What I Wish I’d Known Before Buying My First Wig
(Wig shown above: Kenzie Wig by Noriko)
When I first started wearing wigs, making them last longer was not even on my radar as something to think about. I was busy thinking about how I looked, if the wig would fall off, and did I buy the right color and style. It was around wig number two that I started thinking about all the other things—the difference in fibers, cap construction, and how to style wigs to make them work better for me. In other words, I was getting over the fear and into the basics.
Here are the things I had to learn along the way. I hope that if you are a new wig wearer, having the information here all together will help you and save you time and frustration.
- Understand your wig cap’s construction: Is it hand tied, machine wefted, lace front, mono top, mono crown, mono part?
- Respect Your Fibers: Read any manufacturer’s care instructions or do a search to find out how to care for your wig fibers. Fiber composition makes a big difference in how to care for your wig. Human hair, blended (human hair with synthetic), heat-friendly or not—they all have different needs.
- Use the correct brush or comb: It’s helpful to get into the habit of combing through your wig after taking it off. Gently (and with the appropriate comb type) remove any tangles. Smoothing and separating the hair fibers before storage will not only keep your wig looking its best, but it will be ready for wear the next time without worry. Always comb in small sections, slowly, starting at the ends and moving toward the crown. Careful of pulling too hard. You don’t want to unknot any fibers from the crown.
- Store Your Wig with Care: Everyone seems to have their own method. If you rotate your wigs a lot, keeping them out and on wig heads/stands is fine. If you have too many for that, you can store them in the box they came in, be careful to make sure the fibers are not twisted or out of shape if you will be storing them for longer periods. Some people hang the from pegs or similar setups. If you are using boxes, remember to store them so that you can read the name on the box for easier access.
- Watch that heat, please: This is always a scary thing the first time you try it on your wig. Remember that synthetic hair does not respond like human hair. Start with the lowest temperature that is advised rather than the highest. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to high temperatures will shorten the life of your synthetic wig or topper.
- Don’t over Wash! Washing your wig, especially over time, will cause some shedding and a slight loss of density, no matter how gentle you are. Everyone is different, and you can adjust the when-to-wash rules to you based on several things: how many hours a day your wear the wig, does your head sweat, and how many products do you use, to name a few. If you take the wig off and can smell the wig cap, that’s a clue. If your fibers seem to be sticking together, that’s a clue. If your fibers look dull and lifeless…yes, a clue. You get the idea. Use good judgment, and with the idea in mind that the more you wash, the shorter the lifespan. Use Silicon Based Products (and other products) On Your Wig, sparingly. Over time, the use of any product will cause a buildup that can result in a lifeless, dry, and flat look. A thorough washing is the only answer.
- Don’t Sleep in Your Wig: Both static and sweat cause frizz, often resulting in tangles which will result in damaged fibers, and so on. It’s not worth it.
- Don’t Wear Your Wig to the Gym: No matter how cute that guy is at the gym that you want to impress or how much more attractive you feel with your wig on in general, think twice. If you must wear a wig, set aside one wig, maybe one that is shorter, and aging, one that you only wear for this one thing. Otherwise, opt for another type of headgear.
- Don’t Wear Your Wig in a Swimming Pool: The chemicals in the water are not your wig’s friend. Invest in a head wrap, or bathing cap, or if you do go in and don’t plan to get your wig wet at all…. but you do, rinse it out immediately and condition it lightly, letting it air dry overnight before trying to comb through.
Your Wig is an investment, both financially and emotionally. With a little thought and care, it will last you a long time and help you look your best along the way.
Until next time, have you seen all the new Gabor wigs? I have my heart set on Trend Alert.
Vickie Lynn (wearing RW Crowd Pleaser in shaded cappuccino)
Confidence-Getting it or Getting it Back
As I have written about in previous blogs, there is a psychological impact of hair loss, like any other loss, so I don’t want to make light of it, or the pain caused by it. But to linger in the stages of grief too long can hurt us too.
So along with those grief processing steps that famously end in acceptance, let’s look at some things to think about along with way.
