Wig Wearers - Avoid these 10 Common Mistakes!
Whether you are brand new to wearing wigs or you have been wearing them for a while, there are some common missteps most of us make. To prolong the life of your wigs, and enjoy wearing them more, here are 10 common mistakes you can easily avoid.
1. Not Measuring Your Head
I wore wigs for over 25 years before I ever measured my head. What was the point? Wigs pretty much came in 3 sizes – Petite, Average, and Large. While that is still true, it is important to know the measurements of your head because one company’s average may be another company’s petite. Even within a brand, different styles may fit differently and cap construction matters, as well. Hand-tied and basic caps may be more snug than mono and open wefted caps. The most important measurement is your head circumference but your front-to-back and ear-to-ear measurements also matter. You also need to consider how your measurements are affected by bio hair (or no bio hair), wig grips and caps, and bodily changes such as weight loss/gain. Learn how to easily measure your head in this article here.
2. Not Doing Your Research
Choosing a wig can be confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to close your eyes and pick one. It is a big decision; the wig will be on your head, in open view, and how comfortable you feel in it and how much you like it will determine your comfort level and self-confidence. We are fortunate that we have a world of information at our fingertips. Read articles, watch videos, read others’ questions and answers. Learn the different cap constructions and types of fiber (I promise it’s not as complicated as it seems), watch style and color comparisons, read customer reviews. A wig is an investment; approach it that way. Do your homework and make informed decisions.
3. Not Taking Care of Your Wigs Regularly
Okay, in all honesty, for over 20 years, I wore my wig, tossed in a closet, slept in it, swam in it, washed, and conditioned it, and just kept cutting away at the frizz until it was dead. And then I’d wonder why it didn’t last longer. Thankfully, when I stopped being angry about needing to wear wigs, I became open to learning how to care for them. Wigs can last a long time, depending on brand, fiber, frequency of wear, and so many other factors, but we can lengthen or shorten their lifespans. I’m talking simple TLC here, nothing time consuming. It can be as simple as don’t sleep or lay down with your wig, comb it to detangle it during the day and at night, keep it away from ovens if it’s not heat-friendly, don’t wash it too often, and store it properly. You would do all that for a new outfit, right? Your wig needs care also.
4. Using the Wrong Tools and Products
Since I’m confessing my sins here, I used to use any shampoo or hairbrush I had near me on my wigs. Oy! Your wig needs the proper tools and products to get the best life out of them. At a minimum, you need shampoo and conditioner made specifically for synthetic hair, a water spray bottle, and spray detangler. You need a wig head for styling and/or a plastic stand where the wig can dry after it’s been washed. A wide-tooth comb is the tool of choice. Depending on the type of fibers you have – synthetic, heat-friendly, or human hair – you might get a hot air brush/comb, a curling iron or flat iron, or other specially made heat tools. There are specialty scissors for cutting, trimming, and layering. If this all sounds like a lot, relax. You don’t need everything, but you really should learn what you can and can’t use on your wig.
5. Not Giving the Wig a Fair Chance
Last week I got a new wig, tried it on, and declared it a big “NO!” I immediately listed it for sale. No one was interested so I gave it a cold soak to reduce the box hair, let it dry upside down and when I tried it on the next day, I really liked it. It needed one thing more, some wispy feathery layers. Declaring my love, I took down all the listings and put-up reviews instead. Now, this is not so cut and dry. For the companies that do take returns, you cannot do anything to the wig except look at it and try it on for size. No shaking, no combing, no styling, nothing. You can only really determine fit and color. But if you can’t return it, and you sell it in a wig group, if need be, you have license to play (so long as you honestly report any modifications in the sales post). So, shake it out, wake up those fibers, comb through the permatese, change the part, give it a cold soak – just give it a chance. Sometimes a new wig feels quite overwhelming when you first put it on. Oh, and your mood can affect your opinions so avoid decisions on tough days.
