Is it Time for a Change?
Are you at that place where you are hanging on to old styles and colors long after you should have let them go? How do you know when it’s time? Because in addition to the obvious wig aging there are other reasons to let that wig go. So, what are the indicators that you are holding on to something that is doing you no favors?
But one thing to consider before we start tossing our old wigs, we might consider if we can revive any of them. Should we spend the time and resources to rescue our old wigs—in other words--should they be rescued? The short answer is yes, if that wig can be made wearable again, then it is worth trying if only to sell it or donate it. Maybe it is time to move on for you and the wig, but that wig might be perfect for someone else and very much needed.
Another thing to consider: Have you stopped actually “seeing yourself” in the mirror? Psychologists tell us that we do one of two things most often in this regard: we look but don’t “really look” because we think that we already know what we will see. Or we look too much, too closely, criticizing every part, angle, and perceived flaw. Either way, we are not seeing ourselves as we are, or as others see us.
There is the day we notice a little line on our faces and wonder how long it had been there. We catch a close-up look at the ends of our favorite wig and wonder then they got raggedy or stiff. Change is often slow, and when the accumulation of it is finally enough, we notice, and we are shocked. But if we had been looking, we would have seen it in progress. But we are busy humans and who has time to stand in front of the mirror and look at themselves all the time? Or inspect our wig every time we take it off? And therein lies part of the dilemma as to why one day we do look in the mirror and wonder why we ever bought that wig in the first place. The style, the color, doesn’t seem to be us anymore—sound familiar?
Wigs are even more of a challenge than coloring and cutting bio hair. First, they cost more, and you hope the relationship will be a long one because it doesn’t grow out if you have made a mistake. So, we are afraid of making a mistake, and because of that we often default back to our old styles and colors, trying so hard to get something “close to what I had before” and we think that is a good thing. It is not always a good thing. Maybe your lifestyle has changed. Maybe you retired, or work from home now and can be less structured in your life, including your look. Maybe you like short wigs for summer and want to take things up a notch with new styles or lighter colors. Don’t worry about trying to copy your old styles. There are many styles that look good on many people. The wig companies know that and why there are so many bobs of different lengths and short boy/pixie cuts.
When a friend of mine got a new wig (a first wig) and asked my advice I cringed because it made her look ten years older. Suddenly, she looked like her mother, and it was the wig—color and style. Both were wrong for her, and I had to tell her. I asked her to try on two of my wigs to see the difference in how she could look just to make my point that there were wigs for her that would work. I loaned her the one of mine she liked best and she forgave me for telling her that her new wig made her look older. She was able to swap it out, and she learned a good lesson.
The moral to my story is don’t be so intent on reviving your old wigs that you can’t see it is time to move on. Some might work, like one of the two that I worked on recently. Trying to revive an old wig can be frustrating and time-consuming because success can depend on so many things: age, wear and tear level, general care, type of fibers, and style. The one that I was able to rescue was in great condition because I had just stopped wearing short wigs for some time and had put it away (and had forgotten about it) before it had suffered much abuse. It just needed some TLC. Sadly, the other one had seen better days. Is it time to revive it for ourselves, or time to sell or donate? Rescue or toss season at my house seems to happen in the spring, even for wigs!
Now, it’s holiday season time, and what better time to gift ourselves with a new wig? A new style and color would perk me right up. How about you?
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn (in my Muse, which seems to last forever).
The Hair Mistakes That Age Us
(Wig shown above: STROKE OF GENIUS WIG )
I was fascinated by an article in the current Southern Living Magazine about aging gracefully. Among other topics, hair was a big one, especially as it relates to aging. And all the “experts” seem to agree that we all make during our aging journey. It made me think that these things apply to wig wearers too.
According to one study they mentioned, Age 46 seems to be the magic age when women decide they need shorter hair and go looking for a more “mature” style. Yes, we all have heard and read that short hair is better for older women. But the reasons have not always been discussed. So, let’s do that. Long hair does NOT necessarily make one look older. However, several things happen as we age. Our face often loses its plumpness, our hair thins and dulls, and becomes more brittle and easier to damage. When our style is too long, it can mean fewer layers, and less movement around the face, causing a static look. Or if too long and straight, pulls your face down, and aging you.
When we get a shorter cut, it is easier to add layers and pump up the volume. The split ends are removed, and the cut, if the right one, a “bob” style, for example, can frame the jawline and flatter your face. Remember—bobs don’t have to be one length.
Let’s look at the mistakes the experts say we are making:
- Hair/wig too long
- Hair/wig color too light
- Hair/wig using too many products causing that “helmet look”
- Hair/wig that’s damaged and needs help/wigs worn too long
What is most flattering can change over the years, this applies to fashion and hairstyles. Are you still trying to look like your college picture, wedding photo, or a picture of yourself when you felt you looked the best? We age, and we can’t let that hamper the way we look today. We have choices.
If your hair is too long, the extra length can pull your facial features down, and the ends can take a beating. When in doubt about the best length for you, focus on healthy-looking cuts that you can customize with bangs or a visit to your stylist.
