Wigs and Hairpieces Shopping

Wigs and Hairpieces Shopping
October 1st, 2010

forever young wigI 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.

Clip-on Hairpieces
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.

Bonded Toppers
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.!

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Tags: Categories: Wigs and Hairpieces

19 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Rachel
    October 2, 2010 at 6:31 am
    Reply

    I am planning on looking for hair “solutions” soon and am really nervous. I haven’t tried on any wigs yet and just started reading up about falls and toppers too. There’s so much to know – I don’t want anyone to know the hair isn’t mine.

  • B.
    October 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm
    Reply

    Hi hun. Glad to hear that your wig shopping went well. If it makes you feel better I read the other day that stars like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell wear lace front wigs all of the time. I had no idea until I read it on the internet while doing wig research myself. I also came across a photo of Megan Fox wearing a lace front wig that looked absolutely fantastic. I would have thought it was her real hair. So I definitely think there are some great wigs out there, it’s just about finding the right fit. Let us know how it goes. I also have a question for you about acne, but I think I’ll post that on Savvy Skin.

  • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
    October 5, 2010 at 2:51 am
    Reply

    B.,
    Yeah a lot of celebrities wear wigs. I know Lady Gaga has like 20 wigs! And I think Beyonce is always wearing lace front wigs – same with Tyra. I have been compiling a list of female celebrities with hair loss, but maybe I’ll do a separate list of female celebrities that have worn wigs – that list would be a mile long!

  • B.
    October 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm
    Reply

    I would be interested to see the list of female celebrities with hair loss because I can’t think of one. This is probably because they enjoy the benefit of stylists who ensure no one can tell.

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      October 6, 2010 at 8:37 am
      Reply

      Fergie is the one celebrity with hair loss that is pretty obvious. I think Britney Spears has some sort of hair loss problem as well. Paula Abdul has thinning hair on top but when she was on American Idol she wore different hairpieces all the time. Naomi Campbell has traction alopecia. Debra Messing either had TE that reversed itself, or wears hair now because she has a wide part a few years ago. The woman that played Joanie on “Happy Days” has AGA and the last time I saw her on TV, she wasn’t doing anything to hide it. Those are a few female celebs I can think of…I think most just start hiding it at the first signs of thinning. Now that I’m looking for it, I’ve noticed a lot of celebs that are probably wearing wigs but I don’t know for sure – like singer Ann Wilson, for example.

  • B.
    October 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm
    Reply

    For the past week I have been blow drying my hair in the sink and only losing about 5-10 long strands. This is down from 30-50 that I was losing over the summer blow drying it in the exact same way (on low, no heat, no brush/comb). I think my TE may be slowing down?? I hope! I go to the derm on Monday for a pull test to see if it has in fact slowed down (my hair was at 50% telogen the last time he did the test). I am hoping that he gives me good news. If he tells me my hair still seems to be falling out at the same rate I think I will have to assume there is something else going on other than TE. I have an appointment next Thursday to be fitted for a wig just in case I get bad news. =/ Will keep you posted.

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      October 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm
      Reply

      B.,
      It sounds like your shedding phase may be coming to an end! Keep me posted.

  • Ariel
    February 16, 2011 at 9:25 am
    Reply

    Thank you for creating this blog! it is so supportive and quite insightful. :)

    I am very interested in everyone’s experience with different kinds of hair and caps. Which ones are the most comfortable and look the most natural? Which stores on line have a return policy? Are there any exceptional wig shops between LA and San Diego?

  • Lonni
    April 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm
    Reply

    I really love this cool blog!
    I have had good success with using clip on bang/closure pieces, although as my hair continues to thin, may have to go with a full cap. Groan.
    Don’t care much for the synthetics. Too shiny and “false” looking.
    The real good remy hair seems to work much better for me in terms of naturalness, movement and flow.
    Really like the products at studiohairdepartment.com. Reasonable pricing and great customer service. I bought their bangin bangs and bangs so fierce in the #3 color, which matched my hair almost perfectly. The hair has held up well.
    Open to any of your recommendations.
    Thanks for giving us a place to vent!

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      April 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm
      Reply

      Lonni,
      As of right now I don’t have any suggestions on where to buy hair pieces, but I actually was thinking about getting the Bangin Bangs or Bangs So Fierce also. I think I want to start with a human hair clip on piece and those pieces look really similar to my wavy hair. I don’t think any of them are a match to my hair color, but I was hoping since they are made of human hair I could dye them or get them dyed to match my hair.

      What kind of coverage do those pieces provide? Do they cover the whole top of your head? I wish I knew more about hair pieces, but I’m sure I will soon enough when I actually start buying more things to try.

