I went shopping for wigs and hairpieces today! My hair loss is progressing so quickly that while last year I thought I still had several more years where I could disguise my hair loss, now I want to be prepared and have a wig or hairpiece ready. Up until a month ago I knew nothing about wearing hair, but since then I’ve been researching clip in toppers, bonded toppers, synthetic vs human hair wigs, clip in bangs, extensions, and all types of supplemental hair. Her Alopecia has a great forum to discuss wigs, toppers, and hair systems. Women’s Hair Loss Project also features forums, and women blogging about their experiences with wearing hair.
I’ve decided if I have to lose my own hair, wouldn’t it be nice to have a great head of hair? I’ve always wanted blonde hair with highlights, but it was too much effort to do it when I was younger, and now that my hair is so thin, I’m afraid to do further damage by trying to lighten it that much. The reason I decided to try on wigs is because I wanted to see what I’d look like with great hair. I also wanted to see if I could pull of being a blonde.
Trying on wigs and hairpieces for the first time
I went to a store that sells nothing but wigs and hairpieces today. The woman that runs it has genetic hair loss, and she’s been wearing wigs for 30 years. Her store carries two brands of synthetic wigs - Noriko and Rene of Paris. I tried on several styles of wigs, and found out most of the wigs look totally different on me than they look on the model in the brochure. Most wigs come with too much hair, and the store will cut and thin out the wig for you to make it look more realistic. Some of the wig hairstyles that look so cute on the model looked horrible on me, so that’s the reason I wanted to try wigs on in person, rather than just buy something straight from the internet. Getting a wig that suits your face shape is essential. I have a long narrow face, like Sarah Jessica Parker, so I found I need hair that is long and full. Also picking a color that complements your skin tone will make the wig look more natural.
The store didn’t have a lot of blonde wigs, but the one I tried on looked bad, so I’m still not quite sure if I can pull off being blonde:( A lot of the wigs come with highlights, and darker roots, so they look a lot more natural than the wigs our moms used to have available to wear. The wigs are really lightweight, however I wasn’t prepared for how tight they felt on my head. They felt secure, though, and the sales woman said none of her clients have ever had a wig come flying off, even in the wind. That’s one of my biggest fears!
Even though my hair is so thin, I still felt it creating bulges under the wig, so I would have to learn how to pin it up better under the wig, or I could just cut it shorter. Also, my real hair was peaking out from the sides of the wigs, and even a little on the top. When I tried on the brown wigs, my real hair blended seamlessly. But with the lighter wigs, I’d have to find a way to make sure all of my real hair was completely under the wig, because otherwise it would be totally obvious that I had on a wig. The other thing that looked unnatural was where the wig met my forehead. It didn’t look quite natural to me, and if the wind was blowing, I’d be afraid you could tell I was wearing a wig.
Before going straight to a wig, I thought my smartest move would be to get a clip-on hairpiece that matches my real hair, so that I can get used to wearing hair, without having to wear a full wig. The clip-on toppers come with little combs that securely attach to your hair. I thought this was a great solution, but the sales woman said they will ruin your hair and cause traction alopecia where the clips are attached. UGH! She said I could attach the hairpiece with bobby pins, but that sounds difficult. I need to research this further. My current goal is to preserve my hair and not cause further damage, just in case I can find a “cure” for my hair loss soon. I’m not ready to give up on my real hair yet. I was told wigs won’t damage my hair underneath at all, but the wigs felt really tight, so it’s hard to imagine they won’t do some sort of damage too.
With the pre-made hairpieces, none of them matched my real hair, so I’d probably need to get one custom made. Even online I couldn’t find a large selection of clip-on hairpieces. There are places in town that make them, but I know they are expensive. A few weeks ago I bought the Jessica Simpson clip-in bangs, but the color wasn’t a match to my hair, and there was a big bump on the top of the bangs, where it clips onto your real hair. I don’t have enough hair to cover up the bump.
A lot of women get hairpieces that are glued or taped to theirs heads. The toppers can stay on for a week at a time, or even longer, and they seamlessly match your hair if you have them custom made. I might end up going this route, but I will find a place locally that does it. There are places like Hair Direct that will make custom pieces for you, but I don’t trust my skills in being able to figure out measurements and colors and thickness on my own.
Where I go from here
For now I’ll probably buy a cheap wig online from Vogue Wigs. The brand Forever Young sells really cute wigs for less than $50 – the picture you see here is the wig I’m probably going to buy. Now that I know what style and color looks good on me, I’ll choose a light brown color with blonde highlights. I am going to “practice” with it by wearing it to places I don’t usually go to, or maybe I’ll wear it when I’m out of town and don’t know anyone. Can you wear a wig while doing yoga and exercising? How do you handle getting a wig that’s drastically different from your real hair? – everyone will know! I don’t think you can swim in synthetic wigs - what do you do if you want to have a fun-filled beach getaway? These are all questions I don’t yet have answers to (and these are the reasons hair loss sucks)!
Tell me your experiences with wearing wigs, hairpieces, toppers, etc.!