Advertisement

Hyper-realistic toupees are the hottest new flex — with some spending hair-raising dough to look their best

Headshots of Keith and Corey Magnum
Keith, left, and Corey Magnum, right, are balding, Big Apple-based performers who get toupees.

These men are embracing their Great Recession.

Expensive, uber-realistic toupees are the hottest new flex online and in the Big Apple – with some spending hair-raising dough to look their best.

One Upper East Side hair stylist, Terri Green, hawks her handmade toupees for up to a whopping $6,800 – because they cut above the rest, she told The Post.

Expensive, uber-realistic toupees are the hottest new flex online and in the Big Apple. J.C. Rice
Expensive, uber-realistic toupees are the hottest new flex online and in the Big Apple. J.C. Rice
Corey Magnum sat in Hair Replacement Specialist Geraldo Quinones’ chair, where a $1,500 toupee was glued onto his follically-challenged head. J.C. Rice
Corey Magnum sat in Hair Replacement Specialist Geraldo Quinones’ chair, where a $1,500 toupee was glued onto his follically-challenged head. J.C. Rice

“My pieces are real human hair ethically sourced from nonprofits in the United States,” Green explained, adding that the process of “installing” her hairdos entails attaching it one piece of hair at a time.

While they are “expensive, expensive pieces…they give people another good option” besides baldness and hair replacement surgeries, which aren’t effective for everyone, Green said.

This month, 31-year-old Corey Magnum made the 45-minute trek from his home in Port Chester to sit in Hair Replacement Specialist Geraldo Quinones’ chair at a barber shop in East Harlem – and have a $1,500 toupee glued onto his follically-challenged head.

Magnum, a contemporary ballet dancer who’s been balding since he was 25, went to Quinones, who owns the Royal Crown Hair Club, for his first “hair system” in November, before Magnum performed as the lead prince in the prestigious Nutcracker Ballet.

Corey Magnum first got a toupee before performing as the lead prince in the Nutcracker ballet. J.C. Rice
Corey Magnum first got a toupee before performing as the lead prince in the Nutcracker ballet. J.C. Rice
“I feel like a new person once I get out that chair,” Magnum told The Post. J.C. Rice
“I feel like a new person once I get out that chair,” Magnum told The Post. J.C. Rice

“When you think of a prince, they usually have hair,” Magnum pointed out with a chuckle.

His new ‘do won’t budge while Magnum is dancing, according to Quinones, 33, who also said the piece’s thin, polyester base allows for sweat to come through the top. The toupee’s hand-tied, real human hair came from a supplier in India, and should last Magnum 4-6 months, Quinones continued.

“At first, it was weird to have hair again, but I like it . . . I feel like a new person once I get out that chair,” Magnum told The Post. “Even my [dance] director was like, ‘You’re dancing more confident now.’”

His new ‘do won’t budge while Magnum is dancing, according to Quinones, 33, who also said the piece’s thin, polyester base allows for sweat to come through the top. J.C. Rice
His new ‘do won’t budge while Magnum is dancing, according to Quinones, 33, who also said the piece’s thin, polyester base allows for sweat to come through the top. J.C. Rice

Keith, a Big Apple-based wedding band performer, has been going to Chelsea-based hair stylist Diliana Nikolova since 2018 for toupees – which are essential for his mental wellbeing, he said.

“When I got older, and my hair started thinning more…it was starting to depress me quite a bit,” said Keith, 48, who also noted that he has struggled with body dysmorphia and eating disorders throughout his life.

“The hair just helps a lot. The happier I am with what I see in the mirror, the easier it is to control the body dysmorphia,” Keith explained, and added that having a toupee “just feels right.”

“When I got older, and my hair started thinning more…it was starting to depress me quite a bit,” said Keith, 48. Courtesy of Keith
“When I got older, and my hair started thinning more…it was starting to depress me quite a bit,” said Keith, 48. Courtesy of Keith

In 2022, the wig and extension market was valued at $7.7 billion, and estimated to grow to $15.7 billion by 2032 — in part because of the growing prevalence and glamorization of hair pieces on social media, according to a report by DataHorizzon Research.

More men’s can ‘do attitude is not only because today’s toupees look more sophisticated than they did in the past — with smaller, thinner and sturdier bases — but also because there’s less of a stigma surrounding fake hair, said Quinones, who shares videos of his clients’ shocking toupee transformations with his 21,000 Instagram followers.

One 28-year-old California man’s entire livelihood is based on documenting his hair loss journey for his almost 850,000 TikTok followers.

Keith, a wedding band performer, said having the toupee is essential for his mental wellbeing, and “just feels right.” Courtesy of Keith
Keith, a wedding band performer, said having the toupee is essential for his mental wellbeing, and “just feels right.” Courtesy of Keith

After nearly five years of undergoing a series of hair transplants, treatments, creams and vitamins, on Feb. 24, Zeph Sanders visited the Newport Beach-based self-proclaimed “Toupee Queen,” AKA a hair stylist named Emily who specializes in false hair pieces for men.

“It was exhilarating, the whole transformation. I really felt like a new me…It definitely boosted my self-esteem,” said Sanders, who lives in Huntington Beach.

The aspiring influencer said Emily’s toupees usually go for around $2,000, but she gave him a deal since he raved about the experience in a TikTok that has amassed two million views.

“It’s a viable option for people who are able to pay for it – and it’s worth it,” Sanders said.