Base Guide

Here, you’ll learn all about the different base material and design options HairDirect offers for custom and ready-to-wear hair replacement systems (excluding wigs and toppers), so you can compare base options to determine if you’d like to try something different. This base guide is best utilized by customers of HairDirect who are already wearing a hair system.

You’re never locked in to one base design; your base can be changed with any hair system order. Your hair replacement consultant will work with you to ensure any such change is the best way to go.

For beginners and new customers
The details presented here may confuse and overwhelm those not yet wearing hair, or, if you’ve purchased from another vendor, don’t really know what type of base you have. For this reason, we recommend those who are not current HairDirect customers start with Gather®, our personalized pre-consultation tool. With Gather, you’ll work one-on-one with a hair replacement consultant, who will help choose the best base to meet your lifestyle needs, aesthetic requirements, and budget. That way, you’ll have the support you need to move forward with the base material that’s right for you, without stressing over confusing details you don’t quite understand.

Base design philosophy

After serving tens of thousands of customers over the last several decades and creating limitless variations in base designs, we’ve found that a select group of base designs deliver the best results for the most people. For that reason, instead of offering thousands of customizations that can create inconsistency between orders, we offer “best in class” base designs for each of the three most popular hair system base materials: polyurethane “thin skin,” fine lace, and monofilament. Regardless of your gender, hair loss pattern, or cap size, one of our base designs will provide the coverage and comfort you need and the natural appearance and confidence you want.

Appearance versus durability

Over the years, hair system materials have improved to allow a more natural density. You no longer need (or want) to pack so much hair into the system that it covers the base material. You want your hair system to look as natural as possible, so let a little “scalp” show through! When properly designed and attached, materials like thin skin and lace can be undetectable to the eye (and often to touch as well). However, the more delicate the material, the less durable it is, meaning you’ll need more systems per year because the base material isn’t designed to be durable. But don’t worry; compromise is key, and designing a hair system that fits your aesthetic needs and budget is our specialty. We do offer “combo” bases that feature a combination of materials to increase durability for those looking for that feature. Your hair replacement consultant will work closely with you to find a solution that works well for your lifestyle and unique needs.

For more information on the limitations and variables you need to consider when choosing a hair system base, please see Hair System Limitations.

Choosing the right hair system base depends on your lifestyle needs, budget, and expectations. Move the slider below to see comparisons for best options based on your desires for appearance, comfort, and durability.

Base materials comparison

Below is a high-level overview of the three classes of base styles we offer: HD Skin®, HD Lace, and HD Combo. There is more than one style of each base in each class. To learn more, please click on the corresponding links for details on each base class to view all the available styles.

Thin Skin




“Thin Skin” is a solid-surface ultra-thin polyurethane hair system base material. At its thinnest, it’s similar to a contact lens. It is non-porous, so air, sweat, and water will not pass through the base, but it’s light enough to be comfortable in hot conditions and it has a very realistic appearance.

“Lace” is a finely knitted piece of mesh fabric, using fine multifilament synthetic thread, onto which hair is hand-tied. Lace is naturally breathable with plenty of airflow, and allows for easy rinsing of your scalp while wearing the system. Very comfortable and perfect for active lifestyles.

“Combo” base styles are constructed with more than one material (such as a monofilament or lace base with a poly perimeter) to allow for versatility for certain applications such as durability, covering growing hair, etc. Each base style is very different from the others.

Learn more

HD Skin

HD Lace

HD Combo

Life Span

Up to 1 month

Up to 2 months

Up to 3 months


Solid surface, ultra thin polyurethane

Polyester or nylon multifilament thread knit

Polyester or nylon multifilament thread knit or monofilament thread weave

Poly Perimeter




Front Hairline Appearance



Depends on base style





Ventilation Type




Maximum Density

Medium Light


Up to heavy; depends on base style

Size Limitation

Partial cap





Tape, liquid, or combination bonding method

Tape, liquid, clips, or combination bonding method

Hair Length Limitation

6 inches



Curl Limitation

No tight curl or afro