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What Are Hair Toppers? What You Need to Know, Plus 14 to Try Now

Hair toppers are the latest way to disguise thinning hair and bald spots. Here’s everything you need to know about these volume-enhancing hairpieces, plus 14 styles to try right now.

I definitely don’t follow the golden rule of stashing my phone in a drawer an hour before bed; my favorite way to unwind is with a healthy dose of TikTok at the end of a long day. I’ve learned everything from how to grow scallions in a glass of water to how to line my lips with an eyebrow pencil. But as a Hair.com editor, my favorite videos unsurprisingly feature dramatic hair transformations, whether from cuts, colors, or styling hacks. So when I recently scrolled across a video of a woman placing a mini “wig” onto her scalp that made her thin hair appear at least three times thicker, I went down the rabbit hole in search of this mystical hair piece I had never seen before.

I soon learned that these small miracle workers are called hair toppers and that women swear by them to add fast density to existing hair and cover up bald spots. Wondering if a hair topper would erase all of your hair troubles? Here's everything you need to know about hair toppers for thinning hair before adding one into your daily routine, whether you're dealing with Covid-19 hair loss or looking for ways to score a quick volume boost.

What are hair toppers?

Before we dive into how hair toppers can transform your look, it's important to know exactly what they are. Jokingly called a "push-up bra" for hair, toppers for women are smaller, wig-like hairpieces that are placed on the top of the head to add volume and density to thin or balding hair. Toppers can also help to disguise patchy hair loss around the crown and part line that hairstyling tricks or extensions can't hide.

Toppers are available in various shapes, sizes, hair types, and lengths and can be designed in different ways to strategically mask trouble areas. For example, some hair toppers provide extra coverage at the roots, while others are more suitable to conceal the sides and back of the scalp.

What kind of hair are hair toppers made out of?

Similar to wigs and hair extensions, hair toppers are constructed with either synthetic or human hair. Synthetic hair is typically made from monofilament fibers that are transformed by heat to create an imitation of human hair-like strands. Synthetic toppers have a unique superpower to retain their shape, no matter what elements they are exposed to (hello, rain and humidity!). This makes them an excellent pick for those who don't change their style often or have a limited range of motion due to arthritis or other mobility issues.

Human hair toppers are exactly what their name suggests, and they tend to look the most natural since the hair came from an actual human being. They're a lovely addition to your routine if you enjoy experimenting with different hairstyles or want your topper to be an everyday addition to your styling regimen.

What is the difference between a hair topper and a wig?

Size and fit are the most significant differences between hair toppers and wigs. Hair toppers for women offer partial yet targeted scalp coverage that requires a good amount of hair to be present to attach securely to the head. Hair toppers are also more breathable and lightweight than wigs on hot days and can be worn together with your natural hair and styled into ponytails and other updos.

A wig is a cap that covers the entire head. Opting for a wig is best if you want to completely cover your scalp or have hair and want to experiment with a brand-new look, the celebrity way.

How does a hair topper stay on?

Hair toppers can be attached either temporarily or semi-permanently. Temporary toppers feature pressure snap clips that simply lock into place at the hair roots, while other toppers require the use of double-sided tape. If you find that your hair is fragile, tape may be a safer option to avoid unnecessary stress and tugging on hair follicles.

Many salons now specialize in hair toppers for thinning hair if you don't trust yourself to be a DIY hairstylist! A hair replacement technician will semi-permanently bond the topper to the scalp with a stronghold glue, needing upkeep after six to eight weeks of wear.

Do hair toppers damage your hair?

While we'd love to say hair toppers are a safe, non-damaging option for everyone, that's not always the case. Hair that is weak or prone to fallout may not be able to withstand the added tension of a clip-in hairpiece, which can cause hair to shed further. On the flip side, there are usually fewer risks for women who don’t have excess fallout and are just looking for a quick volume boost from a topper.

Consult with a dermatologist, seasoned hairstylist, or wig professional to determine whether a hair topper will suit your unique situation of hair loss or thinning.

Good hair day by @live_love_dohair.

Can you cut, color, and style hair toppers?

