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.
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.