These 3D-Printed Permanent Hairpieces Are Making Waves For Cancer Survivors

“It’s like a second skin. It’s the closest to your natural hair you can possibly get.”

1. 3D printing has made some awesome AF things possible in the last few years.

Trevor Williams / Via Getty Images

2. And people have been getting REALLY creative in terms of the ways they use it.

Formlabs / Via

3. The latest, though, may be one of the coolest uses yet: prosthetic hairpieces for cancer survivors and anyone else with hair loss.

Transitions Hair Solutions

All of these pieces have been created using 3D printing for the scalp.

4. Basically, an exact replica of a patient’s skull is 3D printed, and then human hair is hand-injected — STRAND BY STRAND — into the piece.

5. “I take very precise measurements of a client’s head, then I send the measurements to a factory in Italy where the 3D printing takes place,” Danielle Grillo, owner of Transitions Hair Solutions, told BuzzFeed.

Transitions Hair Solutions

Above, Grillo applies the mold to take a client’s scalp measurements.

6. “Along with the molds [below], we tell them the exact hair density, texture, color, length, and direction of growth on the client’s head,” Grillo said.

Transitions Hair Solutions

“This is the closest you can possibly get to someone’s real, natural hair,” she said.

7. The piece takes about three months to create. It’s made to be antifungal and antimicrobial, and it adjusts to the body temperature of the wearer.

Transitions Hair Solutions

Many synthetic wigs can cause the wearer to overheat quickly, but this scalp is made to feel like a second skin.

8. After the piece is attached to the client’s head with medical-grade dermatologist-tested adhesive, Grillo styles the hair as any hairdresser would.

Transitions Hair Solutions

“After it’s put on, it functions and becomes part of them. You can shower in it. You can use a curling iron, a flat iron, put it up in a bun, go skydiving. Whatever,” Grillo told BuzzFeed.

9. Every four to six weeks, the client comes back to the private “hair salon” for a scalp treatment and a hair treatment to keep everything in optimal condition.

Transitions Hair Solutions

“The only difference [between this and a hair salon] is that they’re in their own private room, so you don’t have to be next to someone like in a salon. This is a private thing. And if you choose to color the hair, you can, because it’s virgin human hair,” she said.

10. “I finally just said to myself, ‘Listen, you survived cancer. Just invest in it. It’s going to make you happy.’ I feel more like a woman. I feel like myself again,” Sheri Valle, a cancer survivor and client of Grillo’s, said in a video about the process.

Transitions Hair Solutions

“I realized I needed something permanent so I can go back to jogging and working out and swimming just like everybody else does and I didn’t want to worry about it.”

11. “To watch clients come in and be a little bit hunched over, and then watch them leave and see them bloom like a flower, that’s what I love about it. I love seeing what it does for people,” Grillo told BuzzFeed.

Transitions Hair Solutions

12. Great job, everyone.

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