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Hair Systems For Men: The Ultimate Guide To Non-Surgical Hair Replacement
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on April 30, 2024

Hair loss is a natural part of ageing. But it can have a serious impact on individuals, contributing to mental health issues like anxiety and depression [1]. One study found that having alopecia areata can increase the risk of major depressive disorder by 34% [2].

As a result, more and more men are seeking solutions for male pattern baldness. And while hair transplant surgery is the most effective type of permanent hair restoration, non-surgical hair replacement options like hair systems for men are becoming more popular.

In this ultimate guide to hair systems for men, you’ll learn everything you need to know about non-surgical hair replacement, including:

  • What hair systems are and how they work.
  • How long hair systems last.
  • The differences between hair transplantation and hair systems.
  • The pros, cons, and costs of non-surgical hair replacement.
  • Tips for applying a hair system correctly.
Table of Contents

What is a hair system?

A hair system is a type of semi-permanent wig used to hide hair loss. Unlike traditional human hair wigs, which need to be removed regularly, a hair system is glued or taped to your scalp, so you can wear it continuously for up to six months.

results of using a men's hair system

The main advantage of a hair system is that it gives you instant results without the need for surgery. A hair system can restore your confidence, but you’ll need to take good care of it and get it replaced every few months to keep up the illusion.

This video shows you how to prepare and attach your own hair system to your scalp:

Top tips for attaching your hair system

Some salons and barbers will help you source and install your hair system professionally, which is likely to give you the most natural-looking results.

But you can also apply a hair system yourself at home. Here are our top tips for attaching a hair system yourself:

  • Freshly shave your head before applying the hair system to help it adhere to your skin.
  • Clean your scalp with antibacterial sanitiser to remove excess sebum and oil.
  • Use a hairdryer (set at a comfortable temperature) to make sure your scalp is completely dry before attaching your hair system.
  • Install the hair system from the front of your head, aligning it with your natural hairline.
  • Use styling products to get the look you want. Check out some of our favourite male hairstyles for a receding hairline for inspiration.

How long does a non-surgical hair replacement system last?

A hair system typically lasts between three and six months before it needs replacing. But this depends on several factors, including:

  • Hair system material — Monofilament hair systems usually last longer than lace or skin front systems (though the thicker, more durable monofilament fabric can give you a less natural-looking result than thinner lace and skin front materials).
  • Care and maintenance — Looking after your hair system (limiting hair washes to once a week, deep conditioning your hair system, and avoiding vigorous scrubbing) will prolong its lifespan.
  • Hair type and quality — Most hair systems are made using real human hair, so the type of hair needed can impact its durability.
  • Hair system styling — Generally, the more you style your hair system, the sooner it will need replacing.
  • Environment — Exposing your hair system to chemicals, chlorine, and UV light can reduce its longevity.

Do hair systems fall off easily?

If they’re applied properly, hair systems shouldn’t fall off. Experiment with different tapes and glues to find the most secure fitting for your hair system.

However, the adhesive won’t last forever. You’ll need to reattach it at certain intervals to make sure it stays stuck down.

If you notice your hair system lifting more than normal, it may be time to replace the adhesive.

Are hair systems noticeable?

Hair systems can be virtually indistinguishable from your natural hair, providing you match the colour, texture, and thickness to your original hair.

This is easier said than done. It’s best to speak to a hair system specialist to find a good match, rather than ordering online. A hair system that doesn’t match the back and sides of your hair can look unnatural and make your hair system very noticeable.

Poor styling choices can also make a hair system more noticeable. Swept-back pompadour styles expose the hairline, making it more obvious that you’re wearing a toupée.

poor styling choices that make wearing a hair system noticeable
Left: mismatched hair colour and texture. Right: hairstyle exposing unnatural hairline.

How much do men’s hair systems cost?

Hair system prices start at around £500. This typically covers your first hair system (and sometimes professional installation). However, you’ll need to replace your hair system at some stage, so the costs add up over time.

The cost of a hair system depends on factors including:

  • Material — Premium materials like monofilament usually cost more than others.
  • Hair type — Longer hair or hair that’s been processed or treated may be more expensive.
  • Stock vs custom hair systems — A custom hair system made specifically for you will cost more than a stock hair system (but can also look more natural).

