It took me going through chemotherapy to discover the greatest answer to a bad hair day known to women
Well maybe it isn't so KNOWN. To me, prior to this experience, wigs had a stigma I wouldn't dare approach. Wigs have gotten a bad rap due to what I refer to as prior "wig abuse". It usually went hand and hand with excessive blue eyeshadow and a big foundation line around the chin. Several things have changed my mind on this issue and I'd like to share them with divas of all circumstance. Wigs rule. Here's how to make the most of them and how to do it on a budget as well.
I believe the main stigma regarding wigs was left from the old school style that most of us associated them with. I remember my mother having a big beehive monster in a box in her closet. I think I was afraid it would come to life and bite me if I stayed in the closet in the dark. They truly didn't look real, if that ever was their intent. But things have changed and wigs along with women have come a long way baby. On my first wig shopping trip I cried, thinking of all the long black curly hair I would lose. I really don't know why, since I spent most of my life fighting humidity and mats. (Think Courtney Cox on the Friend's episode??? C'mon I know you saw it.) But once I got in there and started realizing the possibilities, I got excited. I even started to wear them before I actually lost my hair. I could actually have the hairstyles I always dreamed of. Wigs would do things my hair wouldn't think of doing. And for the commitment phobe, this is a dream come true. I could change my hair to match my outfit. Suddenly I was buying shoes to match my wig. Crazy.
It used to be the rule that you had to have "human" hair to get the most realistic look. Nowadays synthetic hair offers very competitive if not superior looks. Just be aware of the care instructions and that synthetic may not last as long as a human hair counterpart, and dear lord keep it away from heat. Trust me, not only shouldn't you curl it, but you should stay away from the oven. Period. Hire a chef! (If you are like me you'll change your mind on style long before the wig wears out.) There are some wonderful sites here on Ebay for styles of both. Just do a search and you can find all price ranges, from one cent to one hundred bucks and beyond (Never have I paid that much). Going to a wig store is still one of the most fun "girlfriend" days you can have. And don't listen to all that "get a style closest to your natural hair" advice. Here is your chance to play and experiment. Use it. Do look for wigs that have a "faux scalp" effect if you plan to style it back or if you are particularly short, since people will probably have an easier view of the top of your head.
One of the main problems can be bangs, be careful here, they are a dead giveaway. Either havesomeone cut them to fit,or try yourself if you have some skill, or even slip them under a hat. For some reason people do not think to take a wig to have it styled, but you do have to work with them to get them to settle and frame your face well. Having it trimmed will help remove some of the bulk that is a big giveaway. Do pay attention to the wig sizing charts. I don't always rely on them, but if it states that it is extra large or small, it can affect the bulkiness in back, which may prompt people to wonder what small woodland creature you are smuggling around with you. Play with accessories and styling, try putting up a longer wig, or or pulling some of the hair back with a beret. This throws people off for some reason. Watch the area around your ears and try to pull some tendrils down around your face to make the hairline look natural. You may wish to shave the nape of your neck if you have some stray soft hair that doesn't match. If you got a color that matches your natural hair, try pulling in through some of the holes and around and in front of the bangs (mix them in) so that it blends. This is sometimes known as "backcombing". The natural hair adds texture and tones that look more realistic. This may take some practice. Spend some time playing with your hair in the mirror and check all the angles carefully. Consider it a diversion. Be careful with styling products though. Use wig styling spray and maybe a light gel for flyaways and to add a little "muss" to a new wig. They are usually just a little "too perfect" and soft and need a little fluffing and shaking. If you pay attention you can pull of quite a coup.
A wig under a hat or cap is almost never suspected. I cannot express the complete shock most people express to me when they find out the hair on my head is not the hair I was born with.
The answer to is it real? Is it yours? Absolutely, I have the receipt!
Many women under chemo have expressed that with the new hair and special undergarments friends have expressed that they have a great new look, or even that they look the best they ever have! The other wonderful change that wigs have seen in recent years is the "extension". C'mon now lets be real...this is just a mini-wig attached a different way. Because celebrities and salons have become more adaptive to this phenomenon, wigs have made an incredible comeback. Many of those ladies whose style you envy are keeping a very big secret under their "hat". There are more choices and options available and it is easier to get advice. Most women I know that wore wigs during cancer treatment continue to wear them now, because of the fashion forward approach that has occurred as of late. I keep my hair just beyond a buzz cut these days, which is also fashionable, sexy (amazingly so) and infinitely easy to care for. Not to mention that a wig sits easily on top of it. I can cut it myself or have my husband buzz it. I can't tell you the last time I set foot in a salon, and I get constant compliments on my hair, no matter how I wear it.
If you aren't bold enough to buzz (trust me I NEVER thought this would be me), then make sure you have a sturdy wig cap underneath your faux tresses. One of the dead giveaways of "wigging" is the telltale poof that comes from your natural hair not being secured properly. Of course if you are going to be very active, make sure you secure your wig well. Bobby pins are helpful. If you are bald there are liquid adhesives that are sold at medical supply stores that will help you hold on to your hair. Of course a buzz cut is like velcro for your pate. You don't need much help with that.
That said hats and scarves are wonderful too. DO remember that throwing a cap over a bald head can still be telling. Missing "sideburns" and neckline hair is a giveaway. Along with missing or thinning eyebrows. Eyebrows can now be purchased (they were the thing I was most afraid of losing...and couldn't find fake ones anywhere! Now they are everywhere!) I did learn how to feather them in with a pencil and they looked very real. I also count this as a blessing as I was able to reshape my brows to suit my face better and now keep them trimmed in that manner. A scarf under a ball cap or fedora (think Alicia Keys) is a hip and comfortable look and doesn't give away those missing chemo hairlines.
Yes thanks to wigs...I rarely have a bad hair day and love the freedom. They are really wonderful inventions. You may find a new secret joy in them...whether you are on chemo or not. They can simplify your life.
For more pictures visit my Ebay shop...those pictures in the header are of some of my favorite do's. And I have many many more!