggy — is 80% too sparse and will my own hair thus show through?
Finally, I want to know if I can clip the topper in behind my bangs so that I have my own natural hairline?
Regards

Charchar August 17, 2010 at 11:34 am

Katkat!
I have been using a topper for about 9 months. I love it and it blends in great! The only thing is that where the clips are is really irritating my scalp. Sometimes I get flakes embedded in my hair that I literally have to to pull off since dont’ come out easy as when I flick them off. (gross, sorry). I do not normally have dandruff so I know for sure this is caused from the clips. I try and use coconut oil and massage it into my scalp at night to ‘nourish & moisturize’ my scalp but it doens’t help. Any suggestions?

Jenny October 21, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Hi, I am wearing a 12 in topper and one tripple weft of hair that I clip in. My own hair is thin and sparse and only to the nape of my neck.
I don’t want to go for a full wig but I love wearing the topper. I want to try a topper in really long hair (like to my waist or hip), but I dont’ know if I can just wear a topper, or if I have to have hair underneat the topper in the same length, like another weft?
Also, if I only wear the topper, would it help to order it bigger (ie not just the top of my head, but coming down the sides to just above the hairline at my ears and from just behind my bangs — I wear my own bangs — to the part of my head where the scull curves (occipital bone) in order for it to be natural and to have enough hair for that length?
Please advise?

tara November 18, 2010 at 7:37 am

Do you have suggestions for where to go in NY? Is a bonded hairpiece a fall? Does the glue ruin your skin? If you are not ready to do a fall but have thinning on the sides and crown are there hairstyles you suggest?
Thank you,
Tara

kari barron December 10, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hi:) I haven’t been to the site in almost a year. My hair is still thinning on the top, and crown area and a little in front. It has been a nightmare trying to find a good doctor and information!!!!!

I need to know if there is any info here regarding where to buy the least expensive seamless hair, if there are any videos on how to apply seamless hair to thinning hair…(all the videos online show how to apply on women with no hair loss…). I am applying hair myself and glueing it to my scalp because I cannot find seamless hair here in Evansville, Indiana. I went to a stylist here that advertised as one working with thinning hair, but did not like how she put the seamless pieces in and it cost a ton of money. I want to to do this myself but with video help if I can find it, and a reference for seamless hair at a decent price. Can you help me??

Thank you so much:)

kari b. (karekat)

Kiki August 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

I’m exploring all of the hair piece options including bonded toppers. Do I have to shave my head to bond? I’m most concerned about how this would work with my gym routine. How do bonded toppers work out if you are doing tough work outs daily?

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