Good morning and Tuesday salutations to you!
Is it still raining? Yes, yes it is. Marvellous.
For those of you who have been following The Utter Blog for a while, you’ll know that my hair (or lack of it) is one of my biggest concerns in the run up to my wedding next year. For those who haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about and are now (naturally) assuming that I’m incredibly vain, you can catch up on Operation Get Good Hair (Part One)…. here.
OGGH entered phase two on Friday when I spent a joyous day in town with my Mum. Aside from getting lost in Selfridges, having an emergency manicure at Nails Inc and falling in love with a wedding dress that’s way over budget, I had a consultation booked at Mark Glenn in Mayfair, a salon specialising in hair extensions and, more interestingly for me, hair enhancement.
To quote directly from the website… “Our ground-breaking, proprietary hair integration system can convincingly disguise all manner of hair loss problems, from the minor to the severe. Non surgical, entirely cosmetic and tried, tested and proven by hundreds of women over the past eight years, you’ll have a full head of hair that looks, feels and behaves just like your own. Perfect for both temporary and permanent hair loss.”
The way it works is that a very fine mesh is placed across the affected area (in my case it would be the crown of my head) and fibre extensions are then woven through the mesh to create the required look. Your real hair is then pulled through the mesh and intermingled with the extensions, thus creating the illusion of a full head of hair. And they insist that it doesn’t damage your real hair, even going as far to say that in some cases the existing hair base can see a vast improvement.
It sounded great, and I wanted to know how much.
Too much, it turns out.
With the initial ‘system’ taking 8 hours to apply, I was looking at a minimum starting point of £1500. And this bad boy requires up keep. As your hair grows the mesh starts to come loose, so it needs to be altered every 6-8 weeks… a regular outlay of £200-£300. Wowsers. I may want glossy, thick hair like Zooey Deschanel’s on my wedding day, but I’m not prepared to/physically can’t fork out that much for it. And as Mark Sharp (one of the co-founders of Mark Glenn) said when I was pondering out loud the thought of having it done just the once and then taken out… “that’s a huge waste of our time and your money”.
Harsh but fair.
What Mark did advise (he was actually very helpful, as was the lady helping me), was to have their regular hair extensions put in to create volume and then to use a product called Nanogen on the top of my head to ‘fill in the gaps’, so to speak.
What the hell is Nanogen? I hear you cry…
Well, dear reader, this is Nanogen:
A little blue pot containing thousands, possibly millions, of microscopic keratin hair fibres in your colour of choice that, when sprinkled over a thinning head of hair, attach themselves firmly to the existing hairs, thus increasing the thickness and density of that area.
Now I’m not going to lie, when the nice people at Mark Glenn suggested this as an alternative to the mesh/extension combo I had come for, my heart sank.
I’ve known about Nanogen since 2008 when, at my first ever paid acting job (a guest episode of Eastenders), the make-up lady got this little blue pot out of her bag of tricks and started shaking it vigorously over my head. At the time it changed my life. I had never heard of such a product and the difference was remarkable to say the least. I have since bought several pots and use it when acting/for special occasions/ on bad hair days. It is a very good, temporary solution to a glaringly obvious scalp.
But for me the cons outweigh the pros. It is only a temporary thing, and as it starts to come out it gets very itchy. Scratching your head gives you black fingernails; an unwelcome reminder that you have shaken what is essentially black dandruff all over your head because you don’t have enough hair. And it’s difficult to apply- shake too hard and you’re left with a large black patch on your scalp which in no way looks convincing. When I have Nanogen in, I am constantly paranoid that everyone can tell. I don’t want to feel this way on my wedding day.
Fortunately for me, the lady at Mark Glenn (possibly sensing my unease due to the massive sneer on my face) asked if I had ever been shown how to properly apply Nanogen. I had not, and she proceeded to talk me through the application; sectioning off my hair starting from the top of my ear, and gently shaking the fibres on to the roots of the hair (not directly on to the scalp as I had been doing) as she worked her way up to my parting.
What usually takes me 30 seconds took her a good 6 or so minutes… but it looked good. Probably the best and most natural my Nanogen’d head of hair has ever looked. My Mum was completely convinced, me less so- only because I knew it would start itching sooner or later, and it didn’t actually solve the lack of hair/more-volume-please-Vicar problem.
So she stuck a couple of extensions in.
Just the two, mind, seeing as it was a free consultation. But I am now the proud (if temporary) owner of two hair extensions, or approximately 50 extra strands of hair.
I don’t know if I’m brave enough to go through with a full head of hair extensions. They feel horrible, I keep catching them when trying to brush my hair (ouch!), they don’t react well to heat as essentially they are made of plastic (so long trusty GHDs), and I’m not entirely convinced that they won’t do my real hair more harm than good. Mark Glenn say otherwise… but then they would, wouldn’t they?
On the other hand, they are an instant and easy way of adding volume, and they surely wouldn’t have such a huge celebrity following if they weren’t any good? Or am I just trying to convince myself?
Operation Get Good Hair is far from over…