What I Wish I’d Known Before Buying My First Wig
(Wig shown above: Kenzie Wig by Noriko)
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.
Until next time, have you seen all the new Gabor wigs? I have my heart set on Trend Alert.
Vickie Lynn (wearing RW Crowd Pleaser in shaded cappuccino)
Get Rid of the Wiggy Look!
(Wig shown above: PREORDER | Timeless Wig by BelleTress | Mono Part)
Do you suffer from wig-itis? No matter what you do, you still think your wig looks fake. This is most often a new wig wearer’s affliction. We are so used to seeing our fine, thin hair, that the wig just seems like too much hair. And to be honest, sometimes it is. Some styles and brands seem to pack a lot more “hair” into their wigs than any real person would ever have. This is where a bit of skill comes into play. I have no such skill, so I depend on my hairdresser to do a bit of thinning and shaping on some styles. Some think the permatease is the problem; that it makes you look as if you have a ton of hair on top. But some permatease does work for some styles and gives the wig lasting shape to support the style.
But then, we have an additional issue. 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.
In this case there are several things to consider. We can’t expect a cheap wig to look as good as one with all the bells and whistles. We do get what we 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 our wigs a more realistic look, depending on the style. 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.
And back to our original issue…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. We know that we can’t expect to pull a wig from a box, put it on our head, and have it look very realistic, in most cases. We must take time to customize the wig for us—our head shape, our coloring, and learn which styles suits us best. This includes seeking professional help like a hair stylist to maybe trim, thin, cut bangs if needed, and in general, shape it up to suit our face, if needed.
Some other issues in wig wearing that sometimes get overlooked or thought about too late are: wig fit (cap size), 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? Trial and error, and time will help with this.
In the end, we get back what we put into our wigs. They are an investment, so it’s worth learning all that we can to make them look great and last a long time.
Sometimes it is hard 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. They do this for a living. Trust the experts.
Until next time, wishing you all a happy holiday season. Break out that new wig and show off a little.
Does Wig Wearing Damage Bio Hair?
(Wig shown above: Anemone Half Wig by WigPro )
These are the considered opinions mostly agreed upon and what my own dermatologist told me.
1. Will constant wig wearing inhibit or permanently damage your bio hair?
Wearing a wig will not inhibit hair growth. The cells that allow hair to grow will still be able to function underneath your skin while wearing a wig. If you are worried about damaging hair that is growing back out underneath your wig, wearing a wig cap can help to protect the hair that is growing in.
2. Will the continued use of adhesives cause my bio hair to break or cause permanent loss? Maybe.
Some people use heavy duty adhesives when applying lace front wigs, and it is not uncommon for hair loss to occur with the repeated use around the hairline. The combination of irritating adhesives and tension on the hairline can cause damage, with receding hairlines occurring as an undesirable—but not uncommon outcome.
3. What can we do to help prevent damage to our bio hair and scalp?
- Massage your scalp. Having a wig sit too tightly on your head can cause the blood flow to your scalp to be reduced.
- Take your wig off before bed. Most doctors and wig experts recommend that you do not sleep in your wig – it can cause tension on your hair and cause breakages, tangling, clumping and other undesirable outcomes.
- Shampoo your hair--regularly. The key to healthy hair (and scalp) is keeping it clean. You don’t want your wig sitting on a dirty, oily scalp. Bad for your wig and your scalp and bio hair.
- Don’t forget your bio hair (see above). It might be that you choose to wear a wig all day, every day. However, we can’t assume that we don’t need to trim our own hair or care for it as well as before the wig wearing days.
- Avoid putting damp hair under a wig. Having damp natural hair under a wig is not only extremely uncomfortable, but can also promote the growth of nasty bacteria.
- Be careful when braiding your bio hair. Braiding can be an easy way to keep your natural hair out of the way under a wig. But be mindful of your technique. (Constant tension/pulling can damage fibers).
