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 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 magic. But I mention this because I know it can so easily cloud our judgement 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 in on, and there we are—not the model, and we can be disappointed. We do/will 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 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 then we would have liked? Does that long hair on the model, so appropriate for her face shape, make our face look 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?
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 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 need to be comfortable with what we will look like in those lengths and styles. 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. That is why, I always encourage everyone to look for the wig 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 side 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 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?
I want 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 get out there and go about your life in your wig, the better. It will just become part of you, and you won’t think about it again. You’ll 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 prepare for comments, questions, and how you want to address them? Think this through before your first time out the door. Two of my go-to wigs below:
Before I got into wigs, literally and figuratively, I never gave much thought to the size of my head. After all, a head is a head, I thought. How wrong I was. No two heads are exactly the same. That would be a rare find. Though specific measurements might match, back, across, around, etc., you do not measure crown to chin, across the cheekbones, or pay much attention to the forehead. You might think, what does a face have to do with wigs? I thought this was going to be about wig caps.
It is not only about wig caps, but about your entire head—and of course, that includes your face. So, when you get a wig home, and it does not resemble the look you saw online or in a magazine, and you wonder why—I can tell you. It might be because your head and face structure/shape is nothing like the model’s face. No, I don’t mean looks—is she younger, prettier, not as pretty as you, etc.? I mean the actual face.
And now the hard questions. The ones you need to think through to be happy with your wigs. And that is the name of the game. You want your wig to be part of you, to reflect you, work with your look, not alter your look poorly. As you think of the wigs you own, what didn’t work, what did, you will likely have figured some things out already. If you are consistently unhappy with your wig choices, I have come up with some questions that might help you.
- Are you wearing a wig that flatters your face shape?
- Do you have a longer or shorter than average neck? If so, the wig will fall differently on you and will be longer or shorter on you than maybe you expected if you based your choice entirely on the model.
- Are you picking a wig strictly for the color and style without reflecting on how it will enhance your looks?
- Will a lot of hair on the sides make your wider face look winder than you like?
- If you have a longer, thinner face, will that long straight style pull your face down more?
- Do you work at an office all day, and will those curls on that longer style end up a bunched-up mess from rubbing against your collar for 8-9 hours?
- Does that short style that looked so cute on the model make you look “all face” because your face is bigger and your features are not as petite as the model?
- Will too much hair on top overwhelm your petite stature and face and make you look like Barbie?
One thing that also helped me was to try on different styles, lengths, and colors in a wig boutique to get a better idea of what worked. Then armed with that knowledge, I knew I could order wigs from good companies like Wig Studio 1 and feel confident that I was getting the right ones for me and at a better price! I know that not everyone lives near a wig boutique and, there will be more trial and error and maybe a few returns before you work it out.
The other error we often make is trying to go back in time to the style and color you had when “I had good hair” and while that may work now, it may not. We age, lose collagen in our faces, our complexion changes, and what looked good on us ten years ago, may not work so well now. Also, hairstyles change. I saw a picture of myself from my college days and gasped. Geez, did I ever have big hair! I would look ridiculous in that style today. So, don’t go back in time, create the “you” for today.
With all that said, head measurements do, of course, play an important role. There are some great videos about how to measure your head, and that should be your first base—know if you are truly average, and if you are in-between, learn how to alter the cap to suit you better, and there are videos on that as well.
Don’t settle for just okay in style or comfort. You deserve better. You deserve to love your wig and love your look. It can be done!
Until next time, Happy September, and I’ll soon be looking at the fall styles, how about you?
*with thanks to In Touch Salon Spa who published the information on face shapes that helped confirm my research.