By:  Shea Lenniger, Contributing Writer
and: Richard Garner, Editor in Chief for The Hair Society

Stop The Madness - How-To Non-Surgical Hair ReplacementWhile YouTube is a fantastic educational resource, there are some things you simply shouldn’t learn from a video tutorial. Just one quick search for “non-surgical hair replacement tutorial” results in thousands of videos about applying, replacing, removing and maintaining hair systems. Most of these videos also fall under about 10 minutes in length. Can such a procedure truly be successfully demonstrated and learned in under 10 minutes? Unsurprisingly, the answer is a definite and unequivocally “NO”, so let’s dive into the why. The Hair Society’s Executive Vice President, Ken Baszto, weighs in on the matter to further emphasize that this technique must be learned from a master educator.

The Consultation

A proper hair restoration procedure begins with an in-depth examination and consultation from a professional. During these appointments, the specialist needs to understand the clients concerns and wants, but must also advise the most effective solution based on the condition of their hair, scalp and other factors such as lifestyle, environmental to name few.

Of course, every client wants instant gratification when it comes to hiding their hair loss. While hair replacement and restoration can achieve this, there is not a “one size fits all” treatment. Technicians need to thoroughly examine a client’s hair and scalp to determine whether or not they have enough hair, ample donor area and other various aspects that will affect what treatment should be used. Once this examination is done, clients should be made aware of the options available based on their specific hair and scalp condition before their desired look can be achieved.

While many clients want their own hair or natural regrowth, that isn’t typically realistic in many instances. They won’t get the desired density or style and it most certainly be an extremely long process. Non-surgical restoration (when done properly) is the perfect alternative to achieving natural-looking hair quickly, within 90 minutes to be more precise. While many may initially fear the thought of having something “glued” to their head or envision their grandfather’s awful toupée, hair replacement that is done correctly should go unnoticed. An experienced technician will make sure that a hair system looks natural and realistic and is virtually undetectable.

What YouTube Videos Don’t Cover

Hair Stylist Cutting Natural HairWhile natural hair stylists are experts in cutting, coloring, and styling natural hair, a hair system does not perform the same way. There are many factors to consider when “cutting in” a hair system.

The systems usually come in a stock size and must be trimmed down to match the clients scalp area to be covered. If it isn’t trimmed around the perimeter correctly, there will be a clear demarcation line, resulting in an unrealistic looking hair replacement. Or worse, the balding spot might not be completely covered.

Unfortunately, YouTube tutorials make the non-surgical hair replacement procedure appear extremely simple. “Stylists think that all the time.” Ken Baszto says. “They think, ‘Oh my God, it’s so easy. If I can cut hair, I can do this.’ Not saying that they can’t, but everyone needs to be educated.” Properly educated, that is.

What if you have questions?

Non-Surgical Hair Replacement QuestionsNatural hair salons that attempt to watch YouTube videos as a teaching source won’t be able to provide a proper replacement due to the intricacies of the procedure. First of all, when learning anything, it’s crucial to ask questions in order to ensure that you fully understand the process. However, you can’t ask questions for clarification or troubleshoot a problem that may arise when watching a video. What will you do if a client complains that their hairpiece won’t stay on and keeps falling off? The video probably doesn’t cover the answer to that question and each client has different lifestyle aspects that you need to consider.

You simply cannot “wing-it” if you don’t understand a certain part of the process. Learning from a professional will allow you to ask questions, help you to build up experience, and help you comfortably deal with any issues that may arise.

What important aspects do YouTube videos leave out?

Missing the entire hair replacement education is like riding a bike with no tires.

Furthermore, because videos are often edited or even sped up, you can’t grasp the full time it takes to perform a hair replacement procedure. The techniques are often terribly wrong, such as simply putting a glob of glue in the middle of the head and spreading it around. The adhesive should be spread on the scalp with a specific type of brush. Using the proper adhesive for that specific client can make all the difference in the world, and there are plethora of adhesives out there and they all claim they are the best. YouTube does not go into the particulars of these adhesives.

There are other nuances that most likely aren’t included in video explanations, such as choosing the correct system based on a client’s lifestyle. A proper system shouldn’t limit a client’s lifestyle in any way. They should still be able to perform the same activities as usual without worrying about ruining their hair system. This influences proper placement, such as making sure the system isn’t placed too far back or forward. A technician must also understand how to properly choose the right curl and density of the hair replacement system, and make sure there are no bumps or ridges.

Clients should also understand the maintenance that their new hair system will require. How can a stylist who hasn’t been educated by a master technician know which shampoo and conditioner to recommend so as not to breakdown the bonding agents as well as be gentile on the hair? Even though there are also YouTube videos about post-procedure upkeep, only a properly educated technician will be able to provide correct individualized advice about important at-home maintenance or hairline touch-ups.

Professionals have a trained eye and know which system works best for each client’s lifestyle as well as the proper size, placement, and maintenance of the hair system. An experienced technician also keeps up with the latest technologies so they can determine what’s the best and the most realistic option for each individual client.

Poorly Done Hair Replacement? The Industry Takes the Blame

When a natural hair technician doesn’t know what they’re doing during a hair replacement procedure, they will most likely make mistakes that will result in an unrealistic appearance or a hair system that doesn’t stay on, or worse a damaged hair system, which can have a very negative impact on the client. The client will be unsatisfied with their results and then who takes the blame, the product. Clients assume the technician knows what they’re doing, but their terrible hair replacement will look unrealistic and awful. That, unfortunately, sheds a negative light on hair systems and the hair restoration industry itself.

So, where should you learn the best practices?

Skip the YouTube tutorials and instead, seek out help from a master educator. The Hair Society provides access to resources, industry leaders, educators and mentors to encourage business to reach for the highest standards. In order to provide the best quality services to customers, proper training and education is required and made easily achievable with The Hair Society’s educational resources and connections.

“Knowledge is power. And to walk in with confidence in what you’re doing and know that your clients are putting their image and living into your hands…you want to make sure they walk out of there with confidence and feel their best.”

Ken Baszto

Ken is not just an Executive Vice President at The Hair Society, Ken has also been wearing hair for over 24 years, and as you can see in this before and after, he looks amazing, thanks to trained professionals in hair replacement.