Black Men Are Embracing Wigs and Weaves One ‘Male Unit’ At A Time

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In the same way that women conceal their hair-related problems and insecurities, men quietly engage in similar practices. For men, this includes concerns ranging from hair loss to texture and overall hair health. Unfortunately, for men, the haircare industry has not evolved with our unique needs. 

Men who aren’t as comfortable with the available options have used “hat fishing” as a quick substitute. “Many will wear hats to cover the issue they are dealing with because they don’t want people to see the receding hairline or see the thinning crown,” says Wade Menendez, Owner of The W Hair Loft in Baltimore.

In the ‘90s and through the ‘00s and 2010s, Bigen, a hair coloring technique skyrocketed in popularity, especially among Black men. Bigen served as an effective alternative for common hair-related issues, such as receding hairlines and balding. But that’s not all. It was also embraced to enhance the appearance of beards, adding to its versatility and appeal. However, as we approached the roaring ‘20s, the tides turned for men experiencing these confidence-breaking hair concerns: “Man Weaves” entered the chat.

In the Black community, a traditional emphasis on hyper-masculinity often forms a barrier for men seeking assistance with hair-related issues. However, a much-needed shift occurred in recent years, when the once-mocked toupee had proudly taken center stage. In turn? Gender norms, associated with the use of wigs for men, began to be broken down. 

Below, discover more information about the unit.

What Is A “Man Weave?”

Also known as a “male unit,” a man weave is a modern alternative to address the concerns of those experiencing hair challenges. Expert barbers create these units from human or synthetic hair according to the natural hair type/texture of preference of the client.

“Man Weaves” are more than just wigs placed atop a man’s head, they’re grown to fit your personal aesthetic and taste. “It’s more about the type of man that you are, and if you want to invest in your personal appearance, it’s something you will consider,” says Nelson Vercher, Senior Stylist at Rita Hazan.

What Is The Reason For Hair Loss?

Many men battle with hair loss due to genetics. Studies also show that 30-50% of men are affected by androgenetic alopecia which is proven to be the most common form of hair loss in men. “There are different types of alopecia that men deal with,” Wade says. “Most of the guys that come to me have alopecia areata which is usually located in the crown area or different sporadic  spots of the head.”

How Do You Maintain A “Man Weave?”

Unlike Bigen which can be washed away, the upkeep of a “Man Weave” is much like how one would care for their natural hair. “Depending on which one you have, they can be washed and brushed,” says Wade. “There also are some that are more short term that cannot be brushed or combed due to the way it’s applied to the scalp.” For the preservation and longevity of the unit, Wade recommends sleeping with a bonnet or durag and also reframing from the use of oil as it can cause premature lifting.

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