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.
How to take your wig to the beach or pool—and not be sorry!
I always loved the saying, “where there’s a will there’s a way” because it is true. If we want something badly enough, we try harder to make it happen.
Hence all the wonderful inventions by our multi-cultural, independent-minded, hard-working people in this country. And that is true for our topic this week—we find a way. We who wear wigs refuse to be left out of anything and that includes the beach and pool. Thankfully, depending upon your hair loss you have several options to consider.
Challenge number one: Wearing wigs or toppers for summer activities
As you might guess, synthetic hair is best for the pool or beach – either a wig you have worn for a while or a less expensive piece you purchase for the beach or pool. If you are diving below the surface of the water, you may want to wear an actual swim cap that will stay on when diving into a pool or ocean.
After-care is the thing: If you do wear your wig or topper in the pool or ocean be sure to rinse it thoroughly and condition it after wearing. If you are wearing long hair, consider braiding it before going into the water. The wig cap will suffer along with the wig fibers and the cap might stretch out to the point of not being a good fit if you spend too much time with it in the water. This will vary depending on the cap construction, age of the cap, and your after-care of the cap.
Challenge number two: NOT wearing wigs or toppers for water activities
So, what if you are not at all interested in swimming or splashing around in a pool or ocean but want to get a bit of sun and fresh air and join your family and friends anyway. You do still have options.
· wear a sun hat with very good coverage – such as hats with big brims that flop down in the back or have a back “safari” flap.
· For hats like fedoras where the back of your head will show, use a stretchy headband to cover the parts of your head that would be exposed.
· Wear a swim scarf – a scarf made of swimsuit fabric in case you do decide to take a dip.
· Wear a head-wrap. You can wear this as a cap, do-rag, turban, or even tied into a rosette. This can be done to fit under a hat as well.
Scarves add a fun vacation vibe to your wardrobe, don’t count them out.
Fortunately, we will always see people in sun hats, scarves, and such, so you won’t feel out of place. If you’re going between inside and outside a lot, wear a cover or scarf under your hat so you can take the hat off indoors with a minimum of fuss.
Bring lots of scarves! Scarves also work well for hikes, kayaking, and other sports where the heat of a wig won’t make you happy. I have added a couple of videos for how to tie a scarf, just for your convenience, and they will lead you to others.
Remember, if we feel good about how we look, that is what we will project. Also, remember that most people are much more interested in how they look to scrutinize others too much. Once I realized that I was able to relax a lot faster when venturing out in something new for the first time, whether it be a new wig, a scarf, hat, or even a new outfit.
Go out there and have fun. A lot of us “missed” last summer staying more inside than out. So, we have a lot to make up for. Let’s get out there and join the world—and we will look good doing it.
Until next week, stop and smell the flowers.
Whatever reason you have for wearing a wig, you should never feel shy about your decision. Whether you choose to tell others is your business, of course, and you shouldn’t feel pressure about it one way or the other. That includes telling those you have or hope to have romantic encounters now or in the future. You shouldn’t stress over it too much because there are things that you can do.
But yes, worry about it, you will, and that’s only natural. Will the wig slip, come off completely, and be a turnoff to your partner? All reasonable worries. As in most cases, every situation is different. A long-married couple where the woman is suffering a gradual hair loss, or a sudden loss due to a medical condition, might have a different conversation about wigs than someone just beginning to date someone special.
Only you will know when you have reached that level of trust and intimacy in your relationship. But it might be a conversation you will want to have early on so that you can plan accordingly. I have a good friend who when planning her first serious romantic encounter just said to her partner, “I have extensions in, so no pulling on my hair.” With so many women wearing helper hair of some sort these days, the guy thought nothing of it. She decided to leave the full conversation of actually wearing a wig (and not extensions) until she decided where the relationship was headed.
Or, think about this opposite scenario: the kiss, a darn great kiss, and things are going well, and then—the hands in the hair! Imagine the shock when you yelp, and he comes away with your wig in his hand. So, okay, another scenario: You have the conversation, but then what? How do you keep looking like you did when he/she first saw you and was attracted to you? How do you look and feel sexy while keeping the wig in place?
Now, the time has come. Do you secure the wig and hope it never becomes an issue? Do you try to sleep with the wig (there are ways to secure it without doing a lot of damage) and hope to pull it off? Even if you have told your partner that you wear a wig, and they say they’re fine with it—have they seen you without it? A lot of women just don’t want to go there, especially if they don’t yet know if the relationship will lead to a permanent situation.
Whatever you decide about sharing your wig wearing, there is no right or wrong, and no rule. Each of us will need to decide this for ourselves. But if you do decide to keep your wig on all the time, including in bed, there are some tips that might come in handy.
· Though sleeping in a wig on a nightly basis is not recommended, you can wrap your head to help keep hair in place and this will be cutting down on the friction that is the culprit.
· Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase
Some methods to secure your wig (for day and night)
· Wig Tape
· Wig Glue
· Wig Grips
· Wig Caps
· Bobby pins
· Wig Clips
All of these methods will help secure your wig. Again, it’s a personal issue. You will know or soon know after some trial and error, what works best for you. It’s also important to know that each method has pros and cons. A special tip: save your aging wig as a “sleep wig” if you have more than one wig in the same style. This is especially helpful if you prefer to keep your wig wearing more of a secret.
Most wig wearers that I know have found the fun part of wigs. We love the flexibility of choosing styles, lengths, and colors. We love the time we save in front of the mirror every morning, and being able to match the wig to our mood, or an occasion. We love not sitting in a beauty salon for hours for cuts, colors, highlights, whatever. As in everything in life, wigs come with pros, and cons, and require us to make choices, and decisions, and we learn as we go. We learn which brands, styles, and colors work for us along the way.
Take a deep breath and dive in. Nothing is perfect, nothing good comes without some effort, and wigs are no exception. But when I look at myself in the mirror “before and after” well, I must say, I’m grateful for the pros and can live with the cons.
Happy wig wearing, and take a look at all the spring/summer styles. Wow!
Until next time,