Wigs/Systems 101

As seen on alt.baldspot

Welcome all…

What you are about to read is "REQUIRED READING" for all who are
considering a wig or system as a solution to their hair loss problem.

The following will be posted once a month forever on alt.baldspot for
the world to read. If you are a seasoned veteran of the alt.baldspot
news group and much of this is "old hat" to you, please refrain from
commenting on that fact. As the title states this is "Wigs/Systems
101" which is intended for newbies to this news group or just
individuals who lack the knowledge contained within these pages.

I would like to begin with stating that not all of this material is
mine alone. I copied and pasted much of it together from other posts
in the alt.baldspot news group to save me from having to type it in my
own words. Please DO NOT give me full credit for this document.
Again it is not entirely mine. Thank you…

I am a former Hair Club for Men "HCM" client. So I know the pros and
cons about hairpieces. Believe me, there's more con's than pro's.

Wigs/Systems/Rugs worn by actors in the movies and on TV are delicate,
"lace front" hairpieces that don't last very long and require a
virtual army of stylists to keep them looking good. Even then, they
can still look ratty and be spotted a million miles away (Paul Reiser,
William Shatner, Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery in his hair movies like
"The Hunt for Red October" to name a few).

My point is that the average Joe on the street can't afford these
types of pieces on a regular basis-- and if he could, he probably
couldn't get them to look nice without a lot of help. Also, since most
of "those" types of wig/systems are shown on either t.v. or in the
movies it is not a realistic setting. In the real world and off the
camera and without the manipulation of the film crew it would not look
all that realistic.

A distinction must be made between a person wearing an "off the
shelf" rug that's serviced maybe
once a month and worn everyday and a "Hollywood type" wearing an
expensive piece once or twice and serviced by an army.

So, now we have the above mentioned average Joe wearing a typical rug.
If it's human hair, it's going to shed. That means more hair will have
to be added. Also, it's going to fade. That means it is going to have
to be colored. Things like swimming, skiing, running, and being out in
the sun, etc. all just accelerate these problems. (By the way, every
wig/system wearer knows that doing anything like the above mentioned
activities is just a dream) After a unit has been colored, it's
sometimes hard to get a good color match. You also tend to end up
either with a red or greenish tint. These problems will still occur
regardless of what type of base you have for your "wig/system".

Does everyone know how a wig/system/rug is attached? Regardless of
what the "wig/system" is called, regardless of what base it has,
regardless of what type of hair it uses (human or synthetic), a rug
has to be attached to your scalp in some fashion. There are four ways:
glue, clips, tape, and weaving.

In the first place, a "track" is shaved around your head down to the
skin where the unit will be attached. Super glue is then spread along
the donut shaped base of the wig/system and then placed on your scalp.
Tape is sometimes used and is applied to the unit. The unit is then
pasted to your head. With this option, you can't take the unit off
until its next serviced, perhaps 3 or 4 weeks. You may also have a
glue/tape combo, where the sides are glued down and the front is
secured by tape that's changed every day.
Sounds like fun, right? You guessed right if you think that would make
it hard for you to clean your scalp. After a month it really gets
ugly under the system. Kinda smelly and ugly looking. After all you
haven't been cleaning your scalp for a month. What do you expect?

It's really fun when they service the unit. The take clippers and
shave around the edges and pull the unit off. You've got a big track
around your head, normal hair around the sides. The top is sticky and
with whatever natural hair you have. It feels great when they wash
your scalp. You hate going in for a service, but what are you going to
do? You need the unit to look halfway normal.

Weaving is where they sew the unit to your existing hair. It's cleaner
than the glue, but as your own hair grows, the unit becomes looser.
Also, the pull on your own hair can cause "traction loss". This is
also know as "traction alopecia" the lose of even more permanent hair
along the sides and back of the head. Hair Club for Men says because
of "traction alopecia" is why they prefer to glue it on. I also
suspect that gluing it on is much faster for them than weaving it on.
Thus, more clients can be seen on a daily basis. Generating even more
revenue for the company.

Clips are pieces of metal sewn into the sides of your hair and then
the unit is "clipped" on. At least with this attachment method you can
take the damn thing off at night. You really can't let anybody see
however, because you still look pretty funny with a half shaven head
and these clips sewn into the sides of your hair.

Oh, we're just getting started with all the fun you can have wearing a
wig/system. You can't really let anyone touch your hair. The wind is
still your enemy. If it rains or you sweat, the unit can look pretty
ratty, real quick along with looking REAL fake. How about the stares
from strangers in public places? They are really not being rude, but
it's a natural reaction. The eyes goes from your face to your hairline
and back again. Yep, you're busted.

I've read stories about guys who say they have worn a wig/system for
years and never heard one remark. Yeah, never heard one remark to
their face. Around the office or out in public your "the guy with the
rug" (and that's a kinder sentiment). Many more people would like to
ridicule you behind your back or when you leave the office or place of
work. Perhaps in the lunch or break room it might be brought up. Or
even in the men's or women's room. "Hey you know that guy, you know
the one with the wig/system/rug". Many who have been told that you
are wearing a wig may just smile or giggle at you.

