1st May 2012 . Amazing Wedding Fashion + Beauty

Operation Get Good Hair (Part Two)

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.


With the two extensions in…

Extensions in and Nanogen’d up.

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…


Sama xxx

Sama x

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11 Responses to “Operation Get Good Hair (Part Two)”

  1. Kate

    Sounds like there are lots of good options for OGGH. Did the nanogen itch less when put on properly? Definitely do whatever is comfiest but the extensions do look great!

  2. Hazel Burford Makeup Artist

    hiya!! i reckon it looks pretty darn good :0) i get the annoyance of them though, it would drive me insane not to be able to brush my hair or fiddle with it freely.. on the other hand if you only really had them for your wedding, you wouldn’t be doing much of that anyhoo!? x

  3. Lucy

    Sama- I am sure you have tried every pill, potion and vitamin in the book, but just thought i would throw it out there- I have been taking Sea Kelp tablet almost every day for the past year, which although “therapeutic claims are unproven or theoretical”, I have found has been great for my impossibly fine and weak hair, as well as a wide array of other health benefits it claims. Im not saying it is a magic pill, but I can honestly say I have had a lot of comments over recent months like “hasnt your hair got thick?” “hasnt your hair grown?”, and i also find my hair takes a lot longer to dry these days (due to increased thickness i believe). You may also enjoy some of the other claimed benefits of Kelp too. Why not give it a try? You can get from Holland & Barratt. Chec kthese links. Its not expensive, so i dont think you have much to lose, and a lot to potentially gain… xxxx



  4. theutterblog

    Thank you for your comments ladies!

    Kate- it did itch by the evening I have to say, but even I will admit it looked good!

    Hazel- exactamondo. I keep swinging between ‘it would only be for a couple of months’ to ‘arrgh, get these things out!’

    Lucy- you’re such a gem. I’m gonna check this Sea Kelp out. I actually haven’t really gone down the pill route yet. Apart from that Perfektil which is allegedly good for healthy skin/hair/nails. I tend to not take them for long enough to make a difference but will do some research on this one. Thank you!

  5. Jenny

    Hi there. I’m interested to know whether the ‘braid’ weave Matts and fluffs dreadlock style?
    Does the hair look natural or fake. The photos look good but do you feel like its not real hair. Does it really behave like real hair? I’ve had glue in bond which are leading to hair loss and I want to find an alternative credible method. I always hated the way bonds can feel lumpy or crumbly or hard and sharp and change over time. It makes me want to pick the rough bits off. I am curious as to whether the braid feels okay or if it annoys you and feels lumpy. Are they easy to take out if you don’t like them? I am hoping my real hair will start to grow again. I found your blog entry really useful so thanks for this. I also value the sea kelp tip. Actually I used to take the holland and Barrett Ultr klb6 and did find it worked well for hair and Pms. I ran out and must get some more and try the sea kelp tablets.

    Looking forward to your reply. And I am hoping you will post again over time to report how long they last for you.

    Many thanks

    • theutterblog

      Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment.

      I only had the two extensions put in at Mark Glenn as a trial, and therefore they were put in loosely so that they would come out after a couple of days. They lasted about 2 weeks in the end and I ended up taking them out myself because I wasn’t keen on the feel of them.

      I’d never had extensions before so had nothing to compare to, but the bond was quite hard and sharp as you say. One was applied well and slipped out when I wanted it to, but the other was quite knotted and matted. The hair was very convincing up close although I could tell what was my hair and what was the fibre as the fibre was a lot thicker than my natural hair! But it definitely blended well in to my hair and if I could put up with having those lumps all over my head I’d probably go for it…but I don’t think I can.

      I have this morning bought the Sea Kelp though so I shall keep you posted on whether that makes any difference!

      Good luck with finding an alternative.

      Sama x


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