- Your bio hair can continue to lose moisture just like before. So, moisturize and condition your bio hair if you notice your hair feeling dry after wearing your wig. To combat bio hair or scalp dryness, try using hair oils, which can penetrate well, or other treatments you might prefer to restore its moisture and good health.
- Give your hair and scalp a break. If you have natural hair under a wig for a long period of time, it can be good to give your natural hair and your scalp a break for a few days from time to time.
- Wearing wigs brings its own challenges. While it is tempting to put our bio hair “on hold” and forget it longer than we would have before, that is a mistake.
- Anything we repeatedly do that causes friction will have a result: Including a poor fitting wig, too tight of a wig, bands, and twisting and braiding (if done poorly).
- The constant friction combined with adhesives can take a toll on the hairline. Try different ways of securing your wig so the hairline is not constantly irritated by the adhesive and tension.
Take care of your bio hair, scalp, and wig…and you will continue to look fabulous!
Until next time,
Shades of Gray?
So many women that I’ve talked with or heard from lately are saying that they are ready to give up the coloring processes and learn to love their hair the way it is now. Often that means a form of gray, silver, or white hair. The situation with wig wearers is a bit different. We can change our color any time and with little fuss. But the same desire might still be there. How can we make such a drastic change with ease?
Shades of silver, gray, or white don’t have to mean “old” or mean any age. However, the challenge seems to be learning how to make that change. If you have worn a brunette wig for five years, should you just turn up one day in a lovely gray or silver wig? What if you’ve not shared your wig journey with others who see you every day, should you have a transition color/wig? There is no one answer to that question. It all depends upon your comfort level. Fortunately, there are resources to support any decision you make.
If you do decide to “just go for it” get help if you think you need it—learn what brands carry the wig styles and cap construction that you prefer if you are new to wigs. If you already know all about caps, styles, brands, and what works best for you, then you are ahead of the game. All you need to decide is if the colors you are considering are found in the styles that you like…or is it time to re-visit other styles that might have colors that you love?
Tips from the professionals about choosing a color/shade and style:
- Go for a soft color, and one with dimension. Nothing screams “fake” like a flat solid root-to-tip color with no variation.
- Color should always be multi-tonal, especially as you age. That is true for blondes as well.
- Remember, in most cases, we lose a “plumpness” in our faces as we age. The styles that looked good on us at thirty might look a bit harsh now. Example: a too-blunt bob, close to the jawline and with no layering can be a very severe look.
- Go for a layered style, and one a little below the jawline.
- Tone—is so important, and wig wearers must learn how to care for their wigs to protect the wig’s color/tone.
If we must look at new styles to find the colors we like, there is that question again: Short or long as we age? This is the question that never goes away. Ask yourself if your style makes your face look younger or older. Does the too-long hair pull the face down? Would you look better with a shorter, more face-flattering style? So many people get caught up in the look of the wig on a model—we need to be interested in how the wig looks on us with our face shape, and our coloring—huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to claim your color—and don’t be afraid of shades of gray! Try different shades/tones and get help if you need it. There are in-between colors that you can choose, but often the salt/pepper colors age us more than a lovely silver or white. It’s all about shade/tone, color, and style.
If you had rather take the plunge more slowly, there are some lovely options. Ellen Wille Smoke Mix and Pearl Rooted are lovely, and Raquel Welch Silver and Smoke, Iced Granita, and Silver Mist come to mind.
Skin Tone! We must not forget that our skin tone will play a big role in how we look in these shades of gray, silver, or white. Yes, it is ever important as we age because our skin tone changes. Know your skin tone as it is NOW and that will help you key in on colors/shades that will look best on you. For example, if you have a cool skin tone you likely already know that ashy colors, shades of honey, beige, and gray work well for you. Just remember, the tone and color gradient, and dimension are the keys for gray shades just as it is for any color. Flat equals fake.
I am reminded of two in particular that I have recommended before when writing about the fear of going gray. Just two of my favorites. Notice the dimension, and the shadings. No flat, drab and lifeless look with these!
