Hey Silk or Lace readers!
I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me about my integrated hair topper, meaning that it stayed on my head 24/7! I showered with it, went to the gym with it and, though I never tried, I could even swim with it!
I received mine from the Lucinda Ellery salon in New York City. They have other salons in other major cities around the US and the UK; check out their website to see their list of locations! I’m aware that there are other salons other than Lucinda Ellery that integrate hair, though I can only speak to my experience at Lucinda Ellery.
I decided I wanted an integrated system after my first summer wearing hair toppers.
At the end of the day I would spend way too much time inspecting my scalp in the mirror which gave me great anxiety, and the prospect of never taking it off and never seeing myself with hair loss was exciting for me.
I made an appointment for a free consultation at the New York City Location. I was taken to a private room with the manager where I talked about what I was looking for.
I have androgenic alopecia which made me a candidate for their intralace option, which consisted of a combination of my own hair and additional hair. I was given information about the different sizes available-- there are options whether you want partial or full coverage. I decided on a silk top intralace system in the smallest size, which covered the crown of my head.
I can’t illustrate their technique for privacy reasons, but I will tell you that the hair worked like my own hair and I loved this about it.
Because I slept with it on, it didn’t look nice every day. I experienced bed head and bad hair days just like I would without it.
I found that this made it appear very natural and I don’t believe anyone noticed I was wearing alternative hair.
It would be a crime not to mention the customer service I experienced. Firstly, going to a salon that caters to women with hair loss is invaluable- I didn’t feel ashamed or different or afraid like I would entering a normal salon. If I had a question, they had an answer.
And when I wasn’t happy with something, it was always corrected.
The people working there are lovely people who are committed to making women feel better about themselves and the customer service reflected this.
The best thing about my integrated system is that it helped me accept my hair loss.
I had the system removed after almost a year. Now, when I see myself without hair, I no longer zoom in and obsessively inspect every follicle. Instead, I put my hair on and move on with my day. This change in my mindset was crucial in my journey for self acceptance.
Totally in? Read on.
There are some caveats to an integrated hair system that are important to know before committing.
- It is a financial commitment. As with most top quality hair, the hair is at a higher price point, though it varies with the hair texture. In addition to paying for the hair, you also pay for the service and additional appointments as maintenance is needed around every 6-8 weeks to tighten the system, which brings me onto my next point:
- It requires significant maintenance; at least the option that I chose did. I ended up going more frequently than recommended because my bio hair grew quickly. New York City is a 2 hour drive away from me so for me, the maintenance meant a monthly day trip.
- It is not always comfortable. I requested mine to be extremely tight which made the installation appointment and the maintenance appointments slightly painful on my scalp. At first sleeping with it was strange, but like most things, I got used to it and wasn’t fazed after a couple weeks. The system did not hurt day to day, but I found it to be itchy at times. The salon recommended me a tea tree shampoo which helped. Unlike a clip-in topper or a wig, you cannot take it off for relief if it is bothering you.
The biggest question I have been asked is “Does it increase your hair loss?”.
This is a tricky question to answer as it is different for every person. I did lose hair during the 8 months wearing it, though it could have also been attributed to 8 months of natural hair loss progression just as well.
Unlike a hair extension, the weight of the hair is spread out among a larger surface area of your scalp which helps with pulling. But any time you’re adding weight to your hair you run the risk of extra hair loss.
Though this is not the only option they offer, this was the one that was right for me. There is a great level of personalization that goes into each system. It is built on your head and there are plenty of options other than the silk top intralace.
They also have a “natural hairline” option, otherwise known as a lace top (I did get this option eventually, you can contact me for additional details about this specific option). You can also request where you want it placed, I chose mine to be right at my hairline and styled it with bangs to hide the hairline.
Lucinda Ellery has other options other than the intralace- check out their website for info!
If you have read this and still feel like you want an integrated system, then I recommend going for it- I have no regrets.
And if a Lucinda Ellery Salon is accessible to you, I highly recommend them; the customer service is stellar, the salon experience is refreshing and it has helped me tremendously accept my hair loss.
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me via instagram at @bruhshitoff.
Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to many things that you spoke about. I have just begun my alt hair journey, though I haven’t committed to anything just yet. Like you, the fact that I wouldn’t have to take off the integrated piece intrigued me – I hate looking at myself in the mirror these days. My hair loss has totally consumed me – it’s a really dark hole and I am trying to crawl out.
My question is what do you wear now, as you stated that you have the piece for a year. Have you gone to toppers, wigs, or nothing at all?
Thank you again for sharing this – it was really helpful!