The MTV generation is retooling the "big bang theory" for the '90s to center around the partial wig.
Though not even local hairdressers know for sure if the "bangs-only" hairpieces infiltrating beauty salons and wig shops will attain the popularity of hair extensions, many are gearing up for an onslaught just in case.
Bang attachments were all the rage at many domestic and international hair shows earlier this spring, the forum beauty professionals use to communicate their ideas to stylists, says Ralph Sampson, owner of Wilshire Wigs and Accessories in North Hollywood. The gizmos, already a big hit in New York, offer several advantages that standard wigs do not.
"They are much cooler than a full wig," Sampson says, a weighty factor when battling warm San Fernando Valley temperatures. "They are perfect for women who have thinning hair in the front only or don't want to commit to a haircut with bangs but like the look of bangs for a change."
Sampson offers several types of bang attachments in his shop ranging from $20 to $50, depending on the make and texture (many curly bang attachments cost a bit more.) They adhere either with Velcro strips, combs, clips or hoods. Sampson stocks about 50 colors, but says the interest has been moderate for the new items.
Even if young New York groovers spearheaded the trend, they hardly have a monopoly on it. Sampson's 75-year-old wife Rose wears one to fill out her thinning hair and a couple of clients at Sarazin, a Sherman Oaks hair salon, also wear them. Owner Kay Sarazin says partial attachments such as the bangs for the front of the face are ideal for solving unusual problems.
"When women have plastic surgery, their hairline moves farther and farther back after every tuck," she explains delicately. To solve the problem, Sarazin engages the help of Renata, a renowned Glendale wig maker. Renata custom fits the hairpiece and Sarazin dyes it to match the natural hair, using sometimes as many as six or seven shades for a single piece. Prices for these custom pieces range from $200 to $600.
Sabrina Vasquez, manager and stylist at Antenna in Burbank, says she thinks the bang attachments provide a handy solution for quick-change hair artists.
"Some people like the look of bangs but are hesitant about getting them cut because they are so difficult to grow out when you are tired of them," she says.