Questions I Am Often Asked
About My Hair Replacement
Ever since I obtained my own Apollo hair replacement system in November
2002, many readers of my website have asked questions about my hair.† I have decided to compose a web page all
about my hair replacement to help other transitioning women and anyone else
deal with hair loss that is too far advanced for hair transplants or hairline
How much does your
It cost me around $850 dollars to initially obtain my hair system. †When I first ordered it on August 29th
(2002), I paid half of that in advance, and I paid the other half when it
arrived on November 8th.†
Shorter systems cost slightly less, and hair down to the waistline will
cost a little more.† You can expect to
spend between $700 and $1000 per hair system.
That is merely the initial cost.†
Depending on your individual scalp (hair growth rate, now oily your
scalp is), if you opt to have your system semi-permanently attached, you will
need to return to your local Apollo clinic every five to six weeks or so to
have the permanent adhesives removed and changed, your scalp washed, and then
the system reattached.† These sessions
cost me $39 almost every month.† In
addition, the system needs to be colored again after so many months (cost
around $23 each time).† It is recommended
that you use either the hair care products by Apollo or only salon type
products which are specifically formulated for use on treated hair, and these
will generally cost more than whatever shampoos and hairsprays youíve been
getting at Wal-Mart or your grocery store.
Later on this page I write about the care and maintenance of the hair
system.† You want to make your system
last as long as possible, because replacement of lost hairs and especially
getting a new system will be costly.† The
stylists tell me that it would cost around $225 to send the system away to have
lost hairs replenished, and thatís if the base is still in good enough
condition for continued use.† If the
system base has been damaged, you will need to replace it with a whole new
system for the $850 or so you spent initially.†
I am told that the systems last about one year on average.† Some last longer, and some systems are ruined
in much less time due to poor maintenance.
In any event, your stylists will request that you order your second system
several months after you start wearing your first system.† I ordered my second system in March 2003,
four months after I received the first system.†
The second system arrived at the Tulsa clinic in May, just before I
moved to another state.† Once you have
two systems, each of your maintenance appointments will go more quickly as they
merely remove system A, clean your scalp, apply new adhesive, and put system B
on your head.† Next time system B will be
removed and system A put on.† I am also told that the base of each system
will last a little longer if they are rotated, as constantly subjecting the
base to sweat and oils from the scalp for many months without interruption may
wear it out sooner.
If you take reasonable care of your hair so that your systems last a year
apiece, figure that you will buy one system per year, have eight to ten routine
appointments per year, buy the Apollo products, and recolor your system twice
Keep in mind that these are total annual expenses
†††††† $850††††††† One new system
†††††† $350††††††† Regular appointments (about ten each year)
†††††† $225††††††† Repair (replenishing hairs) of one system each year
†††††† $60††††††††† Hair care products (total for each year)
†††††† $60††††††††† Recoloring (three times each year)
So I estimate my annual expenses around $1500.† If you take meticulous care of your hair, and
end up not having to buy another system in any given year, then your expenses
for that particular year will be considerably less.† If you are rough in brushing and washing your
hair, scratch it up, or otherwise wear it out, your costs will be much higher,
easily double or triple.† The care of
your system will be especially important if you are saving funds for SRS, FFS,
or other transition procedures.† On the
other hand, if you take such good care of your systems that they last longer,
in some years (happened for me) your expense of repairing a system might
substitute (rather than add on to) your expense of buying a whole new system.
A note on hair care products:† I
figured in the use of shampoo, conditioner, comb
gliding hairspray, adhesive strips, and adhesive removers.† I have 15-inch long hair systems, so clients
with shorter systems might spend a little less.†
If you also use mousses or other products I did not mention, that would
increase your cost.† One thing you can do
to reduce costs is to buy in quantity.† I
found that it was far cheaper in the long term to buy their largest bottles of
product (anywhere from 13 to 32 ounces) than to buy only 4 or 8 ounces at a
Costs of hair systems over several years:
Despite having longer hair, I have managed to make
my hair systems last quite a while.†
After having had Apollo hair for several years, I can give a better
example of my individual expenses:
November 2002: Apollo I (my first system) $850
May 2003: Apollo II (my second system to enable
April 2004: Repair of Apollo I system (sent system
to have hairs replenished) $225
March 2005: Repair of Apollo II system $225
July 2005: Ordered Apollo III system $850
System rotation & cleaning appointments: $39
every five or six weeks
System recoloring: $20 three or four times each
year for all systems
Hair care products: about $150 each year.
