Austin: Hair, Tacos & a Toothless Dog

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“You are not original. It’s what I tell each one that walks in…you are not original”, Shanna Moll, owner of Shanna Moll Studios, explains.

I had the pleasure of meeting Shanna at her studio when I was in Austin recently. The trip was a little bit taco (and ohhh, the tacos I had!), a little bit Capitol Building, and a lottafresh bit hair.

I’ll fill you in on the tacos in just a bit, but, have you been to Austin, before?

I’ve been a few times since I only live a few hours away, but me and my family love making the trip here since it has such a fun, different vibe than Dallas.

It’s very different & original.

Which I (and you) are not, according to Shanna. But let me explain.

Shanna and Booboo

Shanna tells me that every woman walks into her Studio thinking they are the only woman going through this hair loss thing. But she assures them that this issue is far more widespread than you might think.

Making no one that comes into the Studio, in fact, original.

She tells me that hair loss affects all ages, and both sexes…in fact, the majority of her clients are under 40 and men represent a growing segment at her Studio (so much so that she had to de-feminize the place, a bit!).

Oh, and see that little dog? More on the pooch, in a minute.

Check out how beautiful the studio is.

Shanna Moll Studios Shannas Room

Shanna Hair

She’s got several rooms for chatting, ordering, styling…you name it. 100% privacy, guaranteed!

In fact, if you want privacy from YOURSELF you can have it; many of her mirrors are curtained.

Shanna Moll Studios Room

Shanna Moll Studios helps women who have Androgenetic Alopecia (like me), Telogen Effluvium Alopecia (TE), Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA), loss from cancer treatments, and any kind of hair loss in between.

Shanna sells wigs and toppers in all shapes and sizes (custom and stock), and specializes in semi-permanent long-hair bonding. While she also sells clip in toppers, her long-hair bonding technique piqued my interest.

Most people hear “bonding” and immediately think they need to shave their heads.

Not so fast…Shanna can work around your own hair!

The cool thing about long-hair bonding is that it’s practically “set it and forget it”. You can swim with these systems, shower with them, do extreme sports…the list goes on and on.

Shanna does this with a few different systems: Jon Renau, her Shanna exclusive line, and Cesare Regazzi. The pricing for this is tiered, based on the piece (Jon Renau is the least expensive, and Cesare Regazzi is the most expensive).

Check out this video of how realistic the Cesare Regazzi system is, even when wet (I’m going to start the video showing it wet, but feel free to watch the whole video as it’s kinda fascinating!).

Both of the other lines available in the Studio will give you a similar look.

No matter if the client chooses the Jon Renau line, the Shanna exclusive, or the Cesare Regazzi, the piece is applied in-studio with a strong-hold adhesive that will stay in place for several weeks. You can wash and style these pieces just as you would your bio hair.

Over time, the piece will loosen a bit, and that’s when it’s time to come back into the studio to get it thoroughly cleaned & refreshed, and expertly reapplied. This will happen every 4-6 weeks.

Because it takes some time to refresh the piece and it helps to extend the life of the system, Shanna sells two pieces at a time, and those two pieces get rotated. That way the hair lasts twice as long and you’ll always have one piece on stand-by.

(Note For my FFA readers: bonding is such a great solution for you! I saw a gorgeous brunette walking out of Shanna Moll Studios as I was walking in, who was wearing a custom Jon Renau piece that expertly matched her FFA. It was flawless.)

Definitely something for me to think about and budget for, for the future! It would be amazing to swim and shower with hair!

What I was looking for today, though, was something a little different.

I’ve been searching high and low for (literally) years for a clip-in human hair topper with a color match to my everyday synthetic Jon Renau piece. I want the ability to mix-and-match the two different fibers.

But I struggle – oh do I struggle – with color. I know you’ve heard me say it 12,493 times, but I just can’t wear super-warm colors. And, I prefer my human hair and synthetic hair colors to be a close match.

Shanna is going to try her darndest to do this for me…yes!!

That’s the beauty of seeing someone in person: you can talk through all the tiny nuances that makes ordering online sometimes difficult.

