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The Ultimate Hair Topper Guide | Everything You Need To Know

By: Ann Koch

Posted on June 23 2021

The Ultimate Hair Topper Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Buy a Hair Topper with Confidence using this Hair Topper Buying Guide!

When you buy a hair topper, you're not just buying a hairpiece. Purchasing a hair topper can provide you with a newfound level of confidence you never knew existed! It doesn't matter if you're buying your first hair topper, a used hair topper, or a new hair topper. Use this hair topper buying guide to uncover common hair topper buying mistakes. 

You will learn about the different types of hair toppers. From traditional synthetic heat friendly to human hair. Which hair toppers last the longest, or even how much hair toppers cost, and which type of hair toppers are a customer favorite. After all that information, I will break down all the different hair toppers you can choose from, including the most natural-looking hair toppers. 

By the end of this article, I hope to have provided you with all of the information you will need to make an educated decision about what hair topper is best for you.

What is a Hair Topper?

Sometimes hair toppers are referred to as half wigs, partial wigs, wiglets, toupees, or hairpieces. A hair topper is an artificial hairpiece worn on top of the head to cover balding or thinning hair. The size of hair toppers can vary depending on the severity of hair loss.

Some hair toppers have less dense hair and are small in base size; these hair toppers are produced for people who do not have much hair loss. There are also larger hair toppers with a lot of hair made for people who are experiencing significant hair loss over a wider area of the head.


woman holding hair topper

Tip: Hair toppers are not just for women experiencing thinning hair; they are also for women looking to add more volume to their healthy hair or wig. I love hair volume on the top/crown area of my head that my wig fails to achieve on its own, even with styling products, so I use a hair topper on top of my wig to achieve the desired hair height I love. 


The Difference Between a Hair Topper and a Wig?

Wigs differ from hair toppers in that a wig covers the entire head as a hat would. Hair toppers only sit on top of the head.

Hair Toppers are an ideal hairpiece attachment that can add volume to your hair. Hair toppers can also be worn to cover roots, or those living with hair thinning and hair loss. Hair toppers can either integrate alternative hair with existing hair using pressure clips or hair combs with adjustable straps that attach to your natural hair, or they can optionally be attached using adhesive for those who have no hair. 

Wigs are best for people who have total hair loss or are looking to cover their entire natural hair with none of their natural hair left out. Wigs come with comb clips. Wigs generally also have an adjustable strap that helps keep the wig secured to your head.  

Which Hair Topper Is Best For Me?

Although choosing the right hair topper will depend on a few factors, including what you're looking to achieve, such as hair loss coverage, more volume, or longer hair.

The first and most crucial step involves identifying where your hair loss is located or where you want additional volume or coverage. Identifying this will determine what kind of shape and size of hair topper you will need.  

If you want a hair topper due to hair loss, use the hair loss guide below to determine the stage of hair loss you are experiencing.

 

HAIRLOSS GUIDE
BEGINNING MID/PROGRESSIVE ADVANCED
hair loss starts in a diffused pattern on top of head, minimal hair loss hair loss becomes more noticeable, may begin to see more scalp Hair loss is very apparent, the scalp is clearly visible

hairloss guide
Types of Hair Toppers

I like the hair topper brand Jon Renau because they have some of the most extensive styles of hair topper I've seen. There are so many different hair topper sizes and shapes to choose from. This is an excellent brand to start with if you're new to hair toppers.

Below are Jon Renau's illustrations that depict the different hair topper base styles available depending on your stage of hair loss.

 

hair topper chart by jon reanu

hair topper coverage chart 

As you can see, hair toppers come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate the needs of all kinds and degrees of hair loss.

Hair Topper Density

Before we move on, let's talk about low-density hair toppers versus high-density hair toppers. Density simply means how much hair or rather how thick the hair topper will be. Generally speaking, smaller-sized hair toppers are naturally going to have less density, and larger-sized hair toppers will have a fuller density due to the larger cap area. Hair density is essential if you are looking to add hair volume.

 

Do Hair Toppers Damage Hair?

No, a hair topper will not damage your natural hair as long as you clip your hair topper into healthy hair. Never clip a hair topper onto your natural hair that is already thinning or compromised. This type of hair is weakened, and clipping anything onto it will damage your hair and/or cause further hair loss.

 

How To Find Your Hair Topper Size 

The size of the hair topper is vital if you have hair loss because you don't want to clip the topper onto compromised or thinning hair. Instead, you want a hair topper big enough that it covers your thinning hair and clips into your thicker healthy hair.

Hair that is already thinning is more susceptible to traction alopecia and more hair loss because of its already weakened state. Attaching anything to compromised hair will only cause more damage.