Don’t try to go too dark. Yes, you may have once had very beautiful, dark hair, but as
we age, the dark color can look too stark, dull our complexion, and age us. The idea is to draw light to the face. If you prefer darker, think about adding highlights around the face.
And there is too much light! So many women like blonde, but some shouldn’t go blonde. Extra light hair can wash out the complexion, having the opposite effect of adding a more youthful look. There are many shades of blonde, so consider your skin tone, age, and style before going too light.
Products…oh, all those products! Yes, we have all seen “helmet head” styles and we
don't want that to be us. But it’s hard to manage hair, especially wig fibers without products. The trick is not to overdo it. Use just enough to accomplish your goal and start with the least amount. Plastered down wig fibers are no more attractive than the old plastered down “helmet head hair” and are not good for our wigs either.
And finally—what is wrong with embracing natural silver strands? That gray stigma is long gone. If you have decided you’d like to embrace the look if you had natural hair, then don’t shy away from it in wigs. If you choose the right shade, there is something so striking about this color. It is as attention-getting as the blonde shades. And I’ve never heard a woman who has gone gray/silver/white say they regretted it or wanted to go back. That says a lot.
So, as nature works on “fading us out” let’s fight back a little and give nature a helping hand. Let’s learn what colors and styles work for us, and let’s not be afraid to embrace the gray, or go with that mid-length layered bob. So many wigs, so little time…
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn – who now has the silver wig bug
How to Pick the Right Wig (and Makeup)—Do You Make These Mistakes?
(Wig shown above: KRISTA WIG BY ENVY)
The word “right” doesn’t ring true for me—maybe there should be a better word, maybe “best” is more accurate for this topic. When I ran across an article about picking the right wig, I had to smile a little. We wig wearers know that there is the best one for our mood, the weather, and the occasion, and this might not be the same wig at all. But I know what the article was trying to do. It was trying to advise wig wearers to beware of the pitfalls of picking a wig.Pitfalls are real. Unless we know about wigs in general and what we are looking for in particular, we are at the mercy of pictures and descriptions on a website, YouTube videos, and pictures of models. The article in question was one about women over 50 (but applies to all women) and talked about what is “right” for them. Again, that word doesn’t fit. So, let’s use “best” instead. Yes, some styles look better on older women than others. What do you want your wig to do for you? Do you want it to hide a large forehead, not call attention to a wide face, not emphasize a long face? Or do you not want to call attention to lines around the eyes?
This calls for an honest assessment. I have a good friend who is a stylist and married to a professional makeup artist who does the makeup for one of our local TV stations. Between the two of them, they gave me some asked for assessments that made me cringe a bit, but I was grateful. Now I know what styles work best, what colors, and what lengths work for me at my age. Any wig can look beautiful, but does it make YOU look beautiful? Don’t get caught up just looking at the wig itself. Learn what the wig can do FOR you. My stylist friend said that one of the biggest mistakes that he could see even from a distance is that women tend to pick wigs with too much hair. He says that so many wig wearers put on wigs with three times the density of what a normal head of bio hair would have. If the wig wearer knows that, likes that, then fine. But if you are trying to fool the rest of the world and you are not trying to call attention to your hair/head in this way, then think about the density. “We seldom see ourselves as others see us,” he reminded me. His wife, the makeup artist, said the one biggest mistake that she sees is that women forget that as they age their skin tone changes.
We lose that natural “bloom” of youth and then overcompensate with blush, and it’s usually too much and in the wrong place on the face. She said that our mantra should be, “less is best” and step away from the mirror. She went on to say that women often pick a color that looks good in the case but does not suit their coloring. Again, she advises you to put just a little on your face and then literally step away. Go back in fifteen minutes, take another look, and see what you think. If all you can see is a blotch of artificial color, you know you made a mistake. In summary, the wig colors and the makeup colors should work with us and not against us. When we change wig colors, we might want to think about changing makeup/blush colors if the changes in the wig colors/hues are very different. It’s easy to fall back on the “old-faithful” products and get into a rut. The stylist and makeup expert advises that we take a fresh look in the mirror every couple of months and think about our wig style, color, length, and the same goes for what we put on our face—does it work with our new style and color? Remember we have undertones to our skin. Those undertone colors and the outward skin tone work together to reflect your face to the world.
Until next time, go look in the mirror and see what you think. My session with the
experts was very helpful for me. I learned my face has become more oval and less round-ish as I have aged, and I can now wear some styles that didn’t work as well before. I learned that peach blush is not my friend, but a rosy pink is. I learned that “too blonde” wash me out, but a light brown with blonde highlights works best for my skin colors and gives me a more natural look that I prefer.
Happy mirror session - good luck!
Talking About Hair Loss
When dealing with hair loss for whatever reason, it is often the case that your friends and family won’t know what to say to you. There will be a range of thoughts and feelings on both sides. If your spouse or partner is struggling with how to help you, here are some suggestions that might help.
- Be honest about your feelings and ask them to listen to those feelings without judgment. Hair loss can elicit strong emotions as it signals a change in appearance that may impact self-esteem. Those emotions might present in different ways. Explain that you need time to deal with this and that your mood might be somewhat rocky for a bit.
