Questions about Wigs
- When should I buy a wig?
The Comfort Wigs, ETC staff suggest that you
shop for a wig before your first infusion to avoid 'panic' buying.
Some people do not feel well for the first few days after the first
chemo infusion, and simply do not feel like shopping, therefore,
having picked out a wig gives a sense of accomplishment and security.
Comfort Wigs, ETC suggests making an appointment to cut your hair
and cut the wig on the 15th day after your first chemo treatment
because this will be the first day of hair loss. People who wait
too long to cut the hair short find hair loss begins slowly and
loss accelerates daily and becomes a problem by the 18th or 19th
day after the first treatment.
Some people do not lose their hair with chemotherapy, so check with
your oncologist before purchasing a wig. Many nurses and stylists
also suggest obtaining a wig that is close to your own hairstyle,
so when the hair is lost, very few people will notice the difference.
Now may be the time to change to a shorter hairstyle, because your
hair will be short for a few months after you complete your chemotherapy.
Synthetic wigs and machine made human hair wigs can be ordered ‘from
stock’ and delivered within a few days. Don’t wait too long to order
your wig, or you may not receive it in time.
- Are there many styles of wigs?
Each wig manufacturer such as Jon Renau, Raquel Welch, Henry Margu,
and Rene of Paris each have 40 to 50 different styles and the styles
change as traditional hair styles change. Almost all wigs come in
average size, however since only about 5% of wearers need petite
and large wigs the styles are limited.
A wig that is worn daily will begin to show wear just as a suit
or jacket will when worn the same amount of time. Plan to have your
wig 'serviced' at least every 90 days. Wigs that are long enough
to rub on the collar or shoulders are subject to "Friction Frizz."
The frizz can be worked out by a trained wig technician.
- How do I get the Wig to fit
? A wig that fits properly will be comfortable and secure,
and the owner will forget she is wearing a wig. The front of the
wig should be worn on the natural hairline, which is 4 fingers
above the eyebrows. The back of the wig should be pulled down to
the natural hairline in the back. The wig should be comfortably
tight at the back hairline to prevent the wig from slipping up and
over the occipital bone. Level the wig on front by pulling the temple
tabs (rounded points) to the temples. There is a small wire in each
temple tab that can be contoured, rounded, inward so the wig will
not protrude out in front of the ears.
Most wigs are 'fashion' wigs and are designed to be worn over a
full head of hair. Of course, when you have lost your hair
the wig may be too large. The wig is too large if you can reach
up to the crown or back and 'pinch' a couple of inches of wig between
your fingers; sometimes you can grab a handfull. Try to adjust
the wig with the adjustments in the back. Comfort Wigs, ETC is equipped
to custom fit and size almost any wig. We routinely cut sections
out of a wig, then restitch and resize about 20% of the wigs that
leave our salon/boutique. Your wig may need adjustments after 1
to 2 months.
- Will the wig itch or be uncomfortable?
Your wig will actually be more secure after hair loss because
your hair allows the wig to slide and move. Most clients report
that the wig is also more comfortable after hair loss. A “Comfy
Grip” will hold the wig in place during your daily activities, provided
your wig is the right size. See “Measuring your head”, and follow
the instructions to be certain you choose the proper wig size. Wigs
come in large, average, petite, and super petite (although not all
wig styles come in all sizes). Here is where you may have to get
creative and use your sewing talents. Wigs have adjustable
Velcro and elastic tabs in the back that allow you to make your
wig comfortably secure. Wigs also have small tabs in front of the
ears that can be adjusted (bent) to hold the wig close to the face.
Today’s medical wigs are quite different from the wigs you may have
worn for fun in the 60’s and 70’s. They are now made with better
base materials, and the hair fibers are much more natural looking.
- Should I choose a synthetic
or human hair wig?
