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.
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,
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 transferred 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?
Fear, uncertainty, anxiety? Yes, I had those feelings when I got my first wig. I asked all the questions that most people ask: Will it look real; what do I tell people; do I tell people; what if someone asks; how do I keep it on my head; what if it’s a very windy day—and on and on until we work a nice case of “nerves” and doubt.
Fortunately, there is help waiting in the wings. We just have to learn how to access it. This blog is meant to be one of those things that can help. This entire site is meant to do that as well. There are some remarkably knowledgeable women here to help you. There is not much about wigs that they don’t know. From caps to fibers, styling, and color, they have you covered. You have only to ask and take advantage of their helpful videos.
With help in mind, I recently did another quick poll on our Facebook page and asked a few questions there.
The first question that I asked was: How long did it take you to feel comfortable in a wig. In summary, they had some of the same experiences, but some took longer to acclimate to wig-wearing than others. Some had more fear about the process than others. Most took months to a year or more to feel truly comfortable in a wig. And by that, I don’t just mean physical comfort, which is important, but I mean psychological comfort. When you arrive at the point that you go all day without thinking much about your wig. When you can look in the mirror and just see yourself and don’t automatically zero in on your insecurities: does it look wiggy, is it straight, is it still too shiny…and you know the ones. The big take-away = BE PATIENT.
The second question: If you had to give a new wig wearer one piece of advice, what would that be. A summary/combo answer was: All women (and men for that matter) of all colors and ages can be empowered to wear wigs. The advice I heard repeated was to start with something close to your own bio hair, style, and color. Don’t expect it to look like your bio hair because you will think there is too much wig hair. That’s because you slowly (in most cases) got used to your thinning bio hair over time. So, anything much thicker will look “too thick” but it is likely not. You’re going to wonder if people are staring at you—they’re not. People are way more interested in their own hair, lives, thoughts (my comment).
The third question: Do you change styles and colors often, and if so, why? As you might expect, this question had the most variety. Some like seasonal changes, some go with their mood or event, and some like to stick with the same general style and color family that they feel suits them best. (These are women who know the difference in what they like versus what looks best on them, and that comes with experience.) For example, I “like” the long flowing lovely blonde wigs, but they look ridiculous on me for my face shape, age, and coloring. After several years of trying different looks, I have settled on my length range and the two colors that suit me best. I am now a happy and confident wig buyer!
The fourth and last question was just a fun one: Do you have a style and/or color that you like above all else. And most do, and again, that’s from experience. I hope this gives you something to think about along your journey. There is a lot to learn. From cap construction, fiber, care, styles, colors, and how to secure your wig. The beginning can be overwhelming and Wig Studio 1 is here to help. Our Facebook group is beyond offers advice, pictures, detailed instructions, and all kinds of different information from people who have gone on this journey before—join us there!
Advice from the pros: check out the wonderful videos offered by the Wig Studio 1 team who do such an unbelievable job, not only showcasing the wigs but educating us about how to make them work better for you.
To paraphrase Eileen and Marlene: Get in there with your hands and massage those roots, loose those fibers, and give that wig a good shake every time before you put it on! They have a bounty of good information to share with you, and I hope you take advantage of it. I only wish I had the benefit of their knowledge and a site like this one to help me when I started on my adventure.
Until next time,
Think fall weather and fall wigs—and the holidays are coming!
(can you tell I am doing my part to try to push October in faster?)