Toppik vs Nanogen vs Caboki- comparisons, pros/cons
Quick hairloss stats:
Crown receeded in early 30's, stopping at a Norwood Type 4a, but could progress to Norwood 5 as signs of loss in back growing evident.
FUT procedure in early 40's (1800 units), ACELL applied. Unit retention is likely 50%. Cost: $12,000 USD
5% Monoxidil used 2x daily for a year with no visible results, thus discontinued.
Short. Sides clipped, tapering down to a 1/32" clipper guard, top tapered and never grown longer than 1/2" clipper guard.
Natural hair color: light brown and graying. Grey visible on sides within days. 'Just for Men' light brown dye applied to sides every three days.
'Concealers' applied over last 12 months:
Additional hair products used regularly:
Unscented hair spray
Results and observations:
Let's discuss cost. On a long term basis, compared with a hair transplant, concealers are very affordable and a sensible solution if the look you have bothers you. Mine obviously did, otherwise I'd never have had a transplant or bought concealers. Bottles of concealers are small but they last a long time. Long time can be defined as three months or longer per container. Each container costs about $30USD, so you'll spend $10USD/month (approx.). From my personal usage and coverage results I believe that if you're using more than a container every three months, you're either overdoing it or expecting too much from the products.
The products do exactly the same thing, regardless of how they go about doing it or claim to do it. They add an illusion of fullness ('coverage'), but this illusion has it's limits.
The first requirement for a proper illusion of coverage is surrounding hair. The more hair you have for them to blend in with, the better they appear. Thus, filling in a crown will usually look much better than filling in a top, as most crowns still retain nearby hair to blend with. The closer you try to fill near a hairline, the poorer the products will look, as the transition becomes greatly noticeable. Toppik created a comb-like device for the hairline issue (sadly, it's made of paper), and it does an 'OK' job, but again, I wouldn't recommend using the product too close to hairlines or without some kind of existing hair to blend with. Some consider hair tattooing (SMP) and concealers like Dermatch best for this area but I've never tried or seen either in person, so I can't speak for or against them.
In my experience, it's best to see these kinds of things up close rather than relying on internet pictures to make a decision- especially painful or expensive procedures like SMP and hair replacement.
The concealers that offer volume should be used around existing hair and kept back from the hairline.
The next issue is hold. I've seen internet demonstrations where people apply (pour, sprinkle) the concealers on and call it a done job. Don't do this. The concealers will fall off or, worse, run off if it rains. Use hair spray.
When I apply mine, first I decide if I'm wearing a pullover or button up shirt. If I'm wearing a pullover (e.g. t-shirt), I put that on first because when the concealer is in place you don't want to touch it in any way. If I'm wearing a button up, I do my hair first to avoid possibly getting the concealer on the shirt. A little on the shirt typically isn't noticeable at all.
I put on hair gel; Axe Natural Look Hair Cream. If I didn't have any hair loss issues, this is all I'd use because it smells nice, it doesn't have a terribly firm hold, but still leaves hair neat and relatively shiny.
I've tried many other hair gels/creams. I'd avoid pomades, particularly Old Spice (Spiffy). Not to knock OS, but I've heard of it causing temporary hair loss issues due to pore blockage and I believe I've noticed that myself. I have a few jars if you want them. They smell great, but at this stage, I'll take the hair instead.
After the gel, I apply the concealer (Toppik, Nanogen, Caboki). I do my best to keep away from the hairline and stop as soon as it appears to have made a noticeable difference. 'Noticeable difference' does not mean I look 28. This stuff will not do that. You can't try to get a mock full head of hair with it. For that, you'd need a wig. All I try to do is clear up all that peachy space between hair. Sometimes I mess up and have to start all over (there's very little 'adjusting' with these, it's 'all or none'), but with practice, I usually get it right the first time. Application time takes about a minute or two.
Then (and here's the important part), I spray with one hairspray to lock it in place:
Got2b glued blasting freeze spray.
This stuff is glue for your hair.
It will start to bead if you get too much on top, and in those instances you have to either wait for it to saturate or GENTLY smooth it into the top of your hair.
When it's dry, bring on the wind and rain... your hair will not move. Your hair will be an untouchable rock, but a fuller looking rock.
