With an estimated 40% of women experiencing some hair loss before the age of 40 and up to 80% after age 60, hair loss is almost as common in women as it is in men.
Traditionally, women have had few options when it comes to cosmetic solutions for top-of-head hair loss that occurs with common female pattern baldness or diffused hair thinning. However, new and evolving technology is providing increasing options for cosmetic hair replacement for women.
The traditional heavy synthetic wig has seen major improvements, like softer, lighter-weight materials that provide a more comfortable fit and more natural appearance. Due to the advancement in cap construction materials, a more natural density is achievable allowing for better realism.
For women with frontal, top-of-head or crown loss, another daily wear option is a clip-on hairpiece or “topper.” These hairpieces are smaller and less heavy than a traditional wig, are generally circular or oval in shape and easily clip on to the denser areas of a woman’s biological hair. Clip-on hairpieces can be made of human or synthetic hair though human hair typically is easier to blend with a woman’s naturally growing hair.
Traditional wigs and clip-on hairpieces still need to be removed daily and are not secure or ideal for certain activities like exercising, water sports or sleeping.
For women who prefer a more secure option that doesn’t require daily removal of the hairpiece or wig, the most common options are integrated hair systems or bonded hair systems.
Unlike traditional wigs or clip-on hairpieces, integrated hair systems usually require the help of a trained technician for attachment, but these hairpieces can be worn for weeks at a time and can be slept and showered in. Integration systems can be attached to a woman’s naturally growing hair through a variety of methods such as sewing it in to a cornrow braid, attaching with crimp beads to sections of the woman’s hair at various points around the perimeter of the head, or securing it with hairpiece tape to the woman’s biological hair or scalp. A monthly or bimonthly visit to a salon is usually required for the hairpiece to be removed, cleaned, reattached or tightened.
Another semi-permanent option that is growing in popularity among women with advanced stages of hair loss is the bonded hairpiece. This option mimics the traditional adhesive-based toupee attachment that is commonly used by men. Bonded hair replacement is one of the most natural and undetectable methods of human hair replacement and offers the most flexibility for active lifestyles. Bonded hair systems sit flush to the scalp and are virtually undetectable to sight and touch. This attachment method can be maintained by a professional hair replacement technician or by the client themselves in the privacy of their own home.
As women continue to seek out and purchase solutions for their hair loss, the industry will continue to respond with higher quality, more innovative options.
Susan Falcone writes for HairDirect.com, an online hair replacement company specializing in custom hair systems.