Why consider a wig? While wigs can offer privacy, convenience or transformation; the decision to wear a wig, or not, is a personal one. This series is designed to give you the information you need to make a choice based on facts, not fear. Having good information can lead to confidence in whatever choice you make.
For many, privacy while going through treatment is a chief concern. Privacy can look like different things to different people. For one, a wig can allow some time to process things before sharing the news of your diagnosis. Many women opt for a wig because they have young children or grandchildren and do not want to alarm them about the changes in their appearance. Many women have told me that they want people to see them…not the cancer (The loss of hair being an outward symbol of a private health issue). Privacy in the work place is another thing a wig can offer. And let’s not over-look the value in wearing a wig for ourselves! A well-chosen wig can help you feel more like yourself enabling you to resume your daily activities with confidence.
Remember, buying a wig is not a commitment to wearing a wig. The wig may offer you peace of mind and never leave your bathroom shelf. In the course of your chemo treatment and time without hair there may be an event that a wig may offer just the right support. Case in point, a woman I worked with whose granddaughter was getting married did not want to be photographed in a scarf. She wanted to look like herself and enjoy this occasion without attention to her treatment. She got a beautiful wig, and was able to get ready faster than anyone in the wedding party while reserving her energy for the event. The photographs capture the memorable imagery of the night; dancing with her son, the father of the bride, and of her with the beautiful bride, her granddaughter. No one will remember she was wearing a wig. She later wore the wig to church and on other occasions all because she had bought it for this one special day.
If a wig can assist you in any of these areas, then I say it’s a good time to try one on for size. Ahead in this series we will explore the different types of wigs and offer advice on shopping, care, insurance and more.
Jeanna Doyle is a licensed hairdresser and esthetician trained in corrective makeup and oncology esthetics. She is the founder of the nonprofit, Suite HOPE (Helping Oncology Patients Esthetically), and the developer of The HOPE Method an internationally recognized corrective makeup curriculum. Her book, Wig ED What to look for when looking for a wig, is out now.
One of the biggest myths about wigs is that you need to purchase an expensive human hair wig or it will look like, well, like you are wearing a wig. I can tell you first hand: That is not true. I have shopped with many women on all kinds of budgets and have always found great options at all price ranges.
For example, after successfully shopping for a wig with one woman, she told me people did not believe her when she would tell them she was wearing a wig. She said, “My own mother did not know I was wearing a wig!” Now you may think she must have spent hundreds of dollars to find such a wig. But, I can tell you her wig was synthetic, cost under fifty dollars and came with a trim that helped frame her face perfectly.
The materials used to create wigs are typically human, synthetic or a blend (made up of a combination of both human hair and synthetic fibers).
Human hair wigs have many of the limitations and benefits of natural hair. They will lose their shape after they get wet from rain, humidity or washing. They require more of a commitment from additional care and higher cost. But, the human hair wig provides more options. They can be colored and you can use curling irons and blow dryers. Seek a professional wig stylist for color or cutting services.
The human hair wig, if cared for properly, can last up to 12 months. Many women opt not to wear a wig at all after they have enough coverage from the regrowth of their own hair. Hair can regrow enough to go without a wig or head covering within 6 to 8 months after chemo, so weigh that against the cost of a human hair wig.
-Price and value are different. Price refers to the cost. Value refers to peace of mind, which is priceless. –
Synthetic wigs are a great worry free option for many women in treatment. They come in a variety of colors and styles that would take time and money to achieve in a salon, but are yours for the wearing in a wig. A synthetic wig is a wash and go option, the style is locked in and will not lose its shape when it gets wet. After you wash it, the wig will resume its style. The color is also fixed and cannot be changed. Be careful not to use curling irons or high heat settings from blow dryers on synthetic wigs as they may singe or damage the wig. Some synthetic wigs are labeled ‘heat friendly’ and can take low settings on curling irons, but test an area on the underside of the wig first. A synthetic wig typically lasts, depending on care and factors like daily wear, from three to six months. As with a human hair wig, seek a professional stylist for cutting services.
Blends can offer the ease of maintenance of a synthetic wig with the added luxury and styling flexibility that comes from human hair. Check the care instructions to see if it is a ‘heat friendly’ blended fiber that allows curling irons and blow dryers. Follow the care instructions as the name states, it may also require a blend of care.
Remember, a wig is a tool that can offer you some privacy and peace of mind during treatment. Many women love the time they save getting ready with the convenience of a well-chosen wig. Stay tuned later in this series we will exploring the five key qualities to consider wig construction and more.
This series has been designed to help you decide whether or not to wear a wig. Wigging Out provides the key information you need to find a wig that works for you and your lifestyle.