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Meg Farris / Medical Reporter
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- It is a health issue that many people are too embarrassed to talk about, yet it is out in the open for everyone to see.

Two women talk about hair loss and show us a new way to transform thinning hair right before your eyes.

For the last four years, Lisa Haydel has noticed she has something very common to nearly half of all women: female pattern baldness, or thinning.

'I started trying to, like, cover it up and use a lot of hair spray so it wouldn't move,' said Lisa Haydel, 55, of Metairie.

It is something many find emotionally painful.

'I'm really self conscious about it. I know if I don't do anything, I'm going to wind up losing a lot of my hair. I just don't like going out any more because I have so much hair loss,' she said through tears.

Deborah Keller can relate.

'I feel like I'm fighting coastal zone erosion here because I am only in my mid-50s, but what do I do when I start getting older? Is it going to be a losing battle?' said Keller, 54, of Chalmette.

Just like in men, it's genetic. Did you inherit the thick or thin hair genes from your ancestors?

'My mother has very thin, fine hair. My dad's sister's the same way. My mom is going through all the products and she has even gone with injections from a dermatologist,' added Keller.

Both women are tired of the time and energy trying to hide their scalps. They are tired of the cost of thickening sprays and gels. So now they are among the first in the area to try something new to hide mother nature's flaw.

It's called the Evolve Volumizer. Hair dressers at Glenn Michael Salon in Metairie were trained by a representative from New York City. They practiced on mannequins and watched as both Haydel and Keller were transformed.

'It is an integral part of a person's self esteem and image and is often times the difference between self-confidence and self-consciousness. And on every guest of ours that we've done a Volumizer on, when we turn that client around to the mirror for the final look, literally, and I'm serious when I tell you this, every one of my female clients has teared up and cried,' said Glenn Michael Milliet, the owner of Glenn Michael Salon on Metairie Road.

The real human hair is hand knotted on mesh. It comes in many colors, textures and thickness levels to custom match it to your hair. The system is attached to your hair with small, gentle crimp bonds. Then some of your hair is pulled through the mesh and some of the system hair is pulled through to mix in with your hair. It takes about an hour an a half. You can then style and cut it to blend with your hair.

When Haydel saw herself in the mirror, she wept.

'I have hair,' said Haydel with tears flowing down her cheeks.

One of the women who got the Volumizer said the minute she saw herself with it, she looked instantly healthier, and there's a reason for that. Subconsciously, we see thicker, shinny hair as a sign of health and fertility. It's the same reason the peahen is attracted to the peacock with the thickest and brightest feathers in his tail. Well, it's the same visual cue with humans.

That is why wanting to fix your thin hair is not about vanity, but a strong part of biology and wanting to fit in. Being attracted to thick hair is nature's need to recognize and pass on genes to make strong offspring.

And that is why these women are so happy now.

'With fuller hair, it says here's a healthy person,' exclaimed Keller.

Some clients such as Jayme Langsford wanted that edgy two tone look, but didn't want to bleach her baby fine hair. So she used the Volumizer as a way to avoid chemical processing. She got volume and color in one.

These women will need to come back about every five weeks to have the Volumizer tightened as their hair grows under it. But otherwise they can wash and blow dry it naturally.

It's not available for men, and cancer patients must first finish treatment before it can be used.

But for now, Michael says his first clients are getting compliments.

'She called me mid-afternoon and she said, 'Everyone, when I walked in, said to me, 'Oh my God, I love your new hair cut.' No one could tell,' Milliet recalled one of his clients saying after her first public outing with her new hair.

The cost for the hair system is $1,000. That includes two consultations, the hair piece and the installation. The cost to tighten it up every five weeks is $60.

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