How To Measure The Area Of Your Hair Loss For A Hair Topper

To measure your head for the correct sized hair topper, you will need a soft fabric measuring tape.

First, you're going to measure the area of your hair loss by placing the measuring tape at the front of your hairline in the center and measure back towards your crown, where your hair loss stops. This will be your length measurement.

woman measuring head for hair topper

Have someone help if you cannot locate where your hair loss ends at the back of your hair.

Again, using the soft tape measure, measure across the top of your head from side to side where the hair loss begins and ends. This will be your width measurement.

woman measuring head for hair  topper

 

Once you have your measurements, you will now be able to look for the most appropriate sized topper. You want a hair topper that is larger than your hair loss because you want to clip your hair topper into your healthy hair. To do this, add an inch to each side of your measurement numbers.

For Example: If you measured your length at 8 inches and your width at 6 inches. Add an inch to the back and an inch on each side. This would make your topper measurement 9"x8". You will need a hair topper that is equal to or larger than this size.


How Much Are Hair Toppers?

Generally, a hair topper costs to buy ranges between $60 to $2500. However, this price can change depending on various factors like hair type, hair density, brand, included features, and other costs. Keep reading to learn about hair topper costs, what influences them, and other essential factors to consider when buying a hair topper!

What To Consider When Buying A Hair Topper

Cost Differences Between Hair Topper Types

One aspect that can influence the price of a hair topper is what type of hair it's made from. The hair type of hair toppers can vary based on the manufacturer, and there are several types of hair toppers out there!

The most common kind of hair toppers you'll see are made from traditional synthetic fiber. These hair toppers can cost anywhere from $60. to $400 depending on the size of the topper, special features, and hair length.

Tip: Be careful when standing near a heat source (i.e., open oven, heater, etc.) Excessive heat can damage traditional synthetic fiber.

TRADITIONAL SYNTHETIC HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Minimal maintenance Can tangle easier
Less investment than human hair Feels warmer than human hair
Style is permanent Cannot be heat-styled
Permanent color Color cannot be altered

 

Next are toppers made using heat-resistant synthetic fiber. These types of hair toppers are affordable, easy to maintain, and are a customer favorite! Heat resistant synthetic fiber hair toppers costs are lower than human hair toppers, ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the size of the topper, special features, and the hair length.

HEAT RESISTANT SYNTHETIC FIBER HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Natural texture Can tangle easier
Less investment than human hair Feels warmer then human hair
Multiple styling options More maintenance than traditional synthetic
Permanent color Color cannot be altered



Last but not least are hair toppers made from human hair. Because human hair is harder to come by and lasts much longer, human hair toppers cost more, with prices ranging from $200 to $2500 depending on the quality of the human hair, size of the topper, special features, and hair length.

HUMAN HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Most natural look and feel Bigger investment
Last the longest of all fibers Requires specific care products
Unlimited styling options Reacts to the environment
Cooler than synthetic fibers Color cannot be changed unless the hair is unprocessed*
Color can be customized*
*Color customization should always be performed by an alternative hair professional.

 

What is The Base of a Hair Topper Made Of

There are five main types of hair toppers: mesh (lace), monofilament, silk-top, french drawn, weft, and a combination thereof. A hair topper's base size can vary. They can be 1.3" x3", 6" x6", 10" x10", and anywhere in the middle. The size will depend on the severity of hair loss that needs to be covered or the hair volume desired. 

Let's take a deeper look at these different hair toppers, so you will know exactly what type of hair topper to get.

Hair Topper Base Styles

There are a variety of different options for hair topper base materials. Today we're only going to talk about the most popular you'll see on the market today. 

Swiss Lace Monofilament Silk-Top French Drawn  Wefts
Softer than welded lace and also more delicate. Part the unit anywhere you want while maintaining a natural hairline. Part the unit anywhere you want while maintaining a natural hairline. Creates a natural realistic scalp appearance. Very soft and fine material that creates a realistic scalp color and effect. Closed wefts attached to a base seam that holds the topper together.

 

Swiss Lace Hair Toppers

Swiss lace hair toppers are made up of full lace hair toppers and lace front hair toppers. Both are 100% hand-tied toppers. 

Types of Hair Knots on Full Lace and Lace Front Toppers

There are many different types of hair knots used in hair topper construction. For now, we’re going to give you a brief list and a short description of each kind of popular hair knot.

  • A Single Knot is a knot that has only been tied once, and then both hairs are looped back through the knot.
  • A Double Knot is the strongest type of knot because it has been tied twice.

Knots can also be bleached to minimize their appearance even more. Visit our article: Bleached Knots vs. Unbleached Knots: Everything You Need To Know to learn more about hair knots. 