Now for the details of what is entailed in getting a wig/system and
the cost of said system or systems.
First of all you make an appointment to see a salesman at Hair Club
for Men or Apollo or where ever else they are all the same. At the
appointment the salesman will usually show you a video of their
systems. The guys are swimming, horseback riding, and driving down
the highway in a convertible with a fine babe on their arm. Hair Club
for Men and the like are obviously trying to show their systems as
real life as they possibly can. Unfortunately, you can not do any of
this in real life. We will get to that later in this "manifesto" ;-)

Also, if you ask HCM to send/mail you material on their wig/systems
they will send/mail you out a brochure. In this brochure you will see
men swimming, playing sports etc. The pictures of the men in their
brochure are taken from such angles as to conceal the "frontal
hairline base problem". I suspect the pictures are doctored as well
for good measure. How is that one for misleading?

The salesmen at these companies are usually trained in the "Psychology
of hair loss". They know what you want to hear. They realize the
fact that many are in a state of panic regarding their hair loss.
Many salesmen at these companies will also try to 'size you up'
psychologically. They will often use other psychological tricks to
take advantage of you.

Such as when you go into the office and the salesman is there with all
these pictures on the wall of him at the beach, by the pool, doing
sports, etc. This is just a cheap psychological tactic. It says "buy
the "system", and look what you can do--look at all the fun you can
have-- look at what your missing..." My sales guy even had a gym bag
with a basketball in plain sight-- this was yet another message "I'm
an active guy-- I'm young, I'm fit, and its all because I wear a

Here is an exact quote form another former wig/system client regarding
other psychological tricks.

"On my first consultation, I wasn't convinced (I wish the hell I had
stayed that way). My sales guy had a folder with my name on the top.
He made a big show of writing a little blurb in my "file" "Probably
will do
nothing about his hair loss..." he said aloud as he wrote it. (this is
after I told him no thanks after his pitch). This really played with
my mind. I felt that my thin hair was a character flaw, and I had
a reasonable method of fixing a bad problem. Very smooth. Years later,
with experience and a college education, I can easily see through the
marketing and psychological tactics."

The salesman at Hair Club for Men and the like are usually wearing
wigs/systems that look 100% natural up close. The hair is coming out
for the scalp. Their wig/system is SO real because it is a totally
different system than the one you are going to get or be sold. Their
wig/system is usually maintained "Daily" by the HCM salon staff. They
must look as natural and as good as possible at all times. This is
because they are selling the products. What I am trying to say is
that when YOU go to the appointment you won't even notice this front
hairline problem because it will not be there for you to notice. You
are now asking what do I mean by front hairline problem? Ok, here it
is. The systems you are sold are more rugged since you will only be
in for maintenance once a month. The front hairline or base of YOUR
wig/system WILL NOT look like that of the salesman. Your wig/system
will not look like it is coming/growing out from the scalp. The hair
of your wig/system must be styled in such a way as to conceal the
frontal hairline or base. Now are you getting the picture?

How is all that for misleading? Ok, now you are taken to a room and
Reynolds Plastic Wrap is put on your head. Then the clear scotch tape
is applied over the Reynolds Plastic Wrap to kinda make a cast of the
top of your head. At this point a marker is used to outline the base
of the wig/system to be constructed. Also, a small sample of hair is
taken from the back of your head. This is so they can match the
coloring when your wig/system comes in from the "manufacturer". All
this is then sent out so it can be manufactured. You will have to wait
about a month for your wig/system to come in. At that time you are
told to let your hair grow and payment must be made in full.

When you come back to Hair Club for Men for your first fitting and cut
you will try to be sold a second system. Also, you are told that
every 3 three months the system has to be sent off to be reconditioned
and hair added. So you will need a second wig/system to wear in the
meanwhile. But this is ok; because HCM and the like will try to help
you out by selling you the second wig/system at a reduced rate.
Usually at $700 to $800 dollars. You are also asked to sign the
document/contract saying you are satisfied with the first system you
just received. Gee kinda fast to be satisfied. You just got it 2
minutes 32.5 seconds ago. But oh well. What the hell. So you sign
and buy the second wig/system/rug thinking your hair problem is a
thing of the past. The total cost of these wig/systems will be about
$3,000 dollars to get it all started. That includes at least two
systems and does not include all the maintenance fees and other
support products you will need.

Now you are told your first maintenance is free. But the next one
will be $70 dollars each. Plus tip… You are told "our clients take
real good care of the stylists here". Meaning they expect you to tip
them $20 to $30 dollars each visit. Also, you will need to buy
Shampoo, Conditioner, Revitalizing formula and Hair Spray and tape for
the front of the wig/system/rug which always seems to lift up and come
lose after the first few days.

You will end up spending about $100 to $120 a month maintaining this
wig/system. But that's ok because HCM or Apollo will help you out
here yet again. Some clubs, Like HCM, sell "system plans"-- where you
get two hairpieces a year, services, etc. for a flat monthly fee. This
will save you money in the short term but is not really a good deal
over the long haul. These Clubs and hair organizations want a
permanent client-- they want you to be dependent on them for hair,
colorings, haircuts, products, etc.

