Introducing…My Bald Spots. Boo.

Maybe you’ve been considering helper hair for awhile but haven’t been quite ready to take the plunge. You know it might help you feel better about this whole hair loss thing, but you’ve got some concerns. Hopefully I’ve addressed some of those (Yes! Helper hair can look natural. Yes! There are a ton of styles and colors available. Yes! It’s pretty affordable).

But, there may be one that weighs heavily on your mind. In fact, I’m sure of it because I get emails about this at least three times per week. They usually go a little something like this:

“Ok, Lauren. I’m ready to take the plunge. I want to start wearing hair but I have just one more question for you. Does wearing a topper with clips cause your hair to shed faster? Or, cause bald spots?”

Hmm.

In terms of causing hair to shed faster, that’s an easier one. For me, no, it didn’t cause increased hair fall.

Now, the bald spots…

That’s a loaded question. And it all depends on how you work with your topper.

Let me explain.

Traction Alopecia (bald spots) CAN Happen!

Bald spots can happen. It’s called “traction alopecia”, which is hair loss caused by continual pulling on that hair. You’ve probably seen traction alopecia before: men sometimes get it if they wear ball caps often (the cap rubs in the same place, day after day). Cultures that wear braids often have this issue. Lots of celebrities suffer from this (and regular people, too!) due to hair extensions.

If you’re not careful, it CAN happen to you…as it did to me.

traction-alopecia

Most toppers will arrive with 3-5 clips already sewn into the piece, and this is a-ok to start with. As you wear your topper day after day, week after week, however, you might find that your more sensitive areas are prone to bald spots. I don’t feel my topper pulling at all during the day, but, it must be…I have the proof, after all.

traction-alopecia-bald-spots

For me, I noticed this after about three months of continual wear—and while I’ve worn several different brands of toppers, it’s happened with every single one. Traction alopecia doesn’t discriminate, folks! I did sew in additional clips on the very first piece I wore, but I have NOT done it yet with my Milan.

(Interesting note – I only have bald spots in on the two areas in my pictures. The hair in the back of my head is unaffected, likely because it is stronger.)

Even though I noticed it, out of sheer laziness I didn’t do anything about it. I know this will sound crazy, but because I wear hair full-time with no plans on returning back to my wimpy bio hair, my bald spots didn’t phase me too much. Those of you wearing hair might understand (maybe!) but I’m sure those of you on the fence are reading this with a horrified look on your faces.

My #1 Rule to Prevent Traction Alopecia!

It’s fairly easy to prevent a good majority of traction alopecia due to topper clips by following the #1 rule I pass on about this subject. I’ve mentioned it in blog comments, within a post or two, and in every single email I’ve had you ladies about this topic: SEW IN EXTRA CLIPS.

Extra clips are your friend. They are the single best way to prevent traction alopecia/bald spots caused by clips pulling on your hair.

These are the ones I use: Topper clips

I’d recommend if you want to use these clips, you order with time to spare. I believe they come from China so they always take a few weeks to arrive. Why do I like these?

1) They have silicone to help prevent slipping (some will still happen but silicone definitely helps)
2) They are cheap!
3) You get a ton of them

Or, if you have older pieces laying around, harvest the clips from those. Sometimes, they “wear out” over time (meaning, they don’t hold as well because they get slightly bent out of shape, but in a pinch they will do.

If you have access to a local wig shop, you could ask if they carry them, too. The place near me (before I moved) charged $10 each, which was robbery, so I prefer to stick with ordering online.

One word of caution. The ones from Sally Beauty Supply did NOT work for me. Either my hair was too thin or they did not have enough grip, but my hair slid right through them. I’m not a very good sewer, and I was frustrated that I spent a good half hour sewing those on for them not to work at all.

(Don’t let this scare you–if you can sew a button, you can sew on a clip! I’m just not great at it, nor was I good in Home Economics, back in middle school.)

Here is my list of supplies needed to sew on additional clips to help prevent traction alopecia:

1) Clips
2) Curved needle—I highly recommend a curved, upholstery needle. Not only is it easy to weave in and out of the piece, but it’s stronger. You’ll need the extra strength on pieces that have a polyurethane (PU) rim. Many pieces have them, particularly at the front.
3) Thread—I just use any ol’ thread.

Sew the extra clips (make sure they are facing the correct way) around the perimeter of the piece. What I recommend is to flank any existing clips with new clips. So if you have one at back-center, sew one to the left and one to the right of it.

What this does it allows you to take pressure off your hair; every few wears you can use another clip location so you aren’t putting too much tension on one area of hair. We need to keep every precious hair we have, don’t you think?