Monofilament Hair Toppers

Monofilament is a material that is made from a blend of very fine lace-like material, generally polyester or nylon mesh. Because of the unique construction of this hair topper type, it’s great for sensitive scalps as the top is breathable. In addition, monofilament will take on the color of the wearer’s scalp once the hair topper is in place.

Each hair on a monofilament wig is hand-tied to the mesh blend base. This enables you to part the hair wherever you’d like and still have the appearance that it’s growing out of your own scalp. This creates a very natural look and blends the hairs together seamlessly. 

These kinds of hair toppers, without a doubt, are one of the most versatile options available. Monofilament hair toppers can be tucked behind the ears and parted in virtually any spot without the hair topper base being noticeable.

The hairline of the hair topper is near undetectable. This kind of hair topper gives a lot of versatility and provides a natural and authentic look.



monofilament hair topper

Silk-Top Hair Toppers 

Silk-top hair toppers are really interesting. They’re constructed using one top layer of a material called glass-silk. Swiss lace lies below the glass-silk layer, which is the material that the hair is tied onto.

The silk top hides the hair knots and creates the illusion that the hair is coming from your scalp when you wear it. Silk tops can come in different colors to mimic your natural scalp color. 

silk-top hair topper

SILK-TOP HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Most natural looking Bigger investment
Can part anywhere on top Feels warmer than a lace top
More durable than lace Doesn't lay flat

 

French Drawn Hair Toppers

A french drawn hair topper is visually the same as a silk-top hair topper ☝️ the only difference is that there are two layers of glass-silk with swiss lace being in between. 

They’re constructed using two layers of glass-silk. Two layers of glass-silk are used, as well as one layer of swiss lace. Swiss lace lies between the middle of the glass-silk layers and is the material that the hair is tied onto.

The glass-silk placed above, and below the hair knots allows for a smooth and comfortable wear experience. In addition, silk-top hair toppers create a realistic and natural scalp appearance because of the layered construction that keeps the knots hidden.

The glass-silk above and below the knot allows for a smooth, comfortable experience for the wearer. 


french drawn hair topper
french drawn hair topper illustaration

FRENCH DRAWN HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Most natural looking Bigger investment
Comfortable to wear Feels warmer than a lace top
Can part anywhere on top

 

Wefted Hair Toppers

A wefted hair topper is the most affordable and primary base for hair toppers. A wefted design features machine-made wefts with a seam that holds the base of the hair wefts together on the cap.


inside wefted hair topper

WEFTED HAIR TOPPERS
PROS CONS
Less investment Scalp not as natural looking
Light-weight, breathable Will not be able to part the hair
You can pull your own hair through the wefts

 

Combination Base Hair Toppers

Some hair toppers styles can be a combination style with a machine-made back and sides, with a hand-tied top. This is more affordable while still giving you almost all of the benefits of a hand-tied mesh lace hair topper. The combos mentioned in this section are the most popular constructions. Still, we’ll talk in more detail about the bases below once you read further.


combination base style hair topper


Polyurethane Base and Perimeter Hair Topper Styles

Some hair toppers will feature a skin-like polyurethane ("poly") base or perimeter. These hair toppers are made for total hair loss. This material makes using tapes and adhesives easier on the hair topper and helps extend the hair topper's life.

Poly hair toppers may not be as comfortable as what you'd be able to expect with mesh lace hair toppers. Poly hair toppers tend to feel hot to the wearer since this poly material is not breathable like the mesh, swiss lace hair toppers.

Some wearers who have bio hair feel that poly hair topper bases have a thicker feel and create a "floating" feeling on their scalp. This may affect the look of the hairline and can make the hair topper appear less natural.

poly hair topper


Lace Front Hair Topper vs. No Lace Hair Topper

Hair toppers can come with lace fronts or without. It all depends on what you need for your particular front hairline.

Lace Front Hair Topper

A lace front topper will feature a sheer lace front where hair is hand-tied onto the lace, creating a natural-growing hairline. The lace on the hair topper will sit right along the forehead where the hairline would naturally be. 

These styles have a lace portion only in the front of the unit. The sheer mesh base that the individual hairs are tied to is perfect for creating a natural-looking hairline. The rest of the hair topper utilizes a thicker cap as a base. 

If you do not have any hair at your hairline, you will want to choose a lace front hair topper. 

No Lace Hair Topper

If you already have hair at your front hairline, you can choose a regular no lace front hair topper that will integrate with your existing hair.

 

Do hair toppers come without pressure clips?

Yes, if you're not fond of the thought of using pressure clips, hair toppers are also made with hair combs and adjustable straps. There is no limit to what hair topper options are available.