It is a difficult task to educate those who know absolutely nothing or
very little about wig/systems. It is difficult to explain to a newbie
that from the start they have an "untrained eye". Many wig/systems
look good in the beginning to the "untrained eye" or "rookie". Many
lack the experience that comes with being an experienced veteran of
the wig/system industry. But, after a while, you will become 'expert'
at detecting a piece (including your own).

Many wig/system business's have figured out that the staple of their
clients come from botched hair transplants. For these unfortunate
individuals they can not simple take their wig/systems off and throw
them under their car tire where they belong. For them it covers the
often horrific and butchered results of scars and plugs or patches of
hair. HCM and Apollo prefer these men as clients for the simple fact
that they can NEVER leave HCM or Apollo and MUST pay whatever HCM or
Apollo decide to charge them.

Ways to spot a wig/systems

#1. Wigs/systems are easily spotted if you know what to look for. The
number one rule of thumb is if you can not SEE the hair growing out
from the scalp in the frontal hair line. The individual is SUSPECT
and is more that likely wearing a wig/system. Even those who have a
full head of hair and choose to wear it in bangs. Usually only one
side of the hairline is covered by the bang. Not the ENTIRE frontal
hair line. Again this is VERY suspicious.

#2. With time (a few weeks for some to a few months for others) the
wig/system color can become two tone in nature. The top and sides are
not the exact same color or texture as the sides and back of the hair.

#3. The wig/system is unnaturally thick and the back vertex part of
the scalp is totally covered. Even when better wig/systems try to
mimic this "showing of some scalp" they usually fail miserably.

#4. The individual in question never runs his hand through his or her
fake wig/system/rug hair. When we are tired or stressed it is a
natural reaction to run your hand through your hair. Usually from the
front of the scalp or frontal hairline to the back. Especially when
you come in from a windy day into a building. Yet, individuals who
wear wig/systems can never do this for fear of showing the frontal
hairline which must remain covered at all times when in public.

#5. The hair of the wig/system will never sweat. This is a dead give
away. The fake hair will not sweat because it is not really part of
the scalp and can not receive the sweat from the scalp.

#6. The hair will always be styled in such a way as to conceal the
frontal hairline.

#7. After a while wig/system can look kinda dry. They lack the shiny
or oily appearance of real hair.

#8. (This is the most difficult to detect of the bunch) The hair of
wig/systems will not bounce in a natural way when one is doing
something athletic. Also, a light to moderate breeze will not blow
much of the hair from it present position. Many of the styles are
kept in place with a lot of hair spray. Since it is not real hair
"the front in particular" must be kept from moving or flapping up and
down like real hair. This is because if the front of the hair line is
exposed for ANY amount of time the base of the system will be seen,
and thus you are busted. So this would also be an indication of how
to spot a wig/system. The "lack" of natural movement of the hair. An
artificial lifelessness or general lack of movement when movement of
the hair would be expected "under certain conditions".

Other problems with wig/systems. When one first gets a wig/system
they often feel their hair loss problem is a thing of the past. This
is simply not the case at all. What usually ends up happening is that
the individual who chose the wig/system route usually ends up becoming
paranoid if anyone can tell they have a wig/system on or not. And
since more and more of the public is becoming educated to these
wig/systems this paranoia is not unfounded. Anyone who really has
experience with wig/systems and has nothing to gain financially will
never recommend one as a viable solution to the hair loss problem.

Also, the wig/system limits what you can do SO much that they just
simply are not a realistic solution to the hair loss problem. I could
no longer ride my 1988 Honda 750 Interceptor motorcycle. One of my
many passions. The wig/system would not let me. If I rode without my
helmet the wind would mold the front of my hair line back exposing the
base of my wig/system, which I had to keep covered. If I rode with
my helmet on it would smash the top of my wig/system to the point
where it looked like a really fake wig when I took of the helmet. So
I could only ride it with my helmet and ride back home. No more
stopping and chatting with other café type bike riders or take my
helmet off and talk to the girls who like these types of bikes. It
was just ride around and ride back home. As you can see it took some
of the fun out of it. I also could not swim. I love to swim. I have
always loved the water even as a small boy. Forget it with a

Wig/systems are just not the answer. Many in this news groups will
try to tell you they are. Be cautious of such news bearers.

Some will try to convince you that all you have to do is "find the
right company or business" and all the problems contained within this
document will disappear. Yet others will try to say "Just because you
are too lazy to do a little maintenance you trash the whole thing.
They work". I and many others maintained our wig/systems religiously.
Unfortunately, the inherent problems with wig/systems still remained.

Be wary of anyone who tells you that wigs/systems are "the way to go".
They are usually naive individuals who lack much of the knowledge
contained herein.

Stay away from wigs/systems/rugs---you are just trading one set of
concerns about your hair for another. Along with losing a
considerable amount of money.

A special thanks to Steve and others in the alt.baldspot news group
who made this document possible.
Revision (05/16/98)

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