An Austin hair sa­lon is try­ing out 3-D print­ing

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Se­bas­tian Her­rera sher­rera@states­

In Austin, 3-D print­ing tech­nol­ogy is noth­ing new. It’s been seen at the Univer­sity of Texas, at tech events like South by South­west and at lo­cal health care com­pa­nies.

But re­cently, it also has turned up at Shanna Moll’s hair sa­lon.

The North Austin sa­lon, which is named the Shanna Moll Stu­dio and opened in April, uses 3-D print­ing to build hair pros­thet­ics for cus­tomers with hair loss. With this evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy, Moll said clients are re­ceiv­ing cutting-edge treat­ment with­out hav­ing to visit a sur­gi­cal suite.

“This is like noth­ing in the world,” Moll said. “You can’t feel where the pros­thetic scalp be­gins and ends. Noth­ing comes close to this tech­nol­ogy.”

Named CNC, or “Natural Con­tact Hair” in Ital­ian, the hair re­place­ment sys­tem is di­rected by the Ital­ian com­pany Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries.

Treat­ment be­gins with de­tailed mea­sure­ments of a cus­tomer’s scalp. The mea­sure­ments, along with other data such as scalp color, hair tex­ture and curl pat­tern, are en­tered into a data­base. Then, a plas­ter cast­ing of a client’s heads is taken.

The cast­ing, data and a hair sam­ple are sent to Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries head­quar­ters in Bologna, Italy, where the com­pany be­gins form­ing the pros­thetic.

At the lab­o­ra­tory, 3-D print­ers form an ex­act replica of the client’s head. Us­ing the 3-D mold as a guide, the com­pany makes a bio­ma­te­rial scalp pros­thetic to match the head of the cus-

tomer. Sci­en­tists then at­tach hair strands one at a time. The process takes roughly three months. The pros­thetic is sent back to the stu­dio, where it is med­i­cally ad­hered to the client’s scalp.

The two ma­te­ri­als that Ce­sare Ragazzi says on its web­site are used for its treat­ment — Fi­nas­teride and Mi­nox­i­dil — are both ap­proved by the U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries has been work­ing on scalp treat­ment for decades. But it only broke through with the CNC tech­nol­ogy in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

The com­pany has cen­ters in coun­tries through­out the world and years ago be­gan busi­ness in the U.S., where it now has more than 40 cen­ters. To part­ner with the com­pany, hair pro­fes­sion­als have to un­dergo train­ing.

Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries’ treat­ment ar­rived in Austin with the open­ing of Moll’s sa­lon. Moll has been a hair­dresser for more than 30 years, but she only re­cently heard about the com­pany through a client.

Be­cause the CNC treat­ment is patented, Moll said there are no com­peti­tors who match the ex­act tech­nol­ogy she and other Ce­sare Ragazzi-di­rected busi­nesses use. She runs the only sa­lon in Austin that uses the CNC treat­ment. Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries also has cen­ters in Hous­ton and Dal­las.

Hair re­place­ment can range from cheap treat­ments to sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures such as hair transplants, but the CNC method is the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced treat­ment that doesn’t re­quire cus­tomers to go un­der the knife, ac­cord­ing to Danielle Grillo, a hair stylist in New Jersey who opened one of Ce­sare Ragazzi’s first cen­ters in the U.S.

“There is no other (hair) piece that you can ad­here like this,” Grillo said. “This treat­ment helps peo­ple from young kids to mid­dle age and some that are older. Their hair loss can range in rea­sons from A to Z.”

While the treat­ment is in­no­va­tive, it’s also costly. Prices can range from about $2,000 to $10,000, Moll said. Clients re­ceive two hair pros­thet­ics that they ro­tate ev­ery month for about two years.

Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­rie has plans to con­tinue ex­pand­ing in the U.S., ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

For in­for­ma­tion, visit shan­nashairther­ and ce­sar­


A model at Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries in Bologna, Italy, goes through the process of be­ing fit­ted with a hair pros­thetic made us­ing 3-D print­ing tech­nol­ogy. The cast­ing, data and a hair sam­ple are sent to Ce­sare Ragazzi Lab­o­ra­to­ries head­quar­ters in Bologna, where the com­pany be­gins form­ing the pros­thetic. Ce­sare Ragazzi has cen­ters across the United States.


A 3-D imag­ing ma­chine at Ce­sare Ragazzi’s Bologna, Italy, head­quar­ters scans a mold taken of a client’s head to even­tu­ally pro­duce a hair pros­thetic.

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