Help me keep my head warm!
December 3, 2012 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I need advice on how to keep my newly bald head warm this winter. Complication: I'm a woman.

As an unfortunate consequence of a combo of chronic illnesses and bad genes, I am going bald. Gradual loss over the last fifteen or so years of my ridiculously abundant hair has come to the point now where I can no longer ignore the writing on the wall. I'm tired of my hair falling out and I feel like it's going to be way less traumatic to just have it done with, so I'm going to buzz the remaining hair off.

However, it's December and I live in New Jersey. How do I keep my head warm? I've never been one for wearing hats because I have a big head. Bald mefites, do you wear hats? What kinds? What about indoors? Scarves seem so fussy, as do wigs. I work in an very informal environment (construction) and I am an extremely low maintenance person in general so looking pretty is not particularly high on my list of important things.

I have Prime, so stuff I can buy on Amazon is awesome, but I'm open to anything.
posted by crankylex to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went to school with someone with alopecia and she wore tuques all winter long. You might not need it as long, because it's warmer where you are, but yeah: hats. Tuques stretch, so they're the only hats that ever fit. My cousin also has alopecia, and she wears wigs (which look very natural).
posted by jeather at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2012

How about a Long Knit Beanie?

Easy to wear, cheap to own, get them in an assortment of colors.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2012

Welding caps are nice and seem to have infinite variety. They are minimal and don't get in the way
posted by InkaLomax at 9:07 AM on December 3, 2012

I shaved my head for a couple years. Hats were definitely a necessity in the winter outdoors (I'm in Chicago), but I didn't ever feel the need to wear them indoors. The whole thing about losing most of your body heat through your head is a myth.

Just a regular knit cap is fine. Wool is warmer than acrylic but, with a buzzed head, you are probably going to want to spring for one of the softer, less itchy wools, like merino, since it will be directly against your skin.
posted by enn at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2012

I knew I would forget something important. I'm allergic to wool. This makes me sad because I feel like all really awesome hats are made of wool.
posted by crankylex at 9:16 AM on December 3, 2012

I shaved my head as a young, impulsive lady. So impulsive that I didn't consider the fact that it was January. I bought a lot of hats. Mostly the beanie/toque type. Which they make in delicious cashmere for warmth AND softness.

A wool cloche might be nice too, but it's hard to find a big enough one if you've got a larger head.

How do you feel about knitting? Hats are fast and relatively easy, and you can use whatever yarn you'd like. I have some absurdly soft hats which would probably feel amazing if I were still bald.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2012

Check out etsy for some awesome, hand knitted hats using yarn that works for you. I've gotten several for me and my children from etsy artists and have always been happy.
posted by pearlybob at 9:23 AM on December 3, 2012

Fleece beanies. Available at any place that sells athletic clothes. Here are some at Target. Here's Old Navy's version. The North Face makes the classic (more expensive) version.
posted by mskyle at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

My local outdoors shop has polarfleece beanies which would be warm and not-wool. I occasionally see hats made of various types of fuzzy material in the more fashiony shops too, often with ears and things which I find amusing. Many of the 'one size' hats are gigantic so should fit you OK (I'm just jealous, I have a tiny head).

An alternative is to buy a knitted hat which has been lined with soft material, but I don't know if the lining would be comprehensive enough to stop the wool touching your head.
posted by shelleycat at 9:27 AM on December 3, 2012

If you live nearby a Hasidic community you can likely find a wide array of casual headwear that frum women will wear at home when they no longer feel like dealing with their sheitel. There's stuff like supersoft jersey do-rag type things, cashmere turbans, etc.
posted by elizardbits at 9:42 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Silk-blend beanie? E.g. this model.
posted by Glomar response at 9:46 AM on December 3, 2012

I would suggest making friends with a knitter :) We can help you with any old kind of head covering you desire, from soft yarns and simple designs in work-appropriate styles to the ridiculously sublime. There are more of us out there than you'd think, and there's nothing we love more than doing something with a purpose.
posted by Madamina at 9:59 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

For a wool alternative, I really like my alpaca fleece hat -- they are supposedly hypoallergenic so should work for you. Mine was made by turtle fur, I got it at REI. I can't find the exact model online (and it is a men's hat anyways) but there are lots of alpaca-based options (picked one at random).

