Hair Replacement Products 101
From attachment and removal to care and maintenance, stocking up on the right products is a foolproof way to extend the life and look of your unit. And while our online store is bursting at the seams with tons of hair care goodness, we know that’s both a blessing and a curse. You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why are there so many products?" and “What products are right for me?"
There’s really one answer for both questions: Different strokes for different folks. One hair-wearer’s tape adhesive miracle is another’s nape-lifting nightmare. In deciding which hair system styling and maintenance products are right for you, good ol’ trial and error usually win the day.
So whether you’re new to hair-wearing or been around the wig block a few times, consider these pages as a friendly tour guide through the hairpiece product jungle. Or just go ahead and buy every product in the store to be on the safe side. We won’t mind a bit. 😉
Basic Product Categories
Most hair-wearers agree that success starts with products in these six (6) basic categories: Adhesive, Solvents, Scalp Preparation, Shampoos, Conditioners and Styling.
Adhesives are the products you use to secure or “stick" the hairpiece to your head. And there are two basic types of adhesives for hair wearing: liquids (also called “glue") and tapes. But the age-old conundrum for hair-wearers is, “Which one should I use?” That’s because how long you want your hair system on your head plays a large part in the type of adhesive you want, whether that’s tape, liquid or a combination of both.
When choosing an adhesive, you’ll generally want to keep several things in mind:
- How long do you want your system attached? Remember, your desired hold time (daily wear or extended wear) helps dictate the type of tape or liquid adhesive you’ll choose.
- What’s your system’s base material? Lace? Poly? Combination of both? Along with your body chemistry, your hair system base may dictate what tape will work best for you.
- Do you have sensitive skin? (Body chemistry). Are you prone to rashes and allergic reactions? Do you have an oily or dry scalp? Adhesives and your skin’s sensitivity will determine not only the length, but the quality of your bond.
Solvents are products that help you remove your hair system from your scalp and clean up leftover adhesive residue on your skin or hairpiece. Did you know that most hair system damage occurs during removal? Solvents will help you remove your hair system with confidence while reducing the risk of destroying your base. These liquids should be gentle enough to be used on the skin/scalp and the hair system base. Proper product use should minimize your chances of over-drying the hair and base material.
Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a solvent/cleaner:
- How are you using the solvent? Some solvents are primarily removers, meaning they aid you in taking the hair system off your head. Others can remove your hair system from your scalp and clean your hair system base to remove leftover adhesive residue.
- How much solvent do you need? If you’re a daily hair wearer, maybe a larger container of solvent is better. Extended wearers might require less on hand.Once you’ve established a firm attachment/removal routine, you’ll get a better handle on how much of this stuff you’ll need.
- Do you have sensitive skin? (Body chemistry). Not to scare you, but solvents are made with powerful chemicals designed to detach hair systems and get rid of stubborn residue, so your body may or may not have unexpected reaction to them. You may need to try several kinds of solvents before you find the one(s) that provide the right cleaning/removing power without irritating your skin.
A clean scalp is essential for a rock-solid bond. Fact: Even the strongest tapes and liquid adhesive are no match for a sweaty, oily scalp or leftover adhesive residue. A dirty head is almost certain to break down your attachment faster than you’d like.
You’ll want to consider a few things when planning your scalp prep routine:
- Do you have trouble with excess adhesive residue? Even after cleaning, there may be adhesive residue leftover on your unit. This problem can be solved by using an adhesive remover. Some hair-wearers simply use alcohol to get rid of the residual stickiness, but an adhesive removers are designed to be gentle on the skin and hair system base.
- Are your bonds not lasting as long as you’d like? A surefire way to ensure your scalp is squeaky clean for attachment is to lather up with an exfoliating scalp scrub. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, along with stubborn styling product and adhesive buildup. These scrubs are usually infused with tiny mineral beads. For even deeper scalp cleansing, use an exfoliating glove or mitt as part of a scalp prep routine.
- Paranoid about stinky hair? Who wouldn’t be? As a barrier between your skin and hairpiece adhesives, scalp protectors can deodorize, retain sebum (an oil that keeps hair soft) and promote stronger bonds by controlling bacterial growth.
Shampoos, as you can imagine, are used to keep your hair clean. But washing your hair system with regular hair shampoos can be a disaster for your human hair system or synthetic hairpiece. These shampoos often contain harsh chemicals and abrasives that growing hair can withstand, but hair systems cannot. Regular shampoos can dry up moisture, strip away color and cause tangling and breakage in hair systems. Why? Because they don’t contain the natural oils found in growing hair that guard against them.