Notice that after buying my first two systems, I
did not need to buy any replacement systems until July 2005, or two years and
eight months after I had purchased my very first system.† Although Apollo III arrived in September
2005, and I could have worn it to Thailand, I elected to wear Apollo I one last
time rather than risk anything happening to my new system during surgery or my
recovery.† My local Apollo clinic then
removed and retired Apollo I in early November 2005, only several days shy of
the third anniversary when the Tulsa stylists had first put it on me.† Keep in mind that I had worn Apollo I
exclusively for the first six months, and then rotated it with Apollo II for
more than two years.† This means I made
Apollo I last for 21 combined months of actual wearing, and rotated it with
another system for almost three years.†
Notice that I didnít have to buy any new systems in the year 2004.† That helped accelerate my savings toward SRS
at a time when I wasnít allowed to perform much overtime at my workplace.
I am still using Apollo II and rotating this with
Apollo III.† Apollo II has also aged, so
I anticipate purchasing Apollo IV sometime between the summer of 2006 and early
2007.† I ended up with thinner hairs on
Apollo III, so I might not be able to make that last quite as long as the first
two systems, but I should still be able to stretch it for at least one year of
continuous wear, or more than two years of rotation with my other system.
Is the system
attached all the time, or do you take it off every night?
This will depend on your preference. †You can have your system semi-permanently
attached so that you only have to remove and change the tape on the front of
your system, and the rest of the perimeter attached with both tape and an
adhesive glue which will remain for the entire five or six weeks between your
appointments.† Or you can tape the entire
perimeter yourself every morning and remove it at night.† I choose to have my system semi-permanently
attached.† The friend in Arkansas who
referred me to the Apollo clinic uses tape and removes her system every
night.† Both options have their
advantages and disadvantages.
I wish to have hair on my head all the time, all day, all night, and every
day.† I do change the front tape of my
system at home when needed, but I have a lot of long hair on my head full
time.† As a result, I pretty much forget
that I ever had a serious hair loss problem before I first received my system
last November.† The only time my hair
comes off is for a few minutes every five weeks or so when I have my regular
appointments at the Apollo clinic, and the only people who ever see my head
anymore are the stylists at my local Apollo clinic.† I do not have to worry about preparing my
hair each time I answer the door or do a short errand such as getting the mail.
The downside of semi-permanent attachment includes the need to return to
Apollo for regular appointments every five to six weeks, and pay $39 for each
session.† My friend told me that the
systems would wear out sooner for wearing them all night.† Semi-permanent attachment is clearly the more
expensive option, but having hair on my head full time is important to me, and
I am willing to accept the increased expense.†
Having hair is very important to me.
Some Apollo clients tape theirs on each morning and remove it at night. †They do not have to make regular visits to
Apollo for the maintenance appointments, and the systems apparently last longer
if they are not worn to bed.† This is
definitely a cheaper option.† The
downside is that you would still be lacking hair part of the time.† This could be a problem when spending the
night away from home with friends.† That
was something I could not bear, so I chose the more expensive option.† Still, some transitioning women arenít as
bothered about this as I am.
How is the system
attached to the head?
The stylist shaves the hairs nearest the hairline very short, but doesnít
shave them entirely.† Then the base of
the system is attached to these hairs with adhesive tape, and if the client
desires the semi-permanent attachment, a glue is
added.† When the client returns for the
next maintenance appointment, the hairs underneath are shaved again so the
system can be attached there.
The system is attached to these growing hairs, not to your scalp.† As these hairs grow, the system will seem more loose over time.†
The purpose of regular appointments every five weeks or so is to detach
the system from these hairs and then shave those growing hairs back to minimal
length so the system can be snugly reattached.
Does the system
My system does indeed appear natural.†
I went stealth after moving away from where I had first transitioned and
nobody can tell that I am an Apollo client.†
Even my TS friends say that they could not tell that I had a hair
system.† The hair appears to be growing
from my own scalp.† The only circumstance
in which I could imagine you being found out is if you cross paths with another
transitioned woman who was also wearing a hair system, and she would never tell
People often make comments about my hair.†
When I first started working in another city far from where I had
initially transitioned, a coworker commented that I would feel hot this summer
with all that hair.† Another woman
complained that when her daughter submitted to a drug test by hair sample, they
removed a noticeable amount near the top of her head and left a little bald
patch on her head, and then she commented, ĎIf I had hair like Sherryís, it
wouldnít matter!í† Later on, a blonde
woman with hair about as long as mine asked me if I always had long hair, and
we got into a discussion about the increased time it took to care for our hair,
but that we liked our hair long, although she was considering having several
inches cut off for the summer.
