Underneath the Pretty Hair
(Wig shown above: UPSTAGE WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH)
Most of us see what we are looking for; at first—the color of the wig, style, and length, and we imagine how it will look on us. It is only later that we think of what makes the wig what it is. The cap is vital: not only to our comfort, but it makes a difference in how the wig holds up. There are several types of caps, as most have learned by now.
Since the labor and materials used to create a varies, the price can be affected. It’s hard to talk about cap construction without talking about permatease. Some love it, some hate it, and some learn to appreciate it as necessary for some styles. Some manufacturers refer to it as “machine teased,” and that’s as good a name for it as any.
It is a structural component placed in some wigs to give it volume where the style demands. In reality, permatease is short matted fibers that are usually placed at the top of the wig to give it that permanent lift. In longer wigs, the fibers are placed/crimped to hide wefting and add volume. Most basic caps come with some level of permatease, usually in the crown area. Some with a monofilament crown or part may have some permatease but not as much as an open cap wig.
Love it or hate it, there are some pros to permatease. It helps maintain the style, and the less that you must style the wig, the longer it will last. It helps hide wefting. Because it is found more often in basic caps and open wefting, you have a wig more comfortable to wear in summer weather. Wefting allows for more air circulation. Of course, we need to also think about the cons. Since permatease is short fibers, the wigs heavy on permatease tend to come with flyaways. But they can be tamed, and over time they will flatten out on their own with a bit of help from your conditioner. The one thing that I hear most wig wearers complain about is too much volume due to the permatease. It makes the wig look too “wiggy” and unnatural. That’s the tradeoff it seems. Though some manufacturers seem to have caught on that wig wearers want more realistic looks, and the permatease that I have seen most recently has been done better.
If we don’t want to wear human hair wigs, for whatever reason, we are left to find our way to what works best for us. There are many benefits to synthetic wigs. They are more affordable than human hair wigs, and if given good care can last up to a. year, depending on the style. They come in many colors, and there are plenty of options of low or no permatease to choose from. Synthetic wigs are lighter than human hair wigs, and cooler, and can be more comfortable to wear. Your synthetic wig won’t react to the weather. Hot, cold, rainy, or dry, your wig will continue to look the same. My favorite thing about them is that they are easy to wear because they are easy to style. They have style retention, and with a bit of “training”, they can look great with a minimum of fuss.
Low maintenance is a lovely thing. Synthetic wigs are less delicate than human hair wigs and require less upkeep. But that doesn’t mean NO upkeep. To keep our wigs looking great, they still need TLC. Correct washing, drying, and styling products abound to help us with that.
So, whether you are a permatease lover or not, there is a wig (or many wigs) that’s right for you and your lifestyle. That is the real beauty of wigs—they are there for us in any color or style that we want, and we can put one on and be out the door looking great in minutes.
I have autumn fever already and have decided to go to a bit longer style. I have chosen a new wig, Racquel Welch, Upstage. Now, if I can just decide on a color…
What is your look for autumn? Ready for a new you?
Until next time,
It’s the Little Things
Though we are all wig wearers, some for many years, some new, we are individuals with different likes, dislikes, and needs. This is as true in wigs as it is in life in general.
We all have different wig priorities. If you have no hair at all or little hair, or a sensitive scalp, the wig cap construction will be very important. If you can’t stand wig bands, clips, and pins, the kind of cap and the way it fits will play an even larger role in your choice. For me, it is the less on my head the better, so a good-fitting cap is very important to me. The better the fit, the fewer security measures I feel the need to use. Sometimes it’s just luck. Our heads are all a bit different and sometimes a “made to scale” wig manufacturer’s cap won’t fit as well if you have an in-between size head and can’t get that perfect fit. If that’s the case, you will need to make security decisions.
Getting a hand-tied cap with a mono-top and lace front will cost you more because it costs the manufacturer more to make. That’s easy to understand. And ideally, you’d think everyone would want or need this. But that is not necessarily the case. Many wigs that just come with a basic cap can work well for many people. A lot depends on the wig style. If the style one doesn’t have a part and may have bangs—then a mono top and lace front would not be a dealbreaker for a lot of people. Also, for the same price, you can often get two or three of the basic cap wigs compared to maybe just one of the wigs with all the bells and whistles. That is appealing to a lot of people, especially if you are hard on your wigs, or if you just like to change styles a lot.
