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How To Mend A Hair System If The Adhesive Fails

Stylists from Cochrane & Co specialise in non-surgical hair replacement – when you’re suffering from hair loss this service is invaluable. Getting a hairpiece that looks and feels natural is achieved through a personalised template, which will fit the individual shape and curvature of your head.

You can choose a professionally fitted full hair replacement solution with a range of base types, or opt for a ready-to-wear, easy-to-order online hair system.

Do you want to know how to mend a hair system if the adhesive fails? It’s straightforward! Follow the guide below – you’ll see how important is to remove all remnants of the weakened glue.

How to Prepare to Attach a Hair System

Adhesive tends to give a longer hold than hair system tape so if you lead an active lifestyle then this can be a better option. The adhesive can last for up to four weeks and is easy to apply and remove from your skin. To attach your system with liquid adhesive you’ll need the following items:

  • Scalp protector – between £4 and £10
  • Adhesive remover – from as little as £3.80
  • Alcohol-based cleanser – available from £2.45
  • Liquid adhesive – around £30.00
  • Application sponge – starting from about £3.00 per pack
  • Hair clip – an entire pack will only set you back £5.00
  • Light coloured eyebrow pencil – approximately £3.00


Preparation for attaching a Hair System
Hair stylist locating the bonding area
Hair stylist attaching the hair system

Scalp Preparation

Cleaning and preparing your scalp prior to attaching your hair system is vital to making a secure bond. Not following this advice could cause the adhesive to fail and prevent dependable fixing.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below, or take a look at this video:


Step 1 – How to remove trace adhesive residues

Use a wet towel or cloth to wipe away all visible signs of adhesive residue – then with a paper towel and adhesive remover rub vigorously. An alternative is to spray your scalp with a bond buster product and wipe off completely with a towel. If you are sensitive to these products you can just use hot water and a combination of shampoo and exfoliating glue to remove the old bond.

Step 2 – How to wash your scalp

You need to wash your scalp thoroughly at least twice. Use an exfoliating glove and soap to scrub the surrounding area and repeat this procedure four to five times. Finish with a deep cleansing shampoo to help balance the pH of your skin. A face type mask will take away any oily residue. Do not use a washing-up liquid as this will clean the oil off the scalp but will also make the sebaceous gland work overtime. Thus producing more oil to the scalp in the next 24 hours.

Step 3 – How to dry your scalp

Fully dry with a towel and hairdryer to ensure all excess moisture is removed. At the same time, it’s advisable to get rid of any hair or stubble from the bonding area to increase wear time.

Step 4 – How to clean the bonding area

You can use an alcohol-based cleanser and repeatedly cleanse the area two to three times until the ideal result is achieved. We choose not to as we find astringents can aggravate scalps.

Step 5 – How to locate the bonding area

You can use a light-coloured eyebrow pencil to trace the contour of the system by making a few dots around the edge. A natural-looking hairline is easily achieved – use a mirror and feel your head – the hairline should be roughly four fingers from your eyebrows and if you frown in the natural pocket created.

Step 6 – How to protect your skin

Applying a layer of waterproof sealant such as a No Sweat from our friends at Ghost Bond will increase the adhesion of the bond. Remember to let it dry completely before attaching your hair system.

How to Apply Adhesive and Attach Hair Systems

Hair stylist progresses with the attachment
Hair stylist applying the hair system glue
Hair stylist applying the adhesive


Step 1 – How to apply the hair system glue

Brush the adhesive down to the dots you previously marked with the eyebrow pencil without covering them. Use thin, even coats with both horizontal and vertical strokes. Apply two coats with five-minute drying time between.

After applying the second coat you’ll need to wait for about 10 to 15 minutes to let the adhesive become sticky. If the adhesive you’re using is silicone-based this waiting time is around five to eight minutes. The drying time allows the solvents to evaporate properly, and these vary due to external factors such as:

  • Air temperature
  • Individual skin chemistry – dry or oily
  • Levels of humidity
  • Adhesive application thickness


If you’re attaching thin skin hair systems it’s a good idea to put one coat on the front edge of the system – allowing it to dry completely before applying it to your scalp. With a lace system, apply the liquid adhesive to your scalp only. Then you can carefully wipe the dots from your forehead.

Step 2 – How to progress with the attachment

When the adhesive has dried, position the system over it, and gently press it into your scalp with the flat edge of a comb. Continue to do this all around the edge.

Tips Regarding Silicone and Acrylic Adhesives

Bear in mind that:

  • The adhesive must be clear before you attach the hair replacement system.
  • Applying thin layers of adhesive is much more effective than adding thick layers.
  • Thin layers of adhesive also prevent seepage into the hair.
  • Thick layers of adhesive increase drying time and make cleaning more difficult.
  • It’s important to keep your system dry and perspiration-free for 24 hours after attachment.


Tips to protect your skin
Hair stylist removing the trace adhesive residues
Hair Replacement System Maintenance Tips

How to Attach a Water-Based Adhesive Hair Replacement System

Water-based hairpiece adhesives are white when you attach them and turn clear when dry, so it’s simple to tell when they’re ready to use. See the following guide for further details:

Step 1 – How to apply the adhesive

When applying the water-based adhesive use thin, even coats and brush both horizontally and vertically down to the previously drawn dots on your forehead – but don’t cover them. Apply two fine coats allowing a three to five-minute drying time between.

When the solvent has properly evaporated, the adhesive will become clear and you’ll be ready to attach the system. You can then carefully wipe off the dots off your forehead.

Step 2 – How to attach the system

Position the system on your head directly over the adhesive. Once you’re happy it’s in the right place, use the flat edge of a comb to firmly press it onto your scalp for one minute. A comb prevents any natural residue from your fingers affecting the bond. Remember you need to keep the system dry and free from perspiration for 24 hours after attachment.

The Life of a Hair Replacement System

How long do hair replacements last? This will depend on the type of hair system you have chosen, your understanding of how to care for your system and your lifestyle…

  • Ultra-thin membrane systems up to 12 weeks
  • Medium membrane systems up to 16 weeks
  • Thick membrane systems up to 20 weeks


These are average figures from our salon and with correct care can last even longer.

Maintaining Your Chosen Hair Replacement System

The maintenance of your hair replacement system will be similar to taking care of your own hair. See a list of do’s and don’ts below…

Things You Should Do

  • Use a wide-toothed comb for detangling to avoid breakage
  • Comb your hair prior to washing to get rid of tangles
  • Use products recommended by your stylist which are specially designed for hair system care
  • Apply a deep conditioning treatment weekly
  • Sleep on a satin pillow to cut down on friction
  • Use oil twice a day to moisturise hair


Things to Avoid

  • Washing your hair more than three times a week – too much exposure to chemicals will discolour the system to quickly.
  • Using hot water – use warm
  • Rubbing in hair products – pat instead
  • Sleeping with wet hair
  • Swimming without the use of a protective product or swim-hat


Maintaining your hair replacement system carefully will ensure it looks fantastic for as long as possible.

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