Walking through the grocery store, for the second time this week, I grabbed milk for the kids, and some chicken for the recipe I found on Pinterest. I make my rounds and choose the shortest line. I lay my goodies on the conveyer belt and take a minute to catch my breath and wait patiently like mom always told me. I focus on some of the tabloid magazine covers and let my eyes wander to the older gentleman in front of me. With the beeping sound effects of the grocery in the background, I let my eyes linger on the cute old man, in his plaid flannel shirt and pressed denim jeans. Salt and pepper hair in the back and sides of his head. Then it appears. As if the sky suddenly turned green, noticing something is amiss. Realizing what it is…The Toupee
It is a warm brown that does not match. Trying hard not to stare, the man turns around and smiles. I say hello and wonder if he knows what toupees can actually look like today?
Hair units, also called hair systems or more commonly called toupees, are a hair prosthetic that can be temporarily attached to the scalp in a multitude of ways. Modern hair systems have different options suitable for the individuals needs.
The bases of the systems are what is attached to the scalp and where the hair is inserted. These could be made of different materials, some of the most common are lace, monofilament, and super-thin polyurethane. They can be as thin as saran wrap! The thicker the base, the more likely it is to be more durable.
Human hair in systems are easy to style and “train”, look the most natural and can be chemically altered safely. Synthetic fiber systems are thicker in density, require specialty products and cannot be chemically altered. Both come in a wide array of shades and there are systems with both types of hair, known as a blend.
Hair can be attached to the base by hand tying, knots and v-loops. V-loop is exactly what it sounds like, a single strand looped through the base in a manner that looks like a ‘V’. On darker hair, knots can be bleached so they are virtually invisible in the base.
The system is attached to the client’s scalp by a bond, either hair system tape or hair replacement bonder. Both are medical grade and gentle on skin and scalp! Depending on the skin’s chemistry and weather, bonds can last 2-4 weeks, can withstand heat and humidity, sweat and water. You can swim, shower and skydive without fear. If a system can stay attached longer, it is still best to remove the system and clean both the system and scalp at least every four weeks to avoid bacteria.
Quite literally the possibilities are endless when it comes to systems.
I finish paying for my groceries and make eye contact with the gentleman in front of me. After a long and thoughtful pause, I reach in my purse and I slip him a business card. I smile and say “hope to talk with you soon”.