I’m often asked about the differences between frontals and closures. I posted this information on Hair Boutique and Black Hair Media. I thought it would be helpful to bring this information to this website. (the information here is more updated than my original forum posts) If you’d like to the read the original BHM post and all the great replies click here: Topic: FAQ – Closures vs Lace Frontals 101
Closure Lace Frontal
What is the difference between the two??
Note: The big difference in a lace frontal and a closure is the construction, the materials used, and how they are applied. In GENERAL a closure piece is usually used for sew in installs/applications. If placed properly just behind the hairline, it can allow the wearer to wear a full weave with no hair left out while giving the appearance of a natural scalp area.
Closures do not run temple to temple. Instead they are placed in the “horseshoe” area at the top of a weave to close off the style. (Hence the name closure)
Closures are constructed from a number of materials:
Breathable closures are constructed from silk mesh with a poly strip or thin skin around the outer perimeter of the mesh which strengthens the mesh (for a sewn-in application) or to make bonding the closure easier. These closures allow for freestyle parting along the cap area. The addition of a flesh colored fabric under will help to add the look of a natural scalp to this style of closures. This type of closure may require the sealing of the knots (as in a lace frontal) to help keep the hair secured firmly in the base.
Some vendors also construct closures from lace similar to or slightly heavier than a lace frontal. Lace based closures are installed like other closures, but may not look as natural when parted as they will tent to have a “grid” like appearance in contrast to the braided foundation they are installed on top of. Lace closures will required some minor work to achieve a natural appearance. (Bleaching knots, the addition of a of a flesh colored fabric under will help to add the look of a natural scalp to this style of closures) This type of closure may also require the sealing of the knots (as in a lace frontal) to help keep the hair secured firmly in the base.
A few vendors use a combination of stretch lace and flesh colored French silk to create a breathable closure which looks like natural skin. The “skin” can be dyed to match the wearer’s own natural skin.
While not nearly as popular these days, some vendors continue to manufacture and sell non breathable closures. These closures are usually a silk mesh top with a full flesh colored poly coating or full flesh colored vinyl skin top (which was once popular in older style wigs) In GENERAL a lacefrontal is meant to be bonded in place. Like a lacefront wig, a lacefrontal piece has a realistic hairline which is meant to mimic hair growing from the scalp. When bonded along the hairline correctly, they achieve just this affect.
Lacefrontals cover a larger area than closure as they will have a temple to temple hairline. This larger temple to temple area in combination with the replication of a natural hairline allows for many off the face type of hairstyles that are not possible with a regular closure.
Just like its full sized lacefront wig counterparts, a frontal will require the sealing of the knots to help keep the hair secured firmly in the cap.
Like the lace closures, frontals will also require some minor work to achieve a natural appearance. (Bleaching knots, the addition of a of a flesh colored fabric under will help to add the look of a natural scalp to a frontal)
How is it installed?? Closures can be installed by bonding, as well as by attaching with the use of clips. The most popular method for installing closures is by sewing the closure then installing the rest of the weave around the closure.
The closure is placed close to the edge of the braided foundation near the hair line.. The stylist then sews around the perimeter of the closure taking extra care to stitch so that the stitches are concealed.. (a skilled stylist can do this without needing to use invisible [AKA nylon] thread)
Depending on the desired finished style, some of the wearer’s own natural hair may or may not be left out near the perimeter of the front edge of the closure to help conceal the front edge. Lace frontals can be installed by bonding, as well as by attaching with the use of clips. The most popular method for installing a lacefrontal involves sewing down the back of the frontal (or using clips to secure the back of the frontal) and using a bonding agent to glue the front hairline down. The rest of the weave is then installed around the frontal.
Alternatively the frontal can be fully clipped in or fully sewn in. Again, the rest of the weave is installed around the frontal.
Unlike a closure, none of the wearers own hair will be left out in a bonded lacefrontal installation as the piece is meant to create a natural hairline.If the frontal is fully sewn or clipped, some of the wearer’s hairline could be left out, and the unit installed just behind the hairline.
What are my styling options
Unlike the closures of old you are not limited to simply the “China Doll” bangs look with a closure.
Closures (in particular the freestyle parting variety) will allow plenty of styling freedom. Freestyle caps allow you to part anywhere along the cap to create the style you want.
With a good installation technique and skilled haircut, you can achieve many styling options with a closure. (Swoop bangs, headbands, ponytails, etc are all very possible)
The one restriction is with styles which pull the hair straight back completely off the face. These kinds of styles are generally not possible with closures (even with a GREAT install and cut). As these pieces are not designed to specifically mimic a natural hairline, full off the face styles will make it difficult to discretely conceal the front edge of the closure.. Some manipulation of the installations techniques (for example bonding the closure close to the hairline) may allow some of this kind of styling versatility.
In GENERAL styles with the hair pulled straight back off the face are best achieved with a lacefrontal. All of the styling options available with a closure are also possible with a lacefrontal. However, because a lacefrontal mimics the look of a natural hairline, styles with the hair pulled straight back off the face are possible with a lacefrontal.
Please note that in order to achieve this look flawlessly, the front perimeter of the lacefrontal must be bonded. (versus sewing or using clips)
How long does it last?? The lifespan of a closure depends on the quality of the hair and the cap construction. Well constructed closures can last as long as 3-5 years. Others have a lifespan of 3-12 months. Again the lifespan depends on many factors that contribute to the wear factor. (care, quality, etc..) Due to the delicate nature of the materials in which it is constructed from, lacefrontals may have a lifespan of 3-12 months depending on a variety of factors that contribute to the wear factor. (care, quality, etc..)