Wearing someone else’s hair, rather than going the surgical route or going for hair loss treatment, has become an easy choice to make for many hair loss sufferers. After all, who wants to have scalp stitches or scary side effects, right?
What’s not as easy to decide, however, is whose hair to wear (the artificial hair manufacturer’s or a real human being’s) as well as what kind of hair. Should you get a wig, wiglet, hair piece, hair weave, or a hair replacement system?
Let’s take a look at each kind to see why hair replacement systems are the choice of hair loss sufferers who don’t want to broadcast that the hair they’re wearing isn’t naturally theirs.
Is it that obvious? Here’s how to tell naturally theirs from not their hair.
But first, try taking this BuzzFeed quiz to test your sharp-eyed observation skills.
Whether you scored a perfect 10 or got a few lucky guesses, the point is that it can be tough to distinguish between the natural and not-what-it-seems. And that’s a good thing.
Nobody wants to be called out for wearing someone’s else’s hair, which means making that hair in whatever form it takes look as natural as possible. But sometimes, whether we like it or not, the truth will out. Check out this video featuring celebrities whose toupees were outed, on how you can spot a toupee:
Other tell-tale signs include:
- “Stiff neck”. When a person doesn’t seem to want to turn her head when someone calls her name or doesn’t look down when tying his shoelaces, that person might be afraid of the wig falling off.
- Forehead shadow. If the hair casts a deep or noticeable shadow on the forehead in the hairline area, chances are it’s because the hair is just sitting there instead of actually growing out of the person’s head.
- Super thick. While it’s true some people naturally have nice, thick hair, too much hair tends to scream “this hair didn’t come from here’.
- No frizz zone. If a person’s hair isn’t frizzing in super humid conditions when everyone else’s is, that’s most probably because the hair isn’t natural.
- Parting is such sweet sorrow. Check out the hairline right where the part is. If the “scalp” doesn’t quite look like skin, the person could be wearing a wig.
- Flawless forever. No tangles? No split ends? No flyaways? No way. Unless you’re like the god of hairdos or the goddess of hairstyles, hair that looks like it’s been digitally retouched is bound to be added on in one way or another.
- Shiny and new. Wigs made out of artificial hair tend to be overly glossy—not as in the kind of shine you get from conditioner or hot oil, but the kind that looks like you put furniture polish or varnish on your head.
When is a wig not a wig?
Wigs aren’t the only kind of “not your real” hair, so much as so that that some of them aren’t called “wigs” but something else. Here’s a quick run-down of the different kinds.
1. Wig. To start with the wig itself, it’s a single unit that covers your whole head. Given that definition, there are many kinds of wigs each with their own kind of hair (natural human hair or synthetic hair) and method of attaching to the scalp.
Wigs are better suited to people who are bald or with very little hair that isn’t more than about 5cm. Generally, wigs have a base or a cap which is either made of rubber (making it similar to a swim cap) or lace with urethane strips where adhesive is placed.
Monofilament wigs are similar to lace wigs, except that they use nylon or polyester micro mesh for the cap, to which each hair strand is “hand-tied”.There are also “cap-less” or thin-wefted cap wigs on which hair is spaced out more loosely, allowing any existing hair to show, and is cooler and more comfortable to wear.
2. Hairpiece. Better suited to those with thinning rather than no hair, a hairpiece is meant to add volume instead of cover the head (although some people use it to cover up a bald patch).
There are also many different kinds of hairpieces (such as toupees) that come with varying methods of attachment and blending in with the existing hair, such as clips, ponytail holders, combs or drawstrings.
3. Wiglet or partial wig. Also called a hair topper, a wiglet is smaller than a wig but bigger than a hairpiece, and is called so because it’s meant to cover only part of the head. Wiglets have holes for pulling the existing hair through them to help achieve a more natural look overall, and are attached to the head with clips or combs.
4. Hair weave. Often mentioned together with hair extensions, hair weaves refers to the method of attaching hair extensions to the scalp. The existing hair is very finely braided to serve as a base for attaching the wefts or locks of hair to be added.
Hair extensions generally used to add length or volume for styling purposes and not for addressing balding or thin hair. In fact, hair weaves aren’t recommended for people with thinning hair because the weight and the pull of the extensions might make thinning hair worse, or the hair may simply not be strong enough to support it.
The extensions themselves, however, don’t have to be sewn into a weave, but can be clipped into existing hair just like a wiglet or a hair piece.
5. Hair replacement system. Unlike wigs, wiglets or hairpieces, which are generally meant to be worn for a day or less and then taken off again, a hair replacement system is designed to stay on the head for an extended period of time, as in weeks or months.
Similar to a wig, a hair replacement system has a cap which is attached to the scalp using special, long-wearing adhesive. It may also use synthetic or real human hair, preferably remy hair.
Dare to Compare
When it comes down to choosing between a wig, wiglet, hair piece or hair replacement, people need to consider several factors such as the condition, quality or amount of their existing hair (if any), the face shape, and lifestyle.
If you’re active and spend a lot of time outdoors, for instance, you might not want to risk your hair blowing away in the wind. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time going to events and need to change your hairstyle every so often, you’ll need a more flexible solution.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of hair “that isn’t really theirs” to help you choose a solution of your own.
Get a full head of natural-looking hair systematically.
When you want to get something done, it’s generally a good idea to have a system in place for getting it, right? After all, you’ll want to get it done as efficiently and as effectively as possible, and the same thing goes for getting a full head of hair that looks so natural, no one would be able to tell any differently.
The secret behind the natural look of hair replacement systems isn’t just what they’re made of, how they fit comfortably and securely on your head, or even how easily (and fabulously) they’re styled. It’s all in the confidence the wearer has knowing that no matter what he does, the hair will never come off, and that it looks 100% his own.
That means going about your day-to-day with no “stiff neck”, no constant checking to see if there’s a forehead shadow, no worrying about it being too shiny, too perfect or too much of a dead giveaway.
Your hair replacement system moves as you move, wherever you go, and won’t ever come off unless you want it to (for cleaning or maintenance, of course). That’s the kind of confidence and naturalness you can’t get from a wig you can’t swim in or a hair weave you have wrap a towel around carefully before you get into bed.
Naturally, only you can tell whose or what kind of hair you want to wear, and no one can tell you otherwise. But if you’d like a little no-obligation advice or someone you can trust to talk to about this potentially life-altering decision, you’ll find friends who care at iAremyhair.