Do you suffer from wig-itis? No matter what you do, you still think your wig looks fake. This is most often a new wig wearer’s affliction. We are so used to seeing our fine, thin hair, that the wig just seems like too much hair. And to be honest, sometimes it is. Some styles and brands seem to pack a lot more “hair” into their wigs than any real person would ever have. This is where a bit of skill comes into play. I have no such skill, so I depend on my hairdresser to do a bit of thinning and shaping on some styles. Some think the permatease is the problem; that it makes you look as if you have a ton of hair on top. But some permatease does work for some styles and gives the wig lasting shape to support the style.
But then, we have an additional issue. Are you frustrated because no matter what you do, your wig still looks a bit fake? This seems to be a major concern, and for obvious reasons. You don’t want to spend the time and money on a wig to have it announce to the world that it is…a WIG.
In this case there are several things to consider. We can’t expect a cheap wig to look as good as one with all the bells and whistles. We do get what we pay for in more ways than one. A good quality and well-made wig can make all the difference in how real they look and how long they last. We have all come to expect that a human hair wig will look more realistic. We know that a lace front and mono top can give our wigs a more realistic look, depending on the style. We know that synthetic wigs can be helped if we tamp down that shine and choose rooted colors. We know to look for blended shades of color because flat colors scream fake.
And back to our original issue…density. For most of us, especially if losing our hair was a drawn-out process where we got used to thinning hair, any wig might look like too much hair at first, and that takes a while to get used to for most people. If a “real” look is a big issue for you, then time as well as money is a big player. We know that we can’t expect to pull a wig from a box, put it on our head, and have it look very realistic, in most cases. We must take time to customize the wig for us—our head shape, our coloring, and learn which styles suits us best. This includes seeking professional help like a hair stylist to maybe trim, thin, cut bangs if needed, and in general, shape it up to suit our face, if needed.
Some other issues in wig wearing that sometimes get overlooked or thought about too late are: wig fit (cap size), wig placement (does it sit at the natural hairline?) and wig security. Did you prep your bio hair if needed and find a method of securing the wig that is comfortable for you? Trial and error, and time will help with this.
In the end, we get back what we put into our wigs. They are an investment, so it’s worth learning all that we can to make them look great and last a long time.
Sometimes it is hard to be objective as we stand there looking in the mirror. That’s where a professional stylist comes in. Your mom, best friend, partner, etc., might not be the best person/people to ask when it comes to picking a wig color and style—for obvious reasons. A stylist has no, or at least little, emotional investment, and it’s her or his business. They do this for a living. Trust the experts.
Until next time, wishing you all a happy holiday season. Break out that new wig and show off a little.
There is much more to choosing a wig than liking how it looks—in theory. I was asked to address this topic again: What are some of us doing wrong with our wigs? I will re-review some of the answers I got when I interviewed some stylists in my town, and who I knew would tell me like it is. They work with clients who wear helper hair, so they understood what I was asking.
Though wigs are different from natural hair in a lot of ways, the same rules apply when it comes to color, length, and style. There is nothing worse than getting the perfect wig and finding it is not perfect for you. (This was the first hard lesson that I learned.)
What follows is the advice of two stylists who have devoted most of their careers to hair. They nicknamed their advice their “dirty dozen” rules for hair—wigs included.
Here are their opinions based on their experience.
“The Dirty Dozen” questions and concerns from clients:
- Center parts—not for everyone. They can make you look older. It takes away from the fullness at the crown. If you are young, it’s not so much a concern. Most people do tend to look better with more fullness at the crown. It draws the eye upward.
- The ongoing debate of whether should older women have long hair or not: If your hair is too long it can make you look older. They agreed that it doesn’t have to be short to work best for mature women, but long hair draws the face down, and the eye down, especially with heavier bottom ends styles with a lot of volume. Do you want people to focus on your chin and neck? For longer styles think layers and less density. Women of all ages can wear long hair and look good, but style and color are everything. They did note that if you have a heart-shaped face you have an advantage in wearing longer styles, especially with bottom volume. This style works best to “fill out the face triangle” by having more hair at the bottom under the chin area.
- Manage your expectations. Understand what your style really is – meaning, what you like and what looks best on you may not be the same thing. Also, make sure you are using volume in the right places. Refer to their comments on face shape. How does your hairstyle work with you or against you to compliment your face?
- If you have a full or very round face, watch for too much volume on the sides near the cheeks. A lot of hair there will make your face look wider. Try for more volume on top and a longer style that comes under the chin—not at the chin and curving around to accentuate more roundness.
- If you have a long face, go for that side fullness and less volume on top. You can still wear longer styles if you like, just balance the hair with the face. Bangs are also good for long faces. More about bangs in number seven.
And for all the face shapes in-between round, long, heart-shaped, well, you get the idea. The stylists’ mantra: where do you want the focus? What features do you want to highlight, or dimmish?
Bangs – handle with care was their advice. No thick straight across-cut bangs unless you have a long face and even then, it can be tricky depending on the style. Thick straight bangs will “close your face” and make a round face look even more so. Their advice for most bang lovers is to keep it light, don’t cover your entire forehead, ever. Keep your face open by making sure your forehead can be seen, at least part of it.
Color can make all the difference. Natural hair is not just one color. For wigs, you must have some shading and dimension to look natural. Know what colors work for you. For example, gold blondes tend to age some people depending on their skin tone and undertones. For some people ashy shades make them look ill or washed out. Learn if you are a cool, warm, or neutral in the color family, and pick your hair colors appropriately. A special note for those over the fifties: Going too dark can look harsh and fake. Better to lighten up, and don’t be afraid to go salt and pepper or silver/gray. It will make you look younger than the too-dark shades.
Layers are important for styling in that they keep things more balanced, and the look is less heavy– hair that just hangs in one length brings the eye down.
Don’t use too much product. If your hair won’t move it dates your style, and makes you look older. Don’t be a helmet head.
Visit a stylist and let him or her make your wig more you—have it tweaked to bring out the best in the wig so that your wig will bring out the best in you. It is a good investment especially if you have an expensive wig and wear it every day.
Be open to trying new styles. There is nothing that dates you more than keeping the same style for too many years.