Hair Replacement | Hair System Base Guide
Hair replacement / hair system bases are one of the most crucial parts of your hair system. Unfortunately they can also be the most confusing.
Hair Strand-by-Hair Strand, Skin Grafts, Cosmetic Follicle Therapy, Clear Skin, Invisible Thin Skin, Super Skin, Silk Base, New York Lace, Hollywood Lace, High Definition, Toupee, Wig, Hairpiece, Hair System…. What the?!?
Even though the hair replacement industry uses an abundance of decorative names to market these hair system bases, there really is only two types of basic construction materials: Polymer and Mesh Fabric.
Polymer Hair System Base
Polymers create an imitation skin-like material and are commonly referred to as (poly) hair replacement, hair system bases because of their close resemblance to real skin tones.
Depending on the type of polymers used, polyurethane hair replacement, hair system bases can be extremely durable and because of this are sometimes added to hair system bases to strengthen stressed areas such as the part and the hair replacement system base perimeter. Polymer hair system bases are constructed from two primary materials: Silicone and/or Polyurethane, they are not breathable and can be very hot and uncomfortable.
Silicone by nature is very durable as it repels body acids and other elements. However it cannot be dyed, so achieving a natural skin tone is difficult, plus attaching these hair replacement, hair systems with hair tape or liquid hair adhesives is virtually impossible.
Polyurethane is not as durable as silicone but it can be dyed easily to resemble natural skin tones and can be more easily attached using liquid and hair tape adhesives. On the downside, polyurethane is vulnerable to body acids and will turn yellow and breakdown over time. To overcome this, silicone and polyurethane are sometimes joined during construction of the hair replacement, hair system base.
Mesh Fabric Hair System Base
Mesh fabrics are used to create a fine lace material and are typically made of either nylon or polyester. There are hair replacement, hair systems constructed entirely of mesh fabric, but more commonly this fabric (lace) is only used in the more exposed areas of the hair system as they provide a more natural look. Depending on the weight / thickness of the material it may have a shorter lifespan.
Nylon is a monofilament (single strand) thread woven to create the mesh.
Polyester is a multifilament (multi strand) fibre that is knitted, not woven.
The knitting process gives it a distinct honeycomb look.
Mesh fabric hair replacement, hair systems can be very delicate and easily tear. They are vulnerable to body acids which can cause early deterioration and damage. It is common to replace mesh fabric hair replacement / hair systems more regularly than polymer hair systems. Despite these drawbacks, mesh fabric remains the most popular type of hair replacement system. They consistently provide a natural and undetectable hairline plus they are comfortable and temperature cool to wear.
In hair replacement / hair system bases, 3 design categories reign supreme.
Hair Replacement | Lace Hair System
Made entirely of mesh fabric or “lace” material, these hair relacement, hair systems are the hottest trend in the hair replacement industry as they are the lightest and most breathable and offer the most natural appearance possible. A full lace hair replacement system can be made from many different types of lace materials to increase the durability, however will probably have a limited lifespan and require more regular replacement.
Hair Replacement | Lace Front Hair System
To achieve the natural appearance of a total hair replacement lace hair system yet provide a longer lifespan, the hair replacement industry has created hair replacement systems using lace material only in the front and hairline area. These hair replacement lace front hair systems are available in a variety of different designs and materials. Mostly hair replacement lace front hair systems use polyurethane material in the back and top to add strength and durability.
The drawback to these types of hair systems are in the way they feel because of the varying weight between lace in the front of the hair system and polyurethane in the back; running your fingers through your hair ( hair system ) will sometimes reveal a small “bump” at the point where the two materials meet.
Hair Replacement | Polyurethane Hair System
Hair replacement or hair systems made entirely of polyurethane are common in the hair replacement industry because of their durability.
The biggest drawback with a polyurethane hair replacement system is that they are not breathable. This often causes the hair replacement, hair system to be temperature hot and less comfortable to wear than a hair replacement lace hair system.
Hair Replacement | Hair System Ventilation
Ventilation has a lot to do with both the appearance and durability of your hair replacement or hair system. Knowing a little bit about ventilation and how the hair is attached to your hair system might help you achieve a better looking hair replacement, hair system.
How is the hair attached to a hair replacement / hair system?
The most popular types of ventilation are called knotting, injection and looping. Knotting is most commonly used in hair replacement lace hair systems but can also be used with hair replacement poly hair systems as well. Injection and looping are often confused with one another. Both types are only available in polyurethane hair replacement systems as they appear as if the hair is growing from the scalp.
Hair Replacement Injection & Looping Ventilation
Hair Replacement Injection Ventilation
Injection is most common in hair replacement polyurethane hair systems. It requires a thicker hair system base so the hair can be sealed between a layer of polyurethane and silicone. The best part is there is no hair return. That means all the hair follicles go in the same direction so tangling is rarely an issue.
Hair Replacement Looping Ventilation
Looping on the other hand means the hair is sewn through the hair system base almost in a V or U pattern. There is a hair return with looping and it isn’t as strong as injection. However, the polyurethane layer of the hair replacement, hair system can be much thinner.
The Hair System Knotting Process
Knotting is most common in hair replacement lace hair systems. The hair is tied around the mesh material in very tiny knots. These hair knots are usually available in a few different sizes: double knots, single knots and half knots.
Hair System Double Knotting
Double knotting is ideal for a very thick hair system density with lots of volume and height. The bigger hair knot size makes it difficult to lay the hair down flat so the hairstyle should be fuller.
Hair System Single Knotting
Single hair knots are the easiest to lay flat and best suit a hair system freestyle hair pattern.
Hair System Half Knotting
Half hair knots are the smallest and most undetectable hair knot and provide some lift. The half knot is even smaller than a single knot and can also be used in a slick back hair system style.
Hair System Bleached Knots
These hair knots are put through a bleaching process after being tied to the hair replacement, hair system base, taking out most of the colour leaving a virtually invisible knot, giving the appearance that the hair is growing from the scalp. The drawback of bleaching hair replacement, hair system knots is that it can weaken the hair knot reducing the lifespan of the hair replacement system.