Non-Surgical Hair Replacement

Non-surgical hair replacement typically refers to a hair system involving any kind of "borrowed hair" in the form of a wig, hairpiece, toupee, hair extension or weave that is attached to one's scalp to give it the impression of a full head of hair. It can be used for a variety of reasons but most often it is used by hair loss sufferers to cover thin areas on their scalp. It can be designed for temporary or permanent use. The quality of hair systems varies considerably, as does their price.

Types of Hair Used

The first thing that springs to one’s mind regarding the quality of hair systems is the type of the hair used. It can be a synthetic fibre or natural hair (or both), human hair and animal hair. Some hair systems use a combination of synthetic fibre and natural hair but more typically a hairpiece is either made solely of synthetic material or natural hair. Animal hair is always blended with human hair. Human hair can be of Asian origin (straight dark hair), Indian origin (wavy dark hair) or European origin of variable shades and degrees of waviness. Since many buyers of hairpieces require lighter colour shades, Asian and Indian hair must be often bleached and dyed, which makes it brittle and prone to breakage.

Hair systems made of synthetic fibre tend to be the least authentic looking and not very durable and are therefore the least expensive option. They are relatively easy to maintain as the artificial fibre usually returns to its original shape but they do not withstand the heat of styling appliances and cannot be restyled or dyed. They keep their original colour and come in all imaginable shades. Synthetic hair systems are lighter in weight than hairpieces made of natural hair but can make you sweat more and feel unpleasant.

Hair systems made of human hair last longer, they look and feel almost like your own hair, they breathe; you can dye and restyle them as often as you do your own hair. However, they tend to lose colour when exposed to direct sun, just like normal hair does. Their other downside, except for being a bigger initial investment, is their expensive and arduous maintenance. You have to restyle them after each shampoo wash and you will need a hair salon to take care of regular maintenance. You will be required to buy at least two identical pieces. The method of harvesting human hair is another factor determining the quality and the price, with fallen hair gained from brushes and combs being the least expensive option.

Wig's Manufacturing Technology

The quality of hair systems also depends on the manufacturing technology used. They can be machine-tied, hand-tied and the latter can also be custom-made. It is needless to say that the custom-made hairpieces are the most expensive alternative as well as the most authentic looking, whereas the machine-tied wigs are the most affordable.

Foundation of a Hairpiece

Another important factor to consider is the base of the hair system in which the hair is tied. Some are sewn into fine, mesh-like foundations, whereas others are made using polymer bases that are said to mimic the human skin. Mesh-like structures are suitable for creating an authentic-looking hairline but, if used as the foundation of the whole wig, though providing very natural appearance, are impractical for maintenance. Hence, mesh fabrics are light, breathing and comfortable to wear but more expensive and less durable than polymer. Polymer foundations are significantly less expensive and last longer but are also less comfortable to wear and they cannot be used for frontal hairlines.

Attaching the Hairpiece to the Scalp

The next difficulty with hair systems, with the exception of full wigs, is their fixing to the scalp and blending with your existing hair. Semi-permanently attached hairpieces are quite popular but uncomfortable and unhealthy. Such systems are glued to your scalp using liquid adhesives or woven, under the hairpiece, to your existing hair and are not supposed to be removed and properly cleaned more often than every five to six weeks. The temporarily attached hair systems are either attached to your scalp using a double-sided sticky tape or clips and you can remove them any time you like. The downside of temporarily attached hair systems is that they can be easily and unexpectedly removed. The clips can also cause traction alopecia to the hair in areas adjacent to you hairpiece.

Considering the Cost of Buying and Maintaining a Hairpiece

The non-surgical hair replacement, though only temporary by nature, can be considerably expensive. However, for many hair loss patients such as female hair loss sufferers with diffuse hair thinning or alopecia areata patients, it is the only option to regain the appearance of a full head of hair, given the current state of hair science. Hair transplants can cost as much as ten thousand dollars to achieve full coverage and require a lifetime commitment to finasteride or another hair loss drug. A good authentic-looking hairpiece can cost you a few thousand dollars, too, and you will need to buy at least two pieces, plus the maintenance cost can come to a hundred dollars a month or more. You also have to factor in the durability of such systems, which are not designed for a lifetime’s use. Given the costs involved, it pays to educate oneself and hopefully this short introduction was a good starting point in your own research into non-surgical hair replacement methods.