John Travolta’s Hair Piece?

I found a website that suggested that John Travolta had a hair system. Can you explain how this works for me? The site is Faded Youth

John TravoltaSome of the finer hair systems are created with a fine mesh material which then has hairs attached to the mesh, put together a hair at a time. At the hairline, a transparent plastic type material is used to match the skin tones and it is attached (glued) to the skin. For the mesh part behind the leading hairline edge, the hairs are layered so that the fine mesh does not show. The transition from front to back of the system must be meticulously put together.

Please note that I am taking the photos on the site you referenced at face value, and believe they are actual photos of John Travolta and not Photoshopped images. If these photos are his, unfortunately for John Travolta, an aggressive photographer caught this view of what appears to be a hair system. From any reasonable distance, a good hair system looks like a normal head of hair and I complement the folks that made this system. Such hair systems are very expensive and take considerable maintenance to keep them attached to the scalp and to keep them clean and odor free. Maintenance means that the person wearing them comes into a special facility (some get the experts to go to their home) to get them washed, repositioned and/or reattached as the hair under the system grows and the skin turns over from normal growth. The frequency of this maintenance process may be 3-4 times per month, on average. Monthly maintenance costs for good systems run upward of $250/month and the more affluent clients may pay substantially more for the better systems. The scalp below the mesh often grows some hair and the skin itself sheds as a normal part of the body’s replacement function. The scalp skin turnover rate runs about 14 days, which means that all of the skin of the scalp sheds and is replaced with new skin a couple of times per month. The old skin obviously has no where to go, so it accumulates under the mesh in flakes and eventually decays, developing a characteristic ‘musty’ odor associated with skin that is not washed away regularly. Even if the person can wash with the hair system in place, dead flakes of skin still build up and with added moisture, it becomes a culture broth for bacteria. When these systems are changed often and washed frequently, the person wearing them must have spare hair systems to wear. The good ones cost many thousands of dollars. Add to that the cost of weekly maintenance, and most people would be surprised to find that the cost of a hair transplant may be reached within a year or two in the hair system costs. Even for the normal run-in-the-mill hair systems, total costs (one or two hair systems plus maintenance) may exceed $3,000/year. In these photographs of Mr. Travolta, the edges of the hair system are marked with arrows and the mesh is circled in red, in case you can not see it. I’ve also lightened the photo so that you can see the problem a little clearer, though if you look at the source photos, you should be able to see the issues on their own. Click the photos below to enlarge.

The source photos are here and here.

These mesh systems produce traction alopecia, which means that they produce hair loss from the constant pull of the glues used to keep them attached to the skin that stop them from sliding around the scalp. These hair systems ‘hooks’ the wearer for years and like an addict, they become perpetual users because the traction alopecia makes it impossible to maintain any semblance of their image if they show any of the extensive balding patterns I have seen in my office practice. The replacement, as well as maintenance of these systems, are incorporated into the budget of the users, like rent on a good apartment. Alternatively, a good hair transplant can appear as good or better than a good hair system without the constant maintenance. Let’s face it, Travolta is Travolta because of his sexy, hairy look.

The need to maintain that sexy image is critical for celebrities like John Travolta. Can you imagine him playing a role that did not exploit the persona that this tight, sexy hairline creates? I can not. So the issue for most men in his circumstance is keeping this ageless appearance that their livelihood depends upon. The good news for hair systems is that they do not depend upon the hair supply, so what a person wants in terms of look and fullness is just a matter of money. Men like Elton John, Michael Jackson, Burt Reynolds and Frank Sinatra needed such systems, because the word on the street is that they did not have enough of their own, while others like Matthew McConaughey, assuming he has some hair system and existing hair loss (see previous blog entries) who has considerable amounts of normal hair behind the balding frontal 3 inches, have enough hair to get a hair transplant and join the world of free men, who let their hair hang loose with or without grooming.

For those people who use these hair systems there is a substantial overhead that is not evident when you look at the remarkable results that can be achieved. Hair Freedom is only a dream for hair system wearers. They have to worry about their hair, about the girlfriend who tries to run her fingers through it and having her fingernail get caught on the mesh, worry about odors and the importance that colognes and after-shave have taken in their life, they need to see the hair system specialist 3-4 times each month for adjustments and they must face the costs, those never ending costs, that recur over and over again.

