Of course, we all want to have approval from those we care most about, and that includes friends as well as family. From the time we were old enough to look around and observe others and our surroundings, we have been making judgments about what we see. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to our peers and to want to be as accomplished, attractive, and smart as those around us. And while we know we will be judged, sometimes we are our own harshest critic.
But what about your other critics? Did you grow up in a family with a strict parent with his or her own unbreakable code of what was good, bad, right, and wrong? Did your mother critique your looks, and did she key in on any perceived flaws and not mention the good? Does your spouse or significant other feel free to point out their opinions about everything, including your hair, clothes, and ideas, even if they are not asked? Do you have a friend or friends who you can count on to give you the once over and then point out everything they consider, not quite right? Or maybe that’s a sister, cousin, or other relatives. How do you take this in? Can you brush it off, or does it start to color how you think about yourself?
Even someone with a lot of confidence can be affected by constant negativity.
This is a common complaint with new wig wearers: “my husband/son/daughter/sister doesn’t like the wig on me.” Or hearing… “The wig makes you look….” fill in the blank. Sometimes, our friends or family member can’t even see that what they are saying is bothering us. Maybe they think their “constructive criticism” is something you want. Growing up I had an aunt whose mission in life seemed to be pointing out all of everyone’s flaws, to our faces, and with an audience. It was a great learning experience for me because I was careful to never do this to anyone. And I learned that not everyone’s opinion mattered.
As hard as it is, it is up to us to draw the boundary lines. Other than avoiding these people, is the only way to stop it. However, if we are asking for their input, we must learn to weigh what they say. How much weight does what they say carry for us? Is it out of proportion to reality? Are the person or people making critiques an expert on wigs or hair, for example? Are they just prejudiced when it comes to a color like blondes for example (do they love them or hate them)? Either way, it has no bearing at all on the blonde wig you just bought. Is it all about them or our wig purchase? It is crucial to figure that out before we take in any critique of our wigs.
The wig journey: No one warns you before you start down this path that you will have a psychological journey as well. It can be hard at times. Not only must you deal with your hair loss issues and try to wade through the vast amount of information on wigs, but you must also find one that you hope will work for you. One is rarely prepared to face an onslaught of opinions that others feel free to give.
My best advice is to always consider the source. Along with that, seek out help from professionals. Watch the wig demos on the WigStudio1 page, follow the reviewers on their pages, and soon you will feel more confident. It took me a while to learn that I just couldn’t take a wig from the box, plop it on my head and have it look like the woman in the ad. I had to get over the fear of “messing with it” and I had to learn how to style it.
Once you educate yourself about wigs, you will have the confidence to listen to your voice and learn to filter out others that have no real bearing on the issue at all.
Have a great holiday season, and remember, it is a good time of year to step out of our rut. If like me, you tend to stick with what you know works, sometimes you need a little incentive to try new styles and colors. It was like Christmas for me last weekend as I washed and put away three wigs and got out three others to start a new rotation. That reminded me that change is good and that trying new styles and colors can be very good.
For some reason, the shorter styles were calling my name. I put on Raquel Welch’s “Ready for Takeoff” and the cap was so comfortable that I hardly knew I had it on. Now, that makes me very happy.
I have written before about the psychological challenges that hair loss can bring. Whether temporary or permanent, when we look in the mirror, we are different from who we were. Experts have written volumes on how hair loss can affect one’s mental health. If you are affected no one needs to tell you that, you live it. But there is often more at work here than the psychological adjustment one is called on to make when this happens. We saw or heard about what happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when Jada Pinkett Smith was made the butt of a joke centered around her hair loss. We are constantly being judged, especially those in the public eye. Why are we so quick to judge, to offer criticism? Why the need to always be perfect?
The world seems to judge women more harshly than men when it comes to looks (though men in the public eye seem to be targets the same as women). In an ageist world, any sign of baldness, or thinning hair, reminds us of our mortality and powerlessness over our bodies. This can be difficult to deal with under the best of circumstances. Someone posted on social media about Jada Pinkett Smith, “why can’t she just wear a wig like everyone else?” So, it’s easy to see that some people see hair loss as a trivial issue and that it’s up to women to just shut up and go on about their lives. This is harder for some women than others. How dare Jada show up less than perfect? It wasn’t okay for Jada to show up as “herself” and in support of others in the same situation.