- Explain that you need time and support and let them know what they can do to help in that regard.
- Ask for what you really need. Do you need financial help to afford a wig or someone to help you find places that sell wigs? Do you need help talking to your insurance company about reimbursement for wig costs due to a health condition?
- Keep the lines of communication open. The loss of your hair and/or changes in a health condition will be new to your family members and/or friends too. Most likely they will have no idea how to help you or what to say or do. Don’t withdraw from your family and friends, they can be your support system, but they will need to know how to do that. They will be looking to you to tell them.
- Don’t become a recluse. Be kind to yourself—exercise, practice meditation, listen to music or engage in other activities that can keep your emotions in balance. But don’t hide away and carry this challenge alone.
- Find a support group. Until you feel comfortable with wig-wearing, participate online with those going through the same thing. (WigStudio1 has a fabulous Facebook group). You will not only get emotional support, but you will also get a real wig education. You can benefit from the experience of others, not only in dealing with hair loss but in getting to know all about wigs. It’s a priceless resource.
- Baby Steps. Know that it gets easier! Feelings about hair loss may change over time. You will become comfortable wearing a wig, and not just comfortable but secure about how you look. It is easier for some than others to adapt, but everyone does eventually. You will come to see that you, the real you, is still there no matter what is left of your bio hair or what wig you are wearing. You are not your hair.
- Talking to Children about your hair loss: It may be helpful to keep in mind that children benefit from simple and clear explanations that are easy to understand. (You know your children or the young people in your family best).
The American Cancer Society often reminds patients to provide concrete, age-appropriate information when speaking about a health issue, including your hair loss, to your children or younger family members. Some children will want to hear more detailed scientific explanations, and others will be satisfied with general information. Answer the children’s questions as accurately as possible. Take their age and prior experiences with illness into account. If your loss is due to cancer, Oncology social workers can help you to find the best ways of engaging in these conversations given your child’s age and developmental stage.
There is help and support out there so don’t try to do it all alone.
Wishing you a happy and productive autumn and remember to check out the WigStudio1 Facebook group. And happy wig buying. So many wigs, so little time…
Until next week,
Do You Have “It’s a Wig” Markers?
We all know the usual things that can cause people to look twice and think someone is wearing a wig: too much shine, odd colors, cheap wigs that are more like a hat, too coarse fibers that don’t move. And the list goes on.
In my years of dealing with wigs and wig wearers I have noticed that there are three groups of wig wearers (in general):
- Those who wear wigs for fun and fashion. They usually don’t care if someone knows they wear a wig.
- Those who are terrified of wigs and don’t want anyone to know they wear one (it takes them forever to wear one out of the house. And why—because they don’t pick the right one (mostly due to lack of information) and now they are not happy with how they look in the wig they bought.
- (and this is a unique one) A wig wearer who thinks more hair is better (that’s not necessarily so), and those who are so afraid of more hair/big hair that they won’t try anything that’s not low density.
Whatever category you fall into, or somewhere in between, there are challenges to all of us in our wig journey and for different reasons. We are individuals with individual likes, needs, and there is no “one size fits all” answer on the wig journey.
It is often difficult to “see” ourselves as we are, or as others see us. We often have a picture of ourselves in our minds that may not have a lot to do with reality. Are we trying to look like we did ten or twenty years ago when we had all of our bio hair? Trying to mimic that is often the first and biggest mistake that wig wearers make. They forget that if they had kept their hair and it had aged with them, that it would look different today, and not as it did ten or twenty years ago.
When I asked NON-wig wearers if they could generally spot a wig, and if so, what was the giveaway, here are their top ten answers:
- Too much hair.
- Too much shine.
- Flat or unrealistic color.
- Too much hair on top.
- Hair that didn’t fit the person’s age (in days gone by, it was elderly women who were more likely to wear wigs, and they were mostly short). I think this contributed to the idea that older women should only wear short styles. As I have written about before, this is not always the case. There is NO rule about age. It’s about how one looks in a style and color—how one feels.
- Weird hairstyles (not sure what they had in mind).
- No visible part in the hair or the part was wig-related.
- The hairline was not real.
- The hair was too perfect, like a sprayed-on helmet.
- The weird hairs sticking up on top of the ends of the hair looking clumpy.
As a wig wearer, I fight against all these things, as I know so many of you do. Most of us have learned or will learn which brands and styles work best for us so that we can defeat all of these “it’s a wig” markers. I think I’ve found my styles, brands, and colors, and hope you have found yours. In the end, it’s about what makes us feel good about ourselves. If I can go all day and never think about my hair/wig, it’s a good day. If I am uncomfortable, worried about my wig, unsure how realistic it looks, then it takes away from my day and can alter my mood. Therefore, I do all that I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’s a process, and none of us will become or has become wig experts overnight. So, be kind to yourself on this journey, and know that we are more than our hair.
Until next time, I’m wishing for autumn, and loving my new wig, “Ready for Takeoff”