Until next time, here I am thinking that I might go gray…maybe silver.
Who is in Your Head?
(Wig shown above: Ready For Takeoff by Raquel Welch)
Of course, we all want to have approval from those we care most about, and that includes friends as well as family. From the time we were old enough to look around and observe others and our surroundings, we have been making judgments about what we see. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to our peers and to want to be as accomplished, attractive, and smart as those around us. And while we know we will be judged, sometimes we are our own harshest critic.
But what about your other critics? Did you grow up in a family with a strict parent with his or her own unbreakable code of what was good, bad, right, and wrong? Did your mother critique your looks, and did she key in on any perceived flaws and not mention the good? Does your spouse or significant other feel free to point out their opinions about everything, including your hair, clothes, and ideas, even if they are not asked? Do you have a friend or friends who you can count on to give you the once over and then point out everything they consider, not quite right? Or maybe that’s a sister, cousin, or other relatives. How do you take this in? Can you brush it off, or does it start to color how you think about yourself?
Even someone with a lot of confidence can be affected by constant negativity.
This is a common complaint with new wig wearers: “my husband/son/daughter/sister doesn’t like the wig on me.” Or hearing… “The wig makes you look….” fill in the blank. Sometimes, our friends or family member can’t even see that what they are saying is bothering us. Maybe they think their “constructive criticism” is something you want. Growing up I had an aunt whose mission in life seemed to be pointing out all of everyone’s flaws, to our faces, and with an audience. It was a great learning experience for me because I was careful to never do this to anyone. And I learned that not everyone’s opinion mattered.
As hard as it is, it is up to us to draw the boundary lines. Other than avoiding these people, is the only way to stop it. However, if we are asking for their input, we must learn to weigh what they say. How much weight does what they say carry for us? Is it out of proportion to reality? Are the person or people making critiques an expert on wigs or hair, for example? Are they just prejudiced when it comes to a color like blondes for example (do they love them or hate them)? Either way, it has no bearing at all on the blonde wig you just bought. Is it all about them or our wig purchase? It is crucial to figure that out before we take in any critique of our wigs.
The wig journey: No one warns you before you start down this path that you will have a psychological journey as well. It can be hard at times. Not only must you deal with your hair loss issues and try to wade through the vast amount of information on wigs, but you must also find one that you hope will work for you. One is rarely prepared to face an onslaught of opinions that others feel free to give.
My best advice is to always consider the source. Along with that, seek out help from professionals. Watch the wig demos on the WigStudio1 page, follow the reviewers on their pages, and soon you will feel more confident. It took me a while to learn that I just couldn’t take a wig from the box, plop it on my head and have it look like the woman in the ad. I had to get over the fear of “messing with it” and I had to learn how to style it.
Once you educate yourself about wigs, you will have the confidence to listen to your voice and learn to filter out others that have no real bearing on the issue at all.
Have a great holiday season, and remember, it is a good time of year to step out of our rut. If like me, you tend to stick with what you know works, sometimes you need a little incentive to try new styles and colors. It was like Christmas for me last weekend as I washed and put away three wigs and got out three others to start a new rotation. That reminded me that change is good and that trying new styles and colors can be very good.
For some reason, the shorter styles were calling my name. I put on Raquel Welch’s “Ready for Takeoff” and the cap was so comfortable that I hardly knew I had it on. Now, that makes me very happy.
Is it Time for a Change?
Are you at that place where you are hanging on to old styles and colors long after you should have let them go? How do you know when it’s time? Because in addition to the obvious wig aging there are other reasons to let that wig go. So, what are the indicators that you are holding on to something that is doing you no favors?
But one thing to consider before we start tossing our old wigs, we might consider if we can revive any of them. Should we spend the time and resources to rescue our old wigs—in other words--should they be rescued? The short answer is yes, if that wig can be made wearable again, then it is worth trying if only to sell it or donate it. Maybe it is time to move on for you and the wig, but that wig might be perfect for someone else and very much needed.