- Your Perspective: You know by now that you are your own worst critic. We’ve all heard it and it is true – you are harder on yourself than anyone else is. This also means that you probably view your hair loss more critically than others do.
- Your Feelings: It’s not the end of the world, and there are many worse things many other people must deal with—right? Yes, we know this, and some of us might have even had that sentence directed at us. Knowing it and internalizing it is a different thing. It takes a little time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning to live with your hair loss is a psychological challenge but it is only as difficult as you make it—however, we need tools to deal with it just like any other problem or challenge.
- Your Solutions: Find help if you need it. Most of you who read this have long since gone to the doctor and you know all about your hair loss, but now you need a different kind of help. You need help from people who know about wigs and wig care. You need to find others who are dealing with this—you need support from those who can understand.
- Your Options: Professional therapy is there for you. If you’re still having trouble coping with your hair loss, some professionals can help you work through those grief stages. Don’t write off your pain because you are afraid of being seen as weak. Issues with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can impact your mental health both in the short and long term. Get the help that you need and don’t feel bad about it for one second.
We may not have a choice about losing our hair, but we can choose how to respond. We can refuse to live in denial and allow hair loss to destroy our confidence and quality of life. Getting the help that we need is the first step. Learning about wigs and how they can enhance your life is the next step and just as important. Talk to people who know about wigs, and don’t be shy about asking questions. I’ve found that most people do want to help if we just ask. I find this especially true in the wig community because a lot of the people have gone through the same challenges themselves. They know about the feeling of loss, dealing with self-esteem issues, going through the stages of grief, and getting to acceptance—and then going on to help others.
Things NOT to do:
Please don’t give up after trying just one or two wigs. You will likely feel the same as a lot of people: the wig has too much hair (because you are not used to seeing yourself with a thick head of hair), and the fit is not right. Granted, some wigs do have a lot of hair, but you should know that some have a lower density and no permatese if that is what you like best. In other words, don’t make quick decisions. There is a wig cap learning curve as well. Did you measure your head? Do you know about the different cap styles/construction? Also, know that it will take a while to get rid of the feeling that something is sitting on your head.
Don’t think that you will look like the wig model. Have realistic expectations. Your face shape, coloring, and age may or may not be the same as the models. Even the length of your head and neck will be different, causing the wig to look longer or shorter on you, perhaps.
Don’t be afraid to put your hands in and on your wig. This can be tricky because you don’t want to mess up the “factory part” if there is a chance you might want to return the win. If you know you like it and will keep it, get in there and style it. Very few wigs come right out of the box looking great. Don’t be afraid to use the proper products on it to make it your own look. Put clips in or wear a headband to add an even more realistic look.
Don’t give up because you haven’t found the right way to secure your wig. And by “right” I mean the way that works for you. Different people like and use different methods. I am a “purist” in that I like nothing but an occasional clip or bobby pin to secure mine if I go to the dentist. But I have found a cap that fits me well. Also, I don’t do a lot of up and down, running around, being outside, etc., that might require a more secure means. So, as you can see, securing your wig is a very personal choice. Find what works for you and your life.
A happy ending—yes, there is one. Before you know it you will be a pro in your own right. You will know all about caps, fibers, heat-friendly wigs, and how to care for them. You’ll know which colors and styles flatter you—and there is when the fun begins. You have options! Just take a look at the website today—wow.
Until next time, remember, we must make many choices every day. Today, let’s Choose to be Confident.
Vickie Lynn --and Ollie the Owl (sitting among my violets in my living room looking very confident indeed).
It’s the Little Things
Though we are all wig wearers, some for many years, some new, we are individuals with different likes, dislikes, and needs. This is as true in wigs as it is in life in general.
We all have different wig priorities. If you have no hair at all or little hair, or a sensitive scalp, the wig cap construction will be very important. If you can’t stand wig bands, clips, and pins, the kind of cap and the way it fits will play an even larger role in your choice. For me, it is the less on my head the better, so a good-fitting cap is very important to me. The better the fit, the fewer security measures I feel the need to use. Sometimes it’s just luck. Our heads are all a bit different and sometimes a “made to scale” wig manufacturer’s cap won’t fit as well if you have an in-between size head and can’t get that perfect fit. If that’s the case, you will need to make security decisions.