Wearing wigs to look and feel better is about a lot more than vanity. Those of us who wear wigs know that, but I often wonder if other women have thought about it at all. In addition to the day-to-day concerns about wig-wearing— (can people tell? Will it blow off? How can I enjoy summer weather or sports? What about telling a potential partner?), we find it hard to talk about, even to friends. Why? The pressure to be perfect.
When does it start—this pressure to be perfect? You won’t have to look hard to find many studies about teen bullying, eating disorders, online attacks, and peer-to-peer. Saving things about people to people online has made the situation worse. Young people are not as adept at dealing with bullying either in person or online as an adult would be. They listen to all the negative and take it in, and “wear it, own it” and there it is—the pressure to be perfect. We are not allowed flaws, they are hearing. This type of situation can cause such anxiety that it will manifest in self-harm, hair pulling, eating disorders, and other disorders.
While I have come to terms with my hair loss, and educated myself on wigs and wig wearing, I know that it takes time to feel comfortable with the process. I have learned the fun part of wig wearing, and have thirteen of them and counting. I no longer think of wig-wearing as a negative in my life. I appreciate that I have access to such varied and beautiful options.
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn – as perfect as she needs to be
Recently, I wrote about the challenges of learning about wigs when one is a senior and hasn't needed a wig before. A lot of women in their sixties and beyond are now looking at wigs as an option who may have not looked at them before. There is more than one reason for this. Women live longer in general and they have products at their disposal to help them look younger longer. We live in the time of Botox, fillers, microcurrent technology to firm up the muscles under the facial skin, and a host of skincare products that can help us look our best. But when it comes to hair—well, it is what it is, and some women are not so happy about that. Their thinning hair makes them look older and is no match for their face and body. What to do?
It was these women that I talked with recently. Their concerns were much the same as a wig wearer of any age. Will the wig look “real” and how do in decided on a cap construction, color, style, and what about wig care? They did have one concern that was different from younger women—length, and the out-of-date thinking that senior women should never wear long hair. As we have all learned by now, it’s all about the wig style, color, one’s face shape, and really—one’s attitude.
When I think about attitude and how that matters, I think of women I know who are always just comfortable in any situation, can talk to anyone about anything, and who have their style. They don’t second guess their choices, or at least they don’t’ seem to dwell on them. They just wear things, including hairstyles, colors, and wigs that just feel right for them. This has been the biggest hurdle in my discussions with senior women. They are of the generation, especially in certain parts of the country, where they do pay more attention to “what their peers might think” and I don’t see that changing. That may be their comfort zone, so that’s fine. When I talked with them about what was holding them back from hitting that “buy” button there were just a few things they were trying to resolve since our last meeting where I did an actual wig presentation using my wigs, answering questions. These questions may resonate with you too—they are not just senior concerns. The top ten questions that came up over and over:
- Can I make a big color change from my bio hair—and if I do, how do I prepare my friends and family for it?
- I don’t want to deal with long wigs because of the care involved, how do the mid-lengths hold up compared with the shorter wigs?
- Should I buy two of the same wig and rotate or wait until one is wearing out before I get another?
- If I don’t want to tell people I’m wearing a wig, how do I make it look more real?
- How do I decide what securing method to use?
- Do I have to wear a wig cap?
- Do I have to shave my head?
- Can I sleep in my wig?
- If I want to go lighter should I do it gradually if I don’t want people to notice and think it’s a wig?
- Should I have a backup wig, asleep wig, a swimming wig, etc.?
I did address all of these questions with the group. I have had some of these questions and I am sure you did (or do) too. Some senior women, depending on the age range, are very media savvy, and some are less so. There is a gap in resources and knowledge in the group that I was dealing with, and that was an eye-opener for me. Some knew how to search for answers and some had no idea. In the end, I decided to make it a personal mission to work with this group on my own to try to help them overcome their fears and hesitations about jumping into the wig world. There is no reason that they can’t wear wigs successfully and feel good about it. If you are a senior woman or if you know a senior woman who is thinking about wig-wearing but is put off by the lack of information or support please encourage them to go to the WigStudio-1 Facebook page or the help desk at WigStudio-1. No one should have to do the wig journey alone.
Along with the shorter wigs that a lot of them like are many of the mid-length ones. These were the most popular in the group, and I hope some are ready to hit the buy button.