Another thing to consider: Have you stopped actually “seeing yourself” in the mirror? Psychologists tell us that we do one of two things most often in this regard: we look but don’t “really look” because we think that we already know what we will see. Or we look too much, too closely, criticizing every part, angle, and perceived flaw. Either way, we are not seeing ourselves as we are, or as others see us.
There is the day we notice a little line on our faces and wonder how long it had been there. We catch a close-up look at the ends of our favorite wig and wonder then they got raggedy or stiff. Change is often slow, and when the accumulation of it is finally enough, we notice, and we are shocked. But if we had been looking, we would have seen it in progress. But we are busy humans and who has time to stand in front of the mirror and look at themselves all the time? Or inspect our wig every time we take it off? And therein lies part of the dilemma as to why one day we do look in the mirror and wonder why we ever bought that wig in the first place. The style, the color, doesn’t seem to be us anymore—sound familiar?
Wigs are even more of a challenge than coloring and cutting bio hair. First, they cost more, and you hope the relationship will be a long one because it doesn’t grow out if you have made a mistake. So, we are afraid of making a mistake, and because of that we often default back to our old styles and colors, trying so hard to get something “close to what I had before” and we think that is a good thing. It is not always a good thing. Maybe your lifestyle has changed. Maybe you retired, or work from home now and can be less structured in your life, including your look. Maybe you like short wigs for summer and want to take things up a notch with new styles or lighter colors. Don’t worry about trying to copy your old styles. There are many styles that look good on many people. The wig companies know that and why there are so many bobs of different lengths and short boy/pixie cuts.
When a friend of mine got a new wig (a first wig) and asked my advice I cringed because it made her look ten years older. Suddenly, she looked like her mother, and it was the wig—color and style. Both were wrong for her, and I had to tell her. I asked her to try on two of my wigs to see the difference in how she could look just to make my point that there were wigs for her that would work. I loaned her the one of mine she liked best and she forgave me for telling her that her new wig made her look older. She was able to swap it out, and she learned a good lesson.
The moral to my story is don’t be so intent on reviving your old wigs that you can’t see it is time to move on. Some might work, like one of the two that I worked on recently. Trying to revive an old wig can be frustrating and time-consuming because success can depend on so many things: age, wear and tear level, general care, type of fibers, and style. The one that I was able to rescue was in great condition because I had just stopped wearing short wigs for some time and had put it away (and had forgotten about it) before it had suffered much abuse. It just needed some TLC. Sadly, the other one had seen better days. Is it time to revive it for ourselves, or time to sell or donate? Rescue or toss season at my house seems to happen in the spring, even for wigs!
Now, it’s holiday season time, and what better time to gift ourselves with a new wig? A new style and color would perk me right up. How about you?
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn (in my Muse, which seems to last forever).
Is That Your Real Hair?
(Wig shown above: Divine Wavez by Rene of Paris | Muse Series)
The holidays are right around the corner. Are you ready? It’s a gathering time, and sometimes you will be seeing old friends or family members you may not have seen in months or years. We all want to look our best, and our hair is a big part of our look, our style, and what makes us feel more confident. So…what happens when someone you barely know, or someone you may not have seen in a long time, asks about your hair. How do you respond when someone asks, “are you wearing a wig?”
Have you already had to deal with this? Maybe you have and you have your own responses ready based upon who asks, and how you feel about sharing your wig journey.
When asked how to respond to “Are you wearing a wig?” and the ever popular, “Is that your real hair?” Here are some responses from real wig wearers:
- I love it. Isn’t it great?
- Why do you ask?
- Yes, and here’s why (if you feel like sharing)
- Oh, that’s a sensitive question.
- Wig? What wig?
You get the idea. You will respond depending on your mood, who is asking, and your personality. I’m sure you have made your own responses or have some in mind. But if you are a new wig wearer, think about this and have your responses in mind so you won’t be caught off guard.
