The only time we think about hair replacement systems is when we start losing our hair. Fact is hair is like food, water, and even the air we breath because it’s just something we rarely think about until it begins to go away. Then PANIC sets in and we have to fix the problem RIGHT NOW! so people start looking for hair replacement systems. But what will work and what has the proper hair loss research?
Finding Hair Replacement Systems
Sure, there are all kinds of choices advertised on the internet and each sounds great. At first blush. Once we get sucked in and spend our money, our time, our hair, we may find out that the reality is not always consistent with the promise. So how to avoid the pitfalls and make the right choices? In this series we’ll explore some of the various things that are offered in this category, and in particular we’ll focus on the caveats. When we can understand the downside of each treatment choice we can make a more informed decision so at the end of the day, we are more likely to be satisfied with the decision(s) we’ve made.
Whomever coined the phrase “hair replacement system” should either be promoted or thrown in jail. He should be promoted because the words ‘hair replacement system‘ conjure up an image of something of the 21st Century and something that seamlessly integrates into our scalp. He should be thrown in jail because hair replacement systems (aka wigs) are anything but. For those of us who have owned a pet dog, picture acquiring a dog that seemed adorable and friendly when you met him, but as soon as you took him home he changed into the surliest monster you could imagine, a beast that barked constantly, bit whomever came close, and soiled every floor surface in the house. You’d be disappointed to say the least. Any normal human being would. This is what it is like to own a hair replacement system.
Options For Hair Replacement Systems
You begin by visiting the sales office where a very charming man or woman goes through a sales spiel extolling the virtues of hair systems. You’re told that the thing will change your life. You’re told that the hair will look and feel perfectly natural. That it will blow in the wind. That anyone running their hands through your “hair” won’t be able to detect anything untoward. If you’re shown an example, you may express some minor trepidation because sitting there on the table the thing does look pretty much like….a wig.
But your salesperson doesn’t allow you to dwell on the uncomfortable images this denotes. No, you’re assured, it isn’t a wig. It is a state of the art, virtually undetectable, low maintenance, high wear, hair replacement system. The “unit” will be “bonded” to your scalp in a process that sounds quasi-medical and certainly high tech. The hair system will adhere to your skull quite naturally — and it will allow your scalp to breathe, so you’re told. So now you feel better. For the time being.
You are also informed, in an offhand sort of way, that ‘some minor maintenance’ is required. Before you know it you’re SOLD, and several thousand dollars later, you are fitted for your wonderful new hair replacement system. The process, as best as you can discern, involves shaving a thin line around the sides of your hair over your ears — where you still have full hair, and then applying a thin bead of something that looks and smells suspiciously like glue. Then the hair system is placed on your skull and the sides are held in place with the liquid adhesive. If you’re completely bald in front tape tabs are affixed so the front of the unit will also stay put. Then the hair is cut so it conforms to the length you’ve been wearing in your remaining hair. You’re handed a bag of maintenance items along with some rudimentary instructions. And you’re scheduled for what will be the first of many follow up visits. And so now fitted with your new hair system, out into the world you go.
Truth be told, when it is first affixed to your scalp, the hair system does look and feel pretty darn good. From most angles it looks natural. And it certainly feels good to have a full head of hair again. So what could be wrong? As it turns out, plenty.
As the day wears on, some mild itching begins to become apparent. If it is a warm day, your scalp feels unusually warm, probably because there is a wig glued to it. But you banish these negative thoughts from your mind. You’re wearing a state of the art hair system, for gosh sake! So, feeding yourself a constant stream of positive self assurance messages, you continue with your day and try to forget that there’s a wig glued to your head. Good luck with that.
Next morning comes, and your hair system looks slightly less attractive, but still pretty good. Whether you’ve had synthetic or natural hair applied, the hair itself is non living, and so must be processed before it can be used. Processing involves stripping the hair, adding color and then usually incorporating some degree of wave. You need these things to be done so your hair system looks natural. Which it does. Temporarily.
A few days pass. Your scalp becomes progressively itchier and more oily. The hair in the system starts to go limp. When you run a brush through it, you end up dislodging a few hairs. No big deal, right? Wrong. Remember, this is a wig. It doesn’t grow new hair. So, every time some hair comes out, the wig looks thinner and crappier.
If you try to wash it when you shower you will find that the color is rather easily stripped. And more and more, your lovely 21st Century state of the art hair system begins to resemble nothing so much as though a miniature wolverine with mange had settled gently down for a nap on top of your head. So of course you’ve no choice but to return to the hair replacement studio (where you got your hair system) for “maintenance”. Now the fun really begins. First, your hair technician clips the hair piece off your scalp which may or may not involve peeling it away from the underlying skin. That feels nice. Not. However, what does feel nice is to have the damn thing off your head for a few minutes so your scalp can breath. Your head is washed and you bask in the pleasure of not having a wolverine glued to your head. But then you’re back where you were before. Hey, is it your imagination or does your hair actually look worse! No, not your imagination. Hair pieces are like poison to the scalp. If you weren’t completely bald when you began wearing a hair system, you’ll most likely be bald when you’ve been doing so for a while.
And the hair unit you’ve purchased needs some care too. Hair must be sewn back in, a process called ventilation. At about this time, you’re encouraged to buy a 2nd hair unit. To wear while your 1st unit is having maintenance of course! So once again, your wallet is pried open and relieved of hundreds or thousands of dollars more. But ultimately, your hair replacement system is repaired and reapplied to your scalp. And off into the world you go again. Several days pass, and the same pattern repeats itself. Back to the hair replacement studio. More torture. More expense. And on it goes.
Eventually, most people who undergo this gauntlet tire of the nonsense and blood leaching, seemingly endless expense. And they end up throwing the godforsaken thing away. I’ll close this article with a small bit of levity. As the reader may have guessed, before getting into the hair field, when I was simply a hair loss suffering consumer, I personally went through the hair replacement system mess. Everything I have just described, I went through. And worse. But at the end of it, when I realized that no hair system (i.e. wig, hair addition, hair replacement, etc.) would do what it promised, I gave up and threw the friggin thing away. But not before I gently applied the hair system to my beautiful pet Shar Pei. I didn’t glue it to his head, which would have been cruel. But I did tape it on so it would stay put for a few minutes.
If you’ve never seen an earnest looking Shar Pei in a hair replacement system, you have missed one of the truly hilarious things you’re eyes could ever glimpse. As I write this, I am shaking with laughter at the memory. Almost made the pain and suffering I went through worth it. Almost.
I have been researching hair replacement systems for many years and the best is always a proven hair loss treatment with real results and real clinical studies.