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What does it mean by the "return of hair"?

What does it mean by the "return of hair"?

Posted by Superhairpieces on Aug 15, 2023

For individuals new to wearing wigs or hair replacement specialists entering the non-surgical hair replacement industry, understanding certain terms is crucial as it significantly impacts the wearer's experience with their hair system. One such important term is "return hair."

In this blog, we aim to clarify the concept of the return hair, discuss the complications it may present in a wig, and provide guidance on managing it effectively.

What is the "return of hair"?

The return of hair in the hair replacement industry refers to the regrowth or restoration of natural hair for individuals who have experienced hair loss or thinning. But in the non-surgical hair replacement industry, return hair means something completely different, especially for wig makers.

In more visual terms, return hair refers to the very short hairs found at the top of a wig. When you brush a wig, you may notice these small hairs sticking out, resembling flyaways. However, they are actually part of the hair strands that have been knotted through the wig.

Wig makers often begin knotting the hair by folding the shaft to create a loop and then pull the hair through. The folded shaft typically starts a few inches down to allow space for the makers to grip the strand securely and tightly knot the hair. Once the hair strand is knotted through, the short hairs, or the return hair, remain in place (refer to the figure below). This technique also helps prevent the knots from slipping. If the hair were knotted too close to the end of the hair shaft, it would be challenging for the maker to knot it securely, increasing the risk of the strand slipping through, especially with the weight of the strand as the length of hair is typically longer on wigs. By having return hair, wig wearers can be assured that the knots are firmly in place.

return of hair in the hair replacement industry

Managing return hair in wigs is essential for a satisfactory experience with the hair system.

Why does return hair matter on a wig?

The length of the return hair plays a significant role in the quality of the hair system and the overall appearance of the hair. The length of the return hair directly affects how noticeable it is when brushing the wig. If the return hair is too short, it will give the impression of numerous short hairs sticking out, which can be visually distracting. On the other hand, if the return hair is too long, it can lead to increased tangling and matting at the top of the wig.

This tangling and matting occurs because the return hair typically goes in the opposite direction of the hair strand due to the way it is knotted. In simpler terms, the cuticles of the hair strands are pointing in different directions, causing the wig to become easily tangled and matted. This typically occurs with more premium hair quality as the cuticles are intact.

The best solution to prevent these issues is to ensure that the return hair falls naturally, typically after around 2 inches, and does not extend more than 4 inches down from the knot. While it may be tempting to have longer return hairs, especially for those opting for custom wigs, it is important to consider the drawbacks. In addition to the increased matting concern, longer returns can also be costlier as they typically require longer hair to achieve the desired look.

For instance, if a client wants a finished length of 10 inches and requests a 6-inch return, the technicians would technically use 16 inches of hair, not just 10 inches, for the knotting process. Some companies may charge extra for longer returns in their custom orders. At Superhairpieces, for example, a 4-inch return is standard in our custom orders, and any return longer than 4 inches would incur additional charges.

Another alternative for those who prefer longer returns is to use hair without cuticles. By opting for hair without cuticles, the tangling and matting issues associated with longer returns can be minimized. However, it's important to note that this solution comes with a trade-off. Hair without cuticles has a reduced lifespan compared to hair with intact cuticles, and re-venting (the process of re-knotting the hair) may be required sooner due to increased wear and tear.

When considering the alternative of using hair without cuticles for longer returns, it is essential for hair replacement specialists to educate their clients about the implications and help them make informed decisions. It is important to have open and transparent discussions, weighing the desired length of the return against the potential drawbacks such as reduced hair quality and durability. By providing valuable insights and guidance, specialists can ensure that clients have a clear understanding of the trade-offs involved and can set realistic expectations for the performance and lifespan of the hair system. This approach fosters awareness, eliminates surprises, and empowers clients to make choices that align with their individual preferences and needs.

Provide guidance on managing them effectively

The length of the return hair in a wig is crucial, as it can greatly impact the wearer's experience. Issues such as hair sticking out or matting can be bothersome, especially for individuals new to the industry. However, there are various products and techniques available that can effectively manage these concerns without compromising the hair's quality. By providing proper aftercare and support, you can create a positive experience for your clients, encouraging their return.

To address the returns on the hair and reduce the annoyance of hair sticking out, consider the following techniques:

  1. Select the right products: Choose hair products specifically formulated to hold short hair in place. Look for lightweight styling gels, pomades, or waxes that offer control without weighing down the hair. Wax, in particular, can be beneficial as it allows for natural bounce without affecting the surrounding hair.
  2. Apply the product only to areas where the short hairs are noticeable, focusing on managing those specific areas.
  3. Use a comb or brush: Gently comb or brush the hair, starting from the roots and moving towards the ends. This helps smooth the hair down in the desired direction, ensuring even distribution of the product and achieving a flat appearance.
  4. Consider blow-drying down: If your short hair tends to stick up or resist staying down, use a blow dryer on a low heat setting. While blow-drying, utilize a brush or comb to guide the hair down. This is most important at the root of the base. Avoid lifting the hair and blow drying upwards, as it will lift the short hairs.
  5. Bedtime care: Wear silk caps to bed or remove the wig every night. Silk caps reduce friction on the hair and help keep it down, preventing excessive movement while you sleep.
  6. Regular touch-ups: Periodically check hair throughout the day and quickly adjust as needed. Carry a small amount of the chosen styling product with you for touch-ups, ensuring the desired look is maintained.

Remember, the effectiveness of these steps may vary depending on individual hair type and texture. It may require some experimentation and trial and error to find the products and techniques that work best for managing the specific return hair in each wig.


In summary, understanding return hair is crucial for both wig wearers and hair replacement specialists. The length of the return hair significantly affects the quality of the hair system and the overall appearance. Shorter returns can lead to issues such as hair sticking out, while longer returns may result in tangling and matting.

For more information on custom orders and our women’s wig visit Superhairpieces

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