6. Sticking to One Color/Length/Style
This one isn’t so much a mistake as it is a limitation, we place on ourselves. We usually choose our first wigs to match our bio hair – color, length, and style. If we aren’t comfortable yet being open about wig wearing in public, we buy wigs that look almost identical so no one will notice a radical change in our appearance. For over 25 years, every wig I bought was shoulder-length, the darkest brown and wavy/curly – just like my bio hair used to be. When I finally decided to embrace wig wearing, I went a little lighter, then even lighter, and then shorter, longer, straighter and you know what? It’s so much more fun this way! Not only can I change it up every day, but I learned that just because I was born with dark brown hair doesn’t mean that’s how I look best. I look younger and brighter in lighter colors and its fun picking out which hair I’ll wear each day, just like my clothes. Don’t limit yourself; have fun.
7. Thinking Colors will Look the Same across Styles
This one is my latest mistake. I decided I loved a certain Estetica Designs color, so I got 5 different styles in that color. I only liked the color of 3 of them. Then I did it again with another color and while I love it in 2 styles, I don’t prefer it on the other styles. All styles do not show the same color the same way. How a color is expressed has a lot to do with the texture and style – highlights may look more dramatic on curly pieces; colors may look darker on shorter pieces – as well as the type of fiber. The same color will look lighter and less shiny on heat-friendly fiber than on regular synthetic and on human hair, even lighter. A color from Envy Wigs that I loved on a long wig isn’t doing it for me in a shorter style. This is another reason to experiment and try new colors and styles.
8. Thinking Everyone is Looking at Your Head
When you first put on a wig, you think everyone is looking at your head. It’s normal. We aren’t used to the wig – not the feel of it, the weight of it, or that it’s so much beautiful hair. But trust me, we are the only ones preoccupied about it. Think of it like the teenager who won’t go to school because she has a pimple on her nose and “EVERYONE WILL SEE IT.” People tend to be busy and somewhat self-absorbed with short attention spans. They’re not concerned with your hair and if they are looking at it, most likely, they are admiring how great your hair looks. Why is this a mistake? Because some of us let this fear stop us from living life fully and completely. I did it for years. Life is too short to worry about what people might be thinking.
9. Focusing on the Loss Rather than the Freedom
Hair loss is hard. It’s heartbreaking. It’s traumatic. Not for everyone but for most of us. Society places so much value on appearances, especially for women. Some women say they would rather lose a limb than their hair. I get it and I spent decades angry and resentful about my hair loss, depressed and ashamed. I felt like I was worth less than anyone with a full head of hair and I was envious. All that negativity just spiraled, and I hated myself for this “failure.” Less than a year ago, some major life changes motivated me to stop blaming myself for something I didn’t cause and couldn’t control. I was done blaming myself for something I didn’t do, and I told everyone online and in real life that I wear wigs. Once that weight was off me, the fun began. Hair loss didn’t have to limit me. Rather, I found freedom – to be who I am, to be honest, to help others, and to embrace the variety of helper hair choices available to me. I stopped thinking I was cursed and started seeing the blessing I was given.
10. Going It Alone
Most of my hair loss experience, I went through alone. My mother wore wigs, but this didn’t bond us. Rather, it was another reason for me to be angry. In her day, she went through it completely alone. There was no internet, no Google, no Facebook groups. We are so fortunate to live in a time when the entire planet is at our fingertips. Not only can we find information, but we can find comrades, friends, peers and mentors. Last year I joined lots of wig and hair loss support groups and guess what? I wasn’t alone. Thousands and thousands of people make up these supportive groups where we can share fears, questions, progress, mistakes, laughter, tears, prayers and hold each other up. The women in these groups are my wig sisters and some have become dear, cherished friends. So, join groups, lurk for a while, find the few that best fit your needs and personality, and ask for help. Before you know it, you’ll be offering help and advice. I never realized just how many women are affected by hair loss and/or wear wigs. There are so many of us. We are not alone.