This is a recurring topic that has come up nearly every week as new wig wearers are confronted with this issue for the first time. What do I say when someone compliments my hair? How do I handle critiques from friends or family who seem to want to discourage me from wig wearing? Should I go ahead tell my family and close friends? How should I handle telling (or not telling) work colleagues? There is no one answer to any of these questions. Only you know the best way to answer because only you know your level of confidence and the dynamics of your personal and professional relationships.
The other recurring topic is romantic relationships. How and when— you should bring this up. It is tricky because trust places a huge role here. I’d certainly not make it a conversation on a first or even second date. After all, if this is someone you don’t know well; and may not see again, why put yourself through that stress? Now, the tricky part. If you do progress to a more serious relationship, an intimate relationship, then how do you prepare your partner ahead of time, or do you have to do that? Unfortunately, there are no rules about this, and it comes back to you, your trust level with the person, and your confidence that you are more than your hair.
If you do get to that point and are still not ready to have the wig discussion, there is one thing my friend recommended that worked for her and allowed her time to ease her way into having the conversation. When they got to the time when she knew their relationship had progressed to the next phase, intimacy, yet she was still not ready to have the wig talk, she told her partner that she had hair extensions and to keep his hands out of her hair. Plain and simple, and that is what happened. She offered no other explanation until she was ready to, and that was weeks down the road when she was sure their relationship was one she wanted to cultivate.
You can do as she did, or you can just say upfront that you are wearing a wig, so please don’t mess with it and offer no further information. However, saying that will, in all likelihood, bring questions, so make sure you are ready to answer them. If you are in the early stages of dating, there are ways to secure your wig to keep it looking natural until you do get to a more serious point in your relationship.
What about your work colleagues? You can handle that situation any way you think is best. Depending on the change in your look, if it is noticeable, you will most certainly have someone confront you about it or make a comment. Only you know your work situation. If it’s just going to a lower-density wig you are trying that is much like your bio hair, then you might not need to say anything. And I take this opportunity to remind you of something that you already know—people are much too concerned about their looks and life to dwell too much on others. We are our own worse critics.
If you love wigs and want to wear different styles and colors regularly to work, then you’ll have to go for it and tell everyone what you’re doing, and in a week or so, it will no longer be a topic. This is the jumping into the fire with both feet approach. Some people can handle it, and some rather not take this approach. Only you can decide.
Be ready for this person: you will run into someone, be they family, friend, or co-worker, who will have something to say. Some people seem to think that their mission in life is to offer their opinion on everything, whether they know anything about the topic or not. In the case of wigs, I’ve found that those who know nothing about them that feel they must give their critique. Be ready for them. They will ask questions, comment on the color or style, ask you the cost, and in general make you uncomfortable if you let them. I have found a few well-chosen sentences can usually shut them down. Here are some retorts that I’ve heard used over the years by seasoned wig wearers when asked questions.
“Why yes, it is a wig. Do you have wig or hair styling experience?”
“If you’re interested, I can send you some information.”
“Costs vary. I can point you to a few good websites if you need more information.”
“People wear wigs for all sorts of reasons. I am grateful that I have such great options.”
“I like being a blonde, but hold on, I could show up as a redhead tomorrow.”
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn saying,
Pull out that little bit of the magical witch in you and stand tall.
As I have written about in previous blogs, there is a psychological impact of hair loss, like any other loss, so I don’t want to make light of it, or the pain caused by it. But to linger in the stages of grief too long can hurt us too.
So along with those grief processing steps that famously end in acceptance, let’s look at some things to think about along with way.
- Your Perspective: You know by now that you are your own worst critic. We’ve all heard it and it is true – you are harder on yourself than anyone else is. This also means that you probably view your hair loss more critically than others do.
- Your Feelings: It’s not the end of the world, and there are many worse things many other people must deal with—right? Yes, we know this, and some of us might have even had that sentence directed at us. Knowing it and internalizing it is a different thing. It takes a little time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning to live with your hair loss is a psychological challenge but it is only as difficult as you make it—however, we need tools to deal with it just like any other problem or challenge.
- Your Solutions: Find help if you need it. Most of you who read this have long since gone to the doctor and you know all about your hair loss, but now you need a different kind of help. You need help from people who know about wigs and wig care. You need to find others who are dealing with this—you need support from those who can understand.
- Your Options: Professional therapy is there for you. If you’re still having trouble coping with your hair loss, some professionals can help you work through those grief stages. Don’t write off your pain because you are afraid of being seen as weak. Issues with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can impact your mental health both in the short and long term. Get the help that you need and don’t feel bad about it for one second.
We may not have a choice about losing our hair, but we can choose how to respond. We can refuse to live in denial and allow hair loss to destroy our confidence and quality of life. Getting the help that we need is the first step. Learning about wigs and how they can enhance your life is the next step and just as important. Talk to people who know about wigs, and don’t be shy about asking questions. I’ve found that most people do want to help if we just ask. I find this especially true in the wig community because a lot of the people have gone through the same challenges themselves. They know about the feeling of loss, dealing with self-esteem issues, going through the stages of grief, and getting to acceptance—and then going on to help others.
Things NOT to do:
Please don’t give up after trying just one or two wigs. You will likely feel the same as a lot of people: the wig has too much hair (because you are not used to seeing yourself with a thick head of hair), and the fit is not right. Granted, some wigs do have a lot of hair, but you should know that some have a lower density and no permatese if that is what you like best. In other words, don’t make quick decisions. There is a wig cap learning curve as well. Did you measure your head? Do you know about the different cap styles/construction? Also, know that it will take a while to get rid of the feeling that something is sitting on your head.
Don’t think that you will look like the wig model. Have realistic expectations. Your face shape, coloring, and age may or may not be the same as the models. Even the length of your head and neck will be different, causing the wig to look longer or shorter on you, perhaps.
Don’t be afraid to put your hands in and on your wig. This can be tricky because you don’t want to mess up the “factory part” if there is a chance you might want to return the win. If you know you like it and will keep it, get in there and style it. Very few wigs come right out of the box looking great. Don’t be afraid to use the proper products on it to make it your own look. Put clips in or wear a headband to add an even more realistic look.
Don’t give up because you haven’t found the right way to secure your wig. And by “right” I mean the way that works for you. Different people like and use different methods. I am a “purist” in that I like nothing but an occasional clip or bobby pin to secure mine if I go to the dentist. But I have found a cap that fits me well. Also, I don’t do a lot of up and down, running around, being outside, etc., that might require a more secure means. So, as you can see, securing your wig is a very personal choice. Find what works for you and your life.
A happy ending—yes, there is one. Before you know it you will be a pro in your own right. You will know all about caps, fibers, heat-friendly wigs, and how to care for them. You’ll know which colors and styles flatter you—and there is when the fun begins. You have options! Just take a look at the website today—wow.
Until next time, remember, we must make many choices every day. Today, let’s Choose to be Confident.
Vickie Lynn --and Ollie the Owl (sitting among my violets in my living room looking very confident indeed).