These are the considered opinions mostly agreed upon and what my own dermatologist told me.
1. Will constant wig wearing inhibit or permanently damage your bio hair?
Wearing a wig will not inhibit hair growth. The cells that allow hair to grow will still be able to function underneath your skin while wearing a wig. If you are worried about damaging hair that is growing back out underneath your wig, wearing a wig cap can help to protect the hair that is growing in.
2. Will the continued use of adhesives cause my bio hair to break or cause permanent loss? Maybe.
Some people use heavy duty adhesives when applying lace front wigs, and it is not uncommon for hair loss to occur with the repeated use around the hairline. The combination of irritating adhesives and tension on the hairline can cause damage, with receding hairlines occurring as an undesirable—but not uncommon outcome.
3. What can we do to help prevent damage to our bio hair and scalp?
- Massage your scalp. Having a wig sit too tightly on your head can cause the blood flow to your scalp to be reduced.
- Take your wig off before bed. Most doctors and wig experts recommend that you do not sleep in your wig – it can cause tension on your hair and cause breakages, tangling, clumping and other undesirable outcomes.
- Shampoo your hair--regularly. The key to healthy hair (and scalp) is keeping it clean. You don’t want your wig sitting on a dirty, oily scalp. Bad for your wig and your scalp and bio hair.
- Don’t forget your bio hair (see above). It might be that you choose to wear a wig all day, every day. However, we can’t assume that we don’t need to trim our own hair or care for it as well as before the wig wearing days.
- Avoid putting damp hair under a wig. Having damp natural hair under a wig is not only extremely uncomfortable, but can also promote the growth of nasty bacteria.
- Be careful when braiding your bio hair. Braiding can be an easy way to keep your natural hair out of the way under a wig. But be mindful of your technique. (Constant tension/pulling can damage fibers).
- Your bio hair can continue to lose moisture just like before. So, moisturize and condition your bio hair if you notice your hair feeling dry after wearing your wig. To combat bio hair or scalp dryness, try using hair oils, which can penetrate well, or other treatments you might prefer to restore its moisture and good health.
- Give your hair and scalp a break. If you have natural hair under a wig for a long period of time, it can be good to give your natural hair and your scalp a break for a few days from time to time.
- Wearing wigs brings its own challenges. While it is tempting to put our bio hair “on hold” and forget it longer than we would have before, that is a mistake.
- Anything we repeatedly do that causes friction will have a result: Including a poor fitting wig, too tight of a wig, bands, and twisting and braiding (if done poorly).
- The constant friction combined with adhesives can take a toll on the hairline. Try different ways of securing your wig so the hairline is not constantly irritated by the adhesive and tension.
Take care of your bio hair, scalp, and wig…and you will continue to look fabulous!
Until next time,
Last summer I covered some of the “survival ideas” about getting through the summer with wigs and toppers. This week I’m taking another look at the challenges of traveling with wigs and caring for them during the summer when we are on the go.
Let’s look first at how we get our wigs safely to our destination:
HOW TO PACK AND STORE WIGS WHEN TRAVELING:
When you’re new to wearing wigs, learning how to pack a wig and travel with your wigs can be tricky because there are so many things to consider. Here are a few of the most asked questions:
- What products should you bring?
Answer: Think less is more and just bring what you need, and don’t overload on products either in your suitcase—or your wig. Take travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and sprays, and make sure you label them. (Not admitting that I didn’t do this and regretted it a few years ago.)
- How many wigs should you bring?
Answer: Always have a spare or two. Instead of washing and drying wigs on your vacation rotate them so that unless you get them in the pool or ocean, you won’t need to wash them until you get home. But just in case, default to the travel size products.
- Should you buy a wig-specific carrying case or are there easier options?
Answer: No need for special wig carriers, boxes, or containers. Keep reading for my suggestions.
Packing for a trip is all about one thing: suitcase efficiency.
With shoes, daytime outfits, nighttime outfits, makeup, reading materials, and all the chargers that you need, packing efficiency is a challenge. I’m a fan of the zip-lock plastic bags for storage. Cheap, easy to see what you have at a glance, and keeps the wig safe from tangling in the suitcase and keeps it from any debris. Also, it takes up much less space than a carrier, box, or structured container.
KEEP IT SIMPLE:
When traveling this should be our mantra – keep it easy and simple by bringing synthetic wigs that keep their style, the necessary care products, a collapsible stand, and some headgear – hats, scarves, etc., to give you wigs and your head a break.