The good news is that it is much harder to spot a wig wearer these days. Wigs are more realistic than ever. But here are a few tips to help you avoid worrying about it.
What will give you away:
- Please, take that hair out of the box and own it. Don’t plop it on your head and expect perfection. You must make it your own. If you don’t know how to do that, learn before you wear it out. Don’t be afraid of your wig. Wigs are manufactured in a way that is “one fits a majority” in that you must customize it a little, and sometimes a lot, depending on the wig. That might include doing some heavy styling, using products, or taking it to a stylist.
- If you are not secure in your wig, it will show. It will call attention to the fact that something is not exactly as it should be. You will not move your head as naturally and might always be touching your wig or adjusting it.
- Too MUCH VOLUME is a giveaway! Yes, there are some “big hair” girls that are loathe to give that up, but nothing says “wig” louder than a big pile of hair on your head that nature could not have bestowed. Go for lower density, hand-tied wigs that look more natural if you want to avoid people asking you if you are wearing a wig. Yes, you say, but I like big hair. So, if that is you, go for it, but know that it will attract more attention. If you are okay with that, that’s just fine.
- Watch the hairline. Keep your wig at a natural hairline. If it is set too far back or forward, it will not look natural and won’t be as comfortable either.
- Color and style are the other two things that can draw unwanted attention to your hair/wig. Yes, women color their bio hair, and change their styles. But if you are trying to look as if you have real hair, and not share your wig secret, staying close to your natural color family, one that compliments your skin tone will work best. There are a range of colors that work for each person better. Find yours and have fun with styles.
In the end, it is up to you. Do you want to blend in and not have your wig a point of discussion, or you don’t care who knows you are wearing one, and have no problem discussing it? How you answer that will guide your decisions. There is no need for a bad first experience in wig wearing, or at any time. There is so much help out there, and you are certainly not alone on this journey.
Have a great holiday season, and join the Wig Studio 1 Facebook group for great tips on these topics and many more.
Just One More Wig?
(Wig shown above: Elle Wig by Jon Renau)
I ask myself, who am I kidding? Wigs are like chips or chocolate; one is never enough. I have long come to terms with the fact that I will not stop looking at wigs, wanting more wigs, and buying new wigs. Of course, we must replace our old and worn ones, but if you are a seasoned wig wearer, you, like I, look for new styles and colors regularly. And that is part of the fun with wigs. We can change our style and color in minutes. No more waiting for a bad haircut to grow out or sitting in a salon for hours getting cuts, color, and all the rest.
Wigs continue to get better and more popular every year. There is a good reason for this. There are many benefits to wig wearing other than the obvious—needing an addition to or replacement for your bio hair. Wigs are everywhere—from your coworkers, the lady at the bank, your next-door neighbor, your friend at church, famous singers, Hollywood stars, and models on the catwalk.
So, what are those many benefits you may be asking if you are a new wig wearer or are contemplating buying one (or more)? Below are just some of the benefits that come to mind, and you seasoned wearers may have even more.
- Special occasion! You can change your entire look to match your outfit and the occasion without costly visits to the salon for that special night out, party, or wedding.
- Lots of Options: You can change your style and color without spending hours in the salon, and you can stay close to your natural color or step way out of the box, and experiment with color and style.
- Saving time: Think of all the time you spend or have spent in the salon, and in front of the mirror trying to style your hair the way you want it. Maybe extra time trying to camouflage thinning area or a thinning area. Wigs are lifesavers if you are running late, traveling, and just can’t devote time and energy to your hair.
- Confidence Restored: Whether you just want a change, have a special occasion, or have no time to spend on your hair, or if you know that your hair is thinning and it messes with your confidence, a wig can help you be the you that you want to show people.
- Protection for your bio hair: Overexposure to hair coloring chemicals, blow-drying, and other hair treatments can take a toll on your hair and scalp over time. You can give your hair and scalp a break by wearing a wig, even if it is just once a week.
- No bad hair days: Wigs put an end to bad hair days.
