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.
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.
The Benefits of Custom Hair Systems Include:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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:
â€¢ Lower Cost
Stock systems range from $100-$500 vs $500-$2000+ for
custom. Greater affordability makes them accessible to more budgets.
â€¢ Immediate Availability
Stock hair pieces ship
out immediately after ordering online or purchasing in stores. There is no
waiting period for manufacturing.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Shorter Lifespan
The average lifespan is 3-6 months with proper maintenance.
Improper sizing lowers the lifespan.
â€¢ 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?
â€¢ Factors to Consider in Your Decision
When Deciding Between Custom and Stock Hair Systems, Keep
These Factors in Mind:
â€¢ Your Budget - Custom systems require a greater upfront
investment. Stock systems are more budget-friendly. Consider how much you can
reasonably afford to spend.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Hairstyle Preferences - Can you find a stock style you like
or do you want specific customization? Keep in mind stock choices are very
â€¢ Realistic Expectations - Custom systems look more realistic
on the head. Stock systems won't achieve the same seamless look.
â€¢ Maintenance - Custom systems last significantly longer with
proper care. Frequent replacement drives up long term costs of stock systems.
â€¢ Patience - Custom systems require an 8-12 week turnaround
time. Stock systems ship out in days.
Examples of Who Should Choose Custom vs. Stock
To further understand which option may suit your situation
better, consider these examples:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ Susan doesn't mind replacing stock systems more often as
long as she can change up colored wigs for costume parties. She appreciates the
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:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Proper Application - When your system arrives, follow
provided instructions carefully for applying and removing it. Consider having
your specialist show you proper techniques.
â€¢ Maintenance - Invest time into properly cleaning,
conditioning, and storing your system. This maximizes longevity. Replace
adhesive and other supplies when needed.
â€¢ 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.