Why have wigs, hair systems, and hair pieces changed in design? The answer is evolution. What does that mean? Hair additions (wigs, hair systems, hairpieces and hair extensions) have evolved in how the hair is processed as well as how natural the hair addition is perceived.
Hair processing has changed in the last 40 years. Different hair types are available. Indian, Indonesian, Burmese, European, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Remy are all descriptions of hair type and processing. Remy simply refers to leaving cuticle on the hair so it is more natural and less processed. The other names or “places” are where the hair originated from. We did not have several choices of where the hair originated and the factory did not disclose this information. Hair was simply hair.
Most hair was original sewn into weft, a line of hair commonly used in less expensive wigs or extensions. Now hair is hand sewn into net, silk, urethane, or another type of base material so it looks more natural and is more versatile in application. Hair systems, hair pieces, mono top wigs and handmade wigs use a more natural base material so the appearance of the hair “addition” looks more realistic. Lace fronts, skin units and other types of handmade materials were not readily available years ago so the systems were heavy and thick in appearance and not as natural looking. In the 1980s the hair market actually had a shortage of human hair, thus giving rise to mass production of synthetic fiber for use in hand made hair goods.
Synthetic fiber was a suitable replacement for human hair until……..clients realized it could not tolerate heat, friction and could not be colored. Furthermore long synthetic fiber when worn over clothing will get frizzy over time. So we went back to human hair and found alternate sources of supply. Today human hair is still used extensively BUT many wigs and hair systems are so lightweight and realistic looking that their life span has become reduced, thus giving the birth to program hair or disposable hair. That is topic for another time!
How is it made?
How is a handmade hair system made? First you need to attach the hair strands to a base material or foundation of the hair system. This is done with a special knotting tool to sew the hair into the base. That base material can be fine monofilament, welded net, silk monofilament, French lace, German net, or any type of net which is breathable. It could be made of nylon or polyester. The “graft” systems which look like a layer of skin, and don’t breathe like a net based system, are made primarily of polyurethane.
This polyurethane can be clear or even reinforced with a net inside.
The base material is cut on a bias so that it contours to many different head shapes. Some systems are top-of head only while others are full head caps like a full wig. Once the base is fabricated the hair or synthetic fiber must be hand tied into the base. It can be done with single knots, double knots or even looped into the thin skin urethane systems. How the hair is tied, the durability of the base material and the quantity (density) of the hair all play a part in the lifespan of the system. Thinner systems look more natural than thicker ones but don’t last as long. Some systems have a binding around the perimeter while some don’t.
Density (quantity) of hair, knotting pattern, base material type, front design, hair color and length are play a part in how natural your hair replacement will look. Remember, a keen eye can pick out the bad ones.
You simply don’t notice the good ones!
The importance of conditioner on hair systems cannot be underestimated. Conditioner helps the hair “move” more freely as well as untangles matted hair. It allows a comb or brush to move the hair in the desired direction and coats the hair to help strengthen it. BUT do not over condition the hair system. Usually one to two minutes is sufficient. Over conditioning the hair can accelerate hair loss due to the conditioner loosening the hair knot in the foundation. Sometimes over conditioning can cause the hair to mat as well. We are talking about conditioners used in the shower. A good leave in conditioner also helps the hair leaving it with a healthy sheen. Look for one that also has sunscreen to help retard fading.
Pay Attention to Your Hairline
The front hairline is crucial to making a hair system look real. If it is too high your forehead may look disproportional to your face. If it is too low, your hairline may scream “HAIRPIECE!” Women, make sure your hair color is slightly lighter around your face – it may soften your facial features.
If you wear your hair with the hairline exposed, make sure you:
#1: Secure the front edge properly.
#2: Make sure density along the hairline is appropriate.
#3: Double-check your hair color is consistent with your temples.
#4: Don’t wear a hairstyle that commands too much attention.
#5: Examine your front hairline haircut – it is less forgiving than the sides, top, or back of the head. It will show density inconsistencies, as well as a poor cut line.
The idea is to have as natural looking a hair system as possible. Ask a close friend or relative their honest opinion. You want the best results for your personal image investment!
The Next Step
If you’d like to discuss your hair replacement options click HERE to book your free consultation. We’d love to answer all of your hair replacement questions!
Make it a great week,
How to Deal with Matted & Tangled Hair
Hair systems can have problems with matting and tangling. The hair can actually bind to itself as if it was working itself into the base. It can also get an elastic feel like a rubber band that is stretched out. Processed hair needs products to make it more manageable. This applies to “live” growing human hair as well as hair in wigs, hair pieces, and hair systems.
A good leave in conditioner will help untangle some of the knotting. Using a conditioner in the shower for about 2 to 3 minutes will help loosen the tangling so it can be brushed out. Using a leave-in conditioner after showering (while the hair is still damp) will also help. Don’t use force when brushing as that will cause hair breakage and fallout. Easy, smooth stokes of a brush, with patience, will alleviate the problem.
Hair styles when wet, not dry so it is helpful to have some water in the hair to help it move and disperse the pray in product better. Hair does not move well when it is dry so make sure you spray water at least 12 inches from your head. The mist will also water down the conditioner, allowing it to “move.” You can use a hair spray to hold the style at that point or even use gel or mouse. You can achieve a wet or dry look depending on what product you use and how much moisture is in your hair.
The Next Step
Interested in learning about hair replacement options? Click HERE to book your free consultation. We’d love to answer all of your hair replacement questions!
Make it a great week,
How to Choose a Flattering Hairstyle
Whether you are a man or a woman, when wearing a hair system it is important to choose an easy, flattering and low maintenance hair style.
1. Consider Styling Time
Do you spend little time styling your hair? Are you a very busy person with no time to waste? Obviously you need a “wash-and-go” hair style. Are you a man of leisure? A gentleman farmer with time to kill? Than you can pick a hairstyle that will take a bit of time to get perfect, and hopefully have the wallet to maintain it!
2. Pick an Appropriate Style
Seriously, when choosing a style, be real with yourself. If you are conservative, it may not be consistent to pick that aging rock star look. If you are a model, maybe longer hair with some “electric” highlights are in order. Most importantly, think about who you are, how much time you spend grooming your hair, and what image you want to convey to your colleagues, customers and friends.
3. Choose the Right Color + Texture
The same goes for hair color and wave pattern. If you are a mortician, it is unlikely you are going to get fire engine red hair. If you are 60 years old, that Elvis pompadour may not be appropriate or believable. Finger waves went out in the sixties. You don’t see many Jheri Curls in public. If you are greying, please don’t use too dark a hair color on your hair! Look at your skin tone and if you are very fair in skin tone, blonde may not be the right answer.
The whole key is to have a hair style that compliments your features. Accentuate your eyes, jawline, lips, and nose. Hair shapes the face, like the frame of a fine painting!
I want to leave you with a question:
What tips do you have for picking the right hairstyle and color?
Make it a great week,