Getting a hand-tied cap with a mono-top and lace front will cost you more because it costs the manufacturer more to make. That’s easy to understand. And ideally, you’d think everyone would want or need this. But that is not necessarily the case. Many wigs that just come with a basic cap can work well for many people. A lot depends on the wig style. If the style one doesn’t have a part and may have bangs—then a mono top and lace front would not be a dealbreaker for a lot of people. Also, for the same price, you can often get two or three of the basic cap wigs compared to maybe just one of the wigs with all the bells and whistles. That is appealing to a lot of people, especially if you are hard on your wigs, or if you just like to change styles a lot.
All fibers are not created equal. This too, you may have already learned. Some look and feel better and seem to last longer. Every manufacturer seems to do them a bit differently. They have their own vendors, processes, and craftspeople. Human hair wigs are just that, so we all know how to take care of human hair, and the pros and cons of this. It is when you get into fibers that it is more of a challenge. Over time, the coating of the fibers, the color, and the strength of the fibers will change. Depending on how much you wear your wig and how you care for it, can shorten, or lengthen the life of your wig, but eventually, the fibers will show their age and wear.
The big tradeoff: So, we must decide, do we want the best of the best, the middle of the road, or some less costly ones but do the job just fine? Fortunately, we can have one of each if the budget allows. I seem to have landed in the middle of the pack with lace front, mono-top and hand-tied as my preference, but hand-tied is not a deal breaker if I can have the other two. I still have a couple of basic cap wigs that I bought early on and can still wear but I find them hot and scratchy now because I have lost more hair loss over time. My scalp is more sensitive now too, and I must be picky about my caps.
The little extras are important. I like to get a wig with those soft tabs on the side and at the neck, along with the ability to adjust the fit. I can live with a mono-part vs. mono-top, but I hate not having the ability to make fit adjustments or have that comfort of the felt tabs on the side and the one at the bottom of the neck. So, in the end, we all find our sweet spot, what we can live with or hope we don’t have to live with, as the case may be.
Until next time,
Why You Should Never Give Up On Wigs!
I know what it’s like to try a wig and be disappointed. Whether it is my lack of homework—did I understand about fibers, cap construction, and care or was I caught up in how the model looked?
Becoming a seasoned wig wearer, one who has confidence in what to buy, and what colors and styles work best on you, takes time. Like anything new, you can’t start out as an expert. You must allow yourself to make a few mistakes, no matter how much you think you have researched things. It’s all about giving yourself a bit of grace, time, and space to find the right wig, one that feels right to you, and one that compliments you, your complexion, and your face shape.
It makes me sad to see (on various media formats), “I give up on wigs. I’ll just have to deal with this hair loss some other way.” The general theme seems to be that they try one or two wigs and decide it’s not for them. They are upset, disappointed, and often needlessly so. Things might have been different if they would have given themselves more time to do research, ask for help, and to understand it is a journey, not a sprint. Learning to buy a wig, the right wig(s) is a skill. Like any other skill, it takes time to master it.
Reading all the comments on Facebook and learning about all the disappointments was hard for me because I had been there too. I wanted to hug all those ladies and say, “it’s because it is all so new—it feels like too much hair, the color might not be the best fit or the style, and you are not used to wearing something on your head—but it will get better with time. Don’t cheat yourself out of something great without giving it a real chance.”
One bad wig experience does not mean you will never be able to wear wigs comfortably. Even several bad experiences don’t mean failure. Yes, wigs are expensive and can be intimidating to work with at first. But you have to make friends with your wig, make it your own. Once you claim it, you can begin to work with it. Also, you need to manage your expectations. Everyone’s head (and neck length) is a bit different in size and shape, and you will eventually find the wig brands and caps that work best for you, and that will make your journey much easier. Also, please remember that your wig can be modified.
