I have written before about the psychological challenges that hair loss can bring. Whether temporary or permanent, when we look in the mirror, we are different from who we were. Experts have written volumes on how hair loss can affect one’s mental health. If you are affected no one needs to tell you that, you live it. But there is often more at work here than the psychological adjustment one is called on to make when this happens. We saw or heard about what happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when Jada Pinkett Smith was made the butt of a joke centered around her hair loss. We are constantly being judged, especially those in the public eye. Why are we so quick to judge, to offer criticism? Why the need to always be perfect?
The world seems to judge women more harshly than men when it comes to looks (though men in the public eye seem to be targets the same as women). In an ageist world, any sign of baldness, or thinning hair, reminds us of our mortality and powerlessness over our bodies. This can be difficult to deal with under the best of circumstances. Someone posted on social media about Jada Pinkett Smith, “why can’t she just wear a wig like everyone else?” So, it’s easy to see that some people see hair loss as a trivial issue and that it’s up to women to just shut up and go on about their lives. This is harder for some women than others. How dare Jada show up less than perfect? It wasn’t okay for Jada to show up as “herself” and in support of others in the same situation.
Wearing wigs to look and feel better is about a lot more than vanity. Those of us who wear wigs know that, but I often wonder if other women have thought about it at all. In addition to the day-to-day concerns about wig-wearing— (can people tell? Will it blow off? How can I enjoy summer weather or sports? What about telling a potential partner?), we find it hard to talk about, even to friends. Why? The pressure to be perfect.
When does it start—this pressure to be perfect? You won’t have to look hard to find many studies about teen bullying, eating disorders, online attacks, and peer-to-peer. Saving things about people to people online has made the situation worse. Young people are not as adept at dealing with bullying either in person or online as an adult would be. They listen to all the negative and take it in, and “wear it, own it” and there it is—the pressure to be perfect. We are not allowed flaws, they are hearing. This type of situation can cause such anxiety that it will manifest in self-harm, hair pulling, eating disorders, and other disorders.
While I have come to terms with my hair loss, and educated myself on wigs and wig wearing, I know that it takes time to feel comfortable with the process. I have learned the fun part of wig wearing, and have thirteen of them and counting. I no longer think of wig-wearing as a negative in my life. I appreciate that I have access to such varied and beautiful options.
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn – as perfect as she needs to be
We all know that looking at wigs, the new colors, and styles is a lot of fun. Taking care of our wigs, well…maybe not so much sometimes. But you only have to damage one good wig before you learn a hard lesson. The secret to a great-looking wig and one that will last is proper care. There is a ton of information about wig care in the former blogs here at Wig Studio 1, and some great videos from our talented reviewers.
Wig styling is important too, and it’s easy to forget that wigs require as much care as your natural hair. Like our natural hair, don’t try to make your wig look perfect. Don’t obsess over every little flyaway hair, or overdo it with too many added products. That perfect, no-hair-out-of-place look and give way to the dreaded helmet look, and that is what gives us away as a wig wearer. Along with the basics: wash, dry, comb, and drying steps that we all learn, using the right products is number one in what can make a real difference in how our wigs look and last.
For wig care, like with some other things in life, simple things are often the best things: spritz a bit of water on the wig to freshen it up; use your fingers to add a bit of volume or to smooth out the fibers where needed. Oftentimes, it’s the “too combed” look that looks so false. It’s okay, especially with some styles, to use the fingers to style and stay away from the comb, or at least to use it sparingly. Brushes made for wigs are great but they too can affect the style or cause frizz if overused or used with a heavy hand.
Another great way of adding realism to our wigs is with hair accessories. Adding a clip, scarf, or headband can transform our look, and make the wig look even more natural. Think about the things you might have worn in your bio hair and know that most of those things you can wear with your wig as well.
No matter how great your current wig is, there will be a time when you are tempted to branch out. If you decide to change your style or color, only you can determine the way to do it. Do you want to “just go for it” and show up at work or on an occasion looking different? Or would you prefer to make a slower transformation over time? Regardless, don’t be worried about the wisdom of your decision until you have lived with the change for a few days.