We started by taking measurements. Shanna measured my area of loss and we discussed that the base size that I typically wear is spot on (8×8 or 8×9 or so).

Throughout our chat, I had a little friend to keep me company.

Booboo is Shanna’s (toothless!) rescue dog that hangs out in the Studio and loves to jump into clients’ laps and just snuggle.

Booboo at Shanna Moll Studios

While I held Booboo, Shanna asked me some questions about my lifestyle and preferences. She explained that learning these things are very important to getting a piece “right” for a client, and one of the advantages of picking out a hair solution in-person.

She gets down to the nitty gritty, and will even discuss wearing hair in intimate situations, if the client wants to talk about it.

Y’all KNOW you’ve had the same concerns. Because I’ve gotten emails. 🙂

As part of the measuring, we talked about how much hair/density I like to have. Obviously, the bigger the piece, the more hair it will have.

This is the look I love that I don’t think a topper can quite get to. But, I love the very full, Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) type of look. This is Jon Renau’s Blake.

We talked construction. My wish list included a polyurethane rim (for taping or glueing), and a silk top. Easy peasy.

Then, we got to color.

I explained to Shanna how I preferred to steer clear of warm colors and she gave me the best tip ever: check out the mens’ human hair colors.

While she’s going to match my current color 10RH16(ish), if you need neutral/ashier shades, the mens’ line has next to NO warmth.

I wish I had a picture to show, but think about it: when do you see an older man with really warm-hued hair? It’s kind of rare, right?

I cannot stress this enough: when there’s someone with you, guiding you through the ordering process, it really does make it SO easy.

No second guessing what size to get.

No second guessing what colors are possible.

No second guessing if this piece or that piece is perfect for you.

It could NOT be easier.

Throughout my visit, Shanna told me about a few of the many success stories that have come from women who started wearing hair with her help.

She read me an email that came from a client who was so moved to feel hair on her head in the shower, that she sat down with the water streaming over her and sobbed with relief and joy.

She also told me about a young teenager who survived cancer but his hair never came back the same. His father used to wake up before dawn to shade in his scalp to make sure his son’s hair looked as normal as possible; now he wears a custom bonded hair topper and finally feels like a normal kid (I teared up at this one).

You can really tell the passion she has for her clients, and once you become a client, you are a client for life. She frequently has clients that fly in to purchase new clip-in pieces and wigs because they enjoy working with her so much.

Even those that have opted for long-hair bonding are taking care of, no matter where they are. If they relocate, Shanna will help to find a specialist in their area that can continue the service. If there isn’t one, she offers training to local stylists and hair replacement specialists to get others up to speed on this art.

How’s that for service?

Ok, so she’s obviously got a ton of hair to look at. Her Studio offers wigs and toppers (both synthetic and human hair) for you to browse though:

You can browse the website for a bunch of services offered (cut & color, conditioning treatments, hair loss consulting & solutions, etc.), but you have to pay close attention to the CRLABS Trichology services (CR stands for Cesare Regazzi, which we touched on above).

This service focuses on scalp health. Cesare Regazzi is based out of Italy, and Shanna explained to me that Europeans are VERY focused on scalp health (and this was interesting for me to note, in particular. Some of you are aware I’m an Italian dual-citizen…I think a scalp research trip abroad is in order!!).

I saw a ton of before and afters with my own eyes. The diameter of hair increases up to 20%, and result are guaranteed.

Yep, I said it: GUARANTEED.

Shanna says that if you catch your hair loss early enough, many women can steer clear of helper hair all-together, and instead should focus on growing thicker hair.

As a die-hard hair-wearer, had I not seen it with my own eyes I would’ve discounted this service. But, I’m convinced this is an excellent solution for those who are just starting to notice a widening part.

The appointment concluded with Shanna drawing up the actual topper order, and letting me know it’ll be a bit of time before my custom piece comes in. Once it does, she’ll cut it in for me and make sure that it’s perfect.

As much as I love Austin, I don’t need to see her back there because SHE’S OPENING A SECOND STUDIO IN PLANO, TX! Instead of being several hours away, she’ll now be only 35 minutes away. I had no idea she was opening a studio local to me, so that was AWESOME news!

