Buying your first, second, or even tenth hair topper can be stressful. Not to mention trying to adjust to wearing a new (or new to you) piece. Some of the biggest issues you might face include: discomfort from the clips; not knowing how to style your new hair; or feeling insecure about your sudden lush locks. Here are 6 tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident!
1. Measure properly and do your research before buying. Hop on YouTube and check out the various tutorials on measuring properly for a hair topper. Measuring your area of loss, and determining where your topper needs to sit in order to clip into a sufficient amount of healthy biological hair, and determining the amount of coverage needed is super important. Toppers are measured front to back, and side to side, and the measurements are typically included in a listing. Make sure that the listed base size matches up with your personal measurements. Base size obviously isn’t the only consideration when buying hair, but it is definitely one of the most important items as it is not something that can (easily) be changed. Check out this post here for more information about other considerations before buying to reduce your chances of disappointment.
2. Move and add clips to your liking. Pressure sensitive clips on toppers are generally hand-sewn onto the base of a topper (or wig). A couple snips of the thread and the clip will easily release for repositioning. If you can sew a button, you can definitely sew a clip. There are a couple reasons why you might want to move or add clips on the cap. If you’re like me, you might not have enough hair to clip into at the temples, therefore, moving the temple clips back a couple centimeters can really improve wearability. Many toppers come with a comb attached to the front. This is useful for many, but if your hairline is sparse or slippery, some will opt to replace the comb with a clip(s) or Velcro. You might also want to add additional clips around the perimeter of your topper for the purpose of rotating them which can reduce strain on the areas of your bio hair into which you are clipping.
3. Reduce strain on bio hair by using alternative attachment methods. It will almost always benefit you in the hair wearing realm to be creative and flexible with your pieces. There are some really helpful products available to give wigs and toppers more security or to improve comfort. Velvet wig grips have been around for a while but now there are lots of variations (there is also a silicone option!), and even a “topper grip” that is, obviously, specifically designed to wear with a topper. The concept of velvet is that it provides gentle friction against bio hair or skin and against the wig or topper to prevent it from sliding back away from the hairline. In the case of toppers, the front clips attach to ribbons sewn on the grip, and a clear cord attached to the grip secures the topper around the circumference of the head. Because the cord is clear, it is virtually undetectable along the nape once the hair is draped over it. The cord also gives gentle tension to pull the front of the topper flush at the front, and for me, this gives me a flatter result than with clips alone because I tend not to clip front clips as taut because it can cause me discomfort in sensitive areas. The topper grip can be used in combination with back clips and/or tape or glue (if the topper has a poly strip or lace front at the hairline). Another option to replace uncomfortable clips is to use “barber’s Velcro” or hook and loop grippers. Some amount of biological hair is required for the hook and loop grip to grab onto. It is admittedly a bit of a delicate process as the Velcro can pull bio hair and can also irritate sensitive scalps, so some trial and error is definitely recommended. These can be sewn, taped or clipped onto a topper. If none of these methods suit your needs and reduce discomfort, chances are, you may need to upgrade to a full wig. Many women choose this option as the idea of clipping into potentially fragile bio hair isn’t ideal for everyone.
4. Add an accessory. If you’ve read through my soapbox speech about my love of wide headbands, you will know that they can be a very functional part of the alopecia wardrobe. Headbands solve a number of issues when it comes to hair loss, and are another means of reducing the reliance on clips in sensitive areas 😉. They can provide coverage, sun protection, and provide additional security, not to mention the innumerable styles and prints available to jazz up any hairstyle. While I do use headbands with and without my topper, I have traditionally shied away from using other types of accessories before I started wearing hair. For some reason, the jump into the alternative hair scene felt like an invitation to try out different clips, ties, scarves, etc. You can also use these accessories to try new styles that you couldn’t achieve with your thinning hair, which leads me to my next point!
5. Try a new style you couldn’t achieve with your bio hair alone. I’ve mentioned before that I kept my pre-topper bio hair cropped very short which meant styling options were limited. This was in an effort to avoid sad looking ponytails and other updos, and to give the appearance of more fullness. But I couldn’t help feeling like I was missing out on trying new trends or looks along the way. My thin bio hair is not, and probably has never been (less a few good teenage years) French-braidable. One of the first things I did when I got my first topper that I actually wore, was French braid my hairline in with the front of the topper to blend. It took some time to master, but I felt like this gave me a seamless blend, and it was very satisfying to have more options to look put together. I still like trying new styles, and while my go to looks are pretty basic, I’m a girl who appreciates having options available. Bangs are another style that didn’t suit my bio hair (so.much.scalp!) , but now they can be part of my style anytime!
6. Hold your head high. It can be a shock initially to go from thinning hair to flowing locks. One may worry what others will say, if coworkers will notice, or that they will have an unfamiliar reflection in the mirror. These concerns are valid, and I applaud you for taking the leap into trying something new to help you cope with your hair woes despite your worries! My personal mantra when it comes to my helper hair is “everybody knows and nobody cares.” Now, this may not be entirely true because chances are, and my experience has been, most people are clueless when it comes to wigs and toppers. The average person doesn’t spend time studying hairlines or widening parts, unless that person has hair loss, wears/sells/makes hair, is a hair dresser, or a health professional. An awkward encounter is always a possibility (think nosy coworker, etc.) but someone pointing out your hair wearing is much more likely to be about them and their need to satisfy their own curiosity than it is about an actual concern about your wearing it. So assuming that everybody knows may be a bit of a generalization, but it definitely helps me deal with the wondering “do they know?” There will inevitably be situations that make you feel vulnerable, like going for personal care services or being under fluorescent lighting which can make toppers and wigs more noticeable, but I find that I always felt vulnerable in these situations with my bio hair anyway. You will find a strategy that helps you deal with this! Also, anyone close enough to you to notice doesn’t care about your choice to wear hair. Your dentist doesn’t care. Massage therapist or chiropractor- nope. Lash extension it’s- definitely not. And not only do they not care, it’s also none of their business!
Once you’ve mastered your blending and styling skills, your confidence will increase, and you can rest assured that you will receive more positive commentary about your hair than nosy inquiries.
I hope this is helpful in improving your hair wearing experience! Reach out on Instagram to chat about all things alternative hair and hair loss!