A lot of us are guilty of looking at a wig model—lovely, great skin, good bone structure, and all the rest, and thinking, if only briefly and subconsciously…oh, this wig will make me look like that! I admit to doing that a little at the beginning of my wig adventure. Of course, we know that as beautiful as the wig might be, it is not magic. But I mention this because I know it can so easily cloud our judgement when picking out the best wig for ourselves. We get that picture of the model set in our head, and when we get the wig home, put in on, and there we are—not the model, and we can be disappointed. We do/will learn to buy the wig that is best for us eventually, but it can be frustrating along the way.
How do we deal with these false expectations? The best way is to be honest with ourselves. Is our face too round for that style that we love on the model? Is our neck shorter than the model’s and therefore making the wig longer on us, perhaps hitting us farther below the chin then we would have liked? Does that long hair on the model, so appropriate for her face shape, make our face look dragged downward? Does that pixie style on the model with the cute petite face make our larger and/or rounder face look even more so? What about color? Do we know our best colors, or are we open to making a few trial and error purchases?
Reality—that is the thing most of us want—we want to look as if we are not wearing a wig, so that means we need to wear the style and color that suits us best. We want people to look at us and see us, not a wig. As to age bias, it is not to say that no one over a certain age should rule out all longer wigs, or certain styles, not at all. We need to be comfortable with what we will look like in those lengths and styles. If we feel confident, we will look confident; and that can make a huge difference in how people see us.
As you have likely heard or read, it is important to see real people in these wigs. That is why, I always encourage everyone to look for the wig they like on every available media outlet. See it in different lights and on different people. Get the model’s photo out of your head and try to see how it will look on you. Your experience will be a better one with a bit of pre-purchase planning. What are your expectations? It is important to come to terms with that, and eventually you will.
In the end, it is all about being honest with ourselves and combining what we like with the reality of who we are. We all know that our face changes with age. Our skin color even changes as pigments fade, and the muscle tone in our face is less defined. We have that to deal with along side the development of creases and wrinkles. But don’t despair, a wig can make all the difference in how you look. You likely know that by now or will soon if you are new to wig wearing. The trick is finding the right wig for you and just you. Who cares what the model looks like or anyone else?
I want to wrap up with a bit about fear. I don’t care who you are, how beautiful or accomplished, or how secure you are—the first time out of the house with your first wig can bring you to your knees. No matter how good you think you have secured it, how good it feels, or how good you believe you look in the style or color, you begin to doubt. Doubts lead to fear, and fear leads to paralysis. Just know this—most people are too busy worrying about what they look like or what they are having for dinner, or if they need to lose ten pounds. In other words, we are pretty busy caring about ourselves. No one is going to be thinking about wigs—but you.
So, the sooner you get out there and go about your life in your wig, the better. It will just become part of you, and you won’t think about it again. You’ll be glad you look so nice and that it didn’t take an hour to fix your hair.
In the end it is all about you and your situation and life, so what you decide about the first time out with a wig is very personal. Everyone must tackle this one for themselves and make the best decision for their circumstances. Have you just been dealing with thinning hair and feel that you can wear a wig and won’t get a lot of notice from friends and colleagues? Or will the wig be such a change that now you must prepare for comments, questions, and how you want to address them? Think this through before your first time out the door. Two of my go-to wigs below:
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!
A wig wearer’s worse fear is that everyone is looking at them and whispering, “wig,” because the evidence is plain to see. No one wants to deal with this. We wear wigs to look our best and not be the object of someone’s critique. So, what can you do to assure that you look like you—an attractive you and not “someone wearing a wig”? For a new wig wearer, this can be a paralyzing situation. They fear that everyone will look at them and be able to “tell,” and this can keep someone from buying a wig and/or learning how to best wear it. Don’t let this happen to you.
As we who have learned by research or trial and error know, the lace front wigs often offer the most natural look due to the illusion of a natural hairline. If you have a mono top, even better. That means you can part your hair as you like and what shows through at the part also looks natural. It makes styling effortless and enhances hair movement for a more natural look.
The dreaded shine! Yes, the synthetic wig comes with a factory coating. It is a fiber and a coating that is put on it for several reasons. Your job is to tamp down that coating, remove the shine and make it look like natural hair. Bear in mind that the lighter the fibers (in color) the more shine it will have. The light wig colors reflect more light. Most wearers have found that a cool wash/rinse, and then after the hair dries, the addition of dry shampoo will help take down that shine. You will find that with repeated wear and washes, the shine will continue to fade. However, use the appropriate dry shampoo. Some will produce a white powder that can taint darker wigs. Go slowly and sparingly! Too much and, you will end up having to wash it out and start again. You can use other tricks to disguise the shine as well. Styling in a “messier” style, wearing headbands and waves or curls will also cut down on the illusion of shine.
Make sure you position your wig at your natural hairline and secure the wig in the way in which you are most comfortable. Tape, glue, wig grips, bobby pins all are options. This is especially important if your head is shaped in such a way as not to help hold the wig down in the back.