- Wearing wigs can save you money: Unless you do indeed have a real wig addition, several wigs a year might cost you less than those regular salon visits, hair coloring, hair treatments, and care products—not to mention the cost of your time.
For me, it’s all about confidence and convenience. I used to hate those hours in the salon chair, and the cost. Then, I was stuck for months with the same style and color if I liked it or not. For me, even factoring in the cost of wigs and wig care products, I rarely spend per year what I had spent before in the salons. I also love having the no-fuss wigs, the shake-and-go ones. I used to spend so much time with my fine hair, even when I had a lot of it, trying to get it into some style that was flattering and that would stay. I would leave the house in a bad mood because of my hair! You will have your reasons, but yes, I am addicted to wigs because they make my life easier.
Until next time, think about those lovely new styles for fall and winter, and don’t forget to watch for those sales! I am wearing RW Muse SS Cappuccino in this picture. It took me 60 seconds to put it on and go!
How Do You Choose Your Wigs?
(Wig shown above: Remy Human Hair Topper 14" By Amore)
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.
Should I Tell?
(Wig shown above: SPECTACULAR SHAG WIG BY TRESSALLURE)
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.
How do our Wigs Play a Role in our Identity?
(Wig shown above: ARIA WIG BY ELLEN WILLE | MONO PART)
Who are you? You are not just one thing. You are not just your looks, your personality, your wealth, or your job. You are many things. But as I talk to women who have lost their hair, for whatever reason, they all share a common idea. Their hair is part of their identity. I can understand that even though I know it’s “just hair” and it is not the sum of us. It doesn’t define us. But we have looked at ourselves in the mirror for X number of years and our hair has become part of what we see day after day, year after year. And then one day it looks different, or one day most is gone, or all is gone, and then what?
Oftentimes, when women lose their hair, whether temporarily or permanently, they feel the loss deep down as if they have lost something forever that was a part of who they are—or were. This can result in grief stages just like any loss. If you are new to hair loss and/or still in a grieving stage, be kind to yourself and know that you will find yourself again. I think that is why we just seem to know when we put that wig on if it is us or not. We can still see our real selves—we can see beyond the style, color, and the fact that it is a wig. We can see more than a flattering (or not) wig, we can see if that wig reflects who we are or not. You can bet that if you compromise on this, keeping a wig that you just can’t connect with, it will end up in a box. Or if not back in the box, you will make yourself wear it but will always be aware it is not you.
Unlike a new dress or shoes, a wig replaces your hair, something that you had for many years in most cases, and something you never thought you would be without. While men lose their hair and suffer from loss too, I am sure, they don’t seem to deal with it in the same way that women do. It was always more “acceptable” for men to lose their hair. For women, it has always been different, like a lot of things are for women.
While wigs can make a huge difference in how you see yourself in the mirror, and how others see you, it will begin to make a difference when you can look in that mirror and just see YOU. Then you will know that you have put the grief away, you have lived through it, and you are stronger for it. I think it took me a good while before I stopped seeing “wig” in the mirror and just started seeing myself. I worried every day for a long time that someone would look at me and figure it out. It was inhibiting and uncomfortable—and unnecessary.
One day out of the blue I remembered what my grandmother told me after my mother cut my bangs too short when I was in first grade. She took me aside as I was having a meltdown moment and looked me in the eye. (I have heard something similar from others in different ways since and maybe you have too) The gist was: “honey, remember that most people aren’t thinking about you or even seeing you, they are busy thinking about themselves.” This thought helped me as I went out into the world trying to still be me with my first wig. I wished my grandmother had been around so that I could have thanked her. But the day did finally come when I stopped watching other peoples’ eyes to see if they were looking at my head/hair/face. I just tried to look people in the eye and be myself—tried to project confidence. The more I did that, the more “me” I became. While for months at home, I still saw the wig first when I looked in the mirror, one-day things changed. I looked at the entire me, and that was the turning point. The real me and the me that I projected out to the world merged, and I was “back” at last.