The hair transplant process is in many ways the antithesis model for getting hair. The only overhead after the cost is the monthly trip to the barbershop. Wind, water, odor, women running their fingers through it, and the natural look of hair that will grow for a lifetime, delivers that Hair Freedom I had just mentioned. As I am a hair transplant doctor, I think that it is worthy to demonstrate what I am talking about by showing close-ups of the alternatives that I routinely perform in my office. The man on the left thought he wanted a Travolta look while the other two men had no such desire. Hairlines created by an artistic hair transplant surgeon are similar to what a good portrait painter would paint when creating ‘the look’ that his client wants to have. Click each photo to enlarge.

The entire hairlines of these three men are what is shown above. There is no original hair in these hairlines. Close-up views are a must for a side by side comparison to the Travolta photos above and for our readers to make their own judgments. We have men like these at our monthly open house events, because seeing is believing. I have many patients with sexy Travolta-style hairlines and each picture speaks for itself. Contrary to common belief, you can not tell a good hair transplant from a normal godly-produced head of hair in most circumstances.
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Reader Comments18

  1. Angela Fox
    Angela Fox says:

    This message is to women who are not aware of the problems that can arise from wearing all over lace front wigs. There are many types of wigs from cap,capless,hand-tied as are various choices of hair to design your wig or hair systems. The Travolta article is a must to read. Manufactures are making all over lace wigs and they are now being applied with surgical glue to be attached to the head. The problem occurs with the bacteria and sweat that comes along with not being able to remove them at night. To make things worst, the customer are not purchasing them and glueing there own unit over a healthy head of hair, which may cause traction alopeica and other scalp disorders down the road. These units have been around for years and we often use them on complete alopecia patients, where there is no return of hair. These all over lace units have become popular with the likes of Entertainers such as Tyra Banks, Beyounce and others. They are gorgeous and gives the wearer temporary styling options and are great for shows etc, but for healthy long tern use, I do not recommend them. Keeping the scalp clean under a wig and hairpiece is very important. We do have a FAQ page on our site about wigs. In conclusion, a Hair Transplant would be a great alternative if you are at your wits ends of purchasing wigs and hair systems, though all wigs do not take your hair out, it is lack of care under the wigs. We do recommend a Dermatologist and to give the hair a rest, while wereing a capless(very light wig with large opeings througout)Some people (Due to lack of knowledge on hair and scalp care under their wigs) repeatly pull there edges out,without changing style, chemically treat, do not shampoo etc. while wearing wigs. Feel free to contact me..Thank-You

  2. angela
    angela says:

    I actually have been a hair system advocate because I have alopecia. Mine started at 17 and here i am 10 years later with a system i love. You can keep your scalp healthy even if you wear a wig because i did for about 2 years. It was glued on but the mesh and lace were porous so the cleansing agents i used were actually keeping my scalp healthy. the system i have now is attached to hair, not the scalp and i clean it about twice to 3 times a week. it’s perfect for me because i can’t afford the surgery, transplants and risk having the hair fall off again after the procedure. My system doesn’t cost much and the attachment is painless. if anyone is interested its called Reprieve.

  3. Hair Replacement Artist
    Hair Replacement Artist says:

    For a high-priced celebrity, you would think John Travolta would have a better looking hair system. There is just no reason for people to show that much lace. It looks as though he simply covered up the excess lace with some sort of make up. He should fire his hair replacement company.

  4. Supermom
    Supermom says:

    Angela Fox..your comment is so informative and many people do not know this. I was aware that Mr Travolta was wearing a hair piece, just didnt know it was a lace front, and I agree, it was a bad job done on his hair, very noticeable

    ANONYMOUSE says:


  6. Lee
    Lee says:

    I wore a hair system for years. I lost my hair when I was 15 and started soon after. I have had ups and downs with them. The best I found were lace fronts, but very delicate and needed replacing every month or so. I used the bonding method. And for those of you who do not know, that is where the piece is basically glued onto your existing hair with a medical grade adhesive. It also requires replaceing the bond every 4 to 6 weeks depending on your own hair growth .It is an rather expensive way to replace hair. Especially over a period of time. I also was the Director of Sales for Hair Club for several years. From my experience….it all depends on the inividual. I had many clients who looked bad because 1, they didn’t know how to style their hair system, and 2, they didn’t know how to take care of it. You can pay up to 3500.00 for a system, but if you don’t have the know how on how to maintain it, it will look no better than a 50.00 hair piece purchased at a costume shop. I also do theatre so I know how to make a cheap wig look good. All in all, I think John T’s piece looks better than most that I have seen on normal “non celeb” people. If you are thinking of getting a system, go to Hair Club. At least there, they have stylist that can assist you in styling and making you look your best. But if you couldn’t style your own hair when you had it, your best bet is to shave it all and go for the rough guy look. It is better than walking around with an obvious hair piece.

