Friday, November 23, 2012

How-to: 6 Tips on How to Rock Your Wig

First question everyone asked me when they found out I was having chemo: “When are you getting your wig?” My reaction: sheer panic! How about you?

Was this to be my fate???
I couldn’t imagine it. Wearing a) someone else’s hair b) someone else’s hair dyed to look like mine c) a synthetic wig cut in some dorky and clearly fake style. Let alone paying 100s to 1000s of dollars for one! I sure as heck didn't want to end up looking like some crazy Barbie doll!

But then I realized: every day of this journey, when I wake up, I’m literally a new me, and every day, my love of fashion gives me a chance to express myself through my headscarf, hat or wig choice.

So I embraced the wig in my own unique way, and now I am having SO much fun with it. Here’s a few tips to help if you’re considering the wig journey.

#1: Relax... it’s okay have fun with this wig thing. You are not under any pressure here. Just because you’ve always been a blond or a brunette, doesn’t mean you can’t be a redhead today. Just because you’ve always been long doesn’t mean you can’t go short, and vice-versa. Find a good wig shop in your area and explore some options. 

Working with a professional who knows wigs makes it much easier -- they can help you select, color and style your wigs exactly as you want so you get something comfy and confidence-boosting. One easy way to find a quality shop in your area attend a local Look Good, Feel Better session.  In my area, that led me to the wonderful folks at Bellissima Salon and Wigs, who not only do you up, but make you feel gorgeous. I’m linking to them both because they're awesome people, and so you can get an idea of the style of shop you’re after in your area. 

Now, that's more like it.
Crazy eyes and all!
#2: In fact.. it’s even okay to go totally crazy with this wig thing. I tried on a bunch of lovely “normal” wigs, and made my personal choice to go anime style. Yep, think the brightest fuschia, red, blue, green, purple, in every crazy cut you can imagine. I know most of these chicks are drawn to ridiculous, offensive proportions. That’s not what inspired me. 

Here’s the thing: I feel like a kick-@ss can’t-sir warrior and I want to look like a kick-@ss can’t-sir warrior. Like Milla Jovovich in Ultraviolet and Resident Evil. Or Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill. Believe me, if I can rock this sh!t, you can too. I checked out a bunch of costume-type stores online, but the quality wasn’t always great. Then I found Epic Cosplay -- holy motherload! My favorite. Lightweight, comfortable, fully stylable, quality synthetic wigs in the craziest colors ever and great prices.

#3: Build a good foundation. Just like scarves, wigs need to feel secure on your head, so you feel secure wearing them out in public. To me, a wig feels even more wild than a headscarf, because the truth is, yes, the wind loves to catch in your wig, just like it used to do in your hair. This more natural feeling is actually super empowering, but also a little freaky the first few times. 

But like I always say, now’s as good a time as any to fly your freak flag, baby! People are going to literally follow you around and talk to you when you wear your wigs with style and confidence. So you have to rock your wig with confidence. And, confidence starts with keeping the dang thing in place! There are many different options for securing your wig. For me, I keep it simple. I put a cotton/spandex 3-seam basic turban in black, wine or brown under it, just like I do with my scarves, and I make sure all my wigs are adjustable so I can tighten or loosen them easily. And then I...  

Betsy Johnson + My wild red wig.
So fun!
#4: ...Accessorize, Accessorize! I’m not gonna lie... underneath my often conservative corporate-worker exterior, I’ve always had a love affair with Blondie, Manic Panic, and all things NYC punk, which I bust out as often as possible, usually on going out nights and Halloween!  But the great thing about hairstyles and colors today is that so many people are “costume-y”, it’s pretty impossible to tell if you’re wearing a wig, or just went wild at the salon today. 

Accessories can really help with keeping that mystery going, adding some security to the wig itself, and allowing you to express your personal style. Think scarves, headbands, hairpins, bows and ribbons. So fun! 

Honestly, I have yet to have one person ask me if my hot-pink hair is a wig. Instead, they always tell me how much they love it, ask me how I got this great color, how much they hate their own hair, how brave I am for wearing such a wild color, and how cool they think my hair accents are. And, that positive feedback is a boost I think we we can all use!

I like to try on my new looks in the Hub's
bathroom, and make funny duckfaces.
That's just how I roll!
#5: Try some of your new looks out at home first. I’m kind of terrible about this. I try all my wigs on when they arrive, and that’s about it. After that, I give myself an hour max to get showered, made up and hair-do’ed. So that means I often throw my look together and run out the door and I do some adjusting on the fly if things get loose... 

But, the goal here is to rock your wig with style and confidence, not look like a costumed freak show, so do as I say, not as I do on this one! A wig definitely feels different on your head than normal hair and the wilder you go, the more confident you need to feel. 

Also, think about where you’ll be wearing your wigs: I find even great wigs are just less comfortable for me than my headscarves, so if it’s chemo day or a day of doctors’s appointments where I’ll be poked, prodded and stuck in compromising positions in German photo booths, I opt for the scarf. Unleash your inner warrior woman at home, put on a full face, and play, play, play to discover what works for you. Or, better yet, invite some friends over for a dress-up and make-up evening, and hit the town when you’re all dolled up. Just have fun!

Rockin' the Purple Wig, with headache
band and DIY hatpin for Turkey Day.
Yep, random duck by my head!
#6: Let it all go, but bring back-up. Despite my laissez-fair attitude toward practice, I have had no wig malfunctions... yet! That said, I embrace the fact that there could very well be wardrobe malfunctions up top, just like there are every day with the rest of my clothing. So I really do my best to just laugh, and let it all go after I step out the door. 

And, that said, I like to look good and have fun, because it makes me feel good. So as I style-up for the day, I note any potential weak spots in my coiffure, and I formulate my back-up plan. One reason I love wearing the turban underneath is it means I can always whip that sucker off and still have a head covering to keep my warm! 

If I’m with a friend or my hubs, I put them on duty: “Tell me if this scarf starts to slip below my ear! Tell me if this wig tab starts to show!” That’s what your posse’s for, so use them.

Now go rock the sh!t out of your wig and show me how you did it!

Ready to rock the sh!t out of your scarves? Check out this post for some tips.


  1. The purple wig is freaking awesome!!! ;-)

  2. LOL -- thanks! I feel awesome in it. Love these crazy colors and styles!