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)
How to Pick the Best Wig for You
To get the most out of your wigs, it is important to know how to choose them, and how to care for them. Here are a few tips from wig-wearing experts like some of you:
- Find a wig color that matches your skin tone. Treat the wig color just as you would picking a color to enhance your bio hair and general look. If you were a blonde before and you know that blonde is a good color for you, it might help to stay in the blonde “family” when buying your first wig. You can branch out as you go and learn more about what wig colors are available.
- Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about your wig slipping or falling off when there are so many securing options: Tape, clips, glue, caps, grips, and so on. Find what works for you.
- Make the wig YOURS. I can’t stress this enough do not think you will be able to pull the wig from the box, put it on your head, and love it unconditionally. It rarely happens. Please watch the many helpful videos WigStudio1 supports and remember to take advantage of the great consultants they have standing by to help.
- Know your head size, and know that though wigs are mass made, you can find ways to achieve a good fit with a bit of work. You will find that some brands fit your head better than others. You will learn which cap construction types suit your head and your comfort level best.
- Don’t be afraid to personalize it. You can wear clips/barrettes and other things to change your look to fit your mood or outfit.
- Appreciate the good stuff about wig-wearing:
- You can change your look in minutes.
- There are no more bad hair days.
- There are no more minutes or hours in front of the mirror trying to hide your thinning bio hair.
- You can try a new style and color without a costly long-time commitment as with bio hair.
- Wigs can help you through recovery from an illness or be a daily friend.
- Save your bio hair from repeated heat, coloring, or bleaching.
- Freedom! Change your style, your color, and your look. Wigs are great!
Tips to help you get more wear out of your wigs:
A human hair wig doesn’t receive the oils and vitamins from the scalp like your natural hair would keep it rejuvenated after styling and daily life. So, remember to wash your human hair wig with extra attention and be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This goes for heat appliances, blow-dryers, shampoo, conditioner, and the right comb and brush. Remember the individual strands of hair are attached to the cap. Overuse of heat, over-conditioning, etc., can loosen the knots.
A synthetic wigs, especially heat-resistant ones, can look as natural as a human hair wig when you care for them properly. Again, think about heat, correct care products, and wash only when needed.
Wig rotation is a great thing! Not only do you get to leave the house in perfect hair and different styles or colors if you wish, but their life will prolong if you rotate your wigs and wash them less.
And a reminder: Improperly putting your wig on or off can damage the lace front, over-stretch the cap, and might loosen your fibers. Treat your wig with care. Also, storage is crucial, especially when traveling and long-term storage. Make sure they are stored properly.
Wishing everyone a great holiday season!
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).
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,
Getting the Most from Your Synthetic Wig
(Wig shown above: CORY WIG BY NORIKO)
It doesn’t matter if you are a new wig wearer or have had years of experience, there is always some insecurity when you hit the “buy” button. This is especially true if you think that this one is “the one” or at least will be one of your favorites. But how can you make them last?
Most popular wigs are synthetic or heat-friendly synthetic ones. They are a great combination of a realistic appearance and a more manageable price point. We’ve all heard the projection: with proper care, synthetic wigs can last between 4-6 months if worn daily. That’s great, but what if you could do better?
Of course, the magic word is maintenance, or should that be two words—proper maintenance? Yes, it does matter, and it matters a lot. There are some common mistakes that wig wearers make, even seasoned ones. Here are a few that come to mind, and that I had to learn about along the way:
- Washing your wig too much: Think every ten days, or less if you don’t wear it all day. Pay attention to the look and feel of the wig. Look for build-up at the hairline. This is a flexible rule in that so much depends on the length of the wig, how many products you use and how often, and even the climate you live in. In the end, it will be something you can see and feel that will guide you.
- Not using the correct products and tools: Synthetic wigs require specific shampoos and styling products. Using products not made for synthetic wigs can damage the wig fibers and the cap itself.
- Using too much heat and too often: Heat-friendly wigs are made to withstand some heat, but it’s easy to overdo this. While the ability to add waves, curls, straighten and re-curl sounds great in theory, heat takes a toll on your fibers. Carefully monitor the heat level and pay attention to how the fibers are holding up. Over time the heat-friendly components do break down. Use heat sparingly.
- Not storing your wig properly: This is an often asked question—what is the best way to store a wig. Proper storage is more important than most wearers think. Invest in a good wig stand or several. If you rotate your wigs regularly, you might have several out on stands at all times. This is fine, just keep them out of direct sunlight and too much humidity. The collapsible and easily portable stands are much better than the Styrofoam heads, which can stretch the cap.