In addition, some hair toppers will have a poly perimeter without pressure clips to allow for adhesive attachment if you do not have any hair.

Top Tips for Choosing Your Hair Topper Color

Choosing a hair topper color is not as complicated as it sounds. If you're ordering your hair topper online, most manufactures will recommend buying a hair color ring. This will allow you to accurately match the color to your natural (bio) hair.

Some manufacturers will ask you to send a small sample of your hair to them to color match the hair topper for you.

The key to creating a natural, seamless look is to make sure the hair topper or at least the root of the hair topper matches your natural (bio) hair.

For a subtle, understated look, choose a hair topper that is the same color as your natural (bio) hair. If you prefer a bold look, why not opt for a hair topper color with highlights to create a striking contrast.

No matter what color you choose, if your hair topper's root is the same color as your bio hair, you will be able to blend and style the hair topper easily.


How Long Do Hair Toppers Last?

With proper care and maintenance, hair toppers can last for months or even years, depending on how often they are worn. 

Generally, synthetic hair toppers will last 4 to 6 months with everyday wear, and heat-friendly synthetic hair toppers will last 2 to 3 months. While human hair and Remy human hair toppers will last over 1 year with proper care and maintenance.

LONGEVITY ESTIMATE IF YOU WEAR YOUR HAIR TOPPER EVERYDAY
Synthetic Head-Resistant Synthetic Human Hair/Synthetic Blend Remy Human Hair Virgin Human Hair
4 to 6 months 2 to 3 months 6+ months 1+ year 1+ year

 

Hair Topper Care and Maintenance

We recommend washing your hair topper every 6 to 8 wears. Start by detangling the hair with a wide-tooth comb. Then, run lukewarm water in a downward direction over the hair topper. Apply a small amount of shampoo and gently lather.

Once saturated, cleanse your hair topper with water again in a downward direction. For human hair pieces, follow up with conditioner making sure to avoid the cap.

Do not comb your hair topper while it is wet; simply blot dry with a towel. For synthetic hair toppers, lightly spray a leave-in conditioner.  

How to Customize Your Hair Topper

How to Part a Hair Topper

Hair toppers will usually have a set center hair parting. If you have a hair topper and want to change the parting, start by checking your hair topper's base. If your topper has a full lace, monofilament, or silk-top base, you can part the hair anywhere. If your hair topper has wefts, you want to make sure that you only part the hair in the middle area and not where the wefts are. 

Synthetic hair and human hair cannot be parted the same way. Human hair partings can be modified by wetting the hair. Synthetic hair toppers, on the other hand, need to use heat to change the parting. 

Synthetic Hair-Using, a fine-toothed comb, create your new desired parting. Rub your hands together until you feel the warmth and press your warm hands onto the hair topper parting for about 15 seconds. The heat from your hands will help set your new hair part. 

Human Hair-Using, a spray bottle, spray the hair part until damp. Using water will help the hair reset to whatever hair part you desire. 

Next, comb the hair from front to back using a fine-tooth comb. Spray a little more water on the hair topper, use the end of your fine-toothed comb, create your desired new part, let dry and style as usual.

Benefits of Wearing A Hair Topper 

Are you tired of spending time every day worrying about your hair loss? Don't worry; you are not alone. Hair toppers are popular for this very reason, as well as many others.

Top Benefits of Hair Toppers

1. Hair toppers can hide hair loss or thinning hair in a snap (literally). Once you clip a hair topper in, you have instant coverage! Hair toppers can also cover grey hair as well as give you more volume.

2. Less damage to your own hair! Hair toppers lay on top of your head and can be removed easily, allowing your natural hair to breathe. Wearing a hair topper will also allow your natural hair to rest from any day-to-day styling.

3. Hair toppers are lighter than wigs. Wigs cover the entire head and are slightly heavier compared to a hair topper. In fact, mesh, lace hair toppers are so lightweight you may forget you're even wearing them.

4. Your own hair is left out. This is one of the top benefits of wearing a hair topper. You can let your own natural hair out and blend it with the topper hairline and around the sides and back for a really natural look.

5. Very natural looking. Hair toppers seamlessly blend in with your natural (bio) hair to create the illusion that it's your natural hair. 

6. Hair toppers come in all shapes and sizes and hair types. Hair toppers come in synthetic fiber or human hair and come in a range of beautiful colors, with expert highlights and balayage.

 

 

 

Ann Koch ann koch
Ann is the founder of ModelLaceWigsandHair.com. Living with androgenic alopecia for over 20 years after the birth of her children, she aspires to provide solutions and an invaluable guide to anyone suffering from hairloss.


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