So, what am I going to do about my bald spots?

Once I find the box my supplies are packed in, I think a little sewing project is in order. I’ve counseled you guys long enough on doing this, and it’s time I practice what I preach. I’ll be sewing in additional clips as soon as I can!

I’ll keep you all updated with pictures so we can see if the hair grows back. I’d imagine it will (it did with past pieces, but I HAVE been wearing this one awhile), but there likely comes a point of no return with traction alopecia if the hairs keep getting pulled out long enough, you know?

Current topper wearers, have you experienced bald spots cause of traction alopecia since you’ve started wearing hair?

(H)air Travel: Fake Hair and the TSA

My Texas move is officially in motion! Please bear with me over the next few weeks as I freak out about everything in life (i.e. I’ll be posting less frequently)…I promise as soon as the dust settles I’ll be back to it.

So, what happens when you are interviewing for work out of state? A lot of air travel. With security checks and walk-thru thingies that inevitably will beep and point everyone to a flashing, neon sign that reads, “Fake hair, fake hair!”…right?

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but to be honest, I wasn’t quite so sure what would happen. I had a feeling that my metal topper clips might just betray me.

wearing a topper through airport security

You may recall I posted awhile back about wearing microlink extensions on my super-thin hair, back before I started wearing toppers. These I wore through airport security and since my head was covered in 40 metal beads, I did get flagged when I walked through on one of my legs of my trip.

It was one of those machines where you enter and you put your arms up and you get scanned. It showed the person of an outline and where the “problem” was, which was all around my head.

Honestly, it was not a big deal. A TSA agent (who was wearing hair herself), came over and patted my head, and I told her, “I have hair extensions in” and she said, “Girl, I know that’s right” and I went on my merry way.

But those were extensions. ANYone can wear extensions. What I wear now is a solution to women’s hair loss. My cure for it. Slightly more…taboo. Or, maybe “taboo” isn’t the best word for it, but a topper is something so few people know about.

I thought about ways I could avoid having the metal topper clips set off the detector. For example, I considered wearing a wig on the plane – no clips, no metal, nothing to raise attention. But, I’m not 100% comfortable in wigs right now.

I could wear a big, stretchy headband and my hair in a ponytail. Eh, my ponytail is pathetic, so that option was out.

Concealers were a God-send at one point in time, but that ship has sailed.

I finally just said “screw it”, decided to wear my topper, metal clips and all, and hope for the best.

Would you believe not one alarm went off?!

I had to go through both a regular, walk-thru scanner as well and the full-on circular body-thing (does it have a name?? I’m struggling with that, here) and no so much as a blip occurred.

Now if it HAD, I already had my story in place: I would’ve just said I had extensions in, just like last time. They would have patted my head (maybe) and that would’ve been it.

But, that’s me.

If you are super-nervous about this and it comes down to an inspection, you could ask for a private screening, but in my opinion, that’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

There is one thing to note–on this trip, I was just traveling with my husband, who obviously knows there’s a chance the sensor might go off. And he’ll know why (no other random passengers will, though).

My next trip might be more interesting. I’m traveling with my parents to settle into our Texas life…they’ve been gracious enough to offer their services in watching my boys while my husband and I unpack and get the house ready. Two weeks from today, I’ll be at the airport with them.

And they don’t know I wear hair.

So, if that alarm goes off, I’ll sweetly tell the TSA that I have hair extensions in, and hope and pray that my parents are so busy tending to the boys (or putting their shoes back on, or zippering laptops back into carryons) that they don’t notice.

I can’t imagine they will…but, I guess you never know.

Actually, what I *might* do is wear my hair in a style that I’ve been meaning to show you guys for awhile now. I have a cute way to pin my hair back so it looks like a half-up, half-down style. It only takes a few minutes to do, but it uses a few metal bobby pins–so those might be my little cover-up story.

See how cute it is?

hair topper worn half up

Wish me luck on my move! There’s SO much going on right now and I’m on the brink of a panic attack almost every day. In a few weeks I’ll be back with my goal of twice-a-week updates, but I might be a little hit or miss until then. Do feel free to reach out via email, though!

How to Remove Shine From a Wig (My Secret Weapon)

Looking to remove shine from a wig? Sometimes synthetic wigs and toppers come with an unnatural shine…shine that looks a little, well, too shiny and fake. Not all wigs come shiny–Ellen Wille hair fibers are incredibly realistic right from the start as are a few Raquel Welch colors I’ve seen.

