Bixby Wells Brand Glossary: The ABCs of Hair Replacement Systems

The most commonly and uncommonly used terms related to hair replacement systems and man weaves.



Alopecia totalis

The total loss of hair on one’s head and face. The cause is unknown, but is widely considered to be an autoimmune condition.



The material that hairs are tied or injected into to create the foundation of a hair system. Typically a solid-surface polyurethane, knitted polyester lace, or woven nylon monofilament.

Body chemistry

The chemical and hormonal makeup of one's body. Body chemistry impacts how well and how long hair system tapes and adhesives adhere to the scalp.


Using surgical grade tape or liquid adhesive to attach a hair system to your scalp.


Color ring

An assortment of human hair swatches in various colors used to choose your overall hair color, as well as colors for highlights and lowlights.

Cranial prosthesis

A cranial prosthesis (or hair prosthesis) is a custom-made wig specifically designed for patients who have lost their hair as a result of medical conditions or treatments, such as alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, trichotillomania, chemotherapy, or any other clinical disease or treatment resulting in hair loss. The terminology is used when applying for medical insurance or tax deduction status. (Source: Wikipedia)


The process by which tape or liquid adhesive adheres to the scalp and becomes more secure.

Custom hair system

A hair system made to order, by hand, to a customer's exact size, shape, contour, hair length, density, and color specifications.


The act of (or final result of) cutting, styling, and blending a hair system to match a customer's chosen hairstyle and blend with their growing hair, if applicable.


The rough outer layer of a human hair follicle. It is mostly removed during processing, in order to reduce tangling.



The thickness of a single strand of hair, usually specified as fine, normal, or coarse.


The amount of hair ventilated in a hair system base. Refers to the overall thickness of the hair system (not individual hairs). Increasing density makes the hair system thicker; decreasing density makes it thinner.

Donor hair

Hair that is voluntarily donated by human beings to be used in making hair systems, wigs, and extensions.



The place where your hair system is manufactured, usually located in Asia.

Finger comb

Combing through hair with your fingers.

Frontal hair system

A small hair system or topper designed to remediate only front-hairline-area thinning or recession.

Full cap hair system

A hair system that covers the entire head, such as is needed for alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis, or heavy overall diffused loss.


Growing Hair

The biological hair that grows out of your head. Sometimes referred to as “bio hair.”


Hair Replacement

The act of wearing a hair system or wig to cover hair loss and improve the look of your hair.

Hair System

A handmade scalp prosthetic designed to remedy hair loss. It mimics hair naturally growing out of one's head. A hair system is typically adhered to the scalp (not to growing hair) with specially formulated tape or liquid adhesive, and is generally removed and cleaned on a weekly or biweekly schedule. Also known as a hairpiece or toupee, hair systems are available for men, women, and children.

Hard bond

Bonding a hair system with a liquid adhesive that contains a cyanoacrylate, more commonly known as “superglue.” Bixby Wells Brand does not sell hard bond adhesives or recommend their use.

Heat styling

Any hair styling option that uses heat, such as blow drying, flat ironing, curling with a curling iron, or setting with hot rollers.


Hair colored a few steps lighter than the overall color of the rest of the hair system.



A common mesh material used for hair system bases. It is typically a finely-knit polyester or nylon multifilament thread in a hexagon pattern, and allows natural scalp to show through the material, so the hair in the hair system looks like it is growing out of the scalp. It is very breathable, allowing water and sweat to pass through the material. Should not be worn over growing hair. Can accommodate a poly perimeter for easy cleanup if desired.

Learning curve

The period of time during which a hair wearer has to learn and practice the various procedures required for successfully wearing and maintaining a hair system.

Liquid adhesive

Solvent- or water-based glue used to affix a hair system.

Low profile tape

Hairpiece tape that is thinner than average.


Hair colored a few steps darker than the overall color of the rest of the hair system.


Man weaves

"Man weaves, more formally referred to as cranial prosthesis, hair replacement units or hair systems, are a nonsurgical procedure to help men who've lost their hair — be it through just balding or thinning, alopecia or cancer treatments — "regain" hair." (Source: 'Man Weaves' Offer Cover For Balding Men, Cash For Black Hair Care Industry, Maquita Peters, NPR, May 27, 2017)

Mirror slide

A base cleaning method used by professionals to remove any trace of adhesive residue from a lace or lace-front hair system. The use of the mirror slide technique is not recommended with skin (polyurethane) bases or polyurethane-perimeter bases as the technique may cause the polyurethane to stretch out of shape.


