A: After experiencing your first vacuum hairpiece, you will most likely know that this solution is the one that works best for you and you will want to continue ordering them in the future. From my own experience, I’ve found there to be a natural progression with each hairpiece that follows this general lifeline: A new hairpiece will give you approx.2 years of wear before needing a repair. Before that time comes, you will place an order for your second hairpiece. When that one arrives, you send in your first for a repair and when that comes back it takes a backseat to your newest one. It’s still a greatly valued and useful hairpiece, but just not quite as fresh as your newest one. Each new hairpiece takes its place at the top of the hierarchy and becomes your first choice for the more important wear. Over time you will have 3 or more hairpieces and will have allocated some to be worn specifically for exercise, gardening or other less important activities. We give our hairpiece a life span is 3-5 years, but many of our clients continue to make use of a hairpiece much, much longer than that. Even though it may be too old for a repair, you can continue to wear your hairpiece in its current condition for as long as you like. This may mean covering a spot of hair loss with a scarf or hat, but this is a great way to get more wear out of an older hairpiece that you can use for exercise or going to the beach. Once a hairpiece reaches the point where it can longer be worn, don’t feel too bad about disposing of it. It has served you well and you have gotten your money’s worth out of it!
A: One of the most practical uses for having two vacuum hairpieces is that you can wear one and pack the other when you travel. Pack it in your carryon bag for safekeeping – it will sail right through security. As with long-term storage, place the bag of Styro peanuts inside the cap and put the hairpiece inside a zipper lock bag with the corner cut off. With two hairpieces, you will be able to protect your “good” hairpiece for tours and evening wear while having a secure solution to wear while partaking in water sports at the beach or pool. Swimming in the ocean and snorkeling is no problem. Just be sure to rinse out that salt water and run some conditioner through the hair before allowing it to dry.
A: Always keep your hairpiece dry and out of any light source – yes, even indoor light will fade our color! For short term storage, I keep mine on a head form inside my bathroom vanity. For longer term storage, put the bag of Styro peanuts that came inside the cap of your hairpiece and then put the hairpiece inside a zipper lock bag that has a corner cut off for air circulation and store on a shelf. Our hairpiece is extremely durability and can have a very long lifespan, but the age at which it can be repaired is limited to 4-5 years. For this reason, it’s actually best to wear your hairpiece rather than store it for too long.
A: Look for leave-in conditioners that contain ingredients that act like a sunscreen for your hair as this will help to slow down this inevitable natural process. Usually after a year or so of wear (depending on your lifestyle) you will notice that the top of your hair is especially lighter than the underneath color. If you were to compare your hair sample to this hair, you would see the difference immediately. This sample can be brought to your colorist to help her choose the color to be used for your “low-lights”. Foil low-lights are a great way to restore your color and have a very natural look. Additionally, by using the foiling technique, your cap will be protected from the hair color. Even though our silicone cap is impervious to absorbing color, why put it to the test when using foils is so effective? Color toning is a good coloring option used to remove the unwanted red from your hair. This is a natural process and will happen to all hair colors, so if it bothers you, try to stay on top of it by using a “purple” shampoo and/or conditioner. Always follow any hair coloring with a deep conditioning treatment as this will seal in the color and protect the hair. Low-lights add color back into your hair, not remove it as in the case of highlights, so it will not be as damaging to your hair although it will gradually wash out and need to be repeated at least once a year if not sooner to maintain your rich color.
A: A repair is necessary when there has been enough hair loss to cause you to feel uncomfortable wearing your hairpiece. We can expect to see some normal “wear and tear” hair loss over time, and depending on how well you care for your hairpiece, this could occur between 18-24 months or later. A repair is labor-intensive and involves removing the interior lining to prepare the cap for implantation of additional hair that is matched to the current color and texture of your hair at the original length. In some cases, we can replace bangs that were cut too short which can be a real life-saver! Expect about 3 months or so to get your repair back and plan on booking a styling appointment when you do to cut in the newly added hair as well as possibly refreshing the color. It will feel great to pay this respect to your hairpiece and it will reward you with several more years of service. After a hairpiece reaches the age of 4-5 years, it becomes increasingly difficult to perform the rigors surrounding a repair (the silicone becomes brittle and falls apart) and rather than destroy your hairpiece, the repair team will deem that it is in your best interest to return your hairpiece as is. This means that it has reached the end of its “repairable life span” but it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to wear it for less demanding events.
