Toupees are worn by celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Sean Connery and Enrique Iglesias. A cosmetic hairpiece could help you too, if you want to hide patches of thinning hair or the beginnings of a bald head. You can find out more about the different types of toupee and their pros and cons below.
What’s the difference between a toupee and a wig?
A toupee is like half a wig. Whilst a wig simulates a whole head of hair, a toupee covers a smaller area of your head. With a hairpiece, you can conceal patches of thinning hair and make the hair in those areas look fuller. “Toupee” is a French word meaning “tuft of hair”. It’s related to the German word “toupieren”, which means “to backcomb” (i.e. combing the hair towards the roots to make it look fuller).
The toupee: for a receding hairline, diffuse hair loss or a bald head in men.
A toupee is particularly suitable for men who suffer from diffuse or hereditary hair loss. It can conceal thinning patches of hair, a receding hairline and even a half-bald head. A good toupee, worn properly, can recreate the look of full hair. But of course, this cosmetic solution can’t do anything about your hair loss itself. If you suffer from other forms of hair loss such as alopecia areata, alopecia universalis or alopecia totalis, a toupee is not usually recommended. In these cases you are better off with a wig.
What types of toupees are there?
Toupees are available in many different quality grades. A toupee may consist of real hair or synthetic hair. The different materials each have their own pros and cons:
Toupees made from synthetic hair are cheap, and allow for high hair density. They are also very colourfast and easy to care for. But many toupees made from synthetic materials don’t stand up well to heat or friction – the material can wear out quickly. Cheap toupees of this type look particularly artificial and unnatural.
Toupees made from real hair have a much more authentic appearance. They tend to be more durable and more heat-resistant than synthetic toupees, and can even be dyed. Real hair toupees are time-consuming to care for, however. Real hair also comes with a much heftier price tag, and exposure to sunlight can cause it to fade or change colour over time so that it no longer matches your actual hair colour.
What you need to bear in mind when choosing a toupee
You should always take your time to find the right toupee. If you choose the wrong one it may look artificial, oddly stiff or ‘helmet-like’. Other people will immediately realise you are wearing a hairpiece. The dividing line between your real hair and your toupee needs to be invisible (or as close to it as possible), otherwise the toupee will be easily recognisable as such. Remember:
- Your hairpiece must match your natural hair colour.
- The thickness of the toupee hair must match that of your real hair.
- The toupee needs to match your hair’s natural direction of growth.
Industrially produced models often don’t meet the standards for a good toupee. So it’s a good idea to have a toupee specially made for you – one that suits you and your hair type perfectly. This comes at a price: the cost of a tailor-made toupee can run into three or even four figures.
The toupee in everyday life
A toupee slips out of place easily, so it needs to be fixed to your scalp. You have to buy special adhesive tape or liquid adhesive for this. These will hold a toupee in place temporarily – or permanently, if you wish. But if you tend to sweat a lot, fixing your toupee permanently is not advisable.
Sweat can build up between your scalp and the hairpiece, which can lead to unpleasant odours and itchiness. You therefore need to clean your toupee regularly and thoroughly with special shampoo. Not everyone is keen on the hassle involved in caring for a toupee, and the cost of adhesives and cleaning products soon adds up.
Wearing a toupee can be uncomfortable on hot days, especially if you are sensitive to heat. People with allergies or a very sensitive scalp may need to avoid toupees anyway. The glue can cause allergic reactions or a reddening of the scalp.
Scalp micropigmentation as a long-term alternative to a toupee
Scalp micropigmentation is an innovative alternative to a toupee. It can permanently conceal patches of thinning hair on your head, and even large areas of hair loss, without the drawbacks of a toupee. Scalp micropigmentation always looks totally natural, doesn’t require any adhesives or special maintenance, and is also safe and suitable for people with allergies or a sensitive scalp. We’ll be happy to advise you and give you an overview of what scalp micropigmentation involves. Just send us some photos of your hair loss, and we’ll advise you free of charge!