When choosing a wig, consider first the length of time you will
actually need a wig. Your hair will begin to grow back very soon
after treatment is completed. Some patients experience re-growth
even before completing their chemotherapy. You will need a wig 6
to 10 months at the most. Synthetic wigs offer great value
through price, easy daily maintenance, durability and appearance.
Synthetic wigs come with ‘fiber memory’, built-in wave or curl pattern
that holds its style unless the wig is abused (with excess heat
or by combing while the wig is wet). A properly maintained synthetic
wig will look and wear well for the time you will need it. Synthetic
wigs are made with small, light wefts that look like natural hair
(see wig construction), and they are much easier to style than real
hair. You will be spoiled by the ease! Some synthetic wigs are made
with a monofilament (transparent) top that looks exactly like your
scalp with individual hairs that appear to be growing out of the
scalp. The 100% hand-tied wigs look totally natural. Always
follow the wig maker’s instructions, and use only products made
for synthetic hair.
Human hair wigs are more expensive than synthetic wigs and have
to be shampooed, dried, styled, and conditioned just like your natural
hair. They may frizz on humid days and lose their style if they
get wet. Most human hair for wigs come from the orient and from
India, therefore, the wig hair is black or very dark brown.
That hair must be stripped of the dark color in order to dye it
other colors. Human hair wigs may be permed and colored, but be
sure to have a qualified stylist perform these services, as wig
hair is extremely porous and easily damaged by chemical services.
See a reputable wig salon/boutique if you are looking for a human
hair wig. Human hair comes in many different grades and you want
to get the best hair you can afford. The most chemically treated
human hair is the least expensive or desirable because it is not
as durable and will tangle badly each time it is shampooed.
At least insist on 'Remy Hair', a grade of hair that has not been
chemically treated and 93% to 95% of the strands are going the same
way...keeping it from tangling as badly.
Cut hair is the very best because the hair is always 'root to root',
the way it grows from the head, and is not chemically treated, therefore,
- What about custom made wigs?
Custom-made wigs are very expensive, $2000 to $6500, and normally
take 2 to 6 months for delivery. (Remember, you will begin to lose
your hair about 15 days after the first chemo infusion.) These wigs
can be made to exactly match your hair and style. They are made
from a full mold of your head, and when completed, have a vacuum
fit. This is the best kind of wig for one who has experienced permanent
hair loss, if the expense is not out of reach.
- How do I make the wig look natural?
Today’s wigs are made with built-in wave or curl and are easily
styled. Synthetic wigs are often styled with a few strokes of a
brush or by simply finger styling. Place the front of the wig on
your natural hairline and hold firmly with one hand. With your other
hand, grasp the back of the wig and pull it down to the nape of
your neck. Center the wig in the front by making sure the temple
tabs are even on the sides, in front of the ears (temple tabs have
small protected wires in the rounded points). Do not cover your
ears with the wig base. Comb all wig hair out that might be trapped
under the perimeter of the wig. The first time you wear the wig,
you may need to adjust the Velcro and elastic bands at the back
of the wig for security. Almost all wigs stretch after being worn
and occasional readjusting in the back. If the wig tends to
slide up in the back, loosen the Velcro a little.
- Why do some wigs look unnatural?
Many wigs look like wigs because of too much hair. Most
fashion wigs come with 10% to 30% too much hair and no one knows
to thin them out. Also, many times too much hair is combed
forward, giving a “Ted Coppell” look. For the most natural looking
style, try brushing all the hair away from the face, then pick or
comb a little hair forward to soften the front hairline. If you
need to use both hands to style, you may need a Chin Strap to hold
the wig while you work. Wigs normally do not need backcombing,
instead, try using a little hair spray under the top hair to get
and retain fullness. A few squirts of hair spray will finish the
style and hold all day. Place the wig on a Styrofoam head for overnight
retention of the style.
- How are wigs made?
Almost all wigs are made totally or partially by machines. Synthetic
hair is made of fine plastic fibers with the texture of ideal hair.