All fibers are not created equal. This too, you may have already learned. Some look and feel better and seem to last longer. Every manufacturer seems to do them a bit differently. They have their own vendors, processes, and craftspeople. Human hair wigs are just that, so we all know how to take care of human hair, and the pros and cons of this. It is when you get into fibers that it is more of a challenge. Over time, the coating of the fibers, the color, and the strength of the fibers will change. Depending on how much you wear your wig and how you care for it, can shorten, or lengthen the life of your wig, but eventually, the fibers will show their age and wear.
The big tradeoff: So, we must decide, do we want the best of the best, the middle of the road, or some less costly ones but do the job just fine? Fortunately, we can have one of each if the budget allows. I seem to have landed in the middle of the pack with lace front, mono-top and hand-tied as my preference, but hand-tied is not a deal breaker if I can have the other two. I still have a couple of basic cap wigs that I bought early on and can still wear but I find them hot and scratchy now because I have lost more hair loss over time. My scalp is more sensitive now too, and I must be picky about my caps.
The little extras are important. I like to get a wig with those soft tabs on the side and at the neck, along with the ability to adjust the fit. I can live with a mono-part vs. mono-top, but I hate not having the ability to make fit adjustments or have that comfort of the felt tabs on the side and the one at the bottom of the neck. So, in the end, we all find our sweet spot, what we can live with or hope we don’t have to live with, as the case may be.
Until next time,
Traveling with Your Wigs
(Wig shown above: AMARA WIG BY RENE OF PARIS)
Last summer I covered some of the “survival ideas” about getting through the summer with wigs and toppers. This week I’m taking another look at the challenges of traveling with wigs and caring for them during the summer when we are on the go.
Let’s look first at how we get our wigs safely to our destination:
HOW TO PACK AND STORE WIGS WHEN TRAVELING:
When you’re new to wearing wigs, learning how to pack a wig and travel with your wigs can be tricky because there are so many things to consider. Here are a few of the most asked questions:
- What products should you bring?
Answer: Think less is more and just bring what you need, and don’t overload on products either in your suitcase—or your wig. Take travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and sprays, and make sure you label them. (Not admitting that I didn’t do this and regretted it a few years ago.)
- How many wigs should you bring?
Answer: Always have a spare or two. Instead of washing and drying wigs on your vacation rotate them so that unless you get them in the pool or ocean, you won’t need to wash them until you get home. But just in case, default to the travel size products.
- Should you buy a wig-specific carrying case or are there easier options?
Answer: No need for special wig carriers, boxes, or containers. Keep reading for my suggestions.
Packing for a trip is all about one thing: suitcase efficiency.
With shoes, daytime outfits, nighttime outfits, makeup, reading materials, and all the chargers that you need, packing efficiency is a challenge. I’m a fan of the zip-lock plastic bags for storage. Cheap, easy to see what you have at a glance, and keeps the wig safe from tangling in the suitcase and keeps it from any debris. Also, it takes up much less space than a carrier, box, or structured container.
KEEP IT SIMPLE:
When traveling this should be our mantra – keep it easy and simple by bringing synthetic wigs that keep their style, the necessary care products, a collapsible stand, and some headgear – hats, scarves, etc., to give you wigs and your head a break.
A RECURRING QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT GOING THROUGH SECURITY AT THE AIRPORT?
Will I have to take off my wig for airport security? It seems the rules change from time to time, but most of the time, from what I have heard and read, it’s rare for anyone to challenge you or make you take your wig off. If the stays in your wig do set off the alarm, just quietly tell them you are wearing a wig. Most of the time they will just pat the back of your head to verify you aren’t smugly something and you go on—or they will just pass you on through.
o Know that TSA/security is not required to ask you to remove your wig. Just like with your clothing, their scanners should be able to see through the wig.
o However—you should avoid wearing too many metal wig clips or bobby pins that could set off a sensor or raise suspicion.
o If you are asked to remove your wig and don’t feel comfortable doing it in front of all the people at security, ask for a private room. TSA is required to grant that request.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Because I’m a big Plan B person, I’d never put my wigs inside my checked bags. If I am going somewhere for a week or more, I put a spare wig and travel-size products in my carry-on bag. I also include a hat and scarf. Wig care products should not take up any more room in your luggage than care products for bio hair.