And that's the trade off with these concealers. The fact is, they will never be a substitute for real hair. Nothing beats a successful transplant in restoring an authentic full head of hair appearance. If you've got the money, time and pain tolerance, get the hair transplant and get the FUT. If you're saving between transplants or unsure, go for the concealers.
But there's more...
I've found that Coboki clumps, unlike the others. I stopped using it.
In my experience, Toppik and Nanogen are nearly identical, or at least the finished results are.
The REAL trick to getting these to work is all in matching your natural color. It makes a world of difference. I have to give Toppik credit for allowing users to buy small 'travel' (i.e. 'sample') sized bottles, because until it's on your head, you'll never know how it looks. The color on the bottle, brochure and internet are never exactly like the bottle in your hand because of monitor differences, printing limitations, etc. You have to try it to know.
The other thing you must consider is that your hair is not 'brown' or 'black' or 'red' or 'gray'. Every head of hair is a mix of shades within that described color. This is where dyes fail. Dyed hair looks dyed because you only get one color on your head, rather than the seven shades you may need to create the illusion of natural hair.
The same can be said for these concealers. You will get better results if you mix just a hint of other colors in (particularly browns).
I mix medium and light brown toppik in one bottle with fair results.
Wouldn't it be nice if the concealer companies could offer such a service? If any reps are reading this, feel free to pass on the suggestion.
And then, the final word: how to wear concealers.
I know, simple answer: on your head.
But it's really more complex than that, isn't it? Start with the word 'Concealer'- you're hiding something. You have a secret you don't want anyone to know about, right? The world will laugh at your ugly bald head if they really knew, surely. And then what... they'd kick you off the island, force you to live on an iceburg with other bald men, with an uncertain future.
Well, that's ONE way of looking at it. Here's how I look at it...
I don't like the way my head looks with it's natural hair so I do something about it. I'd tell anyone that truth. I don't think it's wrong to hate the way something looks and to do something about it. If you don't like the way extra weight looks on you, go to the gym. If you don't like your shirt, get a new one. I don't care if the world likes or dislikes my hair, I am the one who has to like it. I'm fine telling anyone just that. I'm not ashamed of my hair loss, but I don't like the way it looks so I change it. If women can wear make up, I can add a little fiber to my head until I'm smiling.
Yes, I'd prefer the transplant, but I also like boats and new cars. One thing at a time. While I save, I'll do what I think looks good and keep on smiling.
I do hope this helps anyone considering 'concealers'.
Same age, same hair color, transplants etc. If I had to do it over again I would have tried the pills and lotions for a while and then just starting shaving my head. But after 5 FUTs (3 hack jobs and 2 corrective), I'm stuck. Too many scars to just shave it bald. So my current regimen is Rogaine each night to retain enough fuzz for the concealers to cling to, and a ball cap for work (I am a contractor, we all wear caps or sometimes hardhats so it doesn't seem odd to anyone). Then concealers and hairspray for "going out." It works out fine. In my experience, though, Toppik clumps and Caboki does not. Also, Caboki looks more natural on my hair. The moral of the story is try them all, there is no magic bullet that will work for everyone. Experiment.
I have used toppik and even when I had a good bit of hair it seemed to just fall to the scalp. It also didn't hold up well to sweating or heavy rain even with hairspray. Just recently tried dermmatch and must say I am pretty impressed so far. You can't use to much or it looks fake and greyish. But with the right amount it seems to greatly add to the fullness of my hair and the best thing is it doesn't come out with sweat or rain(unless you are getting completely soaked) I would say about 50 to 60 percent stays in through a long shower, don't know how it would do when swimming but for everyday use it holds up really well.
Hey Borntoosoon and everyone else!
I'm a 20 yo boy that has been using caboki for a few months (along with finasteride and minox since 17) but I wonder what you guys think about it vs dermmatch and toppik! And you said your bottles last for 3 months ? My bottles usually last for 40 days roughly o.O
Also, do you guys know if it's safe sleeping with these products ? I know our hair follicles don't "breath", since they get oxygen from blood, but I wonder if any of you guys know anything about it !
Hope you all find the best solution ! I'm still looking for mine :/
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