This isn’t a topic that I am embarrassed to talk about, but I do understand how some women are not comfortable talking about wearing hair. I feel better just letting people know, because that’s easier than keeping it hidden and wondering if you can tell that this isn’t my bio hair. I am hoping that by writing this post, I can make some women feel more comfortable talking about hair, because hair loss is something that happens to a lot of women – sometimes it’s just temporary (during pregnancy or high stress times) and sometimes it’s permanent.
My family has thin hair that just gets thinner over time. That’s just how it is. We also have very dark hair (Im like N4-N6) so any areas that are thin show up more than they would if I was a blonde because there is more of a contrast between my hair color and my scalp color. I was always jealous of people who could put their hair into a pony tail. When I tried to put my hair up, the pony was so thin that a regular elastic would just fall out. I had to buy the little tiny clear elastics that you use on babies hair, and my pony tail would look so skinny and scraggly. I tried every volumizing and hair growth shampoo & conditioner that I could get my hands on. I even stopped using conditioner because the crispier and more damaged my hair got, the thicker it looked.
About 3.5 years ago, I started to feel self conscious about how thin my hair was. I was searching online and found Lock-n-Long hair extensions. This company offers extensions that can be put in at home, and they last 4-6 months without having to be re-installed every day. I bought a set of these and had my friend install them in my dining room. Within minutes I had the thick and long hair that I always wanted. I also had an additional 100g of weight on my head.
With these extensions, you wash your hair with them in.
Washing your hair strips the hair of it’s natural oils that help keep your hair shiny, silky, and flexible. With bio hair (the hair you grow), your body produces more oils to coat the hair over the few days between washes. When you wash extensions, you still strip them of the oils, but they do not have a way of producing the same oil that your body does. Therefore, the extensions dry out way faster than your natural hair would and they turn into a tangled, crispy mess. One way to combat this is to condition your hair and apply a hair oil when you get out of the shower. But, ideally, you still only wash your hair every 4-5 days.
It also becomes increasingly difficult to fully wash your hair. Getting your fingers and the soap around all of the new wefts of hair attached to your head can be a struggle. And then you need to get that soap out! For the first few weeks my head felt dry and I was noticing that I couldn’t get the soap out of all the areas. I started spending a lot more time in the shower to perfect my wash.
My 10 minute hair wash turned into a 30-40 minute hair wash. This didn’t include the dry time.
After 3 years, I noticed the weight of the extensions was just too much on my hair. My hair stopped growing in the areas where I had the extensions attached. I could barely put my hair up in a pony because my natural hair was so thin that I couldn’t hide the extensions. I was spending way too much time doing my hair every day as I had to try to ‘hide’ the extensions before I went outside. I also started thinning more on top of my head and I wanted a way to be able to cover that.
I never actually bought a topper, but I did want to discuss why I didn’t.
I started working with this amazing woman who was very open about wearing a wig. I was so intrigued and wanted to try one for myself. I went to our local medical wig shop (there was only 1 place in Halifax to get wigs that weren’t synthetic) to try some on. The lady working there took one look at me and decided that I shouldn’t wear a wig because it would simply be too uncomfortable for me. She suggested a topper, and brought out a few samples to show me how they worked.
If you are unfamiliar with a topper, it’s basically like an oval of hair that clips onto the top of your head, think toupee, but the hair is as long or a similar length as your natural hair. It’s great for women (or men) who have hair loss on the top of their head or who are looking for more volume. So you just clip it on, and then style it with your natural hair.
The thing that I didn’t love about the toppers were:
- I would still have to style my natural hair to match/blend with the topper every day – which takes time, and damages both my topper and bio hair even further
- The clips in toppers are known to increase hair loss in the areas they touch
- They can cost as much as a full wig. I was quoted $1700 CAD + styling + tax for a 16″ length topper.
After months of doing research online, I decided to take the plunge and order a wig online from Milano Wigs. They have a great return policy, and great reviews, so I felt comfortable ordering the wig without being able to see and touch it first. They also charged less for a full wig + all of the features than I would have paid just for the topper without styling.
With wigs, there are a few things you need to consider when ordering:
- Hair – There are multiple types of synthetic hair and human hair wigs. You should really look into each one to see which type works best for your lifestyle. Human hair is more work to maintain, but I think it looks more natural. There are also different varieties of quality in hair, so if you get a wig that is really processed and dyed, it may not last as long as virgin hair.
- Cap size – be sure to measure your head and follow the size guide on the website to make sure your wig will fit your head when it arrives
- Cap construction
- open weft – more breathable, similar to having extensions that are attached to each other in a head shape. This option can allow your natural hair to poke through, and also easily allows bobby pins to be inserted for extra security. This is the cap construction that I chose.
- close weft – similar to open weft, but there is a fabric covering your entire head with the hair wefts attached. This option is great for people with complete hair loss because you wont be able to see your scalp.
- Cap attachment – The wig needs to attach to your head somehow. There are clips, glue, tapes, bands, silicone, etc. I mentioned before that I didn’t like the clips in the toppers. A lot of wigs do come with clips. Milano wigs have a ‘freedom’ option, which means there are no clips, there is a built in velour section in the wig that holds the wig securely in place. I chose the freedom option, and it is seriously amazing.
- Hair part – Some wigs do not allow you to choose where you part your hair (this is more true in synthetic wigs than human hair wigs). I liked the Milano wigs because there is a good size space on top of the wig for you to part your hair in any direction. I choose to part mine on the right, but you could easily go left, middle, zigzag, etc.
- You may have heard about lace front wigs, this is when there is a little strip of lace with hair sewn into it to create a natural looking hair line. These are ideal for people with hair loss because it makes it look like the wig is growing out of your head.
- You can also get a standard front, which has no lace, and you could wear this with your natural hair poking out to mimic the lace front. I have this option.
- Texture, Color, and Cut – This is your chance to make the hair look like YOUR hair. I have naturally straight, dark hair – so that’s what I ordered. If you have a local salon who cuts wigs, that is your best option for the cut. I do not, so I had the wig shop cut it for me before having it delivered. I gave them very specific instructions for the cut to make sure that the layers were the right length and the part was on the side I prefer.
I went back and forth with Milano Customer Service for a few weeks, and within a month the wig was delivered. Here is the wig that I purchased.
I like the wig because I can have the most disgusting dirty hair, and within seconds I can have wavy, bouncy, clean hair. It’s like pulling on a baseball cap.
I wash my wig once a month. It takes about 30 minutes to wash, I let it air dry for a few hours, and then it takes about 30 minutes to curl. I touch it up every 5-10 days with the curling iron, but that’s it. The maintenance compared to extensions is quite low. I can wash my natural hair every few days and not worry about trying to get around all of the extensions.
The only thing I don’t like about my current wig is being able to wear my hair up in a pony. You can get wigs that work in a pony, I just haven’t bought one yet. I do wear my natural hair in a pony around the house or if Im just running to get groceries. In a pony, I still worry about people seeing my thin spots, so I cover them with brown makeup if Im going out. Honestly, putting the wig on is easier than putting my hair into a pony, so it’s not often that I go without it.
So there you have it. I wear a wig because it’s the easiest, most comfortable way for me to cover my thinning hair. It’s honestly even easier than just accepting my thin and short bio hair. I know lots of women who wear toppers and extensions, those options just weren’t right for me. The wig is super comfortable to wear, and it’s not any hotter for my head than when I wore extensions. Plus, I think it’s really funny to take off the wig and scare people.