If you’re in the Austin area and want to make an appointment, check out the Shanna Moll Studios website or call 512-789-5630.

The full info is:
Shanna Moll Studios
3921 Steck Ave. Suite A101
Austin, TX

And be sure to watch her site for news of the Plano studio opening!

There’s one thing Shanna mentioned that I noticed when I left. Remember how I said that everything is 100% private when you visit with Shanna? Even her door doesn’t make ANY mention of hair loss, or alternative hair or wigs…it’s just a hair studio.

LOVE THAT!!

After I wrapped up with Shanna, my family and I spent a bit of time rolling through Austin. Our first stop was the Capitol Building.

One of my favorite parts of the building are the door hinges!

Capitol door hinges Austin

Shanna recommended Matt’s El Racho for dinner, so that’s where we headed for some Tex-Mex. I’m not a food photographer (and can barely take a decent selfie) so this pic does NOT do these tacos justice. If you’re ever in Austin, check out these Asadero tacos. I’m still dreaming of the grilled asadero cheese and beef tenderloin inside homemade tortillas…yum.

Asadero Tacos Matts El Rancho

After dinner, we went to Congress Bridge to see the bats fly out. Every night, over 1 million bats fly out from their home under the bridge to start their nighttime party. Sometimes, though, bat-watching is a bust, as it was several years ago when we tried. This time, was a success!

And just like that, our Austin trip was just about over. Before heading back, we took a final spin around town to get a pic of some of the iconic and quirky painted murals. Awww, aren’t we cute?

Do tell me what you think about long-hair bonding and if that’s something you knew about or ever considered! And if you’re in Austin, TX (or soon to be Plano!) be sure to check out Shanna & Booboo!

32 thoughts on “Austin: Hair, Tacos & a Toothless Dog”

  1. Great post!

    I have FFA and have been struggling to find a salon that caters (or even understands) those of us who deal with it. I SOOOOOOO wish Shanna had a studio in the Northeast. 🙁

    After trying a few unsuccessful online topper purchases, I finally went to a local hair loss studio and they sold me on a $1,600 off-the-shelf clip-in topper that of course looked great when they sat it on my head … but I’ve never been able to get it to work. My biggest issue is that I can’t conceal the rim because of how my loss is progressing. I could easily address that with having bangs cut in … but that brings me to my second biggest issue: I’m very active (running, mountain biking, swimming, hiking, etc.) and don’t feel “secure” wearing a clip-in topper during these activities, many of which I participate in with other people. And cutting bangs into my bio hair (to maintain consistency) would look ridiculous!

    They’ve told me they could bond, but insist the only way to do it is by shaving tracks into my head. I’m just not there yet.

    And so my (admittedly quite pretty) topper sits in my closet while my loss progresses and I feel increasingly more defeated about my lack of options. Seems like long-hair bonding without the need for shaving would be so perfect for me. Sigh.

    On a side note, have you (or any of your readers) experimented with Simplicity tape-in crown extensions? Apparently they’re designed specifically to hide thin hair in this area. I’ve found only one salon — about 200 miles away from me — that offers them, and I’m so desperate that I’d consider making that trip once every 4-6 weeks. But like all solutions, it’s kind of a crap shoot that it would work!

    (I’m now off to see if I can find other references to FFA here – I’m excited to know you have other readers who deal with this, that I can learn from!)

    Thanks, Lauren!

  2. Did you end up ordering a custom JR clip-in or one of the other brands to be bonded? Does she carry other brands along with synthetics, or strictly human hair. I travel to Austin for hair as well but didn’t know about this salon. Love all of your posts.

    • Hi! I’m going to try a custom Jon Renau clip-in. I’d love to try another technique someday (long hair bonding sounds interesting) but it’s outside my price range right now. It *seems* like she does Jon Renau synthetic & human, her own line (human) and Cesare Regazzi (human). She may have others, though? Drop them a line!

