Ellery's patented "intralace system" customizes pieces of a featherweight mesh to a client's head, fitting it all over a bald head or to specific patches of hair loss. Every single remaining hair is threaded through the mesh, strand by strand, and plaited to hold the mesh in place; then additional human hair is added to the mesh, where needed. Any hair that grows back (as happens when a cancer patient stops receiving chemotherapy, for instance) is woven through the mesh and integrated at follow-up visits every six to eight weeks. A smaller "Minima" design is used to conceal an overly wide part.

Ellery also offers six sizes of hair extensions, specially designed to maximize hair health with the correct ratio of hair-to-extension during application and a special bonding agent that deters breakage.

"What I really love about Lucinda is that she treasures every hair follicle on your head and will do nothing to damage your hair or put it at risk," says Dr. Sarah Brewer, a longtime client who has worked with Ellery in England for more than 20 years.

Hair Restoration of California also offers a system that integrates existing hair by pulling it through sheer material that blends into the scalp. However, some companies opt to shave any remaining hair and attach the hairpiece to a bald scalp with medical-grade adhesives.

Regardless of how they are attached, all these modern-day hairpieces are touted as capable of staying in place 24 hours a day, in wind or rain, while sleeping, showering, exercising or "swinging from the chandelier," as Ellery adds.

They also look like real hair, with natural hairlines and growth patterns, and feel like natural hair, particularly when a client's hair is integrated. They can be washed, brushed and styled without budging.

"I am able to claim this hair as my own," says Erin May, a 26-year-old client of Ellery's L.A. salon. "This will never fall off, and I am not brought to my knees by the reality of having to take off a wig every night."

Salon maintenance visits are required every four to eight weeks, dependingon wear. Eventually, also depending on wear, hairpieces will need to be

replaced, though salon owners estimated a life span of anywhere from two months to four years for most of them.

Both Lucinda Ellery Hair Consultancy and Thursday's emphasize privacy.

"I don't [treat] men, and I don't even want them here," says Ellery. "These women don't want anyone to know they have their hair done, and I want them to feel comfortable."

Thursday's offers 18 fully equipped private treatment rooms, and even the salon's name caters to anonymity. "We chose a name that wouldn't draw attention if your girlfriend or a business associate saw the receipt," Sugar says.

Although hair replacement is the core business, Thursday's also offers facials, massages, body treatments, waxing and more, so clients can have everything done in a safe environment, with no worries about their hair loss secrets being revealed.

"I've had people tell me,

'I am losing my hair, and

it's ruining my life. That's why I'm fat.' Or 'That's why I'm single,'" says Sugar.

"It breaks my heart because the person just didn't know that [hair restoration] existed."

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