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!
1. Wearing wrong size caps – This is a common problem because wigs are made to a pattern and our heads are not. But trying to make your head fit into a wig too small or too large can mean all kinds of trouble. Not only will the wig not look right, or flattering, it can cause headaches, slip into wrong positions, and in general, make you want to forget about wigs.
2. Not securing the wig correctly – This is also a common mistake, especially for new wig wearers. There are so many different ways to do it that a lot of people get overwhelmed. There is a learning curve in this area, but it is worth learning. There is no best way or right way in that every wig wearer will have their preference. Do your research and find the best security measure for your comfort.
3. Having unrealistic expectations – Most of us look at pictures of highly styled wigs on models, or on experienced wig reviewers who know how to train and style a wig to its best advantage. We can learn from them. But it is not realistic for us to pull a wig out of a box, put it on her head, and expect it to look like those highly, professionally styled wigs you might see on television or a website.
4. Not being willing to work with your wig to make it your own. It’s easy to get frustrated when you pull a wig from the box and it’s just a bundle of fibers that won’t stay where you put it as you are working to figure out your styling techniques. At this point, some new wearers just give up. Know that there is an army of experts out there to help you with this. Some videos show us in detail, how to tame your hair, get rid of “box hair” and make a wig your own.
5. Trying to alter your wig when you don’t have the skills. I have seen more than one wig ruined by a new wig wearer who thought they could avoid the cost of a stylist by “doing it themselves” and some people can. But if you know that your skills are limited to a bang trimming, don’t attend any more than that on your wig. Yes, there are many YouTube videos out there showing you how to thin a wig, pluck, trim the lace, and make an artificial root—is this something that you feel comfortable doing? Are you saving $50 to lose a $300 wig?
6. Not learning how to style your wig – If you aren’t going to spend a little time getting to know how to work with your wig, style it, and care for it, then you will likely never be completely happy with it. We all love the shake-an-go wigs but if you are looking for something different, know that there is some work involved in learning how to style your wig.
7. Not using the right products on your wig, or not using them correctly. Again, there is a wealth of information out there about wig care products. It’s up to us to do our homework, and my advice is to do it long before you get that first wig. The more you know, the easier the process will be, and the more confident you will be in wearing and caring for your wig.
8.You are not perfect, your bio hair is or was not perfect, and your wig should not look perfect. Looking too perfect is a “this-is-fake” giveaway. Too much styling, and an over-sprayed, nothing moves style screams “wig” so don’t use a heavy hand with the spray or styling products. Less is best.
9. Positioning your wig incorrectly – I still see this even on some seasoned wig wearers. The wig is set too far back from the natural hairline or pulled down too low. This is another big mistake that is an instant giveaway. If you don’t have any bio hair to guide you to what was your hairline, use the four-finger rule. Hold your hand up over your brows to see if you have four fingers worth of space between brows and hairline. It’s a rough guide but is pretty accurate.
10. Not everyone should be a blonde – and I think we have all seen this mistake. Maybe you spent your life in your natural color, wanting to go blonde but it was too drastic. Now, it’s so easy to buy that pretty blonde wig that looks so beautiful on the model on the website. But STOP….and ask yourself if blonde makes you look BETTER or just different.
Until next time,
(Wig pictured above: READY FOR TAKEOFF WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH)
Whether it’s needing more time to think about ourselves during the pandemic shutdown, or not, a lot of women seem to be embracing their gray, white, and silver hair. So many are saying that they are ready to give up the coloring processes and learn to love their hair the way it is now. For wig wearers, it is a bit different. We can change our color any time and with little fuss. But the same core question remains—are we afraid to go gray?
Gray doesn’t have to mean “old” or any age. However, the challenge seems to be learning how to make that change. If you have worn a brunette wig for five years, should you just turn up one day in a lovely gray or silver wig, or if you’ve not shared your wig journey, should you have a transition color/wig? There is no one answer to that question. It all depends upon your comfort level. Fortunately, there are resources to support any decision you make.
If you do decide to “just go for it” get help if you think you need it; learn what brands carry the wig styles and cap construction that you prefer.
Tips from the professionals about choosing a color/shade and style:
- Go for a soft color with dimension. Nothing screams “fake” like a flat solid root-to-tip color with no variation.
- Color should always be multi-tonal, especially as you age. That is true for blondes as well.
- Remember, in most cases, we lose plumpness in our faces as we age. The styles that looked good on you at thirty might look too harsh now. For example, a too blunt bob, close to the jawline and with no layering is very severe.
- Go for a layered style and one a little below the jawline.
- Tone- is so important, and wig wearers must learn to care for their wigs to protect the color/tone.
Short or long as we age? A question that never goes away. Ask yourself if your style makes your face look younger or older. Does the too-long hair pull the face down? Would you look better with a shorter, more face-flattering style? So many people get caught up in the look of the wig—you are interested in how the wig looks on you—huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to claim your color—and don’t be afraid of gray! Try different shades/tones and get help if you need it. There are in-between colors you can choose, but often the salt/pepper colors age us more than a lovely silver or white. It’s all about the shade/tone, color, and style.
If you had rather take the plunge more slowly, there are some lovely options. Ellen Wille Smoke Mix and Pearl Rooted are lovely, and Raquel Welch Silver and Smoke, Iced Granita, and Silver Mist come to mind.
Skin Tone: Yes, it is ever important as we age because it changes. Know your skin tone, and that will help you key in on colors/shades that will look best on you. For example, if you have a cool skin tone you likely already know that ashy colors, shades of honey, beige, and gray work well for you. For shades of grey hair or any color, tone, color gradient, and dimension are key. Flat equals fake.
Just two of my favorites. Notice the dimension, the shadings. No flat, drab and lifeless look with these!
Until next time, here I am thinking that I might go gray…hum.