A RECURRING QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT GOING THROUGH SECURITY AT THE AIRPORT?
Will I have to take off my wig for airport security? It seems the rules change from time to time, but most of the time, from what I have heard and read, it’s rare for anyone to challenge you or make you take your wig off. If the stays in your wig do set off the alarm, just quietly tell them you are wearing a wig. Most of the time they will just pat the back of your head to verify you aren’t smugly something and you go on—or they will just pass you on through.
o Know that TSA/security is not required to ask you to remove your wig. Just like with your clothing, their scanners should be able to see through the wig.
o However—you should avoid wearing too many metal wig clips or bobby pins that could set off a sensor or raise suspicion.
o If you are asked to remove your wig and don’t feel comfortable doing it in front of all the people at security, ask for a private room. TSA is required to grant that request.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Because I’m a big Plan B person, I’d never put my wigs inside my checked bags. If I am going somewhere for a week or more, I put a spare wig and travel-size products in my carry-on bag. I also include a hat and scarf. Wig care products should not take up any more room in your luggage than care products for bio hair.
SOME HELPERS THAT ONLY YOU WILL KNOW ABOUT:
Dealing with the heat as a wig wearer can be a challenge, even if you are not in some tropical climate on vacation. These are some of the things you might consider to help make things easier:
Bamboo caps, Wig liners
The whole point of wearing a wig for most of us is to feel just as beautiful and confident as you did when you had a full head of natural hair, and that is hard to do if you’re worried about strangers whispering, “Is that a wig?” at the office, the grocery store, party or worse still, when meeting someone new. When meeting someone new or preparing for a special occasion, you don’t want to be worrying about your wig.
A good wig is an investment so taking the time to learn before we buy is important. Here are some tips from the experts, information that I have gathered, read, and live by.
1. Replace Your Wig Regularly
The best way to broadcast to the world that you’re wearing a wig is to wear an old ratty-looking wig. Unfortunately, no one has invented a wig that grows new hair yet, so we’re stuck with wigs that lose their quality over time. No matter how hard you wish, no amount of wig styling products or cap adjustments can save a wig that’s past its prime.
Plan to replace your synthetic wigs every 3 to 6 months and your human hair wigs every 6 to 12 months. Use your judgment based on your individual wear patterns.
2. Rooted Colors
Unless you naturally have very dark hair, it’s unlikely that your hair is just one color. Most people have shades of color and gradients (dimension) throughout their hair.
Wigs with one flat color just look fake or look like a bad color job. Wigs with rooted colors, on the other hand, mimic the natural gradients in bio hair by blending several colors.
If you can’t find a wig that you like with rooted colors look for a wig that is a ‘blend’ of two colors or ask a stylist to give your wig highlights and lowlights two shades away from the wig’s base color. (Don’t try this at home if you don’t have training!)
3. Lace Fronts and Monofilament Tops
Lace front wigs create the illusion of a natural hairline, making it look like your wig hair is growing right out of your head. Monofilament tops do the same thing, but for the wig’s part. Each hair of a monofilament top wig is individually sewn into the wig, rather than being machine applied. This allows the wig hair to move freely and lets you part the wig anywhere you want.
4. Mess Up That Part
When something looks too perfect, especially with wigs, it’s usually a sign that it’s fake. Wig companies could and should do a better job with this in my view.
Most wigs come out of the box with eerily perfect parts.
As soon as your new wig arrives, take a pair of tweezers, and carefully pluck out a few strands. Then, using baby scissors, cut a few strands so that they look like they’re just growing out. Last, choose a couple of hairs to place on the ‘wrong' side of the part. (Again, don’t try this at home unless you feel comfortable with your skills.)
5. Trim Your Wig
Or not—but take it to your stylist and get it shaped up to better flatter your face. Some of us have the skill set to do this ourselves, but some of us (uh, me) do not.
6. Blend it Out
If you have some natural hair, try ‘blending’ your natural hairline with the hairline of a lace front wig—as follows:
- Place your wig an inch or two farther back on your head than you typically would, exposing your natural hairline.
- Fully attach the wig to keep it steady and from moving too much.
- pray a little dry shampoo into your hairline and along the wig part line and use your fingers to tease everything together.
- Mimicking your own edges is one major key to achieving a flawless illusion. It keeps people guessing.
