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.
If you are looking for a voluminous wavy wig with the capability of multiple styles, we have two new wigs just for you! We are delighted to introduce Twix and Amber Rock from the BelleTress Collection.
Twix is chic, cool, and extremely stylish! The monofilament part and the lace front create a natural hairline and versatility of off-the-face styling options. The famous BelleTress proprietary silky fiber adds a soft and luxurious feel to the skin.
This shorter version of the Twix by BelleTress is sure to impress. This is chic, cool, and extremely stylish! The monofilament part and the lace front create a natural hairline and versatility of off-the-face styling options. The famous BelleTress proprietary silky fiber adds a soft and luxurious feel to the skin.
A lot of us are guilty of looking at a wig model—lovely, great skin, good bone structure, and all the rest, and thinking, if only briefly and subconsciously…oh, this wig will make me look like that! I do admit to doing that a little at the beginning of my wig adventure. Of course, we know that as beautiful as the wig might be, it is not a magic wig. But I mention this because I know it can so easily cloud our judgment when picking out the best wig for ourselves. We get that picture of the model set in our head and when we get the wig home, put it on, and there we are—not the model, and we can be disappointed. We do learn to buy the wig that is best for us eventually, but it can be frustrating along the way.
How do we deal with these false expectations? The best way is, to be honest with ourselves. Is our face too round for that style that we love so much on the model? Is our neck shorter than the model’s and therefore, making the wig longer on us, perhaps hitting us farther below the chin than we would have liked? Does that long hair on the model, so appropriate for her face shape, make our face look as if it is dragged downward? Does that pixie style on the model with the cute petite face make our larger and/or rounder face look even more so? What about color? Do we know our best colors or are we open to making a few trial and error purchases?
There also seems to be an “age-appropriate” factor (or bias) like it or not. Some people don’t care about that, and some do. Sometimes style choices might also have to consider our job, location, and other personal things. Does your employer/industry frown on certain looks? Will a certain wig length or style make us look as if we, at sixty or seventy, are trying to go back in time? When in fact, going back is not the best idea.
Reality—that is the thing most of us want. We want to look as if we are not wearing a wig, so that means we need to wear the style and color that suits us best. We want people to look at us and see us, not see a wig.
As to age bias, it is not to say that no one over a certain age should rule out all longer wigs, or certain styles, not at all. We just need to be comfortable with what we will look like in those lengths and styles. And the style and color of that longer wig can certainly make a huge difference as well. Also, if we feel confident, we will look confident, and that can make a huge difference in how people see us.
As you have likely heard or read, it is important to see real people in these wigs and that is why I always encourage everyone to look for the wig that they like on every available media outlet. See it in different lights and on different people. Get the model’s photo out of your head and try to see how it will look on you. Your experience will be a better one with a bit of pre-purchase planning. What are your expectations? It is important to come to terms with that, and eventually, you will.
In the end, it is all about being honest with ourselves and combining what we like with the reality of who we are. We all know that our face changes with age. Our skin color even changes as pigments fade, and the muscle tone in our face is less defined. We have that to deal with along with the development of creases and wrinkles. But don’t despair, a wig can make all the difference in how you look. You likely know that by now or will soon if you are brand new to wig wearing. The trick is finding the right wig for you, and just you. Who cares what the model looks like, or anyone else? For example, I am petite and “of a certain age” so a long wig with a lot of hair overwhelms me. As much as I would like to have one of those long, flowing wigs I know that I would never wear it out of the house. The good news is that there are many wigs that I can wear, and that would be true for you too. And if you can wear one of those long, flowing wigs, know that I am jealous.
My next blog will deal with some general information about wig cap structure and wig fibers. I will also try to address any questions that have come through our support desk in the interim.
For this blog, I wanted to wrap up with a bit about fear. I don’t care who you are, how beautiful or accomplished, or how secure you are—the first time out of the house with your first wig can bring you to your knees. No matter how good you think you have secured it, how good it feels, or how good you believe you look in the style or color, you begin to doubt. Doubts lead to fear, and fear leads to paralysis. Just know this—most people are too busy worrying about what they look like or what they are having for dinner, or if they need to lose ten pounds. In other words, we are pretty busy caring about ourselves. No one is going to be thinking about wigs—but you. So, the sooner you can get out there and go about your life in your wig, the better. It will just become part of you, and one day you won’t think about it at all. You’ll just be glad you look so nice and that it didn’t take an hour to fix your hair.
In the end, it is all about you and your situation and life, so what you decide about the first time out with a wig is very personal. Everyone must tackle this one for themselves and make the best decision for their circumstances. Have you just been dealing with thinning hair and feel that you can wear a wig and won’t get a lot of notice from friends and colleagues? Or will the wig be such a change that now you must be prepared for comments, questions, and how you want to address them? Think this through before your first time out the door.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I was lucky in that I went back to a former job where the people had not seen me in a number of years. Only one friend there knew I had started wearing a wig and I knew she would never say anything about it to anyone. I decided I would not talk about it at all, I would just try my best to wear a wig that looked good on me, and if someone did ever ask me, I would address it then. I wasn’t ashamed about it, but I didn’t want it to be a focus, the focus—not for me or anyone else. I wanted people to see me, not my wig.
As you get more secure in your wig wearing and your wig securing measures, you will shift your focus more and more to what looks best on you. That might mean trying new styles and colors, and with this comes yet another challenge. If you, (like me for some years), never said anything to work colleagues, casual friends, or even some relatives, about wearing a wig, and you see these people regularly, you can’t turn up one day with hair six inches longer than the day or week before without explanation. You can get away with color change, yes, and a shorter cut, yes, but longer hair, no. I decided to just stick with the same style, but maybe shift colors now and then. That worked for me, but you might be more adventurous or have different circumstances.
Now, working from home, I have more freedom of wig lengths. I can wear short one day and longer the next if I am just going out and about and seeing strangers—not that I am doing much out and about these days. My wigs are getting a rest now and will no doubt last years longer due to this pandemic. Okay, I am doing a bit of “reaching” here to find a silver lining in my semi-seclusion for months on end.
I hope that you will follow my blog, my journey and that my experiences can help you on your way to being a happy wig wearer for a long time to come. We all have our own journey to navigate but helping each other along the way will make it easier. Let me hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are two wigs that I own. You can see I have a general style. I vary the color more than the style. I have found a style that suits me and use color to change things up. Me in my Classic cool, all masked up and ready to go. This is lighter and a bit redder than I normally go and I do love it. Great lace front, nice fibers, and I can use my fun hair accessories with it.
Until next time…