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.
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.
I was fascinated by an article in the current Southern Living Magazine about aging gracefully. Among other topics, hair was a big one, especially as it relates to aging. And all the “experts” seem to agree that we all make during our aging journey. It made me think that these things apply to wig wearers too.
According to one study they mentioned, Age 46 seems to be the magic age when women decide they need shorter hair and go looking for a more “mature” style. Yes, we all have heard and read that short hair is better for older women. But the reasons have not always been discussed. So, let’s do that. Long hair does NOT necessarily make one look older. However, several things happen as we age. Our face often loses its plumpness, our hair thins and dulls, and becomes more brittle and easier to damage. When our style is too long, it can mean fewer layers, and less movement around the face, causing a static look. Or if too long and straight, pulls your face down, and aging you.
When we get a shorter cut, it is easier to add layers and pump up the volume. The split ends are removed, and the cut, if the right one, a “bob” style, for example, can frame the jawline and flatter your face. Remember—bobs don’t have to be one length.
Let’s look at the mistakes the experts say we are making:
- Hair/wig too long
- Hair/wig color too light
- Hair/wig using too many products causing that “helmet look”
- Hair/wig that’s damaged and needs help/wigs worn too long
What is most flattering can change over the years, this applies to fashion and hairstyles. Are you still trying to look like your college picture, wedding photo, or a picture of yourself when you felt you looked the best? We age, and we can’t let that hamper the way we look today. We have choices.
If your hair is too long, the extra length can pull your facial features down, and the ends can take a beating. When in doubt about the best length for you, focus on healthy-looking cuts that you can customize with bangs or a visit to your stylist.
Don’t try to go too dark. Yes, you may have once had very beautiful, dark hair, but as
we age, the dark color can look too stark, dull our complexion, and age us. The idea is to draw light to the face. If you prefer darker, think about adding highlights around the face.
And there is too much light! So many women like blonde, but some shouldn’t go blonde. Extra light hair can wash out the complexion, having the opposite effect of adding a more youthful look. There are many shades of blonde, so consider your skin tone, age, and style before going too light.
don't want that to be us. But it’s hard to manage hair, especially wig fibers without products. The trick is not to overdo it. Use just enough to accomplish your goal and start with the least amount. Plastered down wig fibers are no more attractive than the old plastered down “helmet head hair” and are not good for our wigs either.
And finally—what is wrong with embracing natural silver strands? That gray stigma is long gone. If you have decided you’d like to embrace the look if you had natural hair, then don’t shy away from it in wigs. If you choose the right shade, there is something so striking about this color. It is as attention-getting as the blonde shades. And I’ve never heard a woman who has gone gray/silver/white say they regretted it or wanted to go back. That says a lot.
So, as nature works on “fading us out” let’s fight back a little and give nature a helping hand. Let’s learn what colors and styles work for us, and let’s not be afraid to embrace the gray, or go with that mid-length layered bob. So many wigs, so little time…
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn – who now has the silver wig bug
We've stoked the fire on your not-so-secret attraction by adding a 100% hand-tied cap to really kick the romance into high gear. This style has a low-density, lighter weight look to fawn over with the same monofilament top you've come to love!
This flattering favorite you'll turn to time and again - day or night! This versatile chameleon of a style complements any outfit thanks to its features that you can "zhuzh up." Its flexibility also allows you to wear this style smooth and polished. It has a hint of length around the face, and a monofilament part that extends to the crown with a cute texture at the nape.
You will be amazed at this time-saving stunner. With built-in lift throughout this style, it is a low-density, long page look you'll love. Better yet, it styles in seconds! It is airy and comfortable for all-day wear. This style will be your new ready-to-go favorite.
This is a tale of carefree elegance. Untold Story is completely hand-tied with a monofilament top for uncontrived beauty. Turn the page on boring with an elegant eyelash bang, and the flair of textured ends that flaunt a subtle flip. With natural looking layers, this style delivers body without bulk.
This ultra-light sculpted short style is a modern classic with all of the best features. It has a hand-tied top to let you part wherever you like, and creates a natural look with an extended lace front. This style is low in density and has airy movement. There are side-sweeping bangs to flatter and frame the face and features a neck-hugging nape. It is a polished, tailored style that's ready to go... you deserve all the best!
These soft salon-inspired barrel curls are so flattering and so easy to make your own! This low-density style is surprisingly versatile. Simply mist this style to bring out the texture or brush through for a fuller, sophisticated look. The lace front hairline runs from ear to ear, and the mono part extends all the way to the crown for a very natural part line. It also gives you the ability to wear off of the face, or with a sweeping bang.
It's easy to fall for this short, textured shag. The modern movement comes from the all-over layering, and expertly tapered ends. From the volume at the crown of this style, the chin-length layers that frame the face, a charming eyelash bang, and a razor cut nape, you will love everything about this soft, casual cut.