Does the system
My system feels very natural.† Apollo
uses natural human hair for their systems.†
When my system was first applied in November 2002, I was amazed at how
different it felt from wearing wigs all these years.† It was a bit windy in Tulsa that day, and it
felt like my own real hair was blowing in the wind.† I donít think much about hair loss anymore,
because I feel like I have my own real hair wherever I go and whatever I do.
How will having a
hair system affect my lifestyle?
You can pretty much do anything you could before you had a hair
system.† Actually your lifestyle should
be improved because of the increased confidence and improved self esteem for
having hair.† If you were wearing wigs
all day before you got your hair system, then this will be a
liberation for you.† You can play
any sport, go swimming, ride in a convertible with the top down, or go on rides
at theme parks.† It is recommended that
you tie your hair back in a ponytail if you plan to do anything that would blow
your hair around (this would prevent tangles), but I think you can do whatever
The Tulsa stylists tell me that one of their clients was caught in the
Oklahoma tornado back in 1999.† That
tornado was rated an F5, the highest rating on the scale for tornadoes.† The twister tore the manís shoes and socks
off, but he kept his hair.
When I transition,
I want to live stealth, but I have hair loss.†
Will I still be able to go stealth with a hair system?
I remember someone on a mailing list complaining that they could never live
stealth just because they had lost so much hair.† Let me reassure you.
I have recently moved away from the area where I transitioned and went full
time, and am now living stealth.† My
coworkers and neighbors know me only as Sherry.†
So I can personally testify that you can indeed go stealth once you have
your hair replacement system.
It is not even necessary for the stylists to know that you ever
transitioned.† They will know that you
had devastating hair loss, but that doesnít mean you have to out yourself to
them about ever being trans.† Just before I left Arkansas, I asked the
stylist if she thought my new stylists in another city would figure out that I
had transitioned.† She didnít think so.† Just for curiosity, I thought I would come to
the new clinic here without mentioning my transition.†† As far as I can tell, the stylists do not
know that I ever transitioned.
How is that possible?† Keep in mind
that Apollo stylists see the most severe cases of hair loss in men and
especially women.† Many women suffer
varying degrees of hair loss, but you donít notice this as much because women
are far more likely than men to either conceal their hair loss or seek
treatment.† Still, if you are observant,
you will occasionally notice a woman with thinning hair or even balding.† Occasionally a woman suffers from a hormone
imbalance, which will induce male pattern baldness if her genetics have
rendered her susceptible.† Women of all
ages also suffer severe or total hair loss from chemotherapy, stress related
disorders, accidents, burns, and certain illnesses, and Apollo stylists have
seen all of the very worst and most unusual cases.† Tulsa has one client who lost every hair on
her head during her teens when she was stressed out over family issues.† Years later she has not regrown any hair and
it appears she might not ever regrow any hair, but she does now have an Apollo
system and is married.† Whatever the
severity of your hair loss before transition, it is nothing new to Apollo
stylists, and you do not need to disclose your transition.
Whatever your hair loss situation is, you can still be all that you feel
you should be.
You say my hair
system will last longer if I care for it meticulously.† How should I take care of my system?
Your stylists will give you tips and
advice regarding your hair care.† With a
little effort and some patience, you can make you system last for quite a
When brushing or combing your
hair, and especially when dealing with tangles, you do not want to pull on the
hair of the root.† The hairs are not as
strongly attached to the base, as your own hair would be to your scalp, so you
do need to be careful.†† When combing the
ends with one hand, I hold the hairs farther up with the other hand so that I
donít pull where the hairs are attached to the base.† Even when holding the hairs while detangling,
you still need to be careful and patient, because hair strands themselves are
also subject to damage.† I use a comb
gliding spray.† Start from the ends,
combing down, and then work up toward the roots.
Use a wide spaced plastic
comb, or use something recommended by Apollo stylists.† Do not use combs or brushes with metal
bristles.† Sometimes it helps to detangle
by using your fingers at first.† Be
patient, and donít pull too hard on the hair or especially the base.
Do not comb or brush hair when
it is wet.
Detangle hair before
you wash it.
Use only hair care products
from Apollo, or salon type products formulated for treated hair.† Your hair system has been color treated, and
for many clients has also been permed. †Also, you do not want to use any products that
might weaken or ruin the base of your system.
Do not use heated curling
Do not use heated blow
dryers.† Towel dry your hair, or use the
cool setting on the blow dryer.
