Density is clearly one of the biggest challenges
in designing a hair system, especially when you're new to wearing hair or switching vendors. I'd rank it close
to matching the wave or curl in your biological hair. It takes some practice. You
need to plan ahead and think strategically.
When most women (and men, for that matter) decide
to make the leap into wearing hair of any kind, they have visions of full,
flowing, celebrity hair (most of whom are wearing some sort of supplemental
hair, incidentally!). I get it. I was that girl once, too.
Before we start wearing hair, we spend our days consumed
by our thin spots, constantly checking and rearranging to hide
our scalps: teasing, spraying, poofing or giving up and wearing a hat, right? So,
it makes perfect sense that once you make up your mind to wear hair, you want
HAIR. Lots of it.
Well, here's the thing: Going from very thin hair to (what you think is) "normal"
hair overnight can present some challenges.
Work your way up
Let's say your biological hair has very light, diffused
density like mine, but you've never worn any kind of hairpiece, like a clip-on topper
or integration unit. Even if you're close to my age (you'll have to guess),
it probably wouldn't be wise for you to start with your ideal density. Here's why:
- You'll look very
noticeably different overnight
- You'll probably have
trouble learning to work with all that hair
- You'll feel more
self-conscious than you should have to
- The hairpiece might feel
heavy and uncomfortable to you
It might be better for you to order your first system
at a more conservative density. After getting some experience with wearing
hair and practicing your attachments, you could bump up the density by 10% on your subsequent
orders to achieve the heavier look you desire. After a few months, you might
decide you don't need it after all.
If you're biological hair loss is not terribly
advanced and you're trying to nip it in the bud before it gets too noticeable,
or if it's very light but you've been wearing a non-bonded hairpiece for a
while, going right to your ideal density is probably more doable.
If you really don't care if people notice a
dramatic change in your overall look (sometimes it can't be
avoided) and you want to go for the
full monty, you still need to consider the learning curve that comes
with styling a full head of replacement hair.
Weigh-in before you order
Heavier density choices mean a lot more hair in
your system, which translates to:
- Heavier overall weight on
your head (even heavier when the hair
- More unwieldy and
difficult to attach
- Longer drying time
All of these things are easy to deal with over time,
once you get used to them. But for brand newbies, the weight can be frustrating
and cause additional complications when learning to do attachments and styling
your new hair. You'll go from being frustrated by having to style too little
hair, to being frustrated by having to style too much hair.
Account for wave and curl
The level (tightness) of a wave or curl can
dramatically affect the fullness of hair and needs to be considered when
choosing density. If you're confused, think perm. If you have
poker straight hair and get a body wave, your hair will tend to look fuller. If
you get a tight curly perm, your hair can look even bigger, especially if
you're brave enough to comb it out. So, there can be a dramatic difference
between like densities depending on how tight the curl or wave is, and that
really needs to be considered when deciding which density to go with.
For example, I wear my hair at the same density for
straight and wavy hair, but the wavy systems look a lot fuller. With a tight
curl, I need to come down on the density drastically if I don't want to look
Roseannadanna. I know this because I learned the hard way (I have proof
but it's locked in the vault).
Trust me. Adjust accordingly.
Don't forget length and style
Similar to wave and curl, you need to consider the
length of your hair and the style you wish to wear it in. If your hairstyle
is a shorter cut with lots of lift or curl on top, you definitely don't want to start out with a heavy density or
you'll really look like you're wearing
a wig. The hair will likely be too dense and heavy to stay lifted and
you'll get frustrated trying to get it to look natural. For longer, flatter hair you
might want to be sure that the top is dense enough that you have full coverage
on the scalp and a clear, healthy looking part.
This final consideration is something that largely
goes ignored as well, which is the relationship of the base size to the
density. Depending on the wave/curl, hair length and style, you may want to
significantly adjust the densities on the sides and back of a larger hairpiece
so you don't have unnaturally bulky hair. Of course, with smaller hair systems
you have to be careful that you size
your base appropriately so that you're not just stuffing a ton of hair on
top. More decisions to make...
All that said, getting the exact same density
every single time is somewhat elusive. Because human hairpieces are
handmade, density typically varies industry-wide about 5% from piece to
piece. So, if you want to wear hair, you have to be flexible. Believe me, it's
been my biggest life lesson in patience (and worth every test).