- Wearing your wig to the gym or bed—is a no-no for good reasons. The sweat and oils can cause damage to both the wig cap and wig fibers. During the night, your body sheds dead skin and produces oils, and not only will this clog pores but can cause oil build-up on your wig fibers and cap. The friction to the fibers as you move around during the night can break and tangle the fibers. If you are not comfortable going to bed with an exposed scalp, there are some lovely sleep caps available.
- Give your scalp and your wig a break. From hair for hats to hair halos and detachable bangs and wig caps, there are ways to keep your look and give your wig and scalp a break.
- Don’t forget your scalp and/or bio hair. Don’t neglect your scalp. Oils and dead skins cells will clog your pores and cause itching and odors. Our scalps must remain in good condition.
- Finding the right wig cap: If your scalp is sensitive, you might have to try a few caps to find the one that works best for you. This is especially true if you aren’t wearing a mono-top wig. Wig caps are a good investment in comfort.
Next week I’ll tackle the other big question: how can I fix a damaged synthetic wig?
Until next time,
Human Hair Wigs – are they for you?
(Wig shown above: AVA WIG BY HENRY MARGU)
It’s hard to argue that human hair gives the most natural appearance—but maybe not with the minimum of effort. The movement, color, texture, and realistic sheen make it a desirable choice for many.
Here are some recurring questions, comments, opinions, from experts and might answer some questions for you about the challenges and care of human hair wigs that you might like to review if you are considering one:
- Should I wash it before wearing it? Yes, wash the coating off to make it easier to style.
- Heat styling (at a safe level) vs air drying is recommended.
- How often should I wash the wig? If the hair appears dull, lifeless, it’s time. This, like synthetics, is usually every 6-8 wears. Deep conditioning every other wash might be helpful (mid-shaft to ends). Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use shampoo and conditioning products made for color-treated hair.
- As a general rule: Do not leave the conditioner on for more than 3-4 minutes, rinse using cool water, blot/ press excess moisture with a towel.
- Style as you would your bio hair, being careful about the temperature of any equipment that you use.
- Do not dry the wig on a solid form or mannequin head to avoid stretching the cap.
- Treat the lace with care.
- Don’t brush the wig when wet, finger comb only.
Other human hair questions: What is Remy Hair? What is Virgin Hair?
Remy hair manufacturers have focused on making sure the cuticle layers (scales) of the hair strand are facing in the same direction. Closing the cuticle protects the hair and reflects light more naturally giving the wig a healthy but natural shine.
Virgin hair is unprocessed and untouched by chemicals. Remy human hair wigs can be virgin but don’t have to be.
One of the biggest differences, besides price, when looking at synthetic vs human hair wigs, is the task of styling. Human hair, just like our bio hair, will need to be styled and re-styled. Unlike synthetic wigs that hold a style, and save you time, human hair will demand more attention. If you are not talented in the styling area, or just don’t want to be bothered with this every morning, it can be an issue for some people. There will be a learning curve, and one that some don’t want to or just can’t tackle.
The care process of human hair wigs is similar to synthetic wigs, but they take more care, and usually more time for that care. The experts tell us to rotate our human hair wigs daily to make them last longer. And like synthetics, a lot of washing will take a toll. Also, like synthetics, correct washing and drying are crucial to the life of the wig.
Buying the right products is as important for human hair wigs as they are for synthetics. Why invest a lot of money in a wig only to use inferior products? The other issue with human hair is finding the right temperature for your appliances when you style the wig. If you constantly overheat your wig, it will shorten its life. Like synthetics, pay special attention to the ends of the hair, extra conditioning and trimming can make a big difference in the look and the life of the wig.
It’s been my experience that hairdressers prefer to work with human hair wigs from a styling point of view. This is understandable, but if you are lucky enough to live near a wig boutique, you will usually find someone skilled in styling human and synthetic wigs.
I made the mistake of buying a human hair wig too early in my wig journey. I had not learned enough about wigs in general and human hair wigs in particular. I grew frustrated trying to style the wig every morning and was never entirely happy with the results. I have since learned a lot but find that I gravitate to heat-friendly synthetics because I don’t like the constant styling aspect of human hair wigs, and I like to change up styles and colors. That can become very expensive with human hair wigs. But with all that said, I can see myself buying another human hair wig someday if I can find that “perfect one” – hey, you know what I mean.
Until next week,
Enjoy life and take a deep breath,