Custom vs. Stock Hair Systems: Which is the Right Choice for You?

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Hair loss can be a distressing issue for both men and women. While some choose to embrace their natural baldness, others seek solutions to restore their hair. Hair systems, also known as hairpieces or toupees, offer a cosmetic solution for covering bald spots and thinning hair. They have come a long way from the obvious "rugs" of the past. But when purchasing a hair system, you're faced with the decision between custom-made and off-the-shelf stock hair systems. Which is right for you? Here's an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide. 

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What are Custom Hair Systems? 

Custom hair systems are individually made for each client based on a mold of their head. This involves having a professional cap your head with a silicone or latex material to get an exact impression of your unique head shape. They then use this mold to craft a base that perfectly fits your head. Real human hair or synthetic fibers are knotted by hand or machine into the base one strand at a time to create a natural looking hairline and achieve your desired hairstyle. The base materials are thin and breathable for comfort.

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The Benefits of Custom Hair Systems Include:

¢ Perfect Fit

 The cap is tailored to your exact head shape, size, and contours. This means no slipping, no gapping, and maximum comfort. The hair system feels like it's a part of your head.

¢ Natural Hairlines

 Custom systems allow for the creation of natural, undetectable hairlines with any desired shape. The direction, density, and layout of the knotting mimics natural hair growth.

¢ Personalized Style

 Get the exact hairstyle you want whether it's straight, wavy, parted, spiked up, long, short, etc. The hair can even be styled and cut after it's made.

¢ Longer Lasting

 Proper sizing and fit means the hair system stays securely in place. Custom systems tend to last 12-18 months with proper care.

¢ Works for Any Hair Loss

 Custom systems work for all stages and types of hair loss from a receded hairline to covering a fully bald head.

 What are Stock Hair Systems?

 Stock hair systems come ready-made in standard sizes and styles. They are mass produced in factories to be general one-size-fits-most pieces. You select from available colors, lengths, densities, and styles. Stock systems are typically made with less expensive base materials and fibers.

 Here Are the Main Features of Stock Systems:

 ¢ Lower Cost

 Stock systems range from $100-$500 vs $500-$2000+ for custom. Greater affordability makes them accessible to more budgets.

¢  Immediate Availability

 Stock hair pieces ship out immediately after ordering online or purchasing in stores. There is no waiting period for manufacturing.

¢  Less Styling Versatility 

 You're limited to choosing from set hairstyles and colors. There are no customization options. The hair can still be styled and cut slightly after purchase.

¢ Standard Sizing

 Stock systems come in small, medium, and large sizes. Finding an adequate fit can be tricky and sizes often run large. Ill-fitting bases are more prone to lifting.

¢ Shorter Lifespan

 The average lifespan is 3-6 months with proper maintenance. Improper sizing lowers the lifespan.

¢ Limited Hair Loss Coverage

 Stock systems generally only work for covering spot baldness, receding hairlines, or diffuse thinning. Those with extensive hair loss have fewer choices.

 Now that you know the key differences between custom and stock hair systems, which is the right choice for you?

¢ Factors to Consider in Your Decision

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When Deciding Between Custom and Stock Hair Systems, Keep These Factors in Mind:

¢ Your Budget - Custom systems require a greater upfront investment. Stock systems are more budget-friendly. Consider how much you can reasonably afford to spend.

¢ Hair Loss Extent - Stock systems work best for covering partial hair loss. Those with advanced stages need the custom fit and hairlines of custom systems.

¢ Head Size and Shape - An unusual head shape benefits more from a custom fit. Stock sizes work for average head shapes. Measure your head circumference to check sizing.

¢ Hairstyle Preferences - Can you find a stock style you like or do you want specific customization? Keep in mind stock choices are very limited.

¢ Realistic Expectations - Custom systems look more realistic on the head. Stock systems won't achieve the same seamless look.

¢ Maintenance - Custom systems last significantly longer with proper care. Frequent replacement drives up long term costs of stock systems.

¢ Patience - Custom systems require an 8-12 week turnaround time. Stock systems ship out in days.

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 Examples of Who Should Choose Custom vs. Stock

 To further understand which option may suit your situation better, consider these examples:

Custom Recommended:

 ¢ Patrick has extensive hair loss and is nearly bald on top. He needs to cover his whole head minus the sides. The exact fit and hand-knotted hairline of a custom system would give the most seamless look.

¢ Samantha has an oval shaped head that is narrow at the temples. Off-the-shelf systems are often too wide and gape at the sides of her head. A custom cap molded to fit her head shape will solve this issue.

¢ James wants to replicate his natural receding and thinning hairline. The delicate hairstyles of custom systems offer more natural hairline recreation than the standard stock hairlines.

¢ Monica has a larger than average head circumference. Stock sizes tend to run large so finding an adequate fit would be difficult. Getting an exact custom fit will maximize comfort and security.

 Stock May Suffice for:

¢ Ryan has a spot of baldness at his crown but maintains the rest of his hair. A stock system that covers just the crown would sufficiently solve the problem at a good price.

¢ Sarah has diffuse thinning all over but doesn't want to spend money on a custom system yet. An affordably priced stock system can temporarily cover the thinning.

¢ Mark has an average oval head shape with a receding hairline. He may find a stock piece with a standard hairline that fits his head shape decently.

¢ Susan doesn't mind replacing stock systems more often as long as she can change up colored wigs for costume parties. She appreciates the immediate availability.

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 How to Get Started with Hair Replacement Systems

 If you feel a hair system may be right for you, follow these steps to get started:

¢ Consult with a Hair Replacement Specialist - Meet with an experienced specialist for a consultation. They can assess your level and type of hair loss and make product recommendations specific to your needs and goals. Ask to see and try some hair systems.

¢ Get a Custom Fit - For custom systems, your head will be molded and measured so the cap fits perfectly. The process takes 30-60 minutes.

¢ Select Your System - Choose the hair type, style, density, and color you want. Bring photos of styles you like. Custom systems offer unlimited options. Stock systems only allow choosing from pre-made selections.

¢ Place Order and Wait - Custom systems take 8-12 weeks to manufacture with 2-3 fittings. Stock systems ship within days. Take this waiting period to prepare your scalp and existing hair.

¢ Proper Application - When your system arrives, follow provided instructions carefully for applying and removing it. Consider having your specialist show you proper techniques.

¢ Maintenance - Invest time into properly cleaning, conditioning, and storing your system. This maximizes longevity. Replace adhesive and other supplies when needed.

¢ Enjoy Your New Look - Your custom fitted or off-the-shelf hair system allows you to have the hairstyle you want. Focus on rocking your new locks with confidence!

Hair replacement systems provide an effective option for cosmetically treating hair loss. Following these tips will help you determine if custom-made or stock systems better meet your specific hair restoration needs and expectations. Consult the experts and trust yourself to make the best decision for your situation.

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