Fast forward to now, and there is nothing but excitement when it comes to wigs and wig products, and I value being able to put my Muse on my head in five seconds, run my fingers through it and go. I am looking forward to shopping for more wigs for fall and winter. I just got a new one that I am kinda in love with. See my picture below.
Until Next time.
Vickie Lynn in Crowd Pleaser, RL 12/22 Shaded Cappuccino, Raquel Welch.
What is Your Biggest Wig-related Fear?
(Wig shown above: ALEXANDRA 104A PETITE BY WIGPRO)
None of us are born wig wearers. It’s a learning curve for everyone. If you are in the early stages of hair loss and trying to make the big leap to helper hair, there are fears. Sometimes we just need a little push to get on with things.
The top big fears, those most reported by new wig wearers or those who want to be:
1. People will notice that I look different and what do I say? This is a very personal question because there is no one answer for everyone. The short answer is yes, people will notice, so be prepared for questions and comments ahead of time and you will feel less stressed about any encounters. If you have had a lot of hair loss and many have seen that, and now you go with a wig, yes, people will likely notice. What you say or don’t say is up to you. If you have early-stage hair loss but know there will be more and you are now at the point of getting helper hair then some may not notice if you stick to your current style and color.
2. Oh no, will I always have to wear helper hair and be stuck with this style? This is a difficult one because some people will regain their hair, but a lot of people won’t. Those of you who know that your situation is such that yes, now you must come to terms with this hair loss as a permanent thing, it’s a leap into the unknown. But no, you can change wig styles and colors just like you did with your bio hair.
3. Commitment! Taken from number two above and going further, once you commit, realizing it is an ongoing one—that can be scary. Wearing helper hair will be part of your life now. If you need help in dealing with that, there is help out there for you.
4. How will wig-wearing affect your life? Can you still do the things that you want to do? From swimming to riding a roller coaster, this question comes up a lot. In most cases, with some modifications, you can still go about your life as before. There are also many helpful articles, videos, etc., about this topic.
5. The cost: Yes, there are expenses for the topper or wig, the accessories, and the products required for maintenance. In my experience looking at cost, I found that I spent just as much at the hair salon before when averaged out over a year. Unless you go crazy with buying a lot of wigs (which I don’t recommend until you learn which wigs work best for you), the cost should not be that different if you had regular salon hair care.
6. Help, where do I start? That is the big question always. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Again, I urge you to reach out for help. There are wonderful articles, helpful videos, and a great customer service team waiting to help you. You are not alone! You will be amazed at how many people wear helper hair.
7. Nothing will ever be the same. These words can have many meanings, and if we stop and consider that we can say these words every day about life in general. Each day brings a new reality. We are another day older, another day wiser if we’re lucky, and we adjust. Accepting your hair loss and embracing the help that is there for you will make all the difference in how you see your days going forward.
8. One foot forward, one step at a time. It’s Lean in time! You can’t stay half in and half out forever. There will come a time when you must get out of the house with that wig or topper that you bought and are afraid to wear.
Most women have experienced facing fears, lots of them. We deal with judgment, discrimination, relationships, job pressures, health concerns, aging, and maybe marriage and children. At different points in our life, we had fears about all these things, but we kept stepping forward. This is just one more thing to step up to, over, or around, and claim another victory for yourself.
Leave your fears behind and know that all that time you spent in front of the mirror moving your thinning hair around, trying to conceal the issue, worrying if people could tell, is now a thing of the past. Be kind to yourself as you go through the learning curve. Don’t expect to learn everything in a day or even a month. But you will learn, and you will find the vendors you like best, the fibers and wig caps that you prefer, and the colors that work best for you. It’s a process and can be fun, believe it or not. In the end, you will save time, money, and stress. You will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
Wishing you a happy new hair day, and new wigs for autumn and winter. I bought Portrait Mode in shaded Cappuccino, and it may be my favorite yet.
Until next time,