A Cautionary Wig Tale by Shelly Fortin

A Cautionary Wig Tale by Shelly Fortin

A Cautionary Tale by, Shelly Fortin

Hi everyone. In my last blog post, I mentioned purchasing my first Estetica wig, Jessica. I loved Jessica so much; she became my wig of choice for dates and karaoke. At that time, I was going to karaoke every Friday night. It was held at a very homey country restaurant, and was always a lot of fun. I was in a group of about 12 to 14 people who would sit at several tables pulled together right near the KJ (like a DJ, but it’s the person who runs the karaoke equipment). The rest of the restaurant was also full of people who had come out to sing.

Jessica and I showed up every Friday for about 4 months, and then I started getting more involved with volunteering in my community and I joined Reading Pals. As a Reading Pal, I would go to a nearby elementary school and read age-appropriate books to the at-risk children who had been assigned to me. I had four “pals”, and read to each one and we discussed what they had heard. Each child had my individual attention for a half hour. My day to read was Friday. So, I started my day by putting Jessica on in the morning, going to Reading Pals, returning home, then preparing and eating my lunch. I would then clean up the kitchen, choose my songs and practice them before heading out to be at karaoke by 4:00 PM. (My beloved Estetica Jessica)

Just a quick aside – after my breast cancer surgery and chemo treatments, I started having severe acid reflux. It was constant, everyday, and it was awful. My primary care doctor diagnosed me with GERD, and wanted me to take a drug that I did not want to take. That day after my diagnosis, there was an announcement in the newspaper that a local alternative medicine doctor would be speaking at our local YMCA about Chinese Medicine and Gastrointestinal issues the next morning. I immediately called and registered for the talk. This doctor changed my life. He explained about energy flows in the body and the times of day that your digestive system is active and ready to work, and the times it was not. He said to eat breakfast between 7:00 and 9:00 AM, have a main meal around 1:00 PM, then nothing until the next morning. If I was very hungry, a little soup could be eaten around 4:00 or 4:30 PM, but definitely nothing was to go into my mouth after 6:00 PM. He also recommended that I cut out sugar as much as possible. I started eating this way immediately, and by the next day, my acid reflux was completely gone. Something I had suffered with for so many months was simply no longer there. Needless to say, I have eaten this way ever since.

Back to my cautionary tale… On the Friday following the alternative medicine doctor’s talk, I was wearing my beloved Jessica, and when I came home from Reading Pals, I decided to broil a steak for my main meal, since I was now eating my former dinner items at lunch time. When I bought my wigs, no one warned me about exposing synthetic fibers to heat. That oven was 425 degrees. The steak was delicious. I cleaned up the kitchen after my meal, got my songs ready, and left for karaoke, totally oblivious about what had happened to my Jessica.

All the usual people I sat with were there, and no one said a word about my hair. It wasn’t until I went to use the restroom, that I discovered the damage that blast of heat from opening the oven door had inflicted on my wig, although I still didn’t know this was the cause. I was washing my hands and glanced up into the mirror. I was horrified to see that my bangs looked shorter and very straw-like, and the entire right side of the wig was in a similar straw-like condition. O.M.W. What had happened to my wig?! How could I go back out into the karaoke room knowing I looked like this? I realized I had already been here at the restaurant for about 90 minutes, so everyone had already seen it anyway. I tried to pull some of the undamaged hairs just past my ear on the right side forward to cover the visible damage, but this really did not work. I used water from the bathroom sink to wet the bangs to try to push them to the side to disguise their appearance. This also was not very successful. I still did not know that it was the heat from my oven that had done this.




It was actually several weeks later while watching a YouTube video that I discovered the cause of the damage to Jessica. The wig reviewer was demonstrating how to open oven doors and uncover boiling pots while wearing a wig. I now understood what had happened. I had opened the 425-degree oven door and leaned in with my mitted right hand, so that the right side of my wig was closest to the heat. The result was the singed and melted fibers on the right side of Jessica. I tried conditioning treatments. I tried silicone baths. All in vain. It was a lost cause. My beautiful Jessica was, quite literally, “toast”.

Several months later, I was able to replace her with a brand-new Jessica. Now I take great care to avoid all heat-intensive situations. Even “Heat-safe” wigs cannot withstand the blast of heat as you open an oven door, or the burst of steam when you uncover a boiling pot, or the heat from your BBQ grill, or the heat from overhead outdoor heaters that restaurants use to keep patrons warm outside on chilly nights. Beware of putting your wig into any of these situations. Also be wary of fire pits, campfires, and bonfires.

I recently heard of a woman who went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for the first time, and when she realized how close to the intense heat she was sitting, immediately pulled her wig off her head and stuffed it into her purse, right in front of all the other diners. Don’t let any of your beloved wigs become the next “Jessica”. Stay heat aware, and keep them safe. My motto is “Wigs Are Jewelry for Your Head!” They make us feel beautiful. They give us courage. They bring a smile to our faces. As Tia would say “Life is short. Wear wigs.”

Shelly has a YouTube channel where she posts wig-related content. Check her out. https://youtube.com/@shelly410

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