What are hair fibers (AKA hair-building fibers)?

Published on April 1, 2024
Updated on April 1, 2024
A man smiling at himself happily in the mirror after having applied hair fibers
Hair fibers can make your hair look thicker and fuller and give you more confidence.

Have you heard of hair fibers? You’ve probably seen the before and after pictures, and they look great. People take a powder or spray, apply it to their thinning hair, and within just a few minutes, their hair suddenly looks thicker, fuller, and healthier. If you’re going to a wedding or a party, these products act as a type of hair filler for men and can be the perfect way to cover up hair loss.

But hair fiber sprays and powders are just a cosmetic solution. They’re not actually doing anything to improve your hair health. And once you get in a pool, take a shower, or – like Rudy Giuliani – get a bit too warm and start sweating, those hair fibers will probably come off and your hair will go back to looking like it always does.

Natural hair fibers vs. hair building fibers

Each of the hairs on your head is produced by a hair follicle within your scalp. These hair strands are sometimes referred to as hair fibers. They’re primarily made up of a protein, keratin, that’s rich in sulfur.

According to an article in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, the hair fibers produced by your hair follicles are made up of three parts: the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cuticle of your hair strands is the part that you see when you look at hair. This thin membrane is the layer that protects hair. It’s also the place where hair products – like sprays, dry shampoos, conditioners, and mousses – are deposited.

Hair fibers – also known as hair building fibers and hair fiber fillers – are also the name of a type of a powdery, textured cosmetic product. According to an article in the International Journal of Trichology, hair fiber fillers are usually made of keratin, which can come from wool or rice. They may also be made with rayon, which is made from cellulose fiber obtained from agricultural sources, or some other plant-based fiber. Sometimes, these products are even created using keratin from human hair.

Hair building fibers need to be applied onto existing hair strands in order to bind to them successfully. They’re meant to bulk up the appearance of your hair strands, covering areas where you have thinning hair or bald spots. These types of hair fibers are usually sold as a powder or spray.

Who should use hair fibers?

Hair fiber fillers are great at temporarily providing people with thick, healthy-looking hair. They’re usually available in a wide array of colors that help make the product’s effect as natural as possible. The catch is that they’re really only good for short-term use or in certain scenarios. 

If you’re applying a hair fiber spray or powder shortly before a graduation or wedding photoshoot, or you want to look good at a work event, hair fibers are perfect. But if you’re planning on being outside all day long on a hot summer day, going to a pool or the beach, or even think you might get caught in the rain – you may want to rethink your choice of product.

Now, some products claim to be water resistant, stating that they only come off with shampoo, but they don’t always work this way. If your intention is to get your hair wet, you may want to do a few test runs before going out in public.

You may also need to buy a few hair fiber fillers before you end up with a product you like. For example, even though Toppik Hair Fibers are well-rated and highly popular, some people have complained that their products don’t blend well with certain hair colors or that their products give hair a greenish tint. This product may work perfectly well for you, but not work well for a family member with a slightly different hair color. 

Using hair fibers for hair loss

Anyone can use hair building fibers, but they’re particularly popular among people experiencing some type of hair loss. If you have a few tiny, patchy spots of hair loss – indicative of a condition known as alopecia areata – this product is ideal as it can easily provide coverage to small areas surrounded by healthy hair.

Hair fibers are also a good temporary solution for people with pattern hair loss, the most common form of alopecia. This condition, also known as androgenic alopecia, causes progressive hair loss over time. 

If you’re just starting to lose hair, hair building fibers can provide coverage to thinning areas, like your temples, or areas where your hair growth is starting to look patchy. And if you’re already experiencing the later stages of androgenic alopecia, hair fibers can cover up large patches of thinning hair, like hair loss at the crown, to make hair loss look less significant.

Just remember that hair fibers need to bind to hair strands in order to work. If your hair loss is very advanced or you’re almost completely bald, you won’t be able to get much use out of this product. Similarly, if your temple hair loss has progressed to the point of completely receding hair around your temples, you likely won’t be able to apply this product to that part of your head.

It’s also important to remember that hair building fibers are a purely cosmetic solution. They won’t do anything to make your hair loss worse, but they also won’t promote hair growth or stop the progression of androgenic alopecia. 

Side effects of using hair fibers

Hair fibers have virtually no side effects – the only issue you’re likely to see is if you have a contact allergy to one of the ingredients in a product. If you end up with dermatitis or a similar issue after using hair fibers, try another product or two before you give up on them entirely. 

How to strengthen natural hair fibers and stop hair loss

If you’re looking for a way to make your natural hair fibers (AKA hair strands) thicker and fuller, you’ll need a hair loss treatment. According to a review in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, there are three FDA-approved options that you can use to regrow stronger, longer hair: minoxidil, finasteride, and low-level laser therapy. 

