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,
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,
How to take your wig to the beach or pool—and not be sorry!
I always loved the saying, “where there’s a will there’s a way” because it is true. If we want something badly enough, we try harder to make it happen.
Hence all the wonderful inventions by our multi-cultural, independent-minded, hard-working people in this country. And that is true for our topic this week—we find a way. We who wear wigs refuse to be left out of anything and that includes the beach and pool. Thankfully, depending upon your hair loss you have several options to consider.
Challenge number one: Wearing wigs or toppers for summer activities
As you might guess, synthetic hair is best for the pool or beach – either a wig you have worn for a while or a less expensive piece you purchase for the beach or pool. If you are diving below the surface of the water, you may want to wear an actual swim cap that will stay on when diving into a pool or ocean.
After-care is the thing: If you do wear your wig or topper in the pool or ocean be sure to rinse it thoroughly and condition it after wearing. If you are wearing long hair, consider braiding it before going into the water. The wig cap will suffer along with the wig fibers and the cap might stretch out to the point of not being a good fit if you spend too much time with it in the water. This will vary depending on the cap construction, age of the cap, and your after-care of the cap.
Challenge number two: NOT wearing wigs or toppers for water activities
So, what if you are not at all interested in swimming or splashing around in a pool or ocean but want to get a bit of sun and fresh air and join your family and friends anyway. You do still have options.
· wear a sun hat with very good coverage – such as hats with big brims that flop down in the back or have a back “safari” flap.
· For hats like fedoras where the back of your head will show, use a stretchy headband to cover the parts of your head that would be exposed.
· Wear a swim scarf – a scarf made of swimsuit fabric in case you do decide to take a dip.
· Wear a head-wrap. You can wear this as a cap, do-rag, turban, or even tied into a rosette. This can be done to fit under a hat as well.
Scarves add a fun vacation vibe to your wardrobe, don’t count them out.
Fortunately, we will always see people in sun hats, scarves, and such, so you won’t feel out of place. If you’re going between inside and outside a lot, wear a cover or scarf under your hat so you can take the hat off indoors with a minimum of fuss.
Bring lots of scarves! Scarves also work well for hikes, kayaking, and other sports where the heat of a wig won’t make you happy. I have added a couple of videos for how to tie a scarf, just for your convenience, and they will lead you to others.
Remember, if we feel good about how we look, that is what we will project. Also, remember that most people are much more interested in how they look to scrutinize others too much. Once I realized that I was able to relax a lot faster when venturing out in something new for the first time, whether it be a new wig, a scarf, hat, or even a new outfit.
Go out there and have fun. A lot of us “missed” last summer staying more inside than out. So, we have a lot to make up for. Let’s get out there and join the world—and we will look good doing it.
Until next week, stop and smell the flowers.
I have written before about the psychological challenges that hair loss can bring. Whether temporary or permanent, when we look in the mirror, we are different from who we were. Experts have written volumes on how hair loss can affect one’s mental health. If you are affected no one needs to tell you that, you live it. But there is often more at work here than the psychological adjustment one is called on to make when this happens. We saw or heard about what happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when Jada Pinkett Smith was made the butt of a joke centered around her hair loss. We are constantly being judged, especially those in the public eye. Why are we so quick to judge, to offer criticism? Why the need to always be perfect?
The world seems to judge women more harshly than men when it comes to looks (though men in the public eye seem to be targets the same as women). In an ageist world, any sign of baldness, or thinning hair, reminds us of our mortality and powerlessness over our bodies. This can be difficult to deal with under the best of circumstances. Someone posted on social media about Jada Pinkett Smith, “why can’t she just wear a wig like everyone else?” So, it’s easy to see that some people see hair loss as a trivial issue and that it’s up to women to just shut up and go on about their lives. This is harder for some women than others. How dare Jada show up less than perfect? It wasn’t okay for Jada to show up as “herself” and in support of others in the same situation.
Wearing wigs to look and feel better is about a lot more than vanity. Those of us who wear wigs know that, but I often wonder if other women have thought about it at all. In addition to the day-to-day concerns about wig-wearing— (can people tell? Will it blow off? How can I enjoy summer weather or sports? What about telling a potential partner?), we find it hard to talk about, even to friends. Why? The pressure to be perfect.
When does it start—this pressure to be perfect? You won’t have to look hard to find many studies about teen bullying, eating disorders, online attacks, and peer-to-peer. Saving things about people to people online has made the situation worse. Young people are not as adept at dealing with bullying either in person or online as an adult would be. They listen to all the negative and take it in, and “wear it, own it” and there it is—the pressure to be perfect. We are not allowed flaws, they are hearing. This type of situation can cause such anxiety that it will manifest in self-harm, hair pulling, eating disorders, and other disorders.