Words… can soothe, sting, or mean nothing. A lot of wig wearers who are told, “Oh, I like your hair” start that internal evaluation dialogue. “Do they know it’s a wig? Should I say it’s a wig?” “Do they like it or are they just saying that to see what I will say?” Of course, it’s up to each of us to travel these tricky waters our way. I have always fallen back on a simple, “thanks.” Most people are not that interested in our hair—I promise you.
Confidence comes with time and experience. It took me years to learn that most people are caught up in their thoughts, fears, and insecurities, and are trying to get through their day just as I am. Most have little to no time to dwell on other people’s hair or makeup. Maybe a fleeting thought if something looks terrible, great, or unusual, but for the most part, we are just not that important to casual acquaintances. Your attitude will go a long way in taking the pressure off yourself when it comes to how you look. Go for what pleases you and you will be happier and have more confidence.
As for me, I am going with short styles for the spring and summer, and going lighter. As much as I would like the light blonde, I am so pale it’s possible I would disappear, so I must stick with the “kind-of-blonde” shades, which is fine. I’m loving the new Raquel Welch,“Go to Style” is so much in Shaded Iced Cappuccino or shaded Sand. Now the hard part, deciding which color.
So, until next time, when I hope to be wearing this in my photo,
We all know the usual things that can cause people to look twice and think someone is wearing a wig: too much shine, odd colors, cheap wigs that are more like a hat, too coarse fibers that don’t move. And the list goes on.
In my years of dealing with wigs and wig wearers I have noticed that there are three groups of wig wearers (in general):
- Those who wear wigs for fun and fashion. They usually don’t care if someone knows they wear a wig.
- Those who are terrified of wigs and don’t want anyone to know they wear one (it takes them forever to wear one out of the house. And why—because they don’t pick the right one (mostly due to lack of information) and now they are not happy with how they look in the wig they bought.
- (and this is a unique one) A wig wearer who thinks more hair is better (that’s not necessarily so), and those who are so afraid of more hair/big hair that they won’t try anything that’s not low density.
Whatever category you fall into, or somewhere in between, there are challenges to all of us in our wig journey and for different reasons. We are individuals with individual likes, needs, and there is no “one size fits all” answer on the wig journey.
It is often difficult to “see” ourselves as we are, or as others see us. We often have a picture of ourselves in our minds that may not have a lot to do with reality. Are we trying to look like we did ten or twenty years ago when we had all of our bio hair? Trying to mimic that is often the first and biggest mistake that wig wearers make. They forget that if they had kept their hair and it had aged with them, that it would look different today, and not as it did ten or twenty years ago.
When I asked NON-wig wearers if they could generally spot a wig, and if so, what was the giveaway, here are their top ten answers:
- Too much hair.
- Too much shine.
- Flat or unrealistic color.
- Too much hair on top.
- Hair that didn’t fit the person’s age (in days gone by, it was elderly women who were more likely to wear wigs, and they were mostly short). I think this contributed to the idea that older women should only wear short styles. As I have written about before, this is not always the case. There is NO rule about age. It’s about how one looks in a style and color—how one feels.
- Weird hairstyles (not sure what they had in mind).
- No visible part in the hair or the part was wig-related.
- The hairline was not real.
- The hair was too perfect, like a sprayed-on helmet.
- The weird hairs sticking up on top of the ends of the hair looking clumpy.
As a wig wearer, I fight against all these things, as I know so many of you do. Most of us have learned or will learn which brands and styles work best for us so that we can defeat all of these “it’s a wig” markers. I think I’ve found my styles, brands, and colors, and hope you have found yours. In the end, it’s about what makes us feel good about ourselves. If I can go all day and never think about my hair/wig, it’s a good day. If I am uncomfortable, worried about my wig, unsure how realistic it looks, then it takes away from my day and can alter my mood. Therefore, I do all that I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’s a process, and none of us will become or has become wig experts overnight. So, be kind to yourself on this journey, and know that we are more than our hair.
Until next time, I’m wishing for autumn, and loving my new wig, “Ready for Takeoff”