Master of the 'man weave' gives balding men confidence

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At the end of 2017, the black hair care industry in the U.S. was worth $4.2 billion, according to Nielsen, with black shoppers spending $473 million on their hair. That huge spend is getting even bigger thanks to a new option for men with hair loss: man weaves.

Man weaves, or male units, are exploding in popularity, filling the chairs and wallets of the talented few barbers who have cornered the market.

John Cotton works at Leona Wilson Salon on 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan. He is one of the talented few helping men make the transformation. He is known for styling designer Virgil Abloh, billionaire Robert Smith, Jussie Smollett from Empire, and Jay Pharaoh of Saturday Night Live. Now he is getting attention for giving men their hair back.

John started doing man weaves about two years ago. He charges $300 to $700 for weaves that last anywhere from one to four months. The longer-lasting weaves require maintenance every two to three weeks, which runs $75 to $100.

John says his clients are thinning or balding, have receding hairlines, or have had cancer. He says he gives them their confidence back with hair. So much confidence that John is doing man weaves around the clock. A lot of days, he is at the salon doing weaves back-to-back-to-back from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And the results are pretty impressive. The day we visited, John's client was absolutely speechless when he saw the end result. John says that seeing guys leave with a full head of hair—and knowing he did it—is the most exciting part.