The benefits of a hair system

Here are all the key reasons to consider getting a hair system for your hair loss:

  • Instant results — You won’t need to wait for your hair to regrow; you’ll see an instant difference in your appearance.
  • Non-surgical — Installing a hair system is completely non-invasive; you won’t need to worry about recovery or caring for hair grafts.
  • Lower upfront costs — While hair systems are more expensive than hair loss treatments like Minoxidil and Finasteride, the upfront investment is lower than with a hair transplant.
  • Works for multiple types of hair loss — Whether you have alopecia areata, male pattern baldness, or another type of alopecia, a hair system can cover your scalp effectively.
  • Reversible — If you prefer your bald look, you can simply remove the hair system and go back to your buzzcut.

What are the downsides of hair systems?

While hair systems work well for many men, make sure you’re aware of the potential pitfalls, too:

  • Ongoing costs — Hair systems are expensive to replace, fit, and maintain. After a few years, the costs often overtake that of surgical hair restoration.
  • Obvious hair changes — While getting instantly visible results has its advantages, you’ll still need to explain to your friends and colleagues how you grew an entire head of hair overnight.
  • No permanent regrowth — Hair systems don’t tackle hair loss; they simply hide it. Beneath your wig, you’ll have a fully bald scalp, which can be disheartening for some.
  • Hair loss may get worse — The glue and tape used to stick hair systems to the scalp can pull on any existing hair follicles, leading to faster hair loss.
  • The hassle of replacement and fitting — Each time you get a new hair system, you’ll need to install it carefully to ensure a continuous, natural look.
  • Toupée security concerns — Lots of hair system users worry that their wig will fall off if it’s not properly secured.

Hair systems vs hair transplants

If you haven’t yet ruled out surgical hair restoration options, it can be helpful to compare hair transplantation with hair systems to see which is right for you.

 Hair systemHair transplant
Does it regrow your natural hair?NoYes
Is it permanent?NoYes
How much does it cost?From £500 for first installation, plus maintenance and replacement costsFrom £1,995 in the UK (£4,820 is the average hair transplant cost)
Is it noticeable?Depends on hair system suitability and fitNo (except for minimal scarring in FUT)
Is surgery involved?NoYes
Can it worsen hair loss?YesNo
Are results instant?YesNo
Can you use alongside other non-surgical hair loss treatments (e.g. Finasteride)?NoYes

Considering a hair transplant or a non-surgical hair loss treatment? With a 97-100% success rate, we offer a range of hair loss solutions to help you find the right course of action to truly tackle your hair loss, rather than simply covering it up. Book a consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to get started.

Is non-surgical hair replacement worth it?

Many men are happy with their hair system. It’s a good way to get a full head of hair if you’re not ready for the commitment of going through surgery.

But for others, the ongoing costs and hassle of maintaining and replacing their hair system isn’t worth it. Instead, opting to pay more for a hair transplant gives them the permanent security and confidence they’re looking for. Plus, you can pair your transplant with medical therapies like Finasteride to give you natural, lifelong results.

Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of getting a non-surgical hair system and see if it’s worth the investment for you.

Alternative non-surgical hair loss treatment options

If you’re not ready for hair transplant surgery, but don’t want the expense and uncertainty of a hair system, several other proven non-surgical hair restoration treatments can help your hair regrow. These include:

  • Finasteride — A once-daily tablet that blocks the production of DHT, a hormone that causes male pattern baldness.
  • Minoxidil — A spray or foam that widens the blood vessels in your scalp, stimulating blood flow to the follicles.
  • Low-level light therapy — Low-frequency lasers are directed at your scalp, promoting blood flow and hair growth in this pain-free procedure.

The Wimpole Clinic team can help you find the best treatment for male hair loss. Instead of covering up your bald spots, we get to the root cause of your hair thinning and find a solution that works for you.

Hair Systems For Men: The Ultimate Guide To Non-Surgical Hair Replacement, Wimpole Clinic

Hair system FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hair systems and non-surgical hair replacement.

Yes, you can wear and wash your hair system in the shower. However, you’ll need to make sure there are gaps between the adhesive to allow water to run out from underneath the hair system.

Yes, you can wear a hair system to the gym. Sweat shouldn’t dislodge your hair system provided you’ve used a good adhesive.

You can swim while wearing your hair system, but you’ll need to take extra care of it afterwards. Chlorine can dry out the hair, so make sure to condition it well at each wash.

Yes, you can sleep in your hair system. Just style it each morning as you would with your natural hair.

Your hair will still grow while you’re wearing a hair system. If your hair system is made from a thin, breathable fabric like lace, your hair can actually grow through the toupée, allowing you to wash it as normal.

Some people will find that their hair system starts to lift as new hair grows. This is a sign that you need to remove your system and shave your scalp before reattaching it.

Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael May (FRCS)Updated on April 30, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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