SOME HELPERS THAT ONLY YOU WILL KNOW ABOUT:
Dealing with the heat as a wig wearer can be a challenge, even if you are not in some tropical climate on vacation. These are some of the things you might consider to help make things easier:
Bamboo caps, Wig liners
Until next week, be happy, and stop and smell the flowers,
Styling Your Synthetic Wig
(Wig shown above: AVALON WIG BY RENE OF PARIS)
We seasoned wig wearers know that synthetic wigs have never been better. They look and feel great, and there is one (or several) to please every wig wearer. They have many great qualities, and having many to choose from is just one of the many benefits. However, like with most things, nothing is perfect, and they do require attention to styling and correct product use.
These are some helpful tips to make living with your synthetic wig easier:
1. Remember the wig “hairs” are not hairs, they are fibers, and must be treated as such.
2. Invest in a spray bottle. It will be your best friend as you “wake up” your new fibers, and tamp down those flyaway bits, and static electricity in general.
3. Use your hands for styling. After waking up the fibers with a spritz of water, most wigs can be styled with just your fingertips. Combing or brushing too “perfectly” is often the culprit behind the “wiggy look” so go easy on perfection.
4. It can’t be said enough: when using a comb or brush on your wig, make sure they are designed for wigs, not human hair. The pulling action of some brushes or combs can damage the fibers or pull them out of the cap.
5. When using comb and brush, (always on a DRY wig) use short strokes for those with curls and longer strokes with light pressure for the smooth styles. Use a pick comb to style ringlet curls to help reduce frizz and manage flyaway bits.
6. Do not use hair care products designed for human hair.
7. Do not use heat unless the synthetic wig is “heat friendly” because it will damage the wig fibers.
8. When it’s time to wash your wig, you can restore it to its original style by washing it in cool water with wig-designated products. A lot of wig wearers swear by the “hang it upside down” to dry method. I have yet to try it because most of my wigs are shorter and dry fast on the wig stand.
9. How to get more volume: Some wig wearers like to back-comb/tease the underside of individual layers, but you can often get the lift you need by lifting the layers with a wig-comb/pick and spraying underneath.
10. Making changes to your wig: This topic comes up a lot. How easy is it to cut bangs, trip, or otherwise make changes to your wig? Unless you are skilled in this area, my advice is to take it to a professional. A professional can, along with cutting in bangs, trimming, etc., also do so in a way that flatters your face, making it more “you” for a truly customized look.
11. Accessorize! This is a tip that is often overlooked. Though I have more recently seen more wig reviewers talk about this. And how true it is. By using headbands, clips, and other accessories, you can add color, and brightness around the face, and make the style truly reflect your taste.
12. There has also been a lot of talk about how to straighten a wig using water or steam. Also, how to curl a wig is a question that I see often on our FaceBook group page. I won’t address these issues here because there are really good “help videos” about this from some of our reviewers that will answer your questions. These are the kinds of questions that need more than a line or two types of answers. Watching a video, and listening to the experts on these subjects will be a better use of your time.
At the end of the day, we are all faced with the good as well as the challenging when it comes to wig wearing, no matter what type of wig it is.
We are all in this together—
Until next time,
It’s that Time Again—Wig Wearing in Summer
Yes, it’s a challenge no matter what you do. Adding another layer or two of material on your head will make it warmer. This is the time of year that I am glad that I don’t have to put anything between my head and my wig. My security measures start and stop with two bobby pins. I know this is not the case for many. I am lucky to find such a good fit with the two wigs I wear most of the time (both by Raquel Welch): Muse and Ready for Take Off. I have a thing about caps because my scalp is so sensitive, and another reason that I am glad I can manage security without glue, tape, and other helpers. But still, a wig on my head in summer is something to think about.
I work from home now so I don’t wear a wig all day long anymore as I did a few years ago (ah, the 10-hour days), but I have found that when I do wear them I am even MORE aware of having something on my head. It’s as if my scalp is saying, “What’s this? Get it off!” So for me, the cap construction is the key, that and the fit. There is nothing worse than a scratchy cap on top of your sweaty head. Well, I’m sure there are worse things, but when it happens you can think of nothing else but pulling the offender off your head—fast.
When I considered style, color, and length, I had to think of cap construction as even more important. I didn’t learn this until my third wig. I didn’t know how uncomfortable some caps could be if the fit and construction were wrong for my head. Something else I learned along the way: Along with the great comfort of 100% hand-tied caps, and they are amazing and lighter, there is also a minus (isn’t there always?). There are no wefts to aid in air circulation. For me, the tradeoff is worth it because I am not outside running around much. But for you, it might be very different. You may have to be creative about how to live with wigs during the summer months.