  7. Adrian Kirby
    Adrian Kirby says:

    I had 3 hair transplants when i was in my early 20’s, costing me a small fortune. They didn’t produce anything near what i was expecting and the procedure was extremely painful, was for weeks and months aftrewards, i have been left with much bigger scars than i was led to believe and 10 years on my head is still numb and very tender. I know many people who suffer from hair loss and would never recommend such a traumatic and painful experience. There must be far better ways of achieving satisfaction in the way your hair looks.

  8. mike
    mike says:

    hairpieces dont cost thousands of dollars if you know where to get them and how to do it all by 25 and make about $700 a month and i wear a hairpiece that is just like all the “hollywood” hairpieces.i comb it back and in the mirror even in a magnified mirror i cant tell where the “mesh” begins.i learned all this from the forums on dont goto any “specialist” no salon im just a regular guy who wears a hairpiece a damn good one but instead of paying $1000 like farrel or appolo or hcm charge i paid $200 for the same thing.i even posted pictures on the forum at look for “first piece pics” posted by chadlarkins or mike thats me.i did all that for under $200.

  9. Jayson
    Jayson says:

    For the guy above my comment, you are right I am 26 and have been a hairpiece for years. since i was 22 I worked at a hair replacement company. and figured out that the secret is making a hairpiece yourself. during the years I always top the previous one i made X2 in quality. So guys and girls losing your hair i suggest taking up hair ventilation and make your own pieces.

  10. zweithaar
    zweithaar says:

    Wow, these results are looking very natural to me. But if you have started with transplants once, how do you know that you do not have to do it for the rest of you life because you are possibly losing most of your birth hair?

  11. Fran
    Fran says:

    I am female and have thinning hair–hereditary. I have had 3 hair transplants and imagine that the hair on my front at hair line on forehead and crown is what was transplanted. i have hair on side and back, but is thinning, too. The only style I can wear is a ponytail and it takes me at least 5 minutes to hide thin spots–and it is getting harder to do. I use to have a system that required shaving a patch on top, corn row braiding a line around the shaved spot, weaving the system to the corn row in a horse shoe shape along sides and back, and using wig tape to hold down area at forehead. It looked great, but boy did my scalp stink!! I tried working shampoo in under the system and rinsing well. But when it was time to remove the system, my scalp was so crusty, and smelly that I was embarassed. Then I started losing hir where the corn row was braided because of the tension. I’m going to look into the Reprieve system since it appears as if one can apply/remove it without going to a salon. I hate wearing wigs since I live in an area that gets super hot from May-Septempber.

  12. Rob
    Rob says:

    Just shave it. Fake hair really sounds like an alternative to you? Half the time it looks ridiculous. Be a man and accept who you are. Anyone interested in Penial Enlargements contact me.

  13. Robert
    Robert says:

    I’ve had one transplant and it was a huge mistake. If you are going to be worse than a 5A on the scale, DO NOT DO IT! They can only do so much. You see people shiny bald in the commercials and then the after is a full head. Lighting magic. Afterwards the scars are far worse than they lead you to believe. I tried shaving my head with the scar and let me tell you, it is a child frightening scar.(literally heard the little girls reaction) Now I am looking to get the scar reduced so I can then try shaving my head again.

    Always remember that BALDING is not a choice but, BALD is. Shave your head and be confident that it was your choice.

  14. A.Wearer
    A.Wearer says:

    I would bet that over 20 percent of male actors in Hollywood wear some type of hairpiece. Why not? If you can afford it, and they give you the look you need, go for it.

  15. Dave
    Dave says:

    I agree with Rob ! I buzz my head but the only thing that bothers me is the marks left on the top of my head where I had a transplant done years ago..was a waste of money and lots of Pain ! The back of my head where to plugs were taken still look like a corn cob after the corn was eaten !


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