There is a process and a learning curve like when you must learn anything new. A lucky few will take to wig wearing right away and have all kinds of fun trying new styles and colors. But most of us go down a different path. We struggle to learn about wig fit, the different wig caps, the difference in the fibers, wig care, colors, and sizes—it can be overwhelming.
In my field, of writing, we have “tags” for the different kinds of writers: Plotter or Pantser. I think the same idea can be applied to learning about wigs. Did you start researching all about wigs, view hundreds of videos, and pictures, research manufacturers, talk to wig wearers, or find wig blogs (a plotter)? Or did you find a local wig boutique and go in and trust the person there to just tell you what you should wear? Or did you go all out Pantser and just order a wig online that looked good to you because it looked good on the model? Maybe it was something in-between these actions, but you get my point. Did you approach wig-wearing in a more thought-out process or did you make an emotional decision?
So, yes, there is a process, but it’s one that you can learn. For me, it was research-research, and trial and error. The advice I would give is:
1. Ask for help. If you are reading this blog, then you know that you can find it at Wig Studio1. There is so much expertise there!
2. Do NOT give up, and if you are in this phase, or if you know someone who is struggling, pass this on. There is a wig and style that is for you, likely there are several, but you will never know that if you give up too soon.
Refuse to accept failure and disappointment about wig-wearing. If thousands of people can do it, so can you. So, whether you are a plotter or Pantser, keep trying because the right wig is out there waiting for you. Before you know it, you will have a collection of your own. The day will come when you look at your wigs and you will be happy that you have options.
Until next week, take a look at the wigs on sale now (and ongoing) and maybe start there. If you are not sure about style or color, ask for help. There is a world of expertise at Wig Studio1. There are wonderful blogs, videos, and all kinds of great resources. And remember, we are all in this together. Pass it on.
Until Next time,
Styling Your Synthetic Wig
(Wig shown above: AVALON WIG BY RENE OF PARIS)
We seasoned wig wearers know that synthetic wigs have never been better. They look and feel great, and there is one (or several) to please every wig wearer. They have many great qualities, and having many to choose from is just one of the many benefits. However, like with most things, nothing is perfect, and they do require attention to styling and correct product use.
These are some helpful tips to make living with your synthetic wig easier:
1. Remember the wig “hairs” are not hairs, they are fibers, and must be treated as such.
2. Invest in a spray bottle. It will be your best friend as you “wake up” your new fibers, and tamp down those flyaway bits, and static electricity in general.
3. Use your hands for styling. After waking up the fibers with a spritz of water, most wigs can be styled with just your fingertips. Combing or brushing too “perfectly” is often the culprit behind the “wiggy look” so go easy on perfection.
4. It can’t be said enough: when using a comb or brush on your wig, make sure they are designed for wigs, not human hair. The pulling action of some brushes or combs can damage the fibers or pull them out of the cap.
5. When using comb and brush, (always on a DRY wig) use short strokes for those with curls and longer strokes with light pressure for the smooth styles. Use a pick comb to style ringlet curls to help reduce frizz and manage flyaway bits.
6. Do not use hair care products designed for human hair.
7. Do not use heat unless the synthetic wig is “heat friendly” because it will damage the wig fibers.
8. When it’s time to wash your wig, you can restore it to its original style by washing it in cool water with wig-designated products. A lot of wig wearers swear by the “hang it upside down” to dry method. I have yet to try it because most of my wigs are shorter and dry fast on the wig stand.
9. How to get more volume: Some wig wearers like to back-comb/tease the underside of individual layers, but you can often get the lift you need by lifting the layers with a wig-comb/pick and spraying underneath.
10. Making changes to your wig: This topic comes up a lot. How easy is it to cut bangs, trip, or otherwise make changes to your wig? Unless you are skilled in this area, my advice is to take it to a professional. A professional can, along with cutting in bangs, trimming, etc., also do so in a way that flatters your face, making it more “you” for a truly customized look.
11. Accessorize! This is a tip that is often overlooked. Though I have more recently seen more wig reviewers talk about this. And how true it is. By using headbands, clips, and other accessories, you can add color, and brightness around the face, and make the style truly reflect your taste.
