So, your hair is falling out. Maybe it’s not as thick as it used to be and it’s breaking off in pieces, or you’re finding bald patches where they weren’t before.
Maybe you lost it through chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, or another health condition out of your control like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), alopecia or even stress.
Firstly, you’re not alone. Not at all.
The thing no-one knows about female pattern baldness, hair loss or hair thinning is it’s so common. More than 55 percent of women will experience some degree of hair loss in their life, Dinh and Sinclair research reports.
Except we keep it to ourselves. None of us like to talk about it – women aren’t allowed to get bald patches like men, right?
But women get hair loss, breakage and thinning too, and it carries an unjustified stigma and shame. We ask ourselves why our hair doesn’t look like the woman’s on the shampoo commercial or in the magazine, and if that makes us less feminine, less of a woman.
The answer is, it doesn’t. While there’s nothing wrong with having thinning hair or experiencing hair loss, there are options out there to help you feel comfortable and confident, if you want them.
One of these is crown extensions.
If the first thought that enters your mind when you hear crown extensions is a toupee, ditch it and read on, because crown extensions and toppers are the next big thing in the hair extension industry.
To find out everything you need to know about the hair pieces helping more women with their hair than you’d think, we took a deep dive and asked the experts to unpack this helpful hair option.
What are crown toppers?
Crown toppers – also referred to as crown extensions, hair toppers or hair topettes – are hair pieces specifically designed for women suffering hair loss or thinning around the crown and top of their head.
“Crown extensions help to cover the affected areas [from hair loss] and add volume to your natural hair, we blend your human hair topper to your very own hair to ensure the most natural look,” says Sarah Christian, aka Australia’s “fairy godmother” of wigs for women with cancer and alopecia.
Sarah runs Sydney wig and hairpiece shop The Beautiful Hair Boutique, as well as its online business, and she’s seeing a growth in demand for crown extensions.
Like a full wig, crown toppers are made to recreate how a natural, full head of hair looks from the top, including a natural-looking part (which doesn’t have to be dead straight, because who actually manages to get their part straight anyway?!).
Crown toppers only mimic the ‘first layer’ of your natural hair, meaning unlike wigs, your real hair sits underneath and can be styled seamlessly with your topper to create a fuller look.
These hairpieces come in a wide range of colours, and can be cut, coloured and styled like natural hair. Wash it, straighten it, add beachy waves or wear it in a half-up messy bun – the options are endless.
How are wigs, extensions and crown toppers different?
As mentioned above, wigs are designed to recreate a full head of hair. While crown toppers can be made from the same materials (more on that in a bit), they only recreate the top layer of your hair - much like if you were to section your hair to straighten it, crown toppers add volume and body to the top layer, including the layers around your face.
Conventional extensions are designed to add length and body to your hair, rather than fill out the top or cover female hair loss or thinning, and are attached at the scalp and base of the head, rather than at the crown like crown toppers.
What are crown toppers made from?
At The Beautiful Hair Boutique, you'll find two different types of hair used to create crown toppers that look (and feel) natural.
Virgin European hair
"Virgin European hair is the highest quality, most beautifully soft hair available on the market," Sarah tells us. "It is the closest match to Caucasian hair so looks and feels the most natural."
Why? Because it's never been processed or coloured, and is left in its natural colour and texture. Soft and fine, Virgin European hair moves like your real hair would.
Because it's a premium product, crown toppers and extensions made with Virgin European hair are more expensive.
Remy Pre-coloured human hair
Remy pre-coloured human hair is still, as the name suggests, human hair with the cuticle in tact, but it's slightly more coarse as it is from Mongolian origin (which is interesting, since it's right next to Russian hair).
"The Beautiful Hair Boutique uses only the finest quality 100 percent Remy human hair that's been gently pre-coloured to achieve the most stunning colours available," Sarah explains.
Premium Remy hair provides a more affordable option to Virgin European hair, in a range of on-trend colours including balayage, ombre and rooting.
How to wear crown toppers
The best thing about crown toppers is how easy and comfortable they are to wear every day.
There are a couple of ways you can attach your crown topper:
For long term wear (or "set and forget"), a bonding process involving microlinks, adhesive glue or double-sided tape can be done by your hairpiece supplier in-person or at your hair salon. The process is much the same as regular extensions.
The benefit of bonding your crown topper is that you can treat the hair exactly the same as if it were your own - you can go swimming, exercise, bungee jump (if you want) without worrying about your hairpiece falling out of place.
The second day-to-day option is to attach your crown topper using the clips on the underside of the hair piece. Each individual hair piece will come with its own instructions, but generally speaking, crown toppers feature a clip at the front which you insert at the parting of your hairline, and clips either side and at the back.
Attaching the crown topper with clips won't make it any less wearable or secure, it's a better option if you have multiple hair pieces or want versatility with your hair styles.
How much do crown toppers cost?
This really depends on the quality of hair you choose and the style you want. For example, synthetic hair will always be cheaper than human hair, but when it comes to buying human hair, you get what you pay for.
For a Virgin European crown topper, you can expect prices to start at $2990 for a 12-inch hair piece, and prices increase with length. Remy human hair crown toppers are more affordable - 14-inch crown toppers start at $1590 and round up at $2590 for a 22-inch extension.
How long do crown toppers last for?
According to Sarah, crown toppers last on average for 12 to 24 months. Aside from the hair quality, how you care for it will impact on how long it'll last you.
"With the right love and care we can see hair toppers last for years, however this will very much depend on how they are looked after and their daily use," Sarah advises. "At The BHB we teach all our clients how to care for their new hair topper to maximise its life span, as we too understand hair can be pricey so we want it to last for our clients."
Whether or not you choose to try an option like a crown topper is entirely up to you. Your self-worth and beauty is not intrinsically linked to your hair.
But if it feels that way to you, crown toppers can help you hold your head high and get on with your day. Sarah sees it every day.
"Great hair helps bring your confidence back. You see women go from having their head down to suddenly glowing. It’s beautiful."
For more information on crown toppers, extensions and hair pieces, visit The Beautiful Hair Boutique's website, or see Sarah and her team of stylists in store at Shop 4, 211 Ben Boyd Road, Neutral Bay NSW.
If there’s anyone who knows the positive impact the right hairpiece can make, it’s The Beautiful Hair Boutique. Understanding first hand that finding the right wig or hairpiece isn’t merely about replacing your hair, but offering a means to rebuild confidence, strength and identity for women who are suffering from a range of medical hair loss conditions. The Beautiful Hair Boutique is Australia’s #1 provider of luxury real human hair wigs and hairpieces, selling only the world’s very best hair.
The BHB offer complimentary hair loss consultations at their Sydney salon, to help women in need find the perfect hair!