Minoxidil is a topical hair loss treatment that is applied to your scalp. When applied to your scalp, it allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to reach hair follicles. It’s sold as a liquid serum and a foam in concentrations of 2 percent and 5 percent. Minoxidil 5 percent is thought to be most effective for men. 

Finasteride is a pill that’s taken once a day in 1-milligram doses. This drug works systemically, acting as a hormone blocker. It helps hair follicles produce healthier hair by preventing a specific hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), from binding to them. DHT is thought to be the main hormone involved in male pattern hair loss. 

Low-level laser therapy is administered through a variety of biostimulatory devices. You can choose from combs, brushes, caps, helmets, and headbands. These devices work a bit like minoxidil – but instead of putting a solution on your scalp, you simply expose your scalp and hair follicles to a specific wavelength of light.   

Hair loss treatments vs. hair fibers

Unlike hair building fibers that bind to hair strands to make hair instantly look thicker, FDA-approved hair loss treatments are applied to the scalp or taken orally. They directly affect hair follicles, improving hair growth from root to tip. 

The upside of using a hair loss treatment is that they produce thicker, stronger hair strands. The downside is that their effects take a bit of time to work. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, hair grows at a rate of 1 centimeter (around 0.4 inches) per month. This means that it will take a while for you to notice improvements in hair thickness and volume. Realistically, you probably won’t notice any major changes for between three to six months. 

And if you have long hair, you should know that hair loss treatments can’t positively affect existing hair strands that are already visible. They work from the root, where your hair follicles are, which means that only hair production from the moment you start using the hair loss treatment can be improved.

How to use hair fiber products

Using hair fibers is a straightforward, easy process. All you need to do is apply them to clean, dry hair. 

Step 1: Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo.

Step 2: Dry your hair completely.

Step 3: Style your hair. 

Step 4: Shake or spray your hair fibers over the areas where you’d like to see more coverage. Gently pat them in to set them in place. 

Step 5: Apply hairspray to make sure your hair fibers stay in place all day long. 

Removing hair fibers is an easy process, too. You’ll just need to use water and shampoo, washing your hair like you usually would. You should know that you can’t use dry shampoo to remove hair building fibers.

Can you use hair fibers with a hair loss treatment?

You can definitely use hair building fibers with a hair loss treatment. But depending on the treatment you choose, you may not want to use them at exactly the same times. 

For example, finasteride is an oral medication. Popping a pill has no effect on the application of hair fiber fillers, so you’ll have no problem using this hair loss treatment with this cosmetic product. 

But both minoxidil and low-level laser therapy treatments are applied directly to the scalp. Laser hair therapy devices emit light that isn’t likely to be affected by hair fiber products. But it’s usually best to apply treatments to a clean scalp and dry hair. 

Minoxidil is the most likely hair loss treatment to be affected by hair fibers. Now, this isn’t a problem, at least – not exactly. The main issue is that you need to apply these products in a certain order. Minoxidil needs to be applied twice a day to a clean, dry scalp. This means that you need to make sure your scalp is clean every morning and every night. 

Hair building fibers can still be applied if you’re using minoxidil. You’ll just need to apply minoxidil first, wait for it to dry, then apply the hair fibers. Then, before applying minoxidil in the evening, you’ll need to wash your hair (and wash out the hair fibers). 

When you get out of the shower, you’ll need to towel dry your hair and make sure your scalp is dry before applying minoxidil. You’ll then have to wait for minoxidil to dry before going to bed. If you’re using minoxidil and you apply hair fibers every day, this series of steps will simply need to be a part of your daily routine. 

What are the best hair fibers?

The best hair fibers are all-natural, color-matched, and long-lasting. They stay on all day, rain or shine, and only wash out when you’re intentionally trying to get them out with shampoo.  

But every product is different. Some people may prefer products like Boldify Hair Fibers simply because they’re vegan and transparent about their ingredients. Other people may prefer Toppik Hair Fiber products simply because they’re a better match to their natural hair color. 

Whichever product you choose, just remember that hair fiber fillers do nothing to help with hair regrowth. They’re just a temporary cosmetic solution. If you want to stop hair loss and get your hair back, you’ll need to use a hair loss treatment like minoxidil, low-level laser therapy, or finasteride. Hair fibers can be used with any of these FDA-approved hair loss treatments.  

There’s nothing wrong with using hair fibers – but they work best when you’re already using a hair loss treatment. Using them as a stop-gap solution while you wait for your hair to grow back is the best way to get thicker, fuller, healthier hair strands that won’t ever wash out.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.


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