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,
To get the most out of your wigs, it is important to know how to choose them, and how to care for them. Here are a few tips from wig-wearing experts like some of you:
- Find a wig color that matches your skin tone. Treat the wig color just as you would picking a color to enhance your bio hair and general look. If you were a blonde before and you know that blonde is a good color for you, it might help to stay in the blonde “family” when buying your first wig. You can branch out as you go and learn more about what wig colors are available.
- Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about your wig slipping or falling off when there are so many securing options: Tape, clips, glue, caps, grips, and so on. Find what works for you.
- Make the wig YOURS. I can’t stress this enough do not think you will be able to pull the wig from the box, put it on your head, and love it unconditionally. It rarely happens. Please watch the many helpful videos WigStudio1 supports and remember to take advantage of the great consultants they have standing by to help.
- Know your head size, and know that though wigs are mass made, you can find ways to achieve a good fit with a bit of work. You will find that some brands fit your head better than others. You will learn which cap construction types suit your head and your comfort level best.
- Don’t be afraid to personalize it. You can wear clips/barrettes and other things to change your look to fit your mood or outfit.
- Appreciate the good stuff about wig-wearing:
- You can change your look in minutes.
- There are no more bad hair days.
- There are no more minutes or hours in front of the mirror trying to hide your thinning bio hair.
- You can try a new style and color without a costly long-time commitment as with bio hair.
- Wigs can help you through recovery from an illness or be a daily friend.
- Save your bio hair from repeated heat, coloring, or bleaching.
- Freedom! Change your style, your color, and your look. Wigs are great!
Tips to help you get more wear out of your wigs:
A human hair wig doesn’t receive the oils and vitamins from the scalp like your natural hair would keep it rejuvenated after styling and daily life. So, remember to wash your human hair wig with extra attention and be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This goes for heat appliances, blow-dryers, shampoo, conditioner, and the right comb and brush. Remember the individual strands of hair are attached to the cap. Overuse of heat, over-conditioning, etc., can loosen the knots.
A synthetic wigs, especially heat-resistant ones, can look as natural as a human hair wig when you care for them properly. Again, think about heat, correct care products, and wash only when needed.
Wig rotation is a great thing! Not only do you get to leave the house in perfect hair and different styles or colors if you wish, but their life will prolong if you rotate your wigs and wash them less.
And a reminder: Improperly putting your wig on or off can damage the lace front, over-stretch the cap, and might loosen your fibers. Treat your wig with care. Also, storage is crucial, especially when traveling and long-term storage. Make sure they are stored properly.
Wishing everyone a great holiday season!
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
Those of us who have been on the wig-wearing and wig care journey for a long time sometimes forget the overwhelming feeling we had when we first started. Having heard from new wig wearers recently, I was reminded that to master anything, you have to start with the basics.
Let’s begin with something that new wig wearers often forget about until they get that new wig home. We are always so excited, traumatized, scared, happy—pick your word, about getting that first wig that we often don’t think about how to maintain it until we get that wake-up call: How do I take care of it?
What follows are some basics for any new wig wearer or about to be wig wearer. If you aren’t one to read and research, and like one woman told me that when she started, this was a call she made to her hairdresser: “I washed my wig every day, just like my hair, and it didn’t last very long, what am I doing wrong?” Of course, the hairdresser knowing considerably more about the difference between human hair and synthetics gave her the scoop on the differences. This woman, not a fan of reading up on wig care, just treated it like her bio hair. You can imagine the result.
So, let us look backward in this case to how best to get started and what you will need to chair for a wig (and some of this information can be tweaked to include human hair, of course. The type of products may vary but the needs list is about the same.
Here is what would be on any list I made for a new wig wearer:
- Wig stand
- Water spray bottle
- Wig Shampoo
- Wig Conditioner
- Wig brush (Human hair wigs ONLY)
- Wig comb
- Towel (I use a large hand towel and partially dry my wig by gently blotting it wrapped in a towel before hanging on a drying stand (NOT a Styrofoam head).
- Wig hairspray
*Don’t use regular hair products on synthetic wigs (I get this question a lot)
*Don’t ignore your wig’s need for care. Proper maintenance will add weeks to the life of your wig, many months. And save YOU money.
*Detangle your wig before washing
*Resist the urge to comb a wet wig. Let it dry on its own sitting on a proper stand before you touch it with a comb. Don’t worry about how it looks. It will bounce back into its style when dried and then combed.
Special note: Make sure your wig is heat resistant before using any heat on it at all. The fibers on a heat-resistant wig will act differently from a regular synthetic wig with non-heat-resistant fibers. You can ruin your wig quickly by making this mistake.
Tips: in-between washes, lightly spritz your wig with a spray bottle filled with water. Then use your fingers to bring style back and calm down any frizz or flyaway.
A friend of mine swears by Ellen Wille Hair Power Hair Tip Liquid. I have NOT tried this, but if any of you have, let me hear from you.
More Tips: What about curly wigs? Use short and very gentle strokes so that the curls remain intact. A “pick-comb” comes in handy for these styles as well.
How to create volume: Light teasing, then smoothing over and subtle lifting will usually do the trick, followed by wig spray to set it. Be gentle but not too afraid of manipulating it. The fibers are made to take a level of punishment. But remember, too much, too often, and not done with the right tools—the wig’s life will be shortened.
Problems: Try as we might, our wigs will incur some damage, sometimes just by repeated wearing and sometimes due to our mistreatment. Here are some common problems and fixes for synthetic wigs:
- Dryness: Since the fibers are synthetic they can’t produce moisture, so we must take care of that by adding a conditioner. There are multiple leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners out there to choose from. For those clumpy ends, try a little trimming or get your hairdresser to do it, and the popular silicone sprays. (and of course, low heat with a styling tool if heat resistant).
- Fixing unwanted curls, bends, and kinks: Unless your wig is heat resistant, you can’t use high temperatures. But you can use steam. Start slowly and gently and underdo it rather than overdo it because the steam will loosen the fibers but you don’t want it to remove fibers. (Use low heat on heat friendly wigs)
Preventing the Problems: How to prevent common problems and save time, money, and a few tears.
- Only use COLD water on your wig
- Don’t comb a wet wig
- Always air dry your wig
- Don’t apply heat unless it is a heat friendly wig or human hair wig
- Never sleep in your wig
- Use products designed for wigs not human hair
- Use your fingers more than combs for styling, detangling
- Use conditioners to make the wig softer, easier to manage, and comb (and to keep the stray hairs tamed).
How often to wash your wig: As you might expect, it will depend on how often you wear it and how much product you put in it. Rule of thumb every 10-12 wears, but if you wear it two hours a day that will vary greatly compared to wearing it ten to twelve hours a day—you get the point. You must be the judge on this. Does your wig smell okay, is it still smooth and untangled, is it looking dull from the products? You will know when it’s time if you pay close attention.
When it’s time to go: I’ve heard and read different “rules of thumb” on this topic. The consensus is that human hair wigs very well cared for last about six months with “regular wear” and synthetics from six to eight months on average. Sadly, yes, they all have a much too short life span. We’re up against fading, heat, friction, washing, drying, combing, products, and they all take a toll on the fibers (human hair wigs as well). And again, you will have to be the judge. The life span of your wig will be driven by you and what you do or don’t do. Maintenance is the magic word
Your wig can become and will become a great asset to you if you treat it like one.
Until next time,
Best to all,