When you choose a shampoo, think about what you really need it to do:
- Do you have trouble with dry, straw-like hair systems? Consider hydrating shampoos. They work by infusing hair with moisture to keeping hair systems soft.
- Concerned about nasty dirt and styling product buildup in your hair? Try a deep cleansing shampoo. They’re perfect for removing excess oils, dirt and product build-up from hair systems, but shouldn’t be used on a daily basis.
- Do you like to clean your hair system everyday? Obviously daily cleaning shampoos are the way to go. They’ll keep your system clean, but they’re gentle enough for everyday cleaning to avoid dirt, oil and product build-up.
- Can’t stand how the sun fades your hair color? Try a color maintaining shampoo. Not to be confused with a hair system dye kit, these shampoos clean and while depositing color to combat color fading.
- Is your hair flat and lacking “oomph?" A volumizing shampoo might help. They deposit protein on the hair shaft to provide extra body and lift.
Every hair wearer seeks a soft and supple system. Actually achieving that goal can be elusive. That’s why conditioners are like liquid gold to hair wearers, because as you massage them into your hair system, they coat each strand, keep your hairpiece soft and banish brittleness.
Because conditioning is super-important to the longevity of your hair system, some questions to keep in mind:
- Want to stay one step ahead of the sun’s devastating effects on your hair? Color maintaining and UV-protecting conditioners are a MUST. These conditioners are designed to block and slow down the effects color fading (oxidation) and dryness in hair systems.
- What type of conditioner works best for you? There are two types of conditioners: leave-in & rinse out. Regular conditioning is a MUST for maintaining hair softness. While most hair-wearers prefer leave-in conditioners because the softening agents stay with your hair all day long, conditioner buildup in your hair may become problem.
- Do you want to reduce or eliminate tangling? Protective serums could be your answer. These hair softeners are used in tandem with standard conditioners and shampoos to lock in hair strand moisture to keep them from wrapping around each other.
Styling simply refers to the look you desire for hair system. Once you have your hair, it’s really up to you to maintain that “right out of the box" look. Seriously, walking around with an unstyled hair system is like a cruising around in a rusty Ferrari. That’s because no matter how undetectable your hair system is, if you don’t keep it looking its best people will notice.
When choosing styling products, some things you might want to keep in mind are:
- What kind of hairstyle do you want? Spiky? Bedhead? Flat? No matter what your desired style, products like hair sprays, gels, mousse and shaping cremes hold your hairstyle in place.
- What styling tools work best with your hair type? Might seem self-explanatory, but as with most everything in the world of hair-wearing, there are some interesting tidbits to sink your teeth into. Typically, you’re looking for brushes and combs with wider bristles and teeth to make hair easily pass through them. Also an anti-static brush can help cut down on hair frizziness.
- Do you have a synthetic or human hair system? There is a difference. Products can vary based on hair type. For instance, you should avoid using hair sprays and hair gloss for synthetic wigs on human hair systems because they can damage the hair with excess buildup.
Brand new to wearing hair and just looking for the most basic tools you’ll need to get started?
We know. There are TONS of products out there (and… ahem, we sell most of them), but we also know that as a rookie, you’ve got so many other things to worry about when maintaining and attaching your hair from home, that idea of searching through and testing a laundry list of products lies somewhere between taking out the garbage and a root canal. So we’re making it really easy on you! Check out this page—free of clutter—for an overview of the most basic products that you’ll need to attach and remove your newly-arrived hair system. >>
For you more seasoned hair wearers, get a quick rundown of the “must-have” items that you should never be without…
OK, so you’re not exactly a newbie. You’ve attached and removed your unit enough (or at least seen your stylist do it) that you have a pretty firm grasp of what you’ll need. Great! As we’re sure you know, there are lots of great products that can really make wearing hair much more pleasant, and safe, if used the right way. So this page will provide you with a comprehensive guide to the product essentials no DIY hair wearer should be without. >>
If your hair system needs some TLC (or even 911), we can help!
So products can be a real lifesaver when the s*** hits the fan. We all have problems every now and then. Of course, this is why we highly recommend having a spare hair system (nudge, nudge :-)) But whether it’s emergency tear repairs, spot cleaning or a front hairline that just won’t stay put, learn about these common problems and the products used to help you solve (and avoid) them.