Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m always intrigued by women who reject the ideas of coloring their gray hair or having plastic surgery, because they want to “grow old gracefully.”

I never thought there was anything graceless about having my hair colored when I was 35 and I still don’t, at 67. My mother-in-law colored her hair until she died, at almost 90, and she was the most graceful woman I have ever met.

As for plastic surgery, I guess you could say turkey necks and jowls are graceful (on turkeys), but I wouldn’t apply that adjective to a turkey neck and jowls on a woman. Sure, it’s “natural” to have gray hair and sagging skin when you age, and if you want to keep them, I say “knock yourself out.” As the French philosopher, Voltaire, said: “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Yet, I was amazed by the response to the first question on a poll that we posted on FabOverFifty last week:

You notice your hair is thinning and your scalp is showing. You:

  • Try to rearrange your hair to disguise the bald spot (69%, 331 votes)
  • Invest in a quality hairpiece or wig (14%, 68 votes)
  • Do nothing (12%, 56 votes)
  • Buy scarf and hat wardrobes to stylishly cover it up (5%, 23 votes)

“Huh?” I thought, when I saw the numbers. Have all of you who chose the first answer taken leave of your senses? Are you certain that you’d actually emulate Donald Trump, even when you know it’s virtually impossible to disguise a bald spot by arranging neighboring hair over it. What are you thinking?!? Would it embarrass you to wear a well-made hairpiece or wig? Would you worry that others would discover your “secret”? Do you think thinning hair, plus a combover, really truly look better?

If you’re going to try and rearrange your hair to cover an obvious bald spot, it seems to me that you aren’t too excited about seeing scalp in the first place. On the other hand, if you don’t give a hoot whether your scalp shows, you wouldn’t bother doing a thing and you’d have selected the third response on the list. As you can tell, I don’t think much of combovers. They’re bad enough on men; they’re horrible looking on women. I’d rather shave my head. It makes a more dramatic statement then oddly positioning a thin cluster of hair over a shiny bald spot.

A full head of hair acts like a frame around your face and is integral to looking fresh and more youthful. Really. It is.

Thinning hair is one of the most obvious signs of aging. No matter how thick your hair was at 30, it’s just not going to be quite as thick when you’re 50 and 60. If the thinning is unnoticeable, you’re a lucky lady. If it’s obvious, and you see patches of scalp right smack in the front of your head, like I did, you’re less fortunate. But make no mistake about it: A combover is definitely not a substitute for a full head of hair.

When I accepted that my once thick, curly hair had become thin, dry and resembled straw—and there was no turning back—I decided to check out custom hairpieces. I remembered seeing ads for years from a New York company, called LeMetric, and when I discovered it was still in business, I made an appointment to meet with the owner, Elline Surianello. After examining my thinning tresses, she explained that she could create a hand-made piece, made of genuine hair, that could be sewn into my own hair or attached with clips (there are pros and cons to either method); washed with regular shampoo, and dried and styled with a blow dryer. Elline and I discussed the most flattering length, texture and style; the cost, and how frequently I’d need to return to her salon to have the piece adjusted if I chose the sewn-in method, since it would loosen as my own hair grew.

That was about three years ago, and not a day has gone by
when I haven’t worn a hairpiece.

My first piece was fairly straight; the new one, which is about two months old, is curly and pretty much resembles the way my natural hair used to look. Getting a piece was one of the best beauty decisions I’ve ever made. I feel good wearing it and get compliments on my hair all the time, to which I usually respond, “Thank you, but it’s not my own hair.” People are flabbergasted. Even a salon owner in my neighborhood couldn’t tell I was wearing a hairpiece.

Then again, I think, IT IS my own hair. After all, I own it. It’s really no different than my silk-wrapped nails, jewelry, makeup, shoes and clothes. It all helps me look the best I can. But don’t trust me. I’m biased.

Just take a look at these two photos, and tell me, which Geri Brin do YOU prefer?