It depends! Did you ever make the regrettable decision to flat iron your doll's mane as a child, only to be left with stiff, crunchy hair and angry parents? The same goes for a synthetic hair topper. These plastic-like hair fibers are already set and styled into place at the time of purchase; therefore, they cannot be altered with heat or color. Need to brush a synthetic topper? A wide-tooth comb is best to prevent damage or tangles.

So long as the topper is real human hair, you can absolutely cut and color-match your hair topper. A trained professional will be able to perfectly mirror your topper to your current hairdo so that it blends undetectably with the rest of your hair every time you slip it on.

Although human hair toppers aren't attached to your own head, that doesn't mean you should forego good heat protectants when using hot tools to avoid drying out strands. These thermal guards make all the difference in your topper's appearance, health, and longevity and give your styled hair the most natural look.


Total Results Length Goals Shampoo + Conditioner Duo
Matrix

Total Results Length Goals Shampoo + Conditioner Duo

A sulfate-free duo for gentle cleansing to ensure longevity and beauty of hair extensions

One size available for Total Results Length Goals Shampoo + Conditioner Duo
10.1 fl oz

Can you wash hair toppers?

You can, and you should—with a few caveats. While both quality synthetic and human hair toppers are available on the market today, they shouldn't be washed and cared for the same way. However, one commonality between all types of hair toppers is that their lifespan shortens with every wash. That's why it's important only to wash toppers when absolutely necessary (around every two weeks) and pick products suitable for your topper's specific type of hair.

Due to the nature of faux hair, a synthetic topper must be washed in cool water with a special wig shampoo to lessen the risk of altering or damaging its fibers. After washing, it can be gently brushed with a wide-tooth comb and left to air dry. Your local beauty supply store will have everything you need to keep your synthetic topper in tip-top shape.

Human hair toppers require a little more work to maintain. Since these hair follicles are not attached to the scalp, strands miss out on necessary oils that keep the mid-shaft to ends lubricated and shiny. Luckily, many of the products you already have on hand can help ensure healthy locks. If you need a re-stock, look for gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioners to cleanse and condition your topper, or opt for a system made just for extensions, like Matrix Total Results Length Goals Shampoo + Conditioner Duo.

How long does a hair topper last?

A few factors will determine how long a hair topper will last, including how often you wear it, wash it, and how well you care for it. Since synthetic hair holds its shape without styling, heavy wear and tear may begin to appear within six months of purchase, especially when worn daily and not just for special occasions.

On the other hand, hair toppers for women that are made from real human hair have a much longer lifespan and are more durable, therefore, you can expect to see them last about a year or more.

How much do hair toppers cost?

A lot goes into determining the price of your hair topper. Some pain points to consider are overall length, the salon or store location, and the type of hair you choose. Regardless of these factors, you can always expect synthetic hair toppers to be less costly than natural ones, starting at an estimated $150 per topper.

Human hair toppers have a broader price range due to their higher quality and top-notch construction. Get ready to shell out anywhere from $300 to more than $1,000 for the natural topper of your dreams. Remember, how you care for it makes all the difference in getting the most bang for your buck. ​​If you want to learn more about the cost of hair extensions in general, check out our complete guide to What Goes Into the Price of Your Wigs and Hair Extensions.

Armed with these tips, you’re ready to decide how a hair topper fits into your daily styling routine—whether that’s a longer-term commitment or a quick lift for a girls' night out. Here are 14 hair toppers to consider to get you started.

The 7 Best Human Hair Toppers for Women

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: TheLaurenAshtynCollection.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Long Hair

Available in 30 colors, The Lauren Ashtyn 12-18” Full Volume Extension Collection is long, thick, and luxurious. Designed for those with minimal to severe hair loss and or thinning, it covers thinning areas all around the head while giving you princess-like length.

The Lauren Ashtyn Collection Full Volume 12-18" European Luxury Layered Hair Topper, $1,200 MSRP

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: TheLaurenAshtynCollection.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Short Hair

If you have a short crop or pixie cut and just wish for a little extra volume on top (or to hide grays!), rely on the Light Volume 5-6” collection from Lauren Ashtyn, which clips in right around the roots and is available in 30 colors.