Also, this time of year there'll be a temperature adjustment period after you shave your head -- you will definitely want to have a hat for this.
posted by advil at 10:04 AM on December 3, 2012

One thing you could do: look for some hats on Etsy or locally that you like and contact the sellers to see if they can do something similar in silk or cotton. (Also, does cashmere itch you? I can't wear regular wool but - champagne tastes alert! - I can wear cashmere.)
posted by Frowner at 10:04 AM on December 3, 2012

Are you allergic to alpaca wool? Because that is very warm and very soft. There are some on Amazon, but maybe not from Amazon itself.
posted by jb at 10:06 AM on December 3, 2012

Wigs are actually extremely easy when you don't have any hair underneath. I've worn wigs a few times with costumes, and the major pain was getting my long hair stuffed underneath it. It's worth looking into.

My mom has some scalp/hair medical issues and wears wigs so I have been around a wig-wearer as well. There is probably a specialty wig shop near you where you can talk to an expert, try on a bunch, and they'll even trim/style them for you. Yes you do have to wash wigs and care for them, but less than you would your own hair. My mom has several very similar wigs that look like her natural hair did, but if you are into it I would totally go for getting a bunch of different colors/styles of wigs and just owning the "it's not my hair, who cares!" sentiment.
posted by radioamy at 10:09 AM on December 3, 2012

I gave up on winter hats long ago due to the itching, but a few years ago I discovered fleece beanies and have never looked back. They're warm, soft, never itchy, and they stretch just enough to fit even my giant head. I particularly like the ones from Mountain Hardwear.
posted by vytae at 10:10 AM on December 3, 2012

Are you allergic to alpaca wool? Because that is very warm and very soft.

Seconding the "try alpaca" recommendation. (I knit - we know about this shit.) Alpaca fibre is much, much lighter than wool, INCREDIBLY soft, and really warm. And because it's a different animal, people who have wool allergies sometimes do well with alpaca. (It'd be easy to check - hit up a local yarn store, look for the "alpaca" section, find something that's 100% alpaca and pet it. I guarantee you will not be the only person in the store fondling yarn - that is a vital part of the yarn shopping process.)

If you want to go with the Etsy option - try doing a search for "chemo caps". I know you haven't had chemo, but often these are hats that are designed to be more itch-proof and to be fit to a hairless head.

Or - find a beanie/toque that works and get a bunch of baseball caps, and wear a different baseball cap over the beanie each day.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:39 AM on December 3, 2012

I'm allergic to wool too, but not cashmere. I had a cashmere knit cap for years, stupidly lost it.
posted by mareli at 11:12 AM on December 3, 2012

You mentioned that you're allergic to wool- many people that have said this to me (I work in outdoor retail) report that wool is itchy and irritating to their skin. Frankly, unless you're a pachyderm, I don't see how most wool could be tolerated by anyone. However, what most people report as a wool allergy is no more than an understandable aversion to the thick, scratchy fibers in traditional wool. (If in your case you have a "true" allergy to wool, please excuse my impertinence.)

This is a long way of me recommending Icebreaker merino wool beanies. Icebreaker makes some incredibly nice stuff, and they detail why their wool is different from traditional wool here. Don't miss the twitching scrotum.

Anyway, all that said, here's a link to their hats.
posted by EKStickland at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2012

I feel like all really awesome hats are made of wool.

Can you show us an example of a really awesome hat that is made of wool, to see what you like?
Also, I have a nice hat by Goorin that is 100% cotton. They sell hats in a large variety of styles and materials.
posted by wondermouse at 11:18 AM on December 3, 2012

Dharma carries cotton watch caps, which reviews say run large.
posted by annsunny at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2012

I'm a black woman who wears a close-cropped, near bald cut by choice. Etsy keeps me sexy all winter. I actually found my favorite fleece hat at Goodwill. They are a great resource for cheap, funky, warm hats.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 3:28 PM on December 3, 2012

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