P.S. A custom, hand-made hairpiece isn’t cheap, but Elline also sells synthetic wigs and pieces that cost substantially less and will make you look great. BTW, Elline has become one of my dearest friends and she did not pay me a penny to write this blog. You can email her at elline@lemetric.com to discuss your options, even if you live outside of New York. Or call her at 212.986.5620

14 Responses to “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”

  1. Diana says:

    I have worn wigs too and it beats watching people try not to be obvious when they were staring at my scalp….so embarrassing and dehumanizing. I say do what you can to help yourself, as long as it’s safe and affordable. You look atleast 10 years younger with your fabulous hair piece!

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  2. Lisa S says:

    You look great because you decided to do something for yourself that made you feel great and you acted like you felt better because you did feel better- a circle of action and reaction that is positive and life-affirming. Good for you!!! I always say why look older than you have to, especially when it makes you feel better?

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  3. Gail Cameron says:

    #2 without a doubt! You look 20 years younger with the hairpiece & I personally love the ‘mop top’ look. My philosophy is if it makes YOU feel better about yourself do it!

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    • Geri Brin says:

      thanks, Gail. that’s my philosophy, too!

      Best,
      Geri

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  4. Pat says:

    Geri, I love the second look. I suffer from androgenic alopecia, or female hair thinning that thins like male pattern baldness. Right now I use Spencer Forest products. The first is a color I use to color my scalp the second is a fiber I sprinkle on after I’ve dried and curled my hair.
    Last summer I purchased a piece that would sit on the crown of my head and my hair would pull up thru it. It was human hair. I need to add that I have a small head. I wear my hair short, and have never had thick hair. It took hours to have it put on, they used some sort of tape. It didn’t sit down on my head, they said it needed to be like that. I could have washed, dried and curled it. It was so heavy on my head, there was to much hair in it, so it was noticable that it was a hairpiece. I slept in it the first night, woke with a terrible headache and somehow, was able to get the tapes loosened and it off. I thought I paid a good amount for it, $600.00. I just new it was my answer. I have not given up and hope to be able at some point to try something else or break down and get a wig…..my issue is the heat bothers me and my head is where I perspire.
    I love yours, it looks great!!!!

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    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi Pat,

      Sorry about your experience. $600 is a lot of money. It doesn’t sound like they knew what they were doing. I hope you brought the piece back to them.

      Elline has alopecia, too, which is why she started her company in the 1980s. Her pieces breathe so you don’t get hot in them. I recommend giving her a call to discuss. She knows this business better than anyone else, I promise.

      Best,
      Geri

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  5. Linda F. says:

    I have straight, thin, sparse, crappy hair and I think you look great with the hair!

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    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks so much. Give Elline a call or email a photo to her and she will give you great advice.

      Geri

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  6. s says:

    I think both photos are very nice. As I read your writing, I can see that it really is all about what you want (what one wants) and we should all age as we want and talk about it and complain about it and brag about it as we go! Thanks for sharing.

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    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi S,

      Precisely. Well said.

      Geri

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  7. Jill says:

    I am amazed. I have seen women wearing wigs and they look like wigs. This is amazing. What a great idea. Geri you look 20 years younger with that hair piece. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Geri Brin says:

      My goodness, Jill, so happy you feel that way. I am going to go outside now and try to pick up a 45-year-old man. Elline’s work is superb, but even her less expensive pieces are really really good.

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  8. Hope says:

    Wow! What a difference…you look amazing! I am lucky enough to have a LOT of fine, straight hair. A mixed blessing, especially in humid summer heat. However, I have worn my hair short for years, and I’ve seen several people with thinning hair who plumped it up with color (makes a huge difference in the texture of mine) and kept it short. It’s easier to hide a thinning crown with a blond pixie, I think.

    I never say never, so this is great info!

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    • Geri Brin says:

      ,

      Thank you, Hope. I make believe the person without the piece is someone else whom I never met. I say to myself, when I look at that photo: “Hopefully, she had a nice personality!”

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