Don’t be too perfect! Wispy bits are a good thing, wispy bangs can be a real asset as well. That’s not to say you must live with the dreaded wig “fliers” those bits that stand up and refuse to do otherwise. Often hairspray will tame them or just clip out the offenders, if not too many will help as well.
Don’t forget the wig part. When something looks too perfect it is a fake giveaway, and that goes for your part as well. Don’t make it perfect, and don’t forget that you can use a concealer if the contrast is too great, or you don’t like the look for the knots where the fibers are secured.
Wigs with rooted colors are a great option for a natural look. Also, remember that real hair is not just one flat color. Color gradients are very important to achieve that “real” hair appearance. Don’t buy a wig with one flat color because it screams wig.
Experiment with styling. Don’t be afraid to just sit before your mirror and try different things; an up-do, a ponytail, behind the ears, clips, and bands. All these things add to the look of naturalness. The secret: Take a selfie or several! And take several from different angles to see what others see. If you do this, you might leave the house feeling more confident. We are our own harshest critic after all.
And with all this said - there is still one more thing to think about and do. Work on your attitude—mentally prepare for wig-wearing. The more you experiment and get to know your wig, and the more you wear it, the easier it will be. You can start by wearing it around the house a few hours or out for a walk around the neighborhood. This will help you see how it feels on your head what adjustments you might need to make before you “meet the big world” so it’s worth doing. If you will be wearing a wig for many years to come, spend some time researching your options, visit the WigStudio1 FaceBook group, and watch the great video reviews.
You are going to be disappointed - if you fall in love with a wig on a model and get it home and find it’s not for you. So, do your homework before you buy, and do your prep work after you buy. Soon, you will be an expert. You will know the styles and colors that work best for you and know which vendors wig caps fit best on you. You may have a stumble or two along the way, and we all do, but eventually, you will see your wig as one of your favorite accessories, and you will leave the house knowing you look great. I promise.
Until next time,
As lovely as your wig may be, and as beautiful as you may look in that style and color, it’s not a great experience if your head is uncomfortable. Is your head itchy after an hour, do you get a headache, is your head overly heated? This could be due to several things: how much helper hair is in your wig, the fit of the cap, the wig construction itself. What is touching your head? How is your wig secured?
You must be at peace with the wig you’ve chosen, and the cap plays a huge role. Maybe it plays a larger role than you thought, but if you are like me, you learned quickly that cap comfort can make or break your day.
When I first started on my wig journey, I was all about color and style. I didn’t know about permatese, the difference in fibers, what heat-friendly meant, or that all wigs with lace fronts were not created equal. Not to mention that I knew little or nothing about mono tops, partial mono tops, mono parts, or anything about the cap that I was going to be wearing on my head for many hours a day every day. Maybe you knew more than I did about wigs when you started, but I’ve since learned that so many people get discouraged about the very basics of wig-wearing—the cap, and how to keep the wig on.
As you can imagine, after wearing an uncomfortable wig for nine hours or more, I was unhappy with my first wig decision. Of course, the wig itself was fine. The color, style, and actual fit were good. My problem was that I had a sensitive scalp, and I needed a monofilament top, something easier on that area of my head that was most sensitive. I needed a lace front because I didn’t want to always wear bangs or worry about the wind blowing up and showing the edge of the wig. I needed a wig with a bit of stretch. Unfortunately, I just didn’t know what I needed until it was a problem. And worse, I had no idea what my options were. For fortunately for you and me we now have so much more information and companies like this that make a great effort to educate their buyers and help them make good decisions about what works best for them. We all have different needs when it comes to wig-wearing, just like we all have different tastes in styles and colors. It’s all about figuring out what we need to be happy with our wig. It’s a process.
After trial and error, I made peace with one of Raquel Welch’s wigs. It had everything that I had decided I needed to be a happy wig wearer. I have only strayed from the brand once and was disappointed. That’s not to say that there are not many other great options out there, and I will likely try others, but once I knew what would make me happy, I felt more secure in branching out with color and style. I came to see that a wig cap made all the difference. I’ve never made that mistake again.
If you are new to wigs, it is helpful to get some advice about wig cap structure and your options. Think about how you will be wearing your wig—many hours a day? What is your environment—hot, outdoors, moving around a lot? How sensitive is your scalp? How true to wig cap size are you—do you know how to decide between petite, average, and large and how to make adjustments to the wigs? How comfortable are you with wig security? Do you know the options available to you?
As you can see, and as many of you have already learned or are now learning, that cap that no one sees but you is just as important, if not more so at times than what everyone does see—the color, the style. Don’t shortchange yourself on the cap. You will never be entirely happy with your wig choice if you pick the wrong cap. And the one you want, or need might cost a bit more, but it will be worth it every single day if you can go through the day and not think about your wig. Trust me on this.
Happy wig days as we go into fall. I’m going to try a new style and color, how about you?