Wig Studio 1
Well, the cap is one big thing, for sure. Comfort, coolness, all of these things seem to be magnified during the summer. Unless we plan to wear a baseball cap or shave our heads and go natural, we will continue to wear our wigs. So by choice or necessity, we search to find ways to stay cool and comfortable. I have included some things here that might help us understand the cap and the cap construction so that we’ll be better able to make good decisions for our particular situation.
But summer comfort also includes the wig itself, the fibers, the length. Wearing a wig in the summer can pose challenges for many wig wearers. Certain wigs can leave you feeling hot, sweaty, and weighed down. However, there’s no need to sacrifice your wig altogether in the summertime. No!
A shorter wig for hot days would work well, especially if you change your style around daily. There are so many beautiful short wig styles for summer to choose from. I’m sure you have some already in your collection, but I’ll put links to a few of the newer ones at the end of the blog. But don’t think you must wear short wigs all the time, you can do some lovely up-do styles with the longer ones as well. Keeping your wig off your neck is key when it comes to preventing your head from overheating. In addition to opting for an up-do, if you have a longer length wig and your aim is to keep from sweating as much as possible, plaits and braids are the most effective styles to go for.
As for fibers, synthetic versus human—overall, synthetic wigs are the winner during the summer months. Synthetic fibers are lighter than human hair so should keep you cooler. Also, human hair wigs will react to the hot weather in the same way natural hair would; it can lose shape and style or go frizzy with the humidity. Synthetic wigs, however, have ‘style memory’ and will hold their shape even when exposed to the elements.
Now, back to the cap—and cap liners: When it comes to wig construction, I’ve always been a fan of hand-tied wigs. I’ve got several that’s wefted at the back and hand-tied on the crown. I’m certainly finding that the wefted construction helps keep things a bit cooler as it lets the air circulate more. Watch out for fitting even more during the summer. Too tight wigs can restrict the airflow and make you very uncomfortable fast.
Wig caps are one effective method to help reduce sweating when wig wearing. For the summer, in particular, I recommend trying the bamboo caps and/or liners. The material moves sweat to the outer surface of the fabric and dries quicker, helping to avoid excess sweating.
Cap Construction types: Monofilament – more natural-looking and more versatile (top, part, crown options). Lace Front – natural-looking, more style options. Hand-tied – More realistic movement and styling versatility, softer on the scalp (lack of wefts), lighter, cooler. Wefted-open cap – most basic, not as expensive, open construction allows it to be lightweight, breathable. Permatease is a factor for some with these.
Until next time, take a peek at the links…
Below is lace front, mono part and mono cap, both mine, both comfortable.
Please see the links below to help you learn more about caps, and what new short wigs are available right now. I have my eye on two. So many wigs, so little time!
Ah, yes, what to do about those hot summer days when it comes to making important wig-wearing decisions. Just like how deciding what wig to buy and how to secure it, how to stay cool with one on during the summer is a personal process. No one solution will work for everyone. I am lucky that RW (Raquel Welch) has a cap that likes my head and there are enough of her styles available to keep me happy. Due to my personal circumstances, I don’t worry about my head sweating any more than normal in the summer, as for as security goes, but I do pay attention to the heat and how much time I spend outside.
I am a writer, so most of my time is spent inside on the computer. I am not outside doing sports, watching my kids do sports, biking, or running. Although some biking might be beneficial—but that’s another story. That’s not to say that I haven’t had my days when I could hardly wait to get home and remove that wig! So, it has happened enough that I can feel your pain, those of you who do either sweat a lot or are in the heat much more than I am.
So, what do we do? Now is the time to take a deep dive into cap construction, and to think about our styles that have hair covering our necks. I automatically gravitate to shorter styles in the summer. But not only shorter, but more natural styles, meaning less “stuff” in the cap to block airflow. That brings us to cap construction. While a full mono top is so very nice, and most often so very comfortable, it does not lend itself to a lot of airflow. With that in mind, I tend to go with the mono top but not a full one, and usually, it’s just a mono part. If I can have the majority of the cap that lends itself to better air movement, I’m more comfortable.
If you need to have (or just want to) have added security though, you will run into more challenges. Wig bands/grips, caps, glue, tape, clips? All of these security measures bring with them their own unique pros and cons. What is the least I can do and feel secure—that is what I ask myself. How about you? I rarely do more than use two long bobbie pins for my wigs, and that is usually when I go to the doctor or dentist or if I know that I will be outside in windy weather. But I know that we each have different challenges.
Our questions then are: Are there short styles of wigs that you are comfortable with that provide a good fit? Can you get away with less between your head and the wig for summer comfort? Can you give up a complete mono top for the summer? Do you have more than one summer wig so that you can rotate more often? Do you have the right care products on hand to compensate for more washing and the stress of the heat? Have you done your homework about glue and tape—how well will they hold? Can you live without that wig grip and/or wig cap?
I have included some links to really cute RW short wigs, and a couple of YouTube videos by Taz, one about another brand of short wigs, and one about our topic-wigs in the summer. I hope that you will find what works for you.
Until next time, when it will be all about wig fibers, keep cool.
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…