tell me about life with wigs.
January 21, 2020 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Is it realistic to think I could be comfortable in a wig if I can't even stand wearing hats?

I (early middle aged woman) have been experiencing female pattern hair loss. It's getting worse, and I'm increasingly self conscious about it. After consulting with a dermatologist, I have no reason to think there's any treatment that's going to help (she mentioned a couple options, none of which offered more than about a 20-30% chance of improving anything, and most of which offered significantly less.)

So... if you have experience wearing a wig regularly, I'd like to hear about it. (I'm not talking about Halloween wigs.) What is it like to wear a wig? Is it tight and hot and itchy? (I have very sensitive skin and do poorly in the heat -- I can almost never even tolerate a hat.) What do you have to do with your hair if you wear a wig? (My hair is already pretty short - not pixie short, but pretty short.) Where does one go to get a wig? Is there a place one can "try it out" for a while? How expensive are they? Does more money get you something cooler/more comfortable, or just prettier? Who wears wigs these days? (I have one orthodox Jewish friend whom I could maaaybe ask for info, but it might be weird/invasive, as my interest relates to vanity rather than faith.)
posted by fingersandtoes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I wear wigs every single day, and have for the last 6 years. I hated myself for years due to my thinning hair, but now that I have wigs, I feel pretty again.

I wear synthetic wigs around the $150-250 price point. I am not a hats person, and I did have a period of adjustment to get used to them.

There are wig stores in almost every town. They can help you.

I buzz my hair to about 1/2 inch, then wear a "Wig Grip" to help keep the wig in place.

Please feel free to MeMail me. I can point you at some videos and sites that have really made this process easy.
posted by heathrowga at 3:32 PM on January 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have a super cute wig I wore about 10 times during chemo. It was between $200-$300, so it's decent quality. I'm happy to send it to you if a brown bob with bangs sounds interesting.

When you're ready to buy your own, find a wig store with nice people who make you comfortable. Take a friend to try different wigs on and get feedback. Once you buy it, there is a lot of customization a wig/hair stylist can do to make it look more natural...especially around the hairline and trimming it up to look more like a natural haircut. Good luck!
posted by victoriab at 5:14 PM on January 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Is your thinning just in the back? If so, you can get a 'back half' wig that clips in to cover your thin spot. It's a lightweight alternative to wigs, and will give you a chance to get used to having something on your head besides your own hair.

If not, human hair wigs are much less itchy and hot than synthetics, in my experience. Plus you can style them and dye them like regular hair. They are pricey but if you take care of them they will last a long time.

If you go full coverage, spend some time learning what kind of wig cap you prefer, and how you want to attach your wig. It really does make a huge difference.
posted by ananci at 5:41 PM on January 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hi, I have worn wigs since October 2019. It definitely required a period of adjustment. Some wigs are more comfortable than others. I own several costume wigs, and 5 regular wigs + a human hair topper. Wigs are awesome and I feel much better about myself since wearing them. Just keep in mind all the caveats below

Educate yourself on wigs before you buy if you want to avoid major mistakes. The best resource for this is youtube or Wigs 101. I would also buy at least 2 wigs so you can swap them out.

They will need to be sprayed with detangler and any tangles combed out very gently whenever you are done wearing them that day.

Carefully, very carefully read and understand return policies.

Three of the 5 wigs are regular synthetic fiber, and they require moderate amount of fussing because they go past my shoulders. Any wig that is long enough that will brush on your clothes or chair will build up static and tangle. I have to comb those out 3-5x a day. They require semi-regular washing and conditioning. Unfortunately they have a scratchy lace front aren't the most comfortable to wear b/c of that and the brand of wigs is Esthetica. They have a life span of 6 months-1 year of daily wear. They cost between $175 & $250 with a coupon.

The other two are high density fiber wigs that can theoretically be heat styled. The brand is Belle Tresse. They are comfortable and realistic looking, but they require brushing at least 6x per day and the ends still look bad at this point after only 3 months of wearing them 3-5x per week. Lifespan is 3-6 months of daily wear.

The human hair topper is amazingly comfortable and covers all of my hair loss because it's 8"X 9". The downside is that I don't want to wear it every day because it secures with clips and I don't want to damage my remaining hair. I ordered it from

When new, all of these wigs looked very realistic and I got a lot of compliments. Because of the issues above, I have ordered 2 human hair wigs which weren't cheap. I'm hoping they hold up and wear well. Typically they have a lifespan of 1-2 years with the proper care. I ordered mine from Uniwigs again. They were $646 with a coupon each.

Accessories you will want are: wig combs, wig grips or It Stays (I never use this but some people swear by it. I could never get it to work.) to secure your wig, a light silicone spray like Simply Stylin' Light Silk, wig detangling spray, at least 2 wig stands (I like the collapsible ones from Amazon). and wig specific shampoo and conditioner.
posted by Issithe at 6:06 PM on January 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a drag queen, so I have plenty to say about wigs but not a lot of helpful advice about living with one every day. I can say that I've worn them all night, many times, and they never bothered me but it was always kind of a relief to take them off. Here's a previous thread with some wig advice. Definitely shop around before you buy any wigs. There are plenty of places that will charge a LOT, but in my experience you can often find stuff just as good for a lot less.

Imma quote myself from that old thread:

Drag queen pro tip: If you want a wig that doesn't read as a wig, bangs will save you a lot of fuss. Even a cheap Halloween wig can look OK, if it has bangs. The hairline is the number one thing that gives most wigs away, and with bangs there isn't any hairline. If you want a realistic hairline you'll need a more expensive wig, but if you go for a pixie cut with bangs you can probably find something realistic for a lot less. Something like this (broken link to a short bob wig with bangs) could be good, in a shade matching your natural hair color. Matching your natural hair color is another very important aspect of making a wig look natural. If you can find something really close, it will be a good match for your skin tone, eyebrows, etc.

If you still have some hope of making your existing hair appear fuller, I'd suggest the videos of a glamorous young Youtuber who goes by HeythereImShannon. She has alopecia and she's done a lot of videos about the stuff she does to conceal hair loss. She's a funny, engaging personality and her advice must be pretty good because her before-and-afters can be amazing. She also talks a lot about wigs, etc.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:11 PM on January 21, 2020 [10 favorites]

Best answer: has a story much like yours and has a try and return policy. She also has 101 type videos and videos of her trying on wigs she sells.
posted by emjaybee at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2020

Best answer: I also have female pattern baldness. For a while I did wear wigs when I went out and I still will occasionally for fun but they are hot and itchy and just not as comfortable as not wearing one.
I couldn't do it all day every day. Taking it off after a long day was even more of a relief than taking off my bra.

I have several friends who wear wigs when they go out some of the time, just for a temporary new look and not because they have hair loss so I don't think its that weird these days to wear wigs.

What really helped me was becoming more confident in myself (through roller derby) and changing my hair colour to a lighter shade - currently pastel pink - made it less obvious
posted by missmagenta at 6:34 AM on January 22, 2020

Best answer: Synthetic fibers will mat and fray over time simply from washing and brushing. They make hybrid fiber wigs that you can curl and flat iron (up to 350•) but they too will get frizzy over time. Human hair wigs last a while longer if you can keep them in good shape. Buy a good quality shampoo and mannequin head. The price range is anywhere from $200-$800 depending on length but you can also have some custom made. The trend now is lace front which is a lot lighter than wigs sewn on wafts. The full lace wig is much lighter still the only downside is you need to secure it with either clasps or a bonding hair gel. I recommend not using wig glue but a sturdy gel like GotToBe which washes out.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 12:01 PM on January 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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