The Lauren Ashtyn Collection Light Volume 5-6" European Luxury Layered Hair Topper, $550 MSRP

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: HiddenCrown.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Natural-Looking Color

The Crown® Topper adds fullness to the top of the head and is available in various shades that can be either rooted or unrooted. Rooted shades feature a ¼ inch of darker rooting to emulate a more grown-out, natural look.

Hidden Crown Crown® Rooted Toppers, $559 MSRP

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: Uniwigs.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Wavy Hair

Ideal for those who love rocking mermaid waves, this Remy hair Uniwig topper is available in multiple densities, lengths, and shades to customize your final look.

Uniwigs 6”X6” Charleigh | Curly Full Lace Remy Human Hair Topper, $543-$679 MSRP

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: Uniwigs.com

Best Human Hair Topper with Bangs

Those who prefer a full set of bangs can get their fix with this topper, which features a silk top base to give the illusion that hair is actually growing from your scalp and soft fringe.

Uniwigs 6”X6” Amber Silk Top Human Hair Topper With Bangs, $703-$916

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: CurlsCurls.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Textured Hair

Searching for a topper for your naturally textured hair? Look no further than this range of 100% virgin hair toppers from Curls, Curls. Thanks to various styles like Afro Kinky, Kinky Curly, Naturally Curly, and Kinky Blowout, you’re sure to find your perfect match. They even come in an assortment of colors, part lines, and bangs!

Curls, Curls Topper, $115-$165

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: MilanoWigs.com

Best Human Hair Topper for Customization

Although the hair replacement industry has made strides to make toppers as realistic as possible, sometimes you just need your hairpiece to go the extra mile.

The Milano Collection 13" Victoria Silk Top Wig allows you to personalize your topper’s attachment method, cap size, color service, and haircut for tresses that truly look and feel like your own.

The Milano Collection 13" Victoria Silk Top Wig, starting at $850

The 7 Best Synthetic Hair Toppers for Women

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: HairToppers.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Short, Wavy Hair

This synthetic hair topper by Jon Renau comes short, layered, and loosely waved right out of the box. Wear it at the hairline or slightly behind it to integrate it seamlessly with your own hair.

Jon Renau Top Crown Hair Topper, up to $293

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo Credit: VogueWigs.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Short, Curly Hair

This lightweight, easy-to-wear topper from Tony of Beverly gives curly gals a boost of body and comes in 22 colors ripe for the picking. The hairpiece features a unique honeycomb base that lets you pull your own hair through it and two snap-on clips for easy application.

Tony of Beverly Topper Hairpiece, $66

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: Uniwigs.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Bobs

Whether you have a pixie and want to change up your look without a wig, or you just want to add some fullness to a bob, this Uniwig topper is the ticket to slaying in the temporary hairdo.

8.5" X 9" River mono top synthetic hair topper | Layered bob style, $239-$279

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: HairToppers.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Heat-Styling

The majority of synthetic hair shouldn’t be heat-styled, but this piece from Hairdo is the exception to the rule. The brand’s Tru2Life® fiber can be heat styled using thermal styling tools set to up to 300° F.

Hairdo Top of Head Hair Topper, $124

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: LAWigCompany.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Long Hair

This long, wavy topper anchors 18 inches of gorgeous hair in 29 shades and pairs an invisible lace front with the lightweight comfort of a crown topper.

Top Smart 18" Wavy by Jon Renau Synthetic Topper, $323

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: Uniwigs.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Straight Hair

If you crave a sleek and silky look, consider this topper made with Kanekalon Synthetic Fiber, which looks and moves like smooth human hair. Plus, its monofilament base allows for multi-directional hair parting for those who like to switch up their style and part line.

Uniwigs 8.5”X9” Hope Mono Top Synthetic Hair Topper Lace Front, $266 MSRP

everything you need to know about volume-enhancing hairpieces plus 14 styles to try

Photo credit: VogueWigs.com

Best Synthetic Hair Topper for Pixie Cuts

Made with long layers, this topper adds healthy volume and covers from the top of the head to the crown area.

Rene of Paris New Addition Synthetic Hairpiece, $86

Want to learn more about adding volume and density to thinning hair? Hair.com has all the salon-grade products you need to boost limp locks.

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