  3. Love your information, What is the average price for a human hair topper that’s roughly 12″? I am debating rather to go to a human hair wig and give my own hair a complete rest. Any advice is greatly appreciated TIA

  4. Hi Lauren,
    I have been bonding for almost a year. I love it and don’t think I will ever want to change. What prompted me to start was an upcoming surgery with a brief stay in the hospital. I was nervous about not wearing my hair topper and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep in it comfortably afterwards during recovery.
    That’s when I started a lengthy research because I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford a hair club. I enjoy do-it-yourself projects around the house so I made myself the next project!
    I ended up finding my best information on the YouTube videos for men. Men have been bonding at home by themselves for years at very little cost, so why not me? Some of the men even have hair longer then most women. Some of the men shave their heads and some don’t.
    I watched all the videos I could and then went for it!
    I wear a 12 inch long human hair topper that has a Polly rim around the whole base and the rest of it is silk.
    It’s beautiful hair and looks very natural. The base is 6” by 7” and I bought it from Amazon. Yes, you read right. Amazon. If you watch the sales you can score big and most of my pieces are from Uniwigs. The beauty of this is I have free returns and can try many different ones till I get the right one and then i order two.
    I don’t shave my hair but instead clean it well and then apply rubbing alcohol to the thin hair areas where the topper will sit. Then I use a scalp protector that you dab on from a bottle. I apply Ghost Bond glue to the poly rim of my topper and let it get a little tacky and then apply another layer and let that get tacky and that’s it. I put in place and hold down for a few minutes and it becomes part of me.
    I swim, jet ski, rollercoasters, sleep, shower and many more things (wink!).
    I am 54 years old and have been married for 36 years to the same great man. He never made me feel bad about my thinning hair but I hated it. I have been wearing hair toppers for about 3 years now and I never felt better about myself. I consider my hair to be my crowning glory and why not have lots of it!!
    Thanks Lauren for all your great advise. You made it a lot easier when I first started this journey.

  5. I did bonding for couple of years between 2009 and 2011. The first unit I got was wonderful. But the third unit was god awful. I drove 100 miles each way once a month to have it removed, cleaned up and put back on. When I first started I paid $900 for the pieces and $80 for the monthly service. I switched to another salon closer to home and the price started at $1100 for the piece. The service was $100 to $140 a month depending if the piece needed coloring or not. Each unit at both places only lasted 4 months before needing replacing. Each time I needed a new piece at the closer salon the price increased. I asked why the cost kept raising and I was told it was due to a lack of availability of European hair. I bought 6 units. When the price hit $1500 for a piece that was 8-10 inches long I decided that I would have to switch to wigs. A couple of years later I found another salon in town that did bonding. I again tried, but this time didn’t use European hair. The price of hair was around $900. Again the units only lasted 4 months before needing replacing. At all salons I had the top of my head shaved, although at the last salon she made more of a track where the unit would be attached. I did develop a sensitivity to the glue and tape so back to wigs I have gone. I really loved having my hair bonded, but the cost I just couldn’t justify.

  6. Hi,
    I am so happy I found you! I’ve never been to TX & I doubt I will. I am a former hairdresser & I used to do wigs many years ago….only human hair wigs. . I have never heard of hair bonding. I have had several other professions since then. I have had Lyme disease for 7 years & have hair loss from that. I wear my hair short & bought a synthetic wig several months ago. I don’t go out much except to the doctors. I really love the wig I bought but now after washing it & using Downy on it like I saw on Utube I’m not so happy with it. I’m going to try the Bambu treatment on it.soon…
    Thank you for your willingness to help those of us with the same problem.`.

  7. Can you give a price range for the cost of having a bonded topper? I’ve thought about this for awhile, I love the idea of always having hair on my head but wonder if the cost is doable for me.

    • Sorry for the delay, had to check my price sheet! If you were to get 2 Jon Renau’s (Shanna says this is the “lowest” level, but she truly does consider the tiers she sells as good, better, best with EVERYTHING being of quality), the duo would cost $2,800 in a silk top at 18″ with highlights. Compare that to the high-end Cesare Regazzi…around $17K for 2, I believe. Her exclusive line falls in the middle. $17K can be scary…but be sure to divide that over 4-5 years as those pieces should last that long.

