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.
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.
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,
If you have a sensitive scalp, I can relate. Finding a comfortable wig cap is even more important for those who have issues with anything touching their scalp. There is more than one thing to think about when it comes to finding a wig cap we can live with, but it’s not mission impossible. It’s not just the cap materials that are always to blame—it can be friction from the cap moving around on your head that causes itching, or how you are securing the wig. Any kind of wig grip, glue, or pins can cause irritation and pressure points. It might take some experimenting to find what works best for you.
The other causes of itching could be a poor quality wig, dirt and/or oil accumulation, and wig styling products that have built up on the wig and transfer to the scalp. Another culprit that we don’t necessarily think of first is allergies. The chemical residue from the cap and fibers, or even dust from wig storage can bother some wig wearers. Another important thing to remember is that if you don’t wash and rinse your wig well, the residue will be left on the cap and fibers and could also irritate your scalp. Doing a poor washing and rinsing job can also make your wig look dull, lifeless, and shorten its life span.
Wig construction is the beginning though. The fibers are attached to the cap using several different techniques and the technique used can make a difference in comfort and the way the wig looks. On most wigs, the fibers are attached in “wefts” which are strips of hair doubled and sewn together in long strands. Others are hand-tied to give the illusion of natural movement and will look more realistic by having more styling and parting options, especially those with lace fronts. The 100% hand-tied monofilament and double monofilament wigs are known for being the most sensitive but can be warmer due to less air circulation than you get with wefted caps.
But what about if your head sweats? Yes, this too can irritate our scalp. Fear not, you can still keep your hand-tied monofilament or double monofilament wig, just insert a sweat liner. These can be a real lifesaver in the summer, especially. The double monofilament tops cover the entire crown area of the head and have an extra soft layer that protects your scalp from the knots of the hair. This wig type is recommended for anyone with a sensitive scalp, especially those with little or no bio hair.
Other parts of the wig cap are very important as well, ear tabs and a lace front can make a real difference. If you have a sensitive scalp, velvet-lined ear tabs will help prevent itchiness and irritation. The lace front not only helps with styling and parting options and looks more natural, but it is also softer than the band of a basic cap wig.
The newer wig grip caps, a band around a soft cotton cap, all in one piece, have a Velcro closure at the back so that you can adjust it. It is also useful as a sleep cap, or to wear under a hat, around the house, or to wear under your wig for comfort. However, if you wear it under your wig, you must allow for the bulk. Because of that, it might not be the best idea for those with bio hair or those who have a wig that is a perfect fit, or on the snug side. But if your wig is a bit big and moves around, irritating your scalp, this could solve both problems by filling up any space between your wig and scalp to make it fit better while providing you with a more comfortable cap.
For every problem, there is a solution, and that goes for wig-wearing too. New things are being created all the time as more people embrace wig-wearing and ask that their needs be met.
Until next time, I’m thinking of trying one of the all-in-one wig grip caps, just to wear around the house or under my cap! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Spring is almost here, and it’s time to look at some cute new shorter styles, and I’m almost in the mood to go a bit blonder. How about you? Are you ready for something new and fresh?