Wigs – The Good and The Challenges
I will be the first to admit that I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with my wigs. On bad days I hate that I have to wear one, but mostly I am grateful that we have such amazing ones to pick from. I appreciate being able to try a new look and/or color and find the right ones for me without the trauma and drama of going through a salon process. Now I can just pick the look and style I want, put it on, and I am out the door feeling and looking just fine!
But—yes, there are challenges to wig wearing. I wanted to talk about a few today and how I have learned to overcome some of them. You likely have your own methods too, but if you are newer to wig wearing, maybe some of these tips will help you.
First, and what is a worry for all wig wearers—the security of knowing that your wig will stay in place. After all, we are all going for reality. We don’t want our wigs slipping or worse. We do all we can to make sure people don’t look at us and think—wig. So, let’s visit a few things that you can do and some things to consider when it comes to wig security.
- Basic bobbie pins. If you have bio hair and the right wig cap (the pins go through the cap to your hair), and this may be all that you need. A lot of people just use the two long pins that often come with your wig. I have done this myself at times.
- Wig grip. This is the kind of thing I find you either love or hate. If you have a sensitive scalp, have an issue with things on your head making you feel too hot, this might be an issue. Some people love them and would not be without one.
- Double-sided tape. I have used this, and after getting better at placement, (trial and error) I ended up liking this idea. If your tape placement is good you can often get several “wears” before you have to replace it.
- Glue. Wig glue has seen many advancements over the years. But it seems that most wig wearers now use something not meant for wigs at all. “It Stays” - a body-safe adhesive product developed for an entirely different purpose, seems to be the glue of choice these days. I own it but have not yet used it, but I plan to do so soon. (a tip – store it upside down so the roller ball cap doesn’t freeze up).
Second, let’s look at the wig cap itself. If you are having an issue with the wig riding up and have an adjustable cap, try adjusting the tension in the straps. Sometimes, it is as simple as that. We seem to think tighter is better for security, but it doesn’t work that way. Also, think about cap size and your head measurements. Are you wearing the right size—for your wig brand? If you are on the petite end, it could be more challenging for you to find that perfect fit in some brands.
Third, as we all know, the way the wig sits on our head, or more accurately on our bio-hair, makes a lot of difference. Depending on the type of wig cap and the amount of bio hair that you have, or don’t have, the wig can slide around more easily with certain cap structures. You may have to use different securing methods based on which kind of cap that you have. You may have to go through a bit of trial and error to find what works best, but you will find the right system for you and your various wig caps. Don’t give up too soon.
Yes, your wig comes with directions. We’ve all seen the little card enclosed with our wig. And if you have watched any wig videos, and I recommend that you watch many, you will run across all kinds of tips and tricks for taking care of your wig. I would say this—follow the manufacturer’s recommendations first and foremost. But in addition, there are things you can do to tamp down that shine and those wild and crazy pieces of hair that stick upright on top.
I have read some “interesting” things about how to fix these issues, but experience has taught me that less is best. Too much product, whether it be the styling products or even the dry shampoo, can make the wig end up looking dirty and greasy. Start small and then adjust as you see the look that you like. My personal heroes are the dry shampoo and hair spray with a light touch. My wigs tend to be simple in style so I don’t use the styling products but can see how they certainly can add zip and “personality” to the right style. The amount of wild hair spikes and the shine also depends on the type of wig that you have. The total synthetic ones tend to be shiner, and the lighter the color the shiner they seem to be due to light reflection. I find that the heat-friendly ones with more life-like fibers tend to have less of an issue with that kind of thing. But there are some beautiful all synthetic wigs, and with a bit of TLC, you can make them look great too.
Of course, your wig care routine and maintenance will depend upon what kind of wig that you have. Real hair wigs have a different care routine, more like you’d expect of real hair. Mixed fiber wigs, (human and synthetic blends) and heat-friendly wigs, are all a bit different from strictly synthetic. I will do a separate blog on wig fibers and construction soon. The fibers used and the talent of the wig designer and crafter make all the difference in how your wig will feel, fit, and last. Choose well.
Wig storage, washing, and rotation: Some people rotate their wigs often enough that they leave them on the wig “heads” all the time. But most experts recommend that if you are not wearing your wigs very often, store them back in their boxes just like they came, inside out and netted, in most cases. The idea is that if you store them long-term on a wig “head” the wig might stretch or come to take the shape of that head and not your head. I keep two in rotation, always sitting on my “heads” and the rest in their boxes.
Seasoned wig wearers often say that having three in rotation is even better because it makes your wigs last longer because you are not washing the same ones so often. I had three in rotation when I went into an office five days a week, but now I work from home so two is more than enough at the moment. The longer wigs will take a beating faster. The friction of the fibers against your clothes and body will wear down the ends faster than seems fair. Don’t be afraid to baby them with conditioner more often and even trim them if you have that talent.
Wig Washing: A lot of people tend to over-wash or under-wash their wigs. Again, it depends so much on you and how much product that you use. I don’t use a lot of products in mine, so I can get away with a longer period in-between wig washing. The more you wash your wig, and the more care that goes into that washing will make a difference over time. Your wig fibers are not meant to last forever but will last a lot longer with the right care.
Coming blogs will focus on first-time wig wearers; wig construction and fibers; and when wearing the same wig, why we don’t look like the wig model on YouTube or the website (besides the obvious). In the meantime, send in your questions and requests for more information—what do you want to talk about, or learn more about?
I have added a couple of pictures of myself in my newest Raquel Welch “Muse,” (color RL 12/22SS Cappuccino) and a picture of my new favorite, “Straight up with a Twist” in exactly the same color, just about dry on my wig stand. These are my go-to wigs, plus my “Real Deal” wig, but that picture seems to have vanished in the dark computer-vortex, but I hope to have that in a later blog.
I have included some further links/info on where to get the products I talked about.
Two views of my two favorites, just a different light, and angle show you the lovely color blending in these wigs. It is the very same Muse wig that I am wearing in the selfie. The angle in the selfie makes it look a bit puffy on top, but it really isn’t. I was just looking downward a bit. Better photos in the future, promise. I wanted to show you how pictures can be a bit deceiving. It is about the lighting and the camera. So that is why I advise looking at a lot of wig pictures and demos and on YouTube. It will save you from being disappointed in the color if you know what to expect.
Also, no two wigs are the same. Even hand-tied by the same craft-person, no two will be identical. Understanding all this helps us decide what is important to us. Is having the exact highlights in the exact place on that wig a dealbreaker for you? If you know upfront that there will always be some differences, you’ll be happier. Also, I have learned not to make snap judgments. I like to live with a wig a few days before I decide for sure it is not for me. I like to try it on several times a day and look at it in different lights, different rooms, outside, all to get a real picture of how it looks on me—that is the real reason to buy the wig you buy. How does it look on YOU?
Send in your questions and/or topics you’d like to know more about: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just note my name in the question and they will make sure that I get it.