Back when Biggie Smalls rhymed “I’m not only a client, I’m the player president” it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the now-dated Hair Club for Men TV commercials where the CEO touted that he used his own company’s hair replacement methods. But today, more and more African American men interested in regaining full heads of hair, and the use of hair replacement techniques is no joke.
With the advent of more realistic hair textures, lace base caps, improved adhesives that are reliable for long term use, and a growing body of knowledge among stylists and barbers, hair replacement pieces are becoming a lucrative source of revenue for those with the skills to execute the technique.
Don’t call it a combover
Should we call this a hair prosthesis? The term may sound clinical but consider the alternatives. Though ‘unit’ is how stylists typically refer to women’s wigs and hair pieces, the phrase ‘male unit’ brings something entirely, ahem…different to mind.
Then there’s ‘man weave,’ another no-no. Not only is it technically not a weave but those seeking it want a more masculine term, something that’s says aftershave rather than perfume. And you can forget ‘toupee’ as well. That’s something identified with old dudes, combovers and flapping hairpieces barely hanging on for dear life.
If you want t be accurate, or just extra, call it what it is: an adhesive non-surgical lace front hair piece system installation. Then say it fast five times.
Fades, line ups, dread, braids, Caesar cuts and zigzag or curved parts – the cooler elements of hair styling that black men tend to sport, and very stylishly so — can all be achieved with help of one of these.
And that’s where another aspect of black male style comes in: choice. While rocking a male hair piece may be a stop along the way to finally throwing in the towel and embracing a full baldie, or a look he’ll adapt until the bitter end , if it’s an option and a form of self-expression that makes a man feel good, then hey, why not?
But here’s what tugs at many women (no pun intended): men have at times clowned and criticized African-American women in particular for wearing weaves and wigs as being vain, inauthentic, not culturally black enough, or just plain deceptive – think Meek Mill’s recent Tweets “protesting” lace fronts. But now that the men’s hair enhancement trend is taking off, will they be subject to the same criticism, and should they?