There are ways to get through the summer with wigs. If you are a seasoned wig wearer you have likely experimented enough to know what you must do, but if you are approaching summer as a new wig wearer, there is a learning curve, but there is help.
· Go for shorter styles, or if you must have longer, go with the one you can put up off your neck.
· Remember synthetics are cooler than human hair wigs.
· Try basic wig caps (the coolest construction); the open wefts allow air to flow through.
· Use accessories to control the volume around your face and neck.
· Try wig bands. They can help reduce cap pressure and make you more comfortable. Some have a silicone strip and can hold the wig in place.
· For short outdoor events, leave the full wig behind and think about a scarf or a cap with attachments. These are great for sitting outdoors in sun and wind when you don’t want to put a cap or scarf on top of your wig.
· Check out the wig cap liners.
Advice from my hairdresser: (who says he has been asked about this a lot from his clients)
· Don’t put your wig up in ponytails – it pulls the hair out. Better to secure an up-do on top of your head.
· Don’t go into the swimming pool or ocean with a wig that you want to keep after that dip. If you run back to the bathroom and washed it immediately you might save it after an ocean dip, but once chlorine gets on the wig fibers, it’s about done.
· Make sure you wash your wig more in the summer. All the sweat and products build up fast and can cause more wig damage than washing it more often.
· Give your head/scalp a break as often as you can. Take the wig off when possible during the summer and replace it with a scarf around the house or one of those softies. Your scalp will thank you for it and your wig will last longer.
I was in my “wig room” yesterday aka my closet, and was looking for Ready for Take Off; (I have it in two colors) and love. I had not worn them for a while and put one on for the day. I was halfway through the day before I remembered I had it on, and that was because my neighbor commented on how cute my haircut was and that it made me look ten years younger. Then I remembered…this is why I have two Ready for Take Off wigs. This style and cap construction (100% hand-tied) is light, and comfortable, and I can forget I have it on. Now that is worth the money, that is worth the time and care required. And besides, I look cute in it, and ten years younger. I may now get it in more colors.
Until next time, stay cool.
Getting the Most from Your Synthetic Wig
(Wig shown above: CORY WIG BY NORIKO)
It doesn’t matter if you are a new wig wearer or have had years of experience, there is always some insecurity when you hit the “buy” button. This is especially true if you think that this one is “the one” or at least will be one of your favorites. But how can you make them last?
Most popular wigs are synthetic or heat-friendly synthetic ones. They are a great combination of a realistic appearance and a more manageable price point. We’ve all heard the projection: with proper care, synthetic wigs can last between 4-6 months if worn daily. That’s great, but what if you could do better?
Of course, the magic word is maintenance, or should that be two words—proper maintenance? Yes, it does matter, and it matters a lot. There are some common mistakes that wig wearers make, even seasoned ones. Here are a few that come to mind, and that I had to learn about along the way:
- Washing your wig too much: Think every ten days, or less if you don’t wear it all day. Pay attention to the look and feel of the wig. Look for build-up at the hairline. This is a flexible rule in that so much depends on the length of the wig, how many products you use and how often, and even the climate you live in. In the end, it will be something you can see and feel that will guide you.
- Not using the correct products and tools: Synthetic wigs require specific shampoos and styling products. Using products not made for synthetic wigs can damage the wig fibers and the cap itself.
- Using too much heat and too often: Heat-friendly wigs are made to withstand some heat, but it’s easy to overdo this. While the ability to add waves, curls, straighten and re-curl sounds great in theory, heat takes a toll on your fibers. Carefully monitor the heat level and pay attention to how the fibers are holding up. Over time the heat-friendly components do break down. Use heat sparingly.
- Not storing your wig properly: This is an often asked question—what is the best way to store a wig. Proper storage is more important than most wearers think. Invest in a good wig stand or several. If you rotate your wigs regularly, you might have several out on stands at all times. This is fine, just keep them out of direct sunlight and too much humidity. The collapsible and easily portable stands are much better than the Styrofoam heads, which can stretch the cap.
- Wearing your wig to the gym or bed—is a no-no for good reasons. The sweat and oils can cause damage to both the wig cap and wig fibers. During the night, your body sheds dead skin and produces oils, and not only will this clog pores but can cause oil build-up on your wig fibers and cap. The friction to the fibers as you move around during the night can break and tangle the fibers. If you are not comfortable going to bed with an exposed scalp, there are some lovely sleep caps available.