NOTE: If you’re going to try this trick, it’s important that your wig color matches your natural hair color.
We’ve all seen the instructions on how to do this and seen the charts on how to determine your cap size. If you are still in doubt look for videos that show how to do this. It’s easier than trying to read the steps. There are many good instruction videos out and cap size charts are easy to find.
8. (For wig Newbies) ALWAYS—line up your wig with your natural hairline.
If you don’t line up your wig with your natural hairline, your wig will never look natural. That’s why it’s so important that each time you put on your wig, you take the time to line it up properly.
To correctly line up your wig with your natural hairline:
- First, put your wig on your forehead just above your eyebrows.
- Next, slowly slide the wig back over your head, adjusting as you go, until the bottom of the wig hits the nape of your next.
- Last, slide the wig forward just a bit until it hits your natural hairline, and secure it in the way you have chosen.
If you have been wearing wigs for a while you have your preferences in place most likely. You love or don’t love heat-friendly wigs; you can’t go without a lace front maybe; you must have a mono top or rooted color—the list goes on. Each wig type, fiber, cap, style, has its own footprint. You may well know the good and the challenges for each type. But whether you must have human hair, heat friendly or not, there always seems to be one question: How do I take the shine out of synthetic wigs without washing them so much? Also, know as:
How to Make a Synthetic Wig Look Real
- In addition to the other things mentioned before (picking one with blended colors, rooted if you like that, there are some additional things you can do while waiting on that shine to go away through washing. *Apply some dry shampoo or talcum powder to the wig but use a light hand at first. You can always add more if needed but it’s hard to take it out without having to wash your wig if you overdo it. And of course, washing your wig more than necessary is something you will want to avoid.
So, until next time --- keep your wigs looking “real” not wiggy. And stop & smell the flowers!
I will be the first to admit that I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with my wigs. On bad days I hate that I have to wear one, but mostly I am grateful that we have such amazing ones to pick from. I appreciate being able to try a new look and/or color and find the right ones for me without the trauma and drama of going through a salon process. Now I can just pick the look and style I want, put it on, and I am out the door feeling and looking just fine!
But—yes, there are challenges to wig wearing. I wanted to talk about a few today and how I have learned to overcome some of them. You likely have your own methods too, but if you are newer to wig wearing, maybe some of these tips will help you.
First, and what is a worry for all wig wearers—the security of knowing that your wig will stay in place. After all, we are all going for reality. We don’t want our wigs slipping or worse. We do all we can to make sure people don’t look at us and think—wig. So, let’s visit a few things that you can do and some things to consider when it comes to wig security.
- Basic bobbie pins. If you have bio hair and the right wig cap (the pins go through the cap to your hair), and this may be all that you need. A lot of people just use the two long pins that often come with your wig. I have done this myself at times.
- Wig grip. This is the kind of thing I find you either love or hate. If you have a sensitive scalp, have an issue with things on your head making you feel too hot, this might be an issue. Some people love them and would not be without one.
- Double-sided tape. I have used this, and after getting better at placement, (trial and error) I ended up liking this idea. If your tape placement is good you can often get several “wears” before you have to replace it.
- Glue. Wig glue has seen many advancements over the years. But it seems that most wig wearers now use something not meant for wigs at all. “It Stays” - a body-safe adhesive product developed for an entirely different purpose, seems to be the glue of choice these days. I own it but have not yet used it, but I plan to do so soon. (a tip – store it upside down so the roller ball cap doesn’t freeze up).
Second, let’s look at the wig cap itself. If you are having an issue with the wig riding up and have an adjustable cap, try adjusting the tension in the straps. Sometimes, it is as simple as that. We seem to think tighter is better for security, but it doesn’t work that way. Also, think about cap size and your head measurements. Are you wearing the right size—for your wig brand? If you are on the petite end, it could be more challenging for you to find that perfect fit in some brands.
Third, as we all know, the way the wig sits on our head, or more accurately on our bio-hair, makes a lot of difference. Depending on the type of wig cap and the amount of bio hair that you have, or don’t have, the wig can slide around more easily with certain cap structures. You may have to use different securing methods based on which kind of cap that you have. You may have to go through a bit of trial and error to find what works best, but you will find the right system for you and your various wig caps. Don’t give up too soon.