While I have come to terms with my hair loss, and educated myself on wigs and wig wearing, I know that it takes time to feel comfortable with the process. I have learned the fun part of wig wearing, and have thirteen of them and counting. I no longer think of wig-wearing as a negative in my life. I appreciate that I have access to such varied and beautiful options.
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn – as perfect as she needs to be
It doesn’t matter if you are a new wig wearer or have had years of experience, there is always some insecurity when you hit the “buy” button. This is especially true if you think that this one is “the one” or at least will be one of your favorites. But how can you make them last?
Most popular wigs are synthetic or heat-friendly synthetic ones. They are a great combination of a realistic appearance and a more manageable price point. We’ve all heard the projection: with proper care, synthetic wigs can last between 4-6 months if worn daily. That’s great, but what if you could do better?
Of course, the magic word is maintenance, or should that be two words—proper maintenance? Yes, it does matter, and it matters a lot. There are some common mistakes that wig wearers make, even seasoned ones. Here are a few that come to mind, and that I had to learn about along the way:
- Washing your wig too much: Think every ten days, or less if you don’t wear it all day. Pay attention to the look and feel of the wig. Look for build-up at the hairline. This is a flexible rule in that so much depends on the length of the wig, how many products you use and how often, and even the climate you live in. In the end, it will be something you can see and feel that will guide you.
- Not using the correct products and tools: Synthetic wigs require specific shampoos and styling products. Using products not made for synthetic wigs can damage the wig fibers and the cap itself.
- Using too much heat and too often: Heat-friendly wigs are made to withstand some heat, but it’s easy to overdo this. While the ability to add waves, curls, straighten and re-curl sounds great in theory, heat takes a toll on your fibers. Carefully monitor the heat level and pay attention to how the fibers are holding up. Over time the heat-friendly components do break down. Use heat sparingly.
- Not storing your wig properly: This is an often asked question—what is the best way to store a wig. Proper storage is more important than most wearers think. Invest in a good wig stand or several. If you rotate your wigs regularly, you might have several out on stands at all times. This is fine, just keep them out of direct sunlight and too much humidity. The collapsible and easily portable stands are much better than the Styrofoam heads, which can stretch the cap.
- Wearing your wig to the gym or bed—is a no-no for good reasons. The sweat and oils can cause damage to both the wig cap and wig fibers. During the night, your body sheds dead skin and produces oils, and not only will this clog pores but can cause oil build-up on your wig fibers and cap. The friction to the fibers as you move around during the night can break and tangle the fibers. If you are not comfortable going to bed with an exposed scalp, there are some lovely sleep caps available.
- Give your scalp and your wig a break. From hair for hats to hair halos and detachable bangs and wig caps, there are ways to keep your look and give your wig and scalp a break.
- Don’t forget your scalp and/or bio hair. Don’t neglect your scalp. Oils and dead skins cells will clog your pores and cause itching and odors. Our scalps must remain in good condition.
- Finding the right wig cap: If your scalp is sensitive, you might have to try a few caps to find the one that works best for you. This is especially true if you aren’t wearing a mono-top wig. Wig caps are a good investment in comfort.
Next week I’ll tackle the other big question: how can I fix a damaged synthetic wig?
Until next time,
The word “right” doesn’t ring true for me—maybe there should be a better word, maybe “best” is more accurate for this topic. When I ran across an article about picking the right wig, I had to smile a little. We wig wearers know that there is the best one for our mood, the weather, and the occasion, and this might not be the same wig at all. But I know what the article was trying to do. It was trying to advise wig wearers to beware of the pitfalls of picking a wig.Pitfalls are real. Unless we know about wigs in general and what we are looking for in particular, we are at the mercy of pictures and descriptions on a website, YouTube videos, and pictures of models. The article in question was one about women over 50 (but applies to all women) and talked about what is “right” for them. Again, that word doesn’t fit. So, let’s use “best” instead. Yes, some styles look better on older women than others. What do you want your wig to do for you? Do you want it to hide a large forehead, not call attention to a wide face, not emphasize a long face? Or do you not want to call attention to lines around the eyes?
