People must ponder many factors when determining the size of their base. The following information will help you consider different criteria before settling on the actual dimensions of your base.
If you are relatively happy with the density of your growing hair on the sides and back of your head, you may want to choose a partial system with a base that covers just the thinnest area of hair on the top of your head. In this case, you can match the hair density on the perimeter of the base to the density of your growing hair. This will help ensure even blending between the base and your growing hair.
If you’re lacking the density you would like on the sides and back of your head, there is another option. Consider increasing the size of your base to cover more of your head, as this will help you achieve the fullness and coverage you seek. Since your hair will continue to grow underneath the system, don’t increase your base size by too much, as healthy, dense hair growth under a system can be itchy and cause adhesive bonds to break down more quickly.
Simply increasing your system’s density may not give you the look you would like. For instance, if your hair system is 4 inches by 6 inches, increasing the density will provide fullness and coverage on the top of your head. However, if your growing hair isn’t dense enough to create the illusion of fullness at the transition point (where the system and your growing hair meet), hair on the sides and back of your head will look thin and transparent.
If you’re unsure of the base size you need, we recommend keeping it on the smaller side. Begin by covering the thinnest area of hair. If you feel you need more coverage, you can always go larger on your next system. Keep in mind you may periodically need to increase the size of your base to accommodate the natural thinning of your hair as you age.
If you have a defined thinning area
When you have a defined thinning area that covers a large or fairly large portion of your head, we recommend you trace the area and add a half-inch around the perimeter to ensure that the edge of the base meets the densest part of your growing hair. This method will help achieve a well-blended look.
For a smaller area located at the front of your head, adding a half-inch around the perimeter may not give you the result you want. This is because a small hair system doesn’t allow the hair to fall in a way that would look natural. The best thing to do in a case like this is to extend the back of the base to get more coverage on top of the head.
If the thin area is in more than one location, first decide how you would like to wear your hair. Using the rate and amount of hair loss you are experiencing as a gauge, create a base with a size and shape that best suits your needs. Our hair techs are very experienced in this and are happy to assist with this decision.
For diffuse loss or all-over hair thinning
With diffuse loss, it is perfectly normal to take a few attempts before getting your system just right. Let your desired hairstyle and the coverage you need be your guide when choosing the size of your base. Consider all other options before deciding on a full cap system, because they can be challenging. You may want to start with a partial or three-quarter base and adjust the density of the hair as needed in order to blend with your growing hair. This page can provide more detailed information on sizing your base for diffuse loss.
In order to conceal the transition point on the back of your head and allow the hair to fall naturally when you lean forward, we recommend a base that extends past the point where the crown of your head starts to curve down. However, it is best to keep your base above the occipital bone for partial and three-quarter systems.
The area above the occipital bone — the bone at the lower, back part of the skull — is considered the safe zone. For partial and three-quarter hair systems, it is best to keep your base above the occipital bone in order to have a stronger bond. Because of the curvature on this part of the head, wrapping the system below the occipital bone — the area to avoid — can affect the integrity of the bond. However, if you need a full cap system, you may have to bring your base down below the safe zone.
Consider your preferred hairstyle
Your desired hairstyle is important when determining your base size. For instance, the length of hair required for some hairstyles may affect your decision.
If you like to wear your hair pulled up, take it into consideration when deciding where your base should be on the sides of your head. Depending on the density of your growing hair, it’s possible to create the appearance of a bulky “ridge” at the transition point where your growing hair is pulled up over the hair system. If you lack density in your growing hair, it may be difficult to conceal the transition point or have a natural look when the hair is pulled up. Typically this is not a problem when the hair is pulled straight back or into a low ponytail.
If you prefer to wear your hair down, you also need to consider the density of your growing hair at different points on the base. For example, if you increase the size of your base, you may need to lower the hair density on the sides and back of the system in order to avoid creating too much volume in certain areas.
The trick to successfully wearing a partial or three-quarter cap is to have it blend seamlessly with your growing hair. Choosing the correct size is a crucial step in this process. There are several key aspects to consider, including the length of your hair system, if your growing hair will be exposed or not, and whether or not you have diffused hair loss. These pages shed light on some aspects of blending that can confuse beginning and veteran hair wearers alike.
If you have little or no hair
If you have no growing hair on your head, a full cap system is your best choice. The less hair you have to shave, the easier it is to wear a system that covers your entire head.
A solution for blending issues
To achieve a natural look with your hair system, proper blending is vital. However, as mentioned above, if the density of your growing hair on the sides and back of your head is thin and makes it difficult for you to blend properly at the transition line, we recommend using a full cap.
If you have diffuse hair loss, your hair may be thin all over, giving no clear indication of where to start and stop a partial hair system. This type of loss can also create issues with blending, making a full cap a better solution. People often attempt to compensate for thinning on the sides and back by wearing a heavy density and longer hair length, relying on it to cover the thin hair. When wearing the system, they worry that the thin area on the sides and back is exposed. Not only do they limit the hairstyles they can wear, but the difference in density can be visible in windy or wet conditions.
Although this is uncommon, some clients transition to a full cap because they struggle to match the color or texture of their hair system to their growing hair.
If there are times or situations in which you do not feel like wearing a hair system, a full cap gives you the option of sporting a completely bald look, which is a fashion choice for many men. For example, if you are traveling and don’t want to bring your entire hair care regimen along, you can go without your full cap for a bald or shaved-head look.
Full cap limitations (drawbacks)
When wearing a hair system, we recommend you shave the attachment area for a stronger bond. Hair regrowth can cause quite a bit of itching underneath your system, so we recommend keeping the system as small as will work for you. In addition, as your hair grows back, it will begin to push up into your base, causing the bond to weaken and your system to lift.
Early lifting at the nape
Besides the lifting caused by regrowth, lifting of the system at the nape of your neck may be a concern as well. Constant movement (such as turning your head) affects the bond at your nape because movement stretches the skin in this area. If you decide to go with a full cap, you may need to touch up the bond at your nape between attachments.
A full cap does cause some limitations with hairstyle. Very short haircuts, or tapering on the sides and back of your head, are difficult to accomplish with a full cap. If you have some growing hair, a partial hair system may be a better fit for these hairstyles, because the system can be blended into the short lengths of your growing hair.
Full cap requires bonding
Although attaching a hair system by bonding with tape or liquid adhesives is the most common method used by clients, some people just aren’t ready to shave to accommodate their attachment, and prefer to attach their system with clips. If you prefer to use clips, it may be difficult to do so with a full cap, because there usually isn’t enough hair to clip to. If you have alopecia totalis or universalis (no hair growing on your head), you may prefer a silicone grip base that does not require adhesive. Please speak to a hair replacement consultant for more information.
If you are unsure
It’s normal to have some confusion or questions as you settle on a size for your hair system. If you feel unsure, we’re here to help. Take photographs of your growing hair and the area of hair loss to share with us, and contact your hair replacement consultant.