If your wig or topper is too shiny and you want to remove some of the shine, then you MUST invest in dry shampoo. But not just any dry shampoo–I’ve tested a few of them and I’ll let you in on my “dry shampoo” secret. Not all of them are created equal!

Dry-shampoo

From left to right, we have Bumble & Bumble Dry Shampoo (which you’ve mostly heard me talk about as a scalp concealer for bald spots, Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, Pantene Pro-V Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo, Batiste Dry Shampoo, and Klorane Dry Shampoo (with Oat Milk).

Quite the roundup, eh?

Battle of the Dry Shampoos: Remove Shine from a Wig

The first one I tried to lessen the shine from my wigs and toppers was the Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo. I could immediately see how this product might help to decrease the shine in synthetic wigs and toppers…just a quick spritz and it was dulled. However, the product itself is white (almost like you are spraying baby powder). This might not be bad if I had blond hair, however, it looked chalky on my medium brown pieces. Even after brushing through, the color of my hair was changed too much for my liking. It does wash right out, however.

I will note that this product had a really nice scent to it, though. It may be overpowering to sensitive noses, but it died down over the course of the day.

I knew I was on to something with these dry shampoos; I just had to find the right one. So, one by one I went, testing away, until I found two that worked for me.

First, let me show you the difference between a piece that is right out of the box, versus one that has been sprayed with my dry shampoo “winner” to help reduce the shine.

remove-shine-from-wig

Both toppers in the above pic are Milan by Noriko. Can you guess which one has been treated with the dry shampoo to help remove the shine?

If you guessed the hair on the right, you’d be correct.

Here’s another:

dry-shampoo-removes-shine

Same two pieces, just a slightly different angle. Again, the topper on the right has been sprayed with dry shampoo to help remove the shine.

remove-shine-synthetic-wig

In the photo above, I’m now standing on the other side of the hair, so the one that has had the shine removed is pictured on the left. I’ve tried to take these a few different ways with the sun shining on alternate areas so you can see the difference.

dry-shampoo-on-wigs

This last photo is similar to the very first one I showed you, but again, a slightly different perspective. The piece that has had shine removed is on the bottom.

So, what do you think? Do you see a difference?

And now, the dry shampoo(s) that works best for me:

best-dry-shampoo

I love, love, love these two dry shampoos for removing shine from wigs and toppers, for two different reasons.

The Klorane Dry Shampoo is a bit on the pricey side, but I consider this to be the Cadillac of dry shampoos. Its spritz is SO fine that it doesn’t leave a white, powdery residue like some of the other, less expensive brands do. It sprays nice and evenly and doesn’t leave my hair with a “coated” feeling.

It also smells SO good. I’m not sure if it’s the oat milk in it, or what, but it just smells…normal. Less artificial. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but some of the other options I tried smelled very perfume-y. I just want my hair to smell like hair, and not like I dipped my head in a dang field full of sunflowers.

The other option I like is Batiste Dry Shampoo. The pricing of this is at drugstore levels, which is nice, and the smell isn’t too overpowering (but it’s definitely there).

This is a tinted dry shampoo – it’s similar to my Bumble & Bumble (which is what I used to use to cover my bald spots prior to wearing fake hair) in that it sprays out with a color. In my case, it’s a brown color, however it does come in blond and maybe even black.

My “problem” with this is that UNLIKE using it to cover bald spots and thinning hair (which you CAN do), you want to spray this much more diffusely throughout your synthetic hair. Meaning, when you are focusing on covering, you are looking to spray a specific area. If you are looking to remove shine from a wig or topper, you want to kind of spray it all over. This make this product a wee bit messy. As in, my counters were covered in a fine, brown film (and I should’ve taken a photo!).

Much like anything in life, nothing is 100% perfect, and both of these dry shampoos are good…they just have trade-offs.

If you want something that is very fine, smells nice, doesn’t leave a mess, but is a bit pricier? Go with the Klorane Dry Shampoo.

If you want something that is very budget-friendly but you can live with constant clean up? Consider Batiste Dry Shampoo. Note: I did not experience any color run-off onto my clothes with this, even though it was messy in my bathroom!

In all of my photos above, I’ve actually used BOTH of these products. I like using the Batiste first as a light base coat. Then the Klorane on top of it to finish the job – the more-natural smell of the Klorane stands out then (the scent of the Batiste isn’t bad, I just much prefer the Klorane), and I use less of the more-expensive Klorane that way.

Want to know more about the dry shampoos I tested to remove shine from wigs and toppers? Especially interested in the option that I won’t recommend EVER (and found to be a huge waste of money)?

Then check out my Super Secret Page.

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