Weaves for men can cost up to $1,500 and more men are getting them than ever before

Man weaves are the next trend in men's grooming

Marisa Palmer

Weaves, wigs, and toupées have been around for centuries.

  • Men care more about their hair than ever before. The male grooming industry is expected to rake in $81.2 billion by 2024. 
  • This attention to grooming has expanded to man weaves, a new trend that has been growing in recent years. 
  • To install a single man weave, it can cost up to $1,500 and take up to two and a half hours.
  • About a quarter of men between the ages 18-34 who receive hair care treatments at salons say they did it weekly, according to Global Market Research firm Mintel. That's double the number of women around the same age and consumers overall.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video. 

This barber is removing a man weave right from his client's bare scalp. Advertisement

Some call it a "cranial prosthesis." Others call it a hair system. For everyone, it's a temporary cure for baldness for men.  

Alone, this piece of fake hair can cost up to $1,500. But for most men, the price tag is worth it.

John Cotton, Barber Leona Wilson Salon: I literally saw it go from, you know, women were laughing about it. Now women are bringing their husbands in.

Narrator: In the last decade, men's grooming products went from bar soap and a 2-in-1 hair wash set to texture-oriented beard oils and balms. 

In fact, the overall men's grooming product industry is expected to rake in $81.2 billion by 2024. The question is, are men caring more now, or are companies just finally catching up to a need that was always there? Advertisement

John Cotton is a barber who specializes in man weaves at the Leona Wilson Salon in NYC.

He's one of the first pioneers of the market. When John first started in 2015, he only had 1-2 clients a week. Now, he has about five to 10 clients a day. He's even bought the domain manweaves.com

Cotton: I was making about a little over a hundred thousand when I first started as a barber when I moved to New York. Now, I'm over half a million.Advertisement

Now, women call me all day long: "Can you do my husband killing my boyfriend? He looked, he needs one done. Please help them." Now, women come and sit in the lobby in the waiting area while their husband is getting the hair done. It used to be the opposite. 

Narrator: On top of applying the weaves, John also sells the units, supplies products for the weave's upkeep, and teaches classes to other barbers. 

He gets all types of requests: from long dreads to short dreads; silky tuffs to kinky fros. His clients are of all ethnicities and nationalities, and generally between the ages of 30 to 50. Advertisement

Cotton: It's a newer version of a toupée if you want to be. If you want to be 100, it's just a better version of it.

Man weaves can be glued on

Marisa Palmer

Man weaves can be glued on, unlike toupées that sit on the head.

While toupées sit on top of the head without much adhesion, weaves are either sewn or glued on.  Advertisement

The process of applying a man weave requires a lot of attention and can take 2.5 hours. 

First, a barber removes any residue from an old unit, shaving off new growth, measuring the head shape, gluing the unit to the scalp, then shaping it up so it looks like it's growing out of the client's scalp. And they can last anywhere between a month and six months, depending on the client's upkeep. Advertisement

Now, weaves, wigs, and toupees have been around for centuries, so why are weaves for men only catching on now?  So why are man weaves only catching up now?

Much of it has to do with cultural changes. 

Toupées and baldness in general have been often mocked in pop culture, but more and more, men are caring less about this. Advertisement

Toya Mitchell, Senior Multicultural Analyst: I think there is growing acceptance of men, getting a manicure or pedicure or whether that is a facial. I think there's a growing acceptance that it's okay. It doesn't impact your masculinity in order to take care of yourself and to look good. 

Narrator: And nowadays, men are even going to the salon more than women. 

About a quarter of men between the ages 18 to 34 who receive hair care treatments at salons say they did it weekly, according to Global Market Research firm MintelAdvertisement

That's double the number of women around the same age and consumers overall. 

The difference is even bigger among black men and women.  

Mitchell: Black men visit the barbershop at least once a month or more. And that's in comparison to 39% among black women.The most popular hairstyle among black men is just a simple fade or a Caesar. If that person is not skilled at cutting their own hair, they're more likely to go to a barber shop. Whereas women, we make it that haircut every three months or every six months. Advertisement

Narrator: The weave trend goes beyond salons. 

Barbers like Adrin Dydell in Rochester, Minnesota began using social media to post videos to show off the technique. He started his YouTube channel in 2009, posting cut fades tutorials, and later expanded it to man weave applications. Advertisement

His most popular man weave tutorial has already raked 1.9 million views. 

The success of Adrin's videos highlight the fact that men want more of a well-groomed look. And for many, that means extra tufts of hair.  

And here in New York, most of John's clients deal with male pattern baldness, but one client in particular depends on his weave for a different reason. Advertisement

Cotton: I've had a lot of clients with cancer alopecia and I have a little boy, he's eight years old. His mom took him out of school because he was getting picked on and he was getting bothered cause he didn't look like the others. He came here and I gave him a unit and he actually cried. I got emotional and now his mom was able to put him back in school. He's in school and he said he just wanted to feel like everybody else. You want to look like everybody else and now he looks like everybody else.

Narrator: While there are other alternatives, like micropigmentation and hair plugs, man weaves offer a nonsurgical procedure for men who've lost their hair. 

Fremio Cabrera, Client: So every four months the unit is about $500 and every three to four weeks, depending on how you take care of it, it'll be a hundred to like wash it, reapply it. I mean, it's an extra bill, but like I said, it's worth then you can't put a price on hair. You can't put a price on youth. You can't put a price of how people look at you and how you feel about yourself. That's priceless.Advertisement