There are 6 different curl types classified from ‘a’ to ‘e’. The
curl or wave is permanent unless the wig is damaged by heat (hot
water, hot air from ovens, barbeque grills, etc.) or if combed while
it is wet. Human hair wigs may be combed while wet. Wefts are sewn
to elastic bands or strips to create the wig. Hand-tied wigs are
the most expensive wigs because of the human hours invested in each
wig. Hand-tied wigs do not have wefts, therefore there are very
few seams to irritate to scalp. The comfort factor in hand-tied
wigs is remarkable. Our hand-tied wigs have a monofilament top,
and upon close inspection, it appears that the hair is growing from
your scalp. You can wear a definite part, and it looks completely
- What size wig should I buy?
Wigs come in sizes from petite (20 inches) to large (24 inches).
All wigs can be adjusted with the elastic and Velcro tabs located
at the nape area of the wig. It is advisable to measure your head
before purchasing a wig, using a pliable or soft tape measure. Hold
one end at the front hairline and pull tape around the hairline
and back to the tape at the front hairline.
You must purchase a wig that is large enough to fit comfortably,
because wigs are much easier to adjust down in size rather than
up in size. Ninety five percent of women are in the average size
range, so there is a larger style selection in the average category.
- Average fits 21.5”
- Petite fits 20” to 21”
- Large fits 22.5 “ to 24"
- How do I care for my synthetic
Thanks to modern technology, we now have synthetic hair. Monofilament
fiber looks and feels like natural hair but is easier to maintain
and style because of permanent wave or curl, texture, and volume.
Frequency of cleaning will depend upon your environment, lifestyle,
and the amount of perspiration. Suggested guidelines for cleaning
are after 40 to 60 hours of wear. To clean your wig, follow the
manufacturer’s instructions (that come with your wig) for the correct
amounts of cleaner and water as well as water temperature. Gently
swish the wig back and forth in the water as you would your lingerie.
Take care not to tangle the hair. Rinse well in cool water. Follow
directions with conditioner. Always rinse the wig well to get all
products out of the base material. Conditioner is recommended with
each cleaning to retain the luster and manageability of your wig.
Always use a soft towel to blot (not scrub) the water from the wig.
Allow the wig to dry naturally overnight on a plastic or wire stand,
and never brush or comb the wig while it is wet! Place your wig
on a Styrofoam, wire, or plastic wig stand when not in use to best
maintain its shape.
- How will I get used to wearing
Losing one’s hair is a trauma as mentioned in ‘Emotions of Hair
Loss’. No one wants to lose her/his hair, buy a wig, or have to
wear the darn thing! Initial response to seeing yourself with a
wig varies with the individual from horror to pleasure. You might
see the wig as a foreign object, and think that everyone else sees
the wig as an attempt to disguise your lack of hair. We suggest
purchasing a wig close to your own color and style to lessen the
impact of the change.
Try wearing the wig before your hair loss to acclimate yourself
to the look and feel of the wig. Wigs can be bulky because of the
base material mass plus the fact that most wigs have more hair than
most people. Play with the wig using a wire bristle brush and lifting
the hair to get a natural looking flow instead of brushing to flatten
the style. A friend can often help by making suggestions and helping
with the back of the style. You may be pleasantly surprised at how
easily the hair is worked. Synthetic wigs will spoil you. Your wig
will feel better as you get positive comments from family and friends.
Many women quickly gain confidence in themselves, and some even
like their wig as much as or more than their hair.
- How do I care for my human hair
Caring for a human hair wig is much the same as caring for your
real hair. Use a wig shampoo so you don’t have too many suds to
rinse. A protein-based conditioner is best, but use it sparingly!
Do not apply conditioner on the base of the wig! Conditioner will
loosen the knots and then some of the hair will fall out.
Human hair wigs absorb a lot of everything. Be careful not to tangle
the hair while shampooing and conditioning, and blot the hair instead
of scrubbing with towel. Most damage to hair is done during detangling,
so be gentle with the tangles. A light non-alcohol spray gel, mousse
or style lotion can be used, but remember, use sparingly. Do not
leave conditioner on the roots or wig base very long, as the conditioner
can soften and loosen the hand tied knots that secure the hair to
the base, causing excessive hair loss from the wig.