Until next week, just get out there and be your version of a beautiful you!
Though I blogged about this a while back, it has come up again in recent Facebook posts and elsewhere. So, I wanted to re-visit this topic. How much do you tell others about your decision to wear wigs? This is a decision everyone must make on their own. No one answer fits everyone’s situation.
My friend once said to me, “it’s a mind field of judgment out there” but that can’t be your concern. There is nothing we can do to stop someone from rendering judgment about anything we wear, eat, drive, or do. Humans will be humans. With this in mind, you must decide early on how you will incorporate wig-wearing into your life. Will you just tell your family and close friends? How will you handle telling (or not telling) work colleagues? Again, only you know the best way because only you know your level of confidence, and the dynamics of your relationships, both personal and professional.
Yes, but what about romance? That is a question that I see a lot. How and when or if—you should bring this up. This is tricky because trust places a big role here. I’d certainly not make it a conversation on a first or even second date. After all, if this is someone that you don’t know well, and may not see again, why put yourself through that stress? Now, the tricky part. If you do progress to a more serious relationship, an intimate relationship, then what—how do you prepare your partner ahead of time, or do you have to do that? Unfortunately, there are no rules about this and it comes back to you, your trust level with the other person, and the confidence that you are more than your hair.
If you do get to that point and are still not ready to have the wig discussion, there is one thing my friend recommended that worked for her and allowed her time to ease her way into having the conversation. When they got to the time when she knew their relationship had progressed to the next phase, intimacy, yet she was still not ready to have the wig talk, she told her partner that she had hair extensions in and to keep his hands out of her hair. Plain and simple, and that is what happened. She offered no other explanation until she was ready to, and that was months down the road when she was sure their relationship was one she wanted to cultivate. By then she knew what to expect from him in the way of a reaction, so she took the risk. It worked out for her, but I also know someone who took the risk and never heard from the guy again. But she realized that if she was dealing with someone that shallow, then him walking away was a good thing for her. Why waste your time on someone who judges others solely by their appearance.
If you are like friend number one and you want to take some time, then there are things that you can do to help. You can do as she did or you can just say up front that you are wearing a wig so please don’t mess with it and offer no further information. However, saying that will in all likelihood bring questions, so make sure you are ready to answer them. If you are in the early dating stages there are, of course, ways to secure your wig to keep it looking natural until you do get to a more serious point in your relationship.
What about your work colleagues? That can be handled any way you think best. Depending on the change in your look, you may have someone confront you about it. Only you know your work situation. If it’s just going to a lower density wig from your thinning hair, then you might not need to say anything. I worked with a woman who decided her thinning hair was becoming a confidence breaker so she got a log density wig that matched her bio hair color and length, and just wore it into work—and got compliments on her new haircut. And I take this opportunity to remind you of something that you already know—people are much too concerned about their looks and life to dwell too much on others. We are our own worse critics and this is a hard truth.
If you love wigs and want to wear different styles, and colors regularly to work, then you’ll just have to go for it and tell everyone what you’re doing. In a week or so, it will no longer be a topic. This is the jumping into the fire with both feet approach. Some people can handle it, some rather not make this attempt. Only you can decide.
I hate to end on a negative note but you will run into those, be they family, friends, or co-workers who will have something to say. There are people who seem to see their mission in life is to offer their opinion on everything, whether they know anything about the topic or not. In the case of wigs, I’ve found that it those who know nothing about them who feel they must their critique. Be ready for them. They will ask dumb questions, comment on the color and/or style, ask you the cost, and in general, make you uncomfortable if you let them. I have found a few well-chosen sentences can usually shut them down. Here are some retorts that I’ve heard used over the years by seasoned wig wearers.
“Why yes, it is a wig. Do you have wig or hair styling experience?”
“If you’re interested I can send you some information.”
“Costs vary. I can point you to a few good websites if need more information.”
“People wear wigs for all sorts of reasons. You must feel lucky that you don’t have to.”
“I like being a blonde, but hold on, I could show up as a redhead tomorrow.”
I could go on, but you get the idea. You really DO NOT owe anyone any explanation. How much you decide to “show and tell” is your decision. Don’t let someone force you into it before you’re ready.
Until next time,
Pull out that little bit of the magical witch in you and stand tall.