  8. I have been bonding for years through a hair club (Chicago area) and could’ve bought myself a house with all the money I’ve spent (I get human hair). There are times when I just want to be able to take the topper off. I am done with all that, I’m not renewing my contract (yep, you have to sign a contract) and am buying some synthetic pieces. I can’t wait to be able to just clip in some hair and take it off when I want! It has its pros and cons, for sure. Thanks for writing a column on it.

    • Interesting about the contract? Do you have to buy a set # of pieces each year? I’ve heard about some places in which the pieces are designed to only last 3 months or so. Maybe through Hair Direct? Don’t quote me, just musing aloud.

  9. Great story about some hair help that is new to me. I was visiting Austin this past weekend. I’ll have to check this place out next time I visit. I’m new to the site, and didn’t know that you were in Texas. I used to live in Rowlett. I miss Tex-Mex and the big skies.

  10. Hi Lauren
    I bonded hair toppers for over 5 years. They had seen in mirror beads in the topper, pulled my hair through the bead and ten glued it together. I stopped doing over 2 years ago as it actually did more harm to the rest of my bio hair than good. I know my alopecia will never improve but personally I wouldn’t go down the bonding process in that respect like that again, for me, it was expensive and inconvenient also and you’re locked in with the salon too. I live in Australia, where I live, there’s limited specialists in this field also. Our population in the whole of Australia would most likely fit in LA.
    Regards Annelie
    Ps: do you have an Instagram page to follow?

  11. Yes!!! I first learned about long-hair bonding when I was selected to attend Jon Renau’s CORE academy this past summer as a hair model for this class that Shanna taught. I fell in love with my new hair (and her, and all of the JR staff)! It’s now my fav way to wear my alternative hair. I had been clipping and wearing wigs for about a year, but I don’t even like the idea of going back to my old ways. Shanna did my first bonding, and now I am absolutely hooked! Never felt so good about me hair. Talk about confidence. And, my husband likes that too!

  12. Great post! I wish I lived near Austin! Weighing in on long-hair-bonding here – that’s how I first started wearing hair and did so for for about a year, but I eventually went to daily tape for a few reasons…
    1. It felt difficult to get my bio hair clean even with daily or every-other-day showering. At the end of 6 weeks when I’d have it bonded again, my bio hair and scalp felt pretty gross.
    2. It was **wonderful** to wake up with beautiful hair and was a big time saver, but I found that sleeping in it and the frequent washes made my hair systems break down much faster and have to be replaced more frequently which got pretty expensive.
    3. I was a little concerned about having chemicals from the bonding agent on my hair/close to the scalp (and brain!) 24 hours a day for long term – it’s pretty stinky and a strong bond which made me wonder what was in it. I tape daily now which has chemicals too, but going ‘au natural’ at night at least gives my body a little break from the constant chemical exposure.
    So that’s my two cents 🙂 Definitely pluses and minuses to bonding…I think it’d be perfect for a long vacation or time in life when you just don’t want to deal with your hair daily.

  13. I love your posts. I miss seeing them. I guess I don’t see them because I’m not a paid member. Anyway, loved this story. A dual citizen – there was a story on Sunday Morning awhile back about you guys- very cool!
    I’ve heard about how expensive bonding is – not in my future.

    • Nope! All my posts go out to everyone…I just have slowed down a bit as my kids have gotten older and work has gotten busier. Baseball, Cub Scouts, homework, etc., all take up way more of my time. When I started this thing I just had a one year old who napped (ha). Now that one year old is almost 9, and my second is almost 6!

      I saw that program recently…still haven’t watched the whole thing, though!

      • I was concerned as to why I haven’t heard from you too, Lauren. I figured my name was removed due to not being a paid subscriber. I’m so excited to hear that it’s your reason is just “life” and we will all hear back from you soon! P.S. I found a new shampoo and condition to use for synthetic hair toppers. It’s under the Matrix line, called Lenght Goals. Leaves my 1-year-old topper feeling brand new!

        • Very cool, I will check that line out! And yes, it’s just life. I have never and will never without blog posts or content, etc. due to if you’re a Community/Try-On member or not.

          The kids keep me SO busy, these days. And trust me, since I can’t/won’t quit my kids (ha), I’d much rather quit my job and just blog full-time. 🙂

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