This calls for an honest assessment. I have a good friend who is a stylist and married to a professional makeup artist who does the makeup for one of our local TV stations. Between the two of them, they gave me some asked for assessments that made me cringe a bit, but I was grateful. Now I know what styles work best, what colors, and what lengths work for me at my age. Any wig can look beautiful, but does it make YOU look beautiful? Don’t get caught up just looking at the wig itself. Learn what the wig can do FOR you. My stylist friend said that one of the biggest mistakes that he could see even from a distance is that women tend to pick wigs with too much hair. He says that so many wig wearers put on wigs with three times the density of what a normal head of bio hair would have. If the wig wearer knows that, likes that, then fine. But if you are trying to fool the rest of the world and you are not trying to call attention to your hair/head in this way, then think about the density. “We seldom see ourselves as others see us,” he reminded me. His wife, the makeup artist, said the one biggest mistake that she sees is that women forget that as they age their skin tone changes.
We lose that natural “bloom” of youth and then overcompensate with blush, and it’s usually too much and in the wrong place on the face. She said that our mantra should be, “less is best” and step away from the mirror. She went on to say that women often pick a color that looks good in the case but does not suit their coloring. Again, she advises you to put just a little on your face and then literally step away. Go back in fifteen minutes, take another look, and see what you think. If all you can see is a blotch of artificial color, you know you made a mistake. In summary, the wig colors and the makeup colors should work with us and not against us. When we change wig colors, we might want to think about changing makeup/blush colors if the changes in the wig colors/hues are very different. It’s easy to fall back on the “old-faithful” products and get into a rut. The stylist and makeup expert advises that we take a fresh look in the mirror every couple of months and think about our wig style, color, length, and the same goes for what we put on our face—does it work with our new style and color? Remember we have undertones to our skin. Those undertone colors and the outward skin tone work together to reflect your face to the world.
Until next time, go look in the mirror and see what you think. My session with the
experts was very helpful for me. I learned my face has become more oval and less round-ish as I have aged, and I can now wear some styles that didn’t work as well before. I learned that peach blush is not my friend, but a rosy pink is. I learned that “too blonde” wash me out, but a light brown with blonde highlights works best for my skin colors and gives me a more natural look that I prefer.
Happy mirror session - good luck!
We all know the usual things that can cause people to look twice and think someone is wearing a wig: too much shine, odd colors, cheap wigs that are more like a hat, too coarse fibers that don’t move. And the list goes on.
In my years of dealing with wigs and wig wearers I have noticed that there are three groups of wig wearers (in general):
- Those who wear wigs for fun and fashion. They usually don’t care if someone knows they wear a wig.
- Those who are terrified of wigs and don’t want anyone to know they wear one (it takes them forever to wear one out of the house. And why—because they don’t pick the right one (mostly due to lack of information) and now they are not happy with how they look in the wig they bought.
- (and this is a unique one) A wig wearer who thinks more hair is better (that’s not necessarily so), and those who are so afraid of more hair/big hair that they won’t try anything that’s not low density.
Whatever category you fall into, or somewhere in between, there are challenges to all of us in our wig journey and for different reasons. We are individuals with individual likes, needs, and there is no “one size fits all” answer on the wig journey.
It is often difficult to “see” ourselves as we are, or as others see us. We often have a picture of ourselves in our minds that may not have a lot to do with reality. Are we trying to look like we did ten or twenty years ago when we had all of our bio hair? Trying to mimic that is often the first and biggest mistake that wig wearers make. They forget that if they had kept their hair and it had aged with them, that it would look different today, and not as it did ten or twenty years ago.
When I asked NON-wig wearers if they could generally spot a wig, and if so, what was the giveaway, here are their top ten answers:
- Too much hair.
- Too much shine.
- Flat or unrealistic color.
- Too much hair on top.
- Hair that didn’t fit the person’s age (in days gone by, it was elderly women who were more likely to wear wigs, and they were mostly short). I think this contributed to the idea that older women should only wear short styles. As I have written about before, this is not always the case. There is NO rule about age. It’s about how one looks in a style and color—how one feels.
- Weird hairstyles (not sure what they had in mind).
- No visible part in the hair or the part was wig-related.
- The hairline was not real.
- The hair was too perfect, like a sprayed-on helmet.
- The weird hairs sticking up on top of the ends of the hair looking clumpy.
As a wig wearer, I fight against all these things, as I know so many of you do. Most of us have learned or will learn which brands and styles work best for us so that we can defeat all of these “it’s a wig” markers. I think I’ve found my styles, brands, and colors, and hope you have found yours. In the end, it’s about what makes us feel good about ourselves. If I can go all day and never think about my hair/wig, it’s a good day. If I am uncomfortable, worried about my wig, unsure how realistic it looks, then it takes away from my day and can alter my mood. Therefore, I do all that I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’s a process, and none of us will become or has become wig experts overnight. So, be kind to yourself on this journey, and know that we are more than our hair.
Until next time, I’m wishing for autumn, and loving my new wig, “Ready for Takeoff”