Breast Cancer Survival: Wigs 101
Romi Cortier on 8 Oct 2009 at 12:00am
If you're considering buying a wig to wear during your chemotherapy treatments, there are many things to take into consideration, especially cost (wigs prices can range from about $100 on up to $6,000).
Romi is a celebrity hair guru in Hollywood, CA.
I recently worked with a client during this process. I met her at the wig maker's studio where I gave her various short haircuts that we photographed for fun. Ultimately, we took her hair fairly short, leaving a little length in the bangs. This helped the wig maker to get a near perfect fit until her hair had completely fallen out.
Once that happened, she went back for more adjustments. As her hair grew back, the wig was once again adjusted to accommodate her changing head shape.
I went to several holiday parties with this client and the only thing she heard was, "Your hair looks so beautiful... who does it?"
She'd point to me and say, "It's Romi's work." Since I did her weekly blow drys, it was in fact, the truth.
To this day, not even her friends knew she was wearing a wig.
The least expensive wigs are synthetic and expand to fit many head shapes. They can be found at retail wig shops or beauty supply stores, coming in a variety of styles and colors.
The next type of synthetic wig is a headband with hair. They can be minimal with only bangs, or have hair all the way around the headband. This is great when you don't want the heat of a full wig.
Simply pop the headband on, put on your favorite baseball cap or hat, and no one will ever know the difference. Keep in mind that synthetic wigs can tend to look dry and may require extra conditioning, as well as moisturizing styling products.
Human Hair Wigs
These range from $2,000 - $2,500. Since these wigs are made from human hair, they can be colored and blown dry like your normal hair.
Human hair wigs are frequently worn by Orthodox Jewish women in metropolitan areas who prefer to keep their natural hair covered for religious reasons. Therefore, they'll be easier to purchase in these locations.
Custom-Made Human Hair Wigs
Custom-made human hair wigs can cost as much as $6,000. This is a lengthy process that can take up to 6 weeks, so it's essential that you embark on this process when you first start your chemotherapy treatments.
Measurements are taken of the head, and a head form is built to match your exact head shape. The wig is then built out of silk hair lace, with each strand of hair purposefully placed to recreate your growth pattern and hair density.
Since this is a custom process, the hairline can be built to exactly match your own. The hair color can also be made to match exactly, recreating your base color, as well as any high-lights or low-lights. The silk hair lace can be modified to accommodate the change in your head shape as your hair grows back.
Maintaining Your Look
All human hair wigs should be gently washed by hand, with color safe shampoos and conditioners. Pinning the wig to the head form before washing will help to maintain the shape of the wig.
Please entrust your regular stylist to cut the wig while it's on your head, especially if you're trying to replicate the haircut that you normally wear.
If maintaining your privacy is an issue, ask for an appointment after hours, or be willing to pay your stylist a little extra to come to your home.