- How do I style my human hair
You may dry your wig naturally, blow dry or hood dry if using rollers.
Hot rollers are gentler than curling irons and give the style more
lift. Curling iron temperatures can get as high as 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
With daily use, curling irons can cause more damage than conditioners
are able to cure. Wigs do not grow, so any damaged ends must be
cut. You will want your wig to last until your hair re-growth is
1 1/2 to 3 inches, so treat it with reasonable care. Wire
brushes and picks work best when styling a wig. A bristle brush
or vent brush will pull the hair too much and create more hair loss
than can be sustained for the life of the wig. Hair spray made specifically
for wigs is strongly recommended. Normal hair spray often contains
fixatives that are too strong or sticky and is more difficult
to brush out.
- Should I buy more than one wig?
A wig can be styled in various ways, but as with your own hair,
a change is sometimes in order. If you start with medium to long
hair and a medium to long wig, you may want to consider a second
wig in a shorter style. It normally takes 3.5 months after chemotherapy
to grow 2 inches of hair; so obviously, you will have short hair
for a while. A positive attitude is essential in coping and healing,
so be positive about this too! Some men are crazy about long hair—just
tell him to just get used to it.
A second wig can be really functional for casual times, work-outs,
and as a fun change at work. A second wig choice could be blond
or red, longer or shorter, highlighted or spiked: just make it fun!.
Besides all this, wearing the same wig every day is kind of like
wearing the same suit every day, it will start to show wear. You
may want a second wig to wear while the first wig is being shampooed
or drying. If you do not want to purchase a second wig, think
about going to American Cancer Society to get a free one. Very few
of the A. C. S. wigs will be styled, so use your imagination and
grab one that is close to a color and length you want. A qualified
and experienced cosmetologist will probably be delighted to cut
or shape it for you. Another idea is to borrow a wig from someone
in your support group.
- Can wigs be Dangerous?
If your wig is synthetic, you must be mindful of heat and the
damage it will do to the fiber. Do not use a regular curling iron
on your wig. Be careful when opening barbeque grills, ovens, and
steamers. The heat from a fireplace can also damage a synthetic
wig. The fiber will frizz at a temperature over 190 degrees. An
experienced professional can work the wig to correct the damage,
however, the hair will probably never be the same as before.
- Will the wig be styled when
I receive it?
The wig you order from us will not be styled when you receive
it. Our wigs have been carefully selected by style, natural looking
colors, curl, volume of hair, and length. It will get to you carefully
packaged and held in shape with a hair net to protect the curl and
paper padding inside the wig to hold its head shape. Please check
the label to be certain the wig is the name and color you ordered.
All should be correct, if not, please email or phone us at 1.866-383-8885
to obtain a return number. Simply take the wig out, and remove the
net and paper padding.
If your wig is a curly style, you can keep the curl by finger combing
or by using the pick end of the comb to fluff and shape the style.
Do not pull the pick all the way through the hair! Try inserting
the pick near the base and gently lift the pick to within 1 inch
of the ends and then slip the pick out instead of pulling all the
way through the ends. If you pull the pick all the way through,
the hair will kind of explode into frizz. To obtain a less curly
look, gently brush to obtain the look you want. Brush in short lifting
strokes instead of long down strokes to get fullness in the areas
where lift is desired.
Pinning the wig to the Styrofoam head before styling is a good idea.
Usually a T pin at each ear tab is sufficient to hold the wig securely
while styling. The short lifting strokes will lift the wig
off your head or Styrofoam head. Wigs that are straighter can be
brushed, combed, or finger combed to obtain the look you want. We
suggest that you go to the photos in our site and print the photos
of the style you purchased in order to refresh yourself as to the
varieties of looks you can get with your new wig.