A hair system base material made of a tightly woven monofilament nylon or polyester fiber that covers growing hair or scalp and mimics the look of scalp with hair growing out of it. Monofilament bases require a poly perimeter for structural stability. It is partially breathable and allows water to pass through.


Occipital bone

The rounded bone at the back of your head, just above where your neck meets your skull.


The chemical process by which hair fades towards a reddish or yellow hue due to UV light (sun), chlorine-treated water, and/or hair-product exposure. Oxidation causes the microscopic outer layer of hair follicles to peel back, releasing green pigments and leaving behind red pigments, thus producing a reddish undertone.


Partial hair system

A hair system that typically only covers the top of one's head, such as is needed for pattern baldness. Can also be limited to smaller/other areas of the head.


The underside edge, roughly one inch deep, bordering the base of a hair system. Typically this is where the user places tape or liquid adhesive, or where a poly perimeter is applied.

Poly perimeter

A thin, pliable strip of polyurethane applied to the full or partial perimeter of a hair system. Adhesives are applied directly to the poly perimeter instead of the hair system base material. It is used to increase durability and simplify cleanup.


The thickness of the edge of a hair system base or hairpiece tape.



Recolor is the process by which blond hair is ventilated into the hair system base, then manually processed with darker color, so knots are completely invisible and the hair looks like it is naturally growing from your scalp.

Red liner tape

Red liner tape is a hairpiece tape designed for daily wear. It is also used for specific extended-wear applications, to make cleanup easier.

Ready-to-wear hair system

Any hair system or wig that is pre-made and stored in a warehouse facility, ready to ship upon ordering. It is not a custom product. See “stock hair system.”

Reinforced sewing lines

In a full lace hair system with no poly perimeter, invisible “sewing lines” are sometimes stitched into the lace to give the base more shape, which allows for easier attachment and positioning.


Hand-tied hairs in lace and monofilament bases have a long end and a short end on either side of the knot. The short end is known as the return. For example, a 16-inch-long hair system might have a 4-inch return.



"Skin" is the industry term for a solid-surface polyurethane or silicone base material. There are different thicknesses of skin material, but at its lightest, it’s about as thick as a contact lens. It covers the natural scalp to create a faux scalp with hair growing out of it. It is gas permeable, but does not allow air, water or sweat to pass through.

Soft bond

Bonding a hair system with water- or solvent-based adhesives.

Stock hair system

A hair system that is pre-made, by hand, to general specifications, stored in a warehouse facility, and ready to ship upon ordering. It is not a custom product, but can sometimes by customized to better suit the customer.


Tape Contour

Hairpiece tape conveniently die-cut into various curves that fit most hair system perimeter shapes, typically about 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide by about 3 inches long.

Tape mini tab

A short, slightly curved piece of hairpiece tape, typically about 1/2 inch wide by about 1 inch long.

Tape roll

Roll of uncut hairpiece tape, available in various widths and lengths.

Tape strips/ mini strips

Hairpiece tape pre-cut into short manageable pieces, typically about 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide by about 1 to 3 inches long.


A temporary mold made from plastic wrap and tape which conforms to the exact shape and size of your head. From your template, the factory creates a more durable plaster mold, which is used to created the base of your hair system.


A hair system designed to cover, and/or enhance the density of, thinning hair on top of the head. Toppers cover only the top or part of the top of one's head. It is attached to one's growing hair by temporary means, such as hairpiece clips. It is designed to be removed on a daily basis.



The side of the base that attaches to your head.



The retailer from whom you purchase your hair system. The vendor is usually a “middleman” between you and the factory that makes the hair system. Bixby Wells Brand is a vendor.


The method in which hair is attached to the base of a hair system, including looped, hand-knotted or "injected" techniques. Ventilation also describes the direction in which hair is attached — or ventilated — into the base, such as brush back/forward, left/right part, etc.



A machine-made (can include handmade elements) hair prosthesis designed to cover total or partial hair loss. Covers the entire head. Can also be used for purely cosmetic reasons.



Hair systems zones describe specific areas covered by the hair system. Depending on the size of the system, zones include front hairline, front, top, crown, back, sides, nape, temples and sideburns.