Does your hair make you look fat? Just kidding, wanted to get you interested. But hair is powerful. It can make you look “fatter” sort of, by making a round face look more so, but your hair can also make you look younger, older, healthier, thinner. It’s all about what draws the eye. Where do you want your focal points to be? I know that at my age I don’t want them at my chin and neck, so I look for styles that have a bit more going on at the crown. I know that my face though not round, is a bit wide, so I try to keep styles below my cheeks rather than at my cheeks. I can get away with a shorter style if there is not too much hair on the sides. So, yes, we all have our challenges, and that led me to seek out some true experts in the field.
I interviewed some really good professional stylists to get their advice on how wigs can look as good as natural hair. These two stylists have done the hair of local TV people, and a number of national celebrities and that includes some “additional” hair help for their clients. Since they had wig and extension experience and years of experience working with hair in general, I was certain that they would have some good information to share. They don’t claim to be wig experts, but they have several clients who do have wigs and with whom they work regularly.
Though wigs are different from natural hair in a lot of ways, the same rules apply when it comes to color, length, and style—for you individually. Most of us have learned through research and/or trial/error what does not work for us. Wig wearers know that this approach can be costly and frustrating. You may have gone to different kinds of beauty seminars, read magazines, and talked to your own stylists about what works best for you. There is nothing worse than getting the perfect wig and finding it is not perfect for you.
What follows is the advice of two stylists who have devoted most of their careers to hair. They nicknamed their advice as their “dirty dozen” rules for hair—wigs included. I turned on my recorder, bought them coffee, and listened. You may know some or all of this, and you may agree with their advice or not agree, but there is a combined 50+ years in the business between them, so I paid attention. You won’t find much new here if you are a long-time wig wearer because you will have confronted all these issues, or most of them, along the way. But these are the questions they get asked time and time again, over and over, and I can see why because they were my questions and concerns too.
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.
- An ongoing should older women have long hair debate: 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, 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. On the upside, people with round faces look younger longer!
- 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 in order 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 over 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 actually make you look younger than too dark.
- Layers are important for styling in that they keep things more balanced and the look is less heavy, and you guessed it – 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.
- 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.
Hope you picked up some useful tips.
Until next time, Vickie Lynn