  • Lonni
    April 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    Reply

    The BB’s have a larger coverage area, but they both have a decent size base.
    The hair seems to be of a very good quality. Have had my pieces for about 7 months.
    Still very pretty and soft. Can probably be dyed.
    What color is your hair? Maybe they have it. Just not pictured.
    Never hurts to ask. Right?
    Send them an email, and let us know what they said.
    Thanks for the wonderful, informative outlet for all of us!

  • CH
    April 28, 2011 at 4:34 am
    Reply

    After reading this post I “jumped the gun” and ordered my first (hopefully) “solution.” Jessica Simpson makes a Fringe Clip-on that’s Human Hair and seems to look pretty natural (from the pictures and videos I have seen). I hope this will help me to conceal my problem area for now (top & crown). I also saw some posts where people were able to cut it to make it look more natural for them. I didn’t even know that they made pieces like this prior to reading this.. Thank you so much for creating this blog!

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      April 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm
      Reply

      Let me know how it works for you! I bought the Jessica Simpson clip-on bangs (the synthetic ones) and they looked good, except where they attached to my head. There was a bump there, but I don’t have enough hair to cover the bump, so I had to return them. Hopefully the human hair ones are better. I was going to get clip-on bangs from another place, but I think I will end up just getting a clip-on topper that covers the whole top of my head.

      • CH
        April 30, 2011 at 3:21 am
        Reply

        I have the same problem (not enough hair to cover the clips).. that’s why I’v always been hesitant to try any clip-ons. I’m hoping the ones that also cover the crown would be a better choice. I have also found some that are for curly hair. My hair is naturally curly but I straighten it to make the thinning less obvious. I’m thinking about trying one of these to see if it will allow me to let my hair rest and avoid further damage. The website is called Studio Hair Department, and the hair pieces are called “Bangin Bangs.” Here is the link to the website: http://studiohairdepartment.com/index.php/bangin-bangs.html. I still havent recieved the JS Fringe ones I ordered. I’m so eager to see if they will work. I have seen pictures of how it has helped others and it looks pretty natural.. so I’m keeping my fingers crossed! I will let you know how it goes!

      • CH
        May 6, 2011 at 5:33 am
        Reply

        Hey.. just wanted to let you know that I recieved the “Fringe” piece and I am very happy with it so far. It does take some getting used to (have to get past that initial “shock factor” of “having” hair again).. but it works very well. It covers the whole top of my head, and it is very light. Also, the back is long enough for me to pull back in a pony tail, which is what concerned me the most.

  • Mar
    March 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm
    Reply

    I have long hair with bangs in the front. Like all of you, I’m dealing with some major thinning, mostly in the front. I just bought a product called ‘easibangs’ made from human hair with 3 clips that go on top and provide bangs and some longer side hair. For me they work fantastic. With a little effort you can pick them up for $90 maybe a little less. Retail is about $125. They have to be washed and cut to match your current hair. I bought slightly lighter (a 8) than my dark brown hair and demi-perm dyed it with a 7N. It’s amazing how well this produce works for me, but my hair loss is mostly where my bangs are, not on the top. I moved the clips from the front part of the strip to the back for better placement since I’m clipping past my existing bangs.

  • Sheila
    June 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm
    Reply

    Hair Loss Hell! exactly how to describe my life for the past 20 years. My hair started falling out in my late 20′s, I am 53 now, and no help in sight. I’ve tried it all, and have not found a satisfactory answer yet. Wigs suck. They are ill fitting, uncomfortable, and will not stay in place. I prefer hairpieces, toppers or volumizers, but I have never found one that looks natural, simply because there is “too much” hair. The ones I do find that might look ok, are so overpriced, the average working girl can’t afford them. There has to be an answer somewhere. If someone finds it, let me know!

  • Linda Rieschel
    June 26, 2012 at 8:01 am
    Reply

    Hi – I have genetic hair loss as well, since age 14. I used to work in the hair replacement business (14 years), and write a blog called “Alopecia Musings”. I’m glad the lady in the wig shop advised against clip-on hair additions…she’s absolutely right; they can cause traction alopecia. And I think you are right too, the best thing you can do right now is research, and try to preserve the hair you have left. Have you looked in Rogaine? It doesn’t bring back hair exactly, but it can arrest the shedding to a degree. Has a lot of side effects, though, so do more research on that! This is a great blog, and I’m signing up to keep up with you. There are so many young girls going through the same type of ‘hell’ that I went through starting at 16. This kind of blog would have been enormously helpful and comforting. It would have made me feel a bit more ‘normal’ as well! Thanks for writing it!

  • Dana
    November 20, 2012 at 11:19 am
    Reply

    I don’t have a lot of hair loss, I’ve just always had thin fine hair. I’ve read here that hairpieces are bad for your hair, I don’t want to wear a wig, I just want some thickness around the front and crown of my head. Any suggestions please please please

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