What Is A Toupee? The Complete Toupee’s Guide for Guys

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What Is A Toupee

Moderate and extensive hair loss is a common issue affecting most men. Today, about 42% of men aged 18 to 49 years experience male pattern baldness. [1]

Treatments are now accessible for men facing hair loss or hair thinning. However, the medications are often costly.

For this reason, people lean towards hair replacement alternatives such as toupees. 

Below, we outlined a simple guide to help you learn about a toupee, including an easy procedure on how to wear it.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Toupee?

A toupee, also known as a hair system, hair unit, or man weave, is a hairpiece worn at the top of the head to conceal thinning hair or bald spots. Similar to a female hair topper, it only covers a portion of the scalp, predominantly at the crown.

Usually, a toupee blends in with your natural hair while leaving the side and back hair uncovered. It adds volume and makes the hair appear as if growing from the scalp.

Toupees have either synthetic or human hair attached to a lace, poly, or monofilament base. They use tapes or glues to secure them to the scalp, so they don’t slip or slide when worn.

Mostly, this hairpiece is practical for men to wear during the early hair loss stages. In the early stages, balding is only concentrated on the crown or the top of the head.

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The Difference Between Wigs and Toupees

Despite having similar hair materials, wigs and toupees differ in design and function.

First, a toupee is a hairpiece worn by men to provide coverage to a small section of the head. It fits more loosely and sticks to the scalp using a temporary adhesive. Compared to a wig, a toupee is relatively small due to its mini-base construction.

On the contrary, a wig is a general term used to refer to hairpieces for women. It usually covers the entire head to create a new hairstyle.

Or to provide full hair coverage to people with severe hair loss. Moreover, a wig holds firmly on your scalp and may have clips or tabs to keep it firm and secure.

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The Advantages of Toupees

A toupee is a good solution for those considering a fix for men’s hair loss problem. Here are some of its advantages.

Hair Loss Solution

Toupees offer a safe solution for covering thinning hair or baldness at the top of the crown. Unlike other hair loss treatment options, they do not cause side effects as long as you attach them well.

On top of that, they are lightweight and breathable because they don’t cover the entire head. The breathability makes them appropriate for those who sweat a lot.

Moreover, they will stay firm on the balding area once secured with tape or adhesives. And you do not have to worry about the toupee coming off.

Note: Ensure you are not allergic to adhesives before applying them to the balding area.

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People tend to term toupees as looking too perfect and suspicious. However, the toupee will look realistic and convincing, provided you apply it correctly. Toupees are also cut and styled to blend into your natural hair for a more natural look.

Generally, toupees with high quality are much less noticeable when blended. For instance, human hair toupees will look more natural than synthetic hair ones.

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A toupee comes as a simple hair solution for those experiencing hair loss. It is easy to install and will take only a few minutes to give a quick transformation. All you have to do is apply a temporary adhesive or double-sided tape and get instant results.

Furthermore, toupees would be great for those who don’t like the idea of hair loss medication or surgery. With such treatments, you will have to wait for longer durations before seeing a full head of hair.


You can often change hairstyles when using toupees. They come in different sizes, textures, lengths, and colors to blend into natural hair.

The variety of choices makes it easy to adjust your look based on the occasion or even what you wear. Also, you can style the toupee in any way. To the front, to the sides, or toss the hair towards the back, depending on your needs.

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First, a toupee is generally more affordable than a full-cap wig. They have a small base construction and use less material, thus incurring minimal labor costs.

Also, compared to hair loss treatments, buying a toupee is a much more affordable option. You may not have the money to pay for hair loss treatments. But you may be able to buy a toupee and deal with the costs of replacing it over time.

You can get a durable and natural-looking toupee at a price ranging from $150 – $400. The low cost makes them fall into many people’s budgets.

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Buying Guide: How To Choose A Toupee

Toupees come in different types, sizes, and textures, which is why it is crucial to select the right one. Here is a guide to help you pick the right one.

Base Type

There are different types of bases for toupees. They come in lace, poly, or monofilament base materials. But, particular base constructions are more natural and durable than others.

For instance, monofilament base materials are natural-looking, soft, and breathable. As a result, they will feel more comfortable on the scalp.

A lace base mimics natural hair growth and is thus easy to style. At the same time, a poly base feels smooth on the scalp and is much more affordable than other base types.

Therefore, whichever base you pick, ensure the fabric feels comfortable on your scalp. Also, ensure it is durable; otherwise, the hair system will not last long.


Hair Type

You should select a toupee with a texture that matches your natural hair. Also, ensure to go for toupees with high-quality strands. This will ensure that they blend seamlessly with your hair for a more natural look.

Human hair is more popular for toupees since it is not prone to tangles and is easy to manage. They are more comfortable and will last longer than synthetic ones. They can last up to 3 years with daily wear and proper maintenance.

However, human hair toupees are more costly compared to synthetic hair toupees. You can get synthetic ones if you are looking for more affordable options. But they will last between 3 – 6 months, depending on the maintenance. Ultimately, it’s all a matter of personal preference.

human hair vs synthetic hair

Adhesive Quality

The toupee should stay on your head without sliding off. A good toupee will have quality silicone straps that keep it firmly attached to the head. You can also get strong adhesives like tape to give it extra security.

Ensure you get waterproof adhesive if you sweat a lot or wear the toupee when swimming. They are resistant to moisture and would bond for a long time.

How To Put On A Toupee

The goal of wearing a toupee the right way is to cover up a receding hairline and areas of balding on the scalp. The toupee can stay on for about 2 – 4 weeks when you use tape and adhesive. You can follow these steps to maintain a strong, long-lasting bond.

Step 1: Apply tape around the perimeter of the toupee and leave gaps in between for breathability. Ensure you do not apply tape on the front hairline area. You will use glue at the front part as it needs to blend with the skin.

Step 2: Clean your scalp using alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer to remove any oil or residue. Then, remove the tape’s backing and fit the toupee on your natural hairline. Press down firmly as you roll it gradually from front to back.

Step 3: Pull the hair back from the forehead area. Now use a makeup brush to apply two layers of adhesive roughly 1 inch away from your natural hairline. Next, use a rattail comb to press the frontal toupee hair on the glue carefully.

80s wigs for men

FAQs About Men’s Toupees

How Long Does a Toupee Stay On?

A toupee can stay on for up to 4 weeks with the soft bonding application technique. However, the time it stays on depends on a few factors. For instance, some people prefer to take off their toupee before bed and wear it every other morning.

Also, the toupee could come off a little faster if your scalp is often oily. That is why it is better to exfoliate and cleanse the scalp before wearing it. Another factor could be due to sweating or exercising a lot. You may want to take it off and wash it frequently.

Can You Shower/Swim With a Toupee?

The answer is Yes! You can always shower or swim in a toupee. The bond is usually strong, and water will not take it off. But it is best to use waterproof adhesives since they are resistant to moisture.

On top of that, try not to agitate the hairpiece or use water too often since the adhesion can loosen. I recommend washing the toupee 2 times a week to keep the adhesive intact.

Can You Sleep in a Toupee?

You can sleep in a toupee as long as you feel comfortable. However, some people avoid sleeping in them to prevent damaging the strands. In most cases, sleeping in a toupee may cause tangles and frizz. As a result, the hair might become loose and shed, thus reducing its lifespan.

But you can avoid such problems by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase. This reduces friction between your hair and the pillow, thus, lessening tangles and frizz.

Final Thoughts

Now you know all about a toupee, its advantages, and how to choose the right one. Also, you should be able to wear it correctly to disguise hair loss while maintaining a strong bond.

How do you choose your toupee? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

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