A: Our hairpieces are designed to look effortlessly beautiful all the while providing us with a several years of dependability and the confidence to live as we choose. Your custom vacuum will quickly become a part of you – a true prosthesis – that you will never want to be without. It is hugely responsible for your personal identity and the way others recognize and relate to you. It also represents a significant financial investment that you will want to protect and care for. As tempting as it is to treat it like real hair that is growing out of your head, we must never be that casual with it if we are to get the most service out of it. A big part of my job is to help you understand what you can and can’t do with your hairpiece in order for it to live a long and healthy life! First and foremost is the issue of sleeping in it. The short answer to that question is Never. Also in this category is napping in a high-back chair, resting the head back in a recliner or any other situation that allows the head to rest on an object. It is vital to keep all forms of pressure and rubbing away from the cap as this will eventually lead to “mechanical breakage” of the hair (the effect similar to bending a wire back and forth enough times until it snaps in two) at the vulnerable implant site on the cap. Another form of pressure can come from your hands if you are not using the right technique for adjusting the fit and suction of your cap. Other obvious problems would arise from wearing a headset, snug visor, scarf or hat. There is just one other behavior to avoid and that is “over-handling” your hair. This can be a pernicious one since it may be totally subconscious to the point where you may have to rely on others to tell you whenever they see you touching your hair. Running your hands through your hair or fluffing it up may feel good but every time you do that, you are causing the hair to bend this way and that which will lead to mechanical breakage and hair loss. We can and must try to prevent this type of damage from occurring as it is the #1 reason for a premature repair.
A: After towel drying my freshly washed and conditioned hair, I combine a pump of leave-in hair oil and a pump of a smoothing/styling product in my palm and finger comb it throughout my hair before combing it through with a wide-toothed comb. I usually plan on having the time to allow my hair to air dry. After wards, I use my InStyler Pro, a combination curling iron and flat iron in one (see My Favorite Things) to style my hair on the Styro mannequin which is suctioned to my counter. The style holds up nicely until it is time for a wash again – unless I get caught in the rain in which case, a touch-up styling might be necessary.
A: Daily cleaning of the inside of our silicone cap is important for several reasons. One is to keep the “pores” of silicone open so that vapor (coming off a heated scalp) can pass through freely. Naturally occurring scalp oil, perspiration and makeup can clog the pores thereby preventing vapor from escaping and small bubbles may form. (This is not harmful to the hairpiece, but could become an annoyance – your agent will tell you how to get rid of them safely.) Having a strong suction requires a clean, dry and non-oily scalp along with direct skin-to-silicone contact (no stubble hair regrowth). If a cap accumulates scalp oil (and you can feel it when you run your finger inside the cap) it may not grip the scalp as well as it should which in turn may cause some unexpected movement of the cap. This will cause you to keep “checking” your fit which can eventually lead to premature hair breakage – something we all want to avoid. You can use any type of soap or shampoo that you know is non-irritating to your skin and a wash cloth or netted facial scrubber to clean out your cap. Be sure to rinse well and dry thoroughly before wearing. See My Favorite Things for a homemade cleaning solution that gets all of the oils out of your cap!
A: If you are wearing your hairpiece every day, expect to wash and condition your hair once a week on average. If you’re lucky enough to have a second vacuum (an exercise piece for example) then you could expect to double the time between shampooing. You will be cleaning the inside of the cap every day (see next Q), but the hair itself will not be getting that dirty. It doesn’t come into contact with scalp oil or perspiration but will pick up dust, smoke or odors in the air. We really only need to heat style our hair once after washing. Since we don’t sleep in our hair, the style holds up beautifully! You can extend the time between washings by using a little dry shampoo on the hair touching the oily forehead area. As far as products go, our main concern is preventing the hair from drying out since it doesn’t get the conditioning oils that are normally combed through growing hair. Regular styling with heat tools and unavoidable environmental factors need to be counterbalanced with good moisture-restoring products. Look for salon quality products formulated for “dry or chemically-treated” hair as these will contain these additional moisturizing agents. Check my Recommended Products in the Hair and Makeup Techniques section of my site. You will be receiving handouts on How To Wear, Care and Maintenance and Helpful Hints with your first hairpiece order.