Reduce sun exposure to your
hair by wearing a hat or other covering if you will be outdoors a lot.
Rinse hair after using a
chlorinated swimming pool.
Gently move aside hairs that
get in your face.† Donít yank them out of
your system, because each hair lost this way will thin out the system.
When washing your hair, donít
scrub your head with your fingers as many guys do.† I was advised to pour a little shampoo in a
cup, mix it with some water, and then apply that on the hair.† This works for me.
It is not necessary to use a
lot of shampoo.† Using too much shampoo
or doing it too frequently may dry out the hair and subject it to more rapid
The less you do to your hair,
the longer you hair system will endure.
If you opt to have your system
semi-permanently attached so you wear it day and night, it is recommended that
you use satin pillowcases or covers to reduce friction.
15. Do not scratch on your
system to relieve itching.† Apollo
stylists have often told me about clients who rapidly develop patches of lost
hairs on their systems as a result of frequent scratching of their head, often
in only one or two months.
Proper hair care will cause your
system to last longer, and you wonít have to spend money to repair or replace
your system as often.† Remember that
heat, chemicals, and physical force are all bad for your hair.
My stylist told me about the many
clients who recklessly brush their hair or tear it out while yanking on
tangles, or yanking hair out of their face, and then returning to the clinic
after only two months and complaining that their systems were losing hair and
asking why.† Well I was so happy to have
hair again and treated it as being sacred.†
Why would other clients do things that they know will wreck their newly
gained hair?† When I returned for my
first regular appointment five weeks after receiving my first hair system, my
stylist was very relieved that not only did I maintain my system well, but I
didnít even have many tangles.† She told
me that some clients with hair only four inches long were coming in with matted
hair and extensive tangles, or tearing up their systems.† I do detangle and comb my hair just before
appointments to make things easier for the stylist.
In the early days of my hair system,
I worked in the evisceration department of the chicken plant (yuck!), so I had
to wash my hair almost every day.† I did
transfer to a cleaner department in April, and then left the chicken plant
altogether in May.† I only shampoo two or
three times a week, although lately I do rinse my hair after work, because it
is hot and sweaty in my workplace at this time of year.
Evidently, many people with hair
systems think that rapid hair loss is inevitable.† I find that it is not.† After I moved to another city, the new
stylist commented that my first system was in quite good shape for having been
worn for six months.† Proper and patient
hair care can extend the life of the systems and make the expense worthwhile.
Is there an Apollo clinic near me?
Apollo has clinics all over the USA
in many of the large cities, and also some offices
outside the USA.† You can find a location
near you by going to their International
Website and clicking on their locations in the upper right area of the
In addition, some (but not all) of
the individual offices have their own webpages.†
You might type ĎApolloí and the name of your state or country into a
Obtaining your hair system: The process
I first went to the Apollo clinic in
Tulsa on August 29th, 2002.†
After a consultation, we determined that my solution would be to receive
a custom ACR system, although I had decided that this was what I would do.† They took measurements of the area of my hair
loss, and I chose a hair color close to mine, but with a little bit of red
tint.† I paid half of the price in
advance, and would pay the other half when the system arrived in November.
Then I waited.† The systems are constructed somewhere in the
Orient, and then shipped here.† Once
ordered, a system takes seven to eight weeks to arrive in the USA.† I set my appointment for November 8th
to allow ten weeks.† Then I drove back
home and began to wait.
When I arrived on November 8th,
the stylist commented that I seem excited, which I was.† I had nearly finished facial electrolysis,
been on HRT for 12 months, and this hair was going to enable me to begin my
legal and social transition to what I should have been.† Not even when I grew my hair out at age 14
did I ever have as much hair as they put on my head today.† Wigs could not compare with this at all, I
felt so natural.
On Monday my coworkers saw my new
hair.† Even before that day, some
coworkers were pretty sure that I was going to make a gender transition, and
now my new hair confirmed it.† As the
weeks passed I began to feel that I could transition in the chicken plant after
all, and was full time just before the end of the year.† Some coworkers could not understand how my
system was attached, and one person believed that the system was either
stitched or stapled in.† Others thought
that the hairs would now actually be able to grow.† I had to do a lot of educating to my
coworkers about my system.
In 1982 I grew my hair out so I would
look like a girl.† Now 20 years later, I
picked up from where I left off on the day mom made me get my hair cut, and
continued to do what I was wanting to do all this time.† I was full time legally and socially just
before the end of the year, and then ended up going stealth in another state.
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