By Jessica Reece
I started wearing wigs a little over a year ago. I had played with the idea for quite some time before I finally purchased my first one. My hair has always been super thin, fragile and unmanageable. I started experiencing hair loss after the birth of my son. The more I would try to style my hair to cover the bald spots, the worse it would look.
Before I started doing some research, I always thought that wigs were for older women or women with total hair loss. The price of a wig was also something that deterred me. While there are more affordable options out there, some can be quite expensive.
YouTube became my best friend. I spent hours watching wig reviews. I was amazed by all the different people who wore them and how many styles were available. I also joined a few wig support groups on Facebook and that was super helpful to see wigs on real people and to hear their stories.
I quickly became overwhelmed with all the different brands, styles and colors. While I’ve been thrilled with most of my purchases, I have received some that were not for me.
Purchasing a Wig
I’ve bought all of my wigs online from various retailers as I don’t live anywhere close to an actual wig shop. Most online wig retailers have free online consultations to help you find your perfect wig. Most always have a coupon code somewhere on their website as well.
I wear only synthetic pieces because they are much more affordable and with care, they can last quite a while. I have synthetic wigs that I’ve worn for over a year that are still in good shape. Human hair can be much more costly but can last much longer.
Most of my wigs range from $100-$250. A quality human hair wig can cost upwards of $1,000. It all comes down to what you prefer. I like having a few I can rotate. Synthetic wigs require basically no styling and will hold their style even after washing or getting wet. Human hair wigs require a little more effort and would have to be restyled after every wash.
Choosing a Size and Style
You will want to know your head measurements to get the correct size. Most wigs come in average size but some styles are available in petite or large. I am a petite but I have been able to wear most averages.
The next thing to consider is cap construction. There are several different caps out there. A basic cap is going to be the most affordable but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.
Next in line would be a lace front/monofilament part. This style can only be parted in the monofilament parting space. A monofilament top can be parted anywhere. The more features a cap has, usually the more expensive the wig is. I personally prefer a lace front with a monofilament part or top.
Now on to style/color choices. In my experience, I was pulled towards styles that were similar to my biological hair, just way better! My best advice is to start out with something that mimics your hair own color and length.
When you first try on a wig, it can be very overwhelming because you are not used to seeing yourself with so much hair. The more comfortable I have become in my wig wearing, the more adventurous I get. It’s so fun to try new colors and styles but it took me awhile to get used to seeing myself in something different.
I now have several different styles, lengths and colors in my collection and I love being able to change it up day to day. Some women prefer to keep their wig wearing a secret and try to stick to the same colors and lengths and that’s totally fine as well! Most brands carry similar color codes and you can opt for “sister styles”.
Caring for Your Wig
There are some essentials you will need as a new wig wearer. You will need a shampoo/conditioner made specifically for synthetic wigs if that’s the route you go. You will also need a wig stand and a wide tooth comb.
I wear a silicone wig grip that helps the wig stay in place. There are other wigs grips out there but I just prefer the silicone. I also sometimes use Got2be Glued Blasting Freeze Spray to secure the lace front, but not always. Synthetic wigs should only be combed with a wide tooth comb so you don’t snag the fibers.
Synthetic fibers can be a little shiny so I use dry shampoo to dull down the shine so the fibers look more realistic. I generally wash my wigs every 10-12 wears. Washing a wig can be a little intimidating at first but I highly suggest watching YouTube videos to learn more.
As a new wig wearer, give yourself time to get used to it. I would wear mine around the house for a couple hours a day at first and then on quick trips to the store. I worked my way up until I was comfortable wearing them all day. After a year, now I can barely even tell I have one on my head.
Learn from Your Wig Sisters
If you are considering purchasing your first wig, be sure to do your research. Unfortunately there are many scam sites out there. They love to pop up on Facebook ads once you start looking at wigs online.
There is a huge community on social media with wig groups on Facebook and wig reviewers on Instagram/YouTube. We have a term we use in the wig community known as wig sisters. I have learned so much from my wig sisters. I never knew there were so many wig wearers out there and people wear them for so many different reasons.
My only regret with wearing wigs is that I didn’t start years ago. Growing up with all the other aspects of ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome never bothered me, but I always wanted better hair.
Now I’m living my best hair life and I’m able to try all the styles I never could. It has been a huge confidence boost for me. If you’re on the fence about trying your first wig, I say go for it. It has been life changing for me.
Jessica Reece is a guest blogger for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. She lives in Kentucky.
If you are a woman affected by ectodermal dysplasia and are interested in a wig, the NFED has resources to help you. We do have free wigs you can apply for. Or, you can apply for financial assistance for a new wig through our Treatment Assistance Program.
Other articles of interest: