hair transplants vs hair pieces, hair extensions, and weaves

Hair Transplants vs Hair Pieces, Weaves, and Extensions

Thinning hair or emerging bald spots as we age are unfortunately a fact of life for many Americans. For many men, male pattern baldness sets in by the age of 35 – with some showing even earlier signs in their twenties.

As specialists in hair restoration we might be biased, but a hair transplant is undoubtedly the best solution to reverse hair loss with lasting results. However, it’s understandable that you might want to try a less invasive and more cost effective solution first. This is why today we’d like to talk about hair pieces, weaves, and extension.

Hair Pieces to Cover Up Hair Loss

You might know hair pieces by their more familiar name – wigs. Wigs can be made from artificial materials or from human hair. The main difference is that synthetic wigs will hold whichever shape they come in but cannot be styled. Human hair wigs, by contrast, can be styled just like you would your own hair. You can straighten, blow dry, or brush them to your heart’s content.

If your hair loss isn’t permanent, wigs aka hair pieces are great solutions. They can transform your look instantly, you have almost limitless colors and styles to choose from, and you are not limited to one particular style. Some people use them as a fashion statement and have several wigs for separate occasions, much as you have a collection of shoes or hats.

Wigs do require some TLC if you want them to retain a good and natural look. They can feel uncomfortable, itchy, or hot if worn for a long time, and might even produce a rash. They’re also not ideal when exercising or swimming, as they are not that securely fastened to your head.

Hair Extensions

When you see a celebrity with beautiful long wavy hair, it’s easy to be discouraged. You might think that as a mere mortal you’re just not genetically predisposed to have such beautiful locks. But chances are that the woman with the beautiful hair has had some artificial help. It is likely she has hair extensions.

Hair extensions can be made from both human and synthetic hair. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Human hair is obviously preferable as it typically maintains a soft, silky texture. Synthetic hair doesn’t blend as well, can’t be as easily styled, and is more prone to tangling – as anyone who has played with dolls as a child will know. However, synthetic hair is more affordable than human hair and a good option to try out extensions if you’re never had them.

Hair extensions, whether human or synthetic, can be clipped, glued, sewn, or woven into the natural hair.

Hair Weaves and Other Types of Hair Extensions

The most popular methods of hair extensions are are Fusion (or Bonded) Hair Extensions, Tape-in Hair Extensions, and Weave (or Sew-in) Hair Extensions. Which method works best for you will depend on your budget, your preference, and your hair type. Fused and taped-in extensions work on most hair types, whereas weaves are best suited for African-American hair.

Fusion extensions tend to be the most expensive ($500 and up), require the longest application process (up to 3 hours), and can last up to 4 months. After removal, they cannot be used again. Tape-in extensions are more affordable ($300 and up), faster to apply (approx. 1 hour), and can be used again. However, they have to be applied every 6-8 weeks. Weave-in extensions are the most affordable ($100 and up), take 1-2 hours to apply, and last up to 3 months. They can also be re-used.

For a hair weave, your natural hair is braided in rows across the scalp, and the extensions are woven into those braids. Because the weave has to be tight, this can cause soreness of the scalp or even hair loss caused by the stress on the roots.

Pros and Cons of Hair Extensions

Hair extensions are a great way to add more volume or length to your hair. You can blend them into your natural color, or you can add a new streak if you prefer. They’re reasonably easy to maintain by styling them just as you would your regular hair. You do have to be careful not to yank when brushing, and you can extend their life by loosely braiding for sleeping, or even using a special type of pillow.

The weight of the extensions puts additional stress on the roots of your natural hair, so it is important to match hair density to your own. Otherwise, you risk damaging your natural hair. A condition called traction alopecia can be caused by heavy use of extensions, tight braids, or cornrows, especially if done over a long period of time. It’s a temporary and reversible problem, but it takes time to regrow your hair.

Just like you would take care to pick the right plastic surgeon for your cosmetic procedure, it is therefore important to use a skilled stylist to weave, tape, or fuse your extensions – someone who can advise you on the most suitable style and knows how to apply and remove them without causing damage.

Hair Transplant: The Maintenance-Free Solution

The biggest drawback of the above methods of covering up thinning hair or hair loss is that they are all temporary. They have to be reapplied regularly, which takes time out of your day and over the years can run into the thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.

The only way to achieve lasting, maintenance-free volume is a hair transplant. A hair transplant procedure lasts anywhere from four to eight hours, but after that you are done. At The Hair Doctor, we specialize in the NeoGraft procedure, where our master technician extracts hair grafts from inconspicuous areas of your scalp and transplants them individually into the thinning or balding areas where you want more volume. It is especially well suited to replenish a receding hairline.

It takes a bit of time to grow your new hair – about 3 months to see results, and a year for the full extent to be visible – but you have to do absolutely nothing to your hair going forward. No repeat visits, no costly treatments, no worries about yanking the brush too hard.

Our hair transplants start at $4,500. To find out more, simply upload your picture and answer a few questions for a same-day personalized quote. If you’ve tried extensions and are tired of the running tab and daily maintenance, a hair transplant may be a great next step. Or maybe you’ve thought about extensions but prefer going straight to a more permanent solution? Either way, we’d love to help you evaluate your hair and provide you with an option, so request your FREE quote today!


With over 20 years of experience in FUE hair restoration, we are a leading provider of affordable hair transplants in the Southeast. Our results speak for themselves, and our personal attention is what our patients rave about. Conveniently located in Nashville, Memphis, and Louisville, we also offer travel packages for out-of-town patients. Request Free Quote>>