- Give your scalp and your wig a break. From hair for hats to hair halos and detachable bangs and wig caps, there are ways to keep your look and give your wig and scalp a break.
- Don’t forget your scalp and/or bio hair. Don’t neglect your scalp. Oils and dead skins cells will clog your pores and cause itching and odors. Our scalps must remain in good condition.
- Finding the right wig cap: If your scalp is sensitive, you might have to try a few caps to find the one that works best for you. This is especially true if you aren’t wearing a mono-top wig. Wig caps are a good investment in comfort.
Next week I’ll tackle the other big question: how can I fix a damaged synthetic wig?
Until next time,
NEW STYLES | AMORE COLLECTION 2022
Welcome Amore's four new styles!
Sybil from our Amore Collection is a short length synthetic wig. This straight ready-to-wear wig is a sophisticated long layered bob. If you are wanting a long side fringe with enhancing layers that shape and highlight your cheekbones, Sybil is the style for you. Discover comfort and beauty in the newest Advanced Lace Cap. Sybil’s cap features hand tied plus double monofilament cap construction along with an extended lace front. Its hand-tied wig is constructed by carefully stitching each hair fiber strand by strand. This meticulous design produces a lighter, more comfortable wig. The lace front is a hairline fusion technology with minimal lace front for a natural look. You will feel cool and comfortable with superior air circulation provided by this technologically advanced cap design.
Levy from our Amore Collection is a mid-length synthetic wig. This layered ready-to-wear wig rest on the shoulders with full fringe and a bouncy full salon look . Its Double Monofilament cap construction is combined with calibrated machine wefting along the sides and back. Levy cap includes polyurethane tape tabs along the front and adjustable tabs in the back neck area, to allow for comfortable fit. The result is a comfortable fit with a natural look that is both fashionable and easy to wear.
Wig Studio 1
Taking the Fake Out of Wigs
(Wig Shown Above: CROWD PLEASER WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH)
Are you frustrated because no matter what you do, your wig still looks a bit fake? This seems to be a major concern, and for obvious reasons. You don’t want to spend the time and money on a wig to have it announce to the world that it is…a wig.
However, it does go back to time and money. You can’t expect a cheap wig to look as good as one with all the bells and whistles. You do get what you pay for in more ways than one. A good quality and well-made wig can make all the difference in how real they look and how long they last. We have all come to expect that a human hair wig will look more realistic. We know that a lace front and mono top can give your wig a more realistic look. We know that synthetic wigs can be helped if we tamp down that shine and choose rooted colors. We know to look for blended shades of color because flat colors scream fake. Also, another magic word…density. For most of us, especially if losing our hair was a drawn-out process where we got used to thinning hair, any wig might look like too much hair at first, and that takes a while to get used to for most people.
If a “real” look is a big issue for you, then time, as well as money, is a big player. You can’t expect to pull a wig from a box, put it on your head, and have it look very realistic. That’s where the time comes in to join money as the other main player. You must take time to customize the wig for you—your head shape, your coloring, and learn which styles suit you best. This includes seeking professional help like a hairstylist to maybe trim, thin, cut bangs if needed, and in general, shape it up to suit your face.
The time investment does not stop at visiting the hairdresser, and learning what styles and colors suit you best. You must learn how to care for your wig properly, whether it be human hair or synthetic. You will need to learn what products are best, how much heat, if any, the wig can tolerate.
Some other issues in wig wearing that sometimes get overlooked or thought about too late are wig fit (capsize), wig placement (does it sit at the natural hairline?), and wig security. Did you prep your bio hair if needed and find a method of securing the wig that is comfortable for you? Again, this takes time.
In the end, we get back what we put into wigs. They are an investment, so it’s worth learning all that we can to make them look great and last a long time. Also, don’t go too generic. You don’t want to look like you are wearing a wig-hat. Sometimes it is hard for us to be objective as we stand there looking in the mirror. That’s where a professional stylist comes in. Your mom, best friend, partner, etc., might not be the best person/people to ask when it comes to picking a wig color and style—for obvious reasons. A stylist has no or at least little emotional investment, and it’s her or his business. Trust the experts.
Until next time, wishing you all a happy new year. Break out that new (well thought out) wig and show off a little.