12. There has also been a lot of talk about how to straighten a wig using water or steam. Also, how to curl a wig is a question that I see often on our FaceBook group page. I won’t address these issues here because there are really good “help videos” about this from some of our reviewers that will answer your questions. These are the kinds of questions that need more than a line or two types of answers. Watching a video, and listening to the experts on these subjects will be a better use of your time.
At the end of the day, we are all faced with the good as well as the challenging when it comes to wig wearing, no matter what type of wig it is.
We are all in this together—
Until next time,
It’s All About the Wig Cap
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?
Getting to Know Your Wig
Fear, uncertainty, anxiety? Yes, I had those feelings when I got my first wig. I asked all the questions that most people ask: Will it look real; what do I tell people; do I tell people; what if someone asks; how do I keep it on my head; what if it’s a very windy day—and on and on until we work a nice case of “nerves” and doubt.
Fortunately, there is help waiting in the wings. We just have to learn how to access it. This blog is meant to be one of those things that can help. This entire site is meant to do that as well. There are some remarkably knowledgeable women here to help you. There is not much about wigs that they don’t know. From caps to fibers, styling, and color, they have you covered. You have only to ask and take advantage of their helpful videos.
With help in mind, I recently did another quick poll on our Facebook page and asked a few questions there.
The first question that I asked was: How long did it take you to feel comfortable in a wig. In summary, they had some of the same experiences, but some took longer to acclimate to wig-wearing than others. Some had more fear about the process than others. Most took months to a year or more to feel truly comfortable in a wig. And by that, I don’t just mean physical comfort, which is important, but I mean psychological comfort. When you arrive at the point that you go all day without thinking much about your wig. When you can look in the mirror and just see yourself and don’t automatically zero in on your insecurities: does it look wiggy, is it straight, is it still too shiny…and you know the ones. The big take-away = BE PATIENT.
The second question: If you had to give a new wig wearer one piece of advice, what would that be. A summary/combo answer was: All women (and men for that matter) of all colors and ages can be empowered to wear wigs. The advice I heard repeated was to start with something close to your own bio hair, style, and color. Don’t expect it to look like your bio hair because you will think there is too much wig hair. That’s because you slowly (in most cases) got used to your thinning bio hair over time. So, anything much thicker will look “too thick” but it is likely not. You’re going to wonder if people are staring at you—they’re not. People are way more interested in their own hair, lives, thoughts (my comment).
The third question: Do you change styles and colors often, and if so, why? As you might expect, this question had the most variety. Some like seasonal changes, some go with their mood or event, and some like to stick with the same general style and color family that they feel suits them best. (These are women who know the difference in what they like versus what looks best on them, and that comes with experience.) For example, I “like” the long flowing lovely blonde wigs, but they look ridiculous on me for my face shape, age, and coloring. After several years of trying different looks, I have settled on my length range and the two colors that suit me best. I am now a happy and confident wig buyer!
The fourth and last question was just a fun one: Do you have a style and/or color that you like above all else. And most do, and again, that’s from experience. I hope this gives you something to think about along your journey. There is a lot to learn. From cap construction, fiber, care, styles, colors, and how to secure your wig. The beginning can be overwhelming and Wig Studio 1 is here to help. Our Facebook group is beyond offers advice, pictures, detailed instructions, and all kinds of different information from people who have gone on this journey before—join us there!
Advice from the pros: check out the wonderful videos offered by the Wig Studio 1 team who do such an unbelievable job, not only showcasing the wigs but educating us about how to make them work better for you.
To paraphrase Eileen and Marlene: Get in there with your hands and massage those roots, loose those fibers, and give that wig a good shake every time before you put it on! They have a bounty of good information to share with you, and I hope you take advantage of it. I only wish I had the benefit of their knowledge and a site like this one to help me when I started on my adventure.
Until next time,
Think fall weather and fall wigs—and the holidays are coming!
(can you tell I am doing my part to try to push October in faster?)