Yes, your wig comes with directions. We’ve all seen the little card enclosed with our wig. And if you have watched any wig videos, and I recommend that you watch many, you will run across all kinds of tips and tricks for taking care of your wig. I would say this—follow the manufacturer’s recommendations first and foremost. But in addition, there are things you can do to tamp down that shine and those wild and crazy pieces of hair that stick upright on top.
I have read some “interesting” things about how to fix these issues, but experience has taught me that less is best. Too much product, whether it be the styling products or even the dry shampoo, can make the wig end up looking dirty and greasy. Start small and then adjust as you see the look that you like. My personal heroes are the dry shampoo and hair spray with a light touch. My wigs tend to be simple in style so I don’t use the styling products but can see how they certainly can add zip and “personality” to the right style. The amount of wild hair spikes and the shine also depends on the type of wig that you have. The total synthetic ones tend to be shiner, and the lighter the color the shiner they seem to be due to light reflection. I find that the heat-friendly ones with more life-like fibers tend to have less of an issue with that kind of thing. But there are some beautiful all synthetic wigs, and with a bit of TLC, you can make them look great too.
Of course, your wig care routine and maintenance will depend upon what kind of wig that you have. Real hair wigs have a different care routine, more like you’d expect of real hair. Mixed fiber wigs, (human and synthetic blends) and heat-friendly wigs, are all a bit different from strictly synthetic. I will do a separate blog on wig fibers and construction soon. The fibers used and the talent of the wig designer and crafter make all the difference in how your wig will feel, fit, and last. Choose well.
Wig storage, washing, and rotation: Some people rotate their wigs often enough that they leave them on the wig “heads” all the time. But most experts recommend that if you are not wearing your wigs very often, store them back in their boxes just like they came, inside out and netted, in most cases. The idea is that if you store them long-term on a wig “head” the wig might stretch or come to take the shape of that head and not your head. I keep two in rotation, always sitting on my “heads” and the rest in their boxes.
Seasoned wig wearers often say that having three in rotation is even better because it makes your wigs last longer because you are not washing the same ones so often. I had three in rotation when I went into an office five days a week, but now I work from home so two is more than enough at the moment. The longer wigs will take a beating faster. The friction of the fibers against your clothes and body will wear down the ends faster than seems fair. Don’t be afraid to baby them with conditioner more often and even trim them if you have that talent.
Wig Washing: A lot of people tend to over-wash or under-wash their wigs. Again, it depends so much on you and how much product that you use. I don’t use a lot of products in mine, so I can get away with a longer period in-between wig washing. The more you wash your wig, and the more care that goes into that washing will make a difference over time. Your wig fibers are not meant to last forever but will last a lot longer with the right care.
Coming blogs will focus on first-time wig wearers; wig construction and fibers; and when wearing the same wig, why we don’t look like the wig model on YouTube or the website (besides the obvious). In the meantime, send in your questions and requests for more information—what do you want to talk about, or learn more about?
I have added a couple of pictures of myself in my newest Raquel Welch “Muse,” (color RL 12/22SS Cappuccino) and a picture of my new favorite, “Straight up with a Twist” in exactly the same color, just about dry on my wig stand. These are my go-to wigs, plus my “Real Deal” wig, but that picture seems to have vanished in the dark computer-vortex, but I hope to have that in a later blog.
I have included some further links/info on where to get the products I talked about.
Two views of my two favorites, just a different light, and angle show you the lovely color blending in these wigs. It is the very same Muse wig that I am wearing in the selfie. The angle in the selfie makes it look a bit puffy on top, but it really isn’t. I was just looking downward a bit. Better photos in the future, promise. I wanted to show you how pictures can be a bit deceiving. It is about the lighting and the camera. So that is why I advise looking at a lot of wig pictures and demos and on YouTube. It will save you from being disappointed in the color if you know what to expect.
Also, no two wigs are the same. Even hand-tied by the same craft-person, no two will be identical. Understanding all this helps us decide what is important to us. Is having the exact highlights in the exact place on that wig a dealbreaker for you? If you know upfront that there will always be some differences, you’ll be happier. Also, I have learned not to make snap judgments. I like to live with a wig a few days before I decide for sure it is not for me. I like to try it on several times a day and look at it in different lights, different rooms, outside, all to get a real picture of how it looks on me—that is the real reason to buy the wig you buy. How does it look on YOU?
Send in your questions and/or topics you’d like to know more about: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just note my name in the question and they will make sure that I get it.