A lot of us are guilty of looking at a wig model—lovely, great skin, good bone structure, and all the rest, and thinking, if only briefly and subconsciously…oh, this wig will make me look like that! I admit to doing that a little at the beginning of my wig adventure. Of course, we know that as beautiful as the wig might be, it is not magic. But I mention this because I know it can so easily cloud our judgement when picking out the best wig for ourselves. We get that picture of the model set in our head, and when we get the wig home, put in on, and there we are—not the model, and we can be disappointed. We do/will learn to buy the wig that is best for us eventually, but it can be frustrating along the way.
How do we deal with these false expectations? The best way is to be honest with ourselves. Is our face too round for that style that we love on the model? Is our neck shorter than the model’s and therefore making the wig longer on us, perhaps hitting us farther below the chin then we would have liked? Does that long hair on the model, so appropriate for her face shape, make our face look dragged downward? Does that pixie style on the model with the cute petite face make our larger and/or rounder face look even more so? What about color? Do we know our best colors, or are we open to making a few trial and error purchases?
Reality—that is the thing most of us want—we want to look as if we are not wearing a wig, so that means we need to wear the style and color that suits us best. We want people to look at us and see us, not a wig. As to age bias, it is not to say that no one over a certain age should rule out all longer wigs, or certain styles, not at all. We need to be comfortable with what we will look like in those lengths and styles. If we feel confident, we will look confident; and that can make a huge difference in how people see us.
As you have likely heard or read, it is important to see real people in these wigs. That is why, I always encourage everyone to look for the wig they like on every available media outlet. See it in different lights and on different people. Get the model’s photo out of your head and try to see how it will look on you. Your experience will be a better one with a bit of pre-purchase planning. What are your expectations? It is important to come to terms with that, and eventually you will.
In the end, it is all about being honest with ourselves and combining what we like with the reality of who we are. We all know that our face changes with age. Our skin color even changes as pigments fade, and the muscle tone in our face is less defined. We have that to deal with along side the development of creases and wrinkles. But don’t despair, a wig can make all the difference in how you look. You likely know that by now or will soon if you are new to wig wearing. The trick is finding the right wig for you and just you. Who cares what the model looks like or anyone else?
I want to wrap up with a bit about fear. I don’t care who you are, how beautiful or accomplished, or how secure you are—the first time out of the house with your first wig can bring you to your knees. No matter how good you think you have secured it, how good it feels, or how good you believe you look in the style or color, you begin to doubt. Doubts lead to fear, and fear leads to paralysis. Just know this—most people are too busy worrying about what they look like or what they are having for dinner, or if they need to lose ten pounds. In other words, we are pretty busy caring about ourselves. No one is going to be thinking about wigs—but you.
So, the sooner you get out there and go about your life in your wig, the better. It will just become part of you, and you won’t think about it again. You’ll be glad you look so nice and that it didn’t take an hour to fix your hair.
In the end it is all about you and your situation and life, so what you decide about the first time out with a wig is very personal. Everyone must tackle this one for themselves and make the best decision for their circumstances. Have you just been dealing with thinning hair and feel that you can wear a wig and won’t get a lot of notice from friends and colleagues? Or will the wig be such a change that now you must prepare for comments, questions, and how you want to address them? Think this through before your first time out the door. Two of my go-to wigs below:
1. Wearing wrong size caps – This is a common problem because wigs are made to a pattern and our heads are not. But trying to make your head fit into a wig too small or too large can mean all kinds of trouble. Not only will the wig not look right, or flattering, it can cause headaches, slip into wrong positions, and in general, make you want to forget about wigs.
2. Not securing the wig correctly – This is also a common mistake, especially for new wig wearers. There are so many different ways to do it that a lot of people get overwhelmed. There is a learning curve in this area, but it is worth learning. There is no best way or right way in that every wig wearer will have their preference. Do your research and find the best security measure for your comfort.
3. Having unrealistic expectations – Most of us look at pictures of highly styled wigs on models, or on experienced wig reviewers who know how to train and style a wig to its best advantage. We can learn from them. But it is not realistic for us to pull a wig out of a box, put it on her head, and expect it to look like those highly, professionally styled wigs you might see on television or a website.
4. Not being willing to work with your wig to make it your own. It’s easy to get frustrated when you pull a wig from the box and it’s just a bundle of fibers that won’t stay where you put it as you are working to figure out your styling techniques. At this point, some new wearers just give up. Know that there is an army of experts out there to help you with this. Some videos show us in detail, how to tame your hair, get rid of “box hair” and make a wig your own.
5. Trying to alter your wig when you don’t have the skills. I have seen more than one wig ruined by a new wig wearer who thought they could avoid the cost of a stylist by “doing it themselves” and some people can. But if you know that your skills are limited to a bang trimming, don’t attend any more than that on your wig. Yes, there are many YouTube videos out there showing you how to thin a wig, pluck, trim the lace, and make an artificial root—is this something that you feel comfortable doing? Are you saving $50 to lose a $300 wig?
6. Not learning how to style your wig – If you aren’t going to spend a little time getting to know how to work with your wig, style it, and care for it, then you will likely never be completely happy with it. We all love the shake-an-go wigs but if you are looking for something different, know that there is some work involved in learning how to style your wig.
7. Not using the right products on your wig, or not using them correctly. Again, there is a wealth of information out there about wig care products. It’s up to us to do our homework, and my advice is to do it long before you get that first wig. The more you know, the easier the process will be, and the more confident you will be in wearing and caring for your wig.
8.You are not perfect, your bio hair is or was not perfect, and your wig should not look perfect. Looking too perfect is a “this-is-fake” giveaway. Too much styling, and an over-sprayed, nothing moves style screams “wig” so don’t use a heavy hand with the spray or styling products. Less is best.
9. Positioning your wig incorrectly – I still see this even on some seasoned wig wearers. The wig is set too far back from the natural hairline or pulled down too low. This is another big mistake that is an instant giveaway. If you don’t have any bio hair to guide you to what was your hairline, use the four-finger rule. Hold your hand up over your brows to see if you have four fingers worth of space between brows and hairline. It’s a rough guide but is pretty accurate.
10. Not everyone should be a blonde – and I think we have all seen this mistake. Maybe you spent your life in your natural color, wanting to go blonde but it was too drastic. Now, it’s so easy to buy that pretty blonde wig that looks so beautiful on the model on the website. But STOP….and ask yourself if blonde makes you look BETTER or just different.
Until next time,