Finding Stability

How to Choose a Wig: A Brief Guide

Trying on a wig with a professional can help you overcome some trepidation that comes with losing your hair. This is an important step for knowing how to choose a wig that's perfect for you.

Buying a wig when you lose your hair during cancer treatment is an overwhelming experience. There are so many options, not to mention your swelling emotions. While it all feels like too much, the perfect wig is out there for you. LaTisha Barnes, the coordinator at the Flourish Boutique, shares advice on how to choose a wig and feel good wearing it.

Getting Ready

Barnes recommends waiting until you’re emotionally ready to shop. When you learn you’re going to lose your hair, avoid rushing out and buying the first wig that looks good while in a state of shock. Prepare yourself by cutting your hair first, and then consider what style or color you might like.

“For many people, seeing your hair fall out is traumatic,” Barnes says. “I’ve had customers plan haircut parties, where friends and family cut a little. Then they go to the salon to clean up the style.” Cropping your hair into a new shorter style also gives you a blank slate when shopping for a wig.

Making a Decision

Wigs come in different sizes, colors, cuts and materials. One of the first decisions is synthetic versus human hair. Synthetic is far cheaper and easier to maintain. They’ve come a long way in providing a natural look as well. You can choose heat-resistant synthetic hair, which allows you to do some styling. “With a synthetic wig, the style is already cut in,” Barnes says. “Choose a style that looks good on you, even if it’s not what you had.”

Always try on wigs before buying and before shopping online. Your skin, neck length, face shape and head size can vary from the model on screen, which changes how that style looks on you.

Cap type is your next big decision. Machine-made caps are the least expensive, followed by monofilament, hand-tied, lace-front or a combination of the last three. The more natural the look, the higher the price will be. Monofilament and hand-tied caps give your hair a more natural look and allow you to change your part or make other small adjustments. A lace-front wig can have a machined, monofilament or hand-tied cap, but it provides a more natural look at the hairline. Headcovers provides a detailed guide to different aspects of wig sizing and construction.

The Shopping Experience

Although emotional, shopping can be a fun experience, especially when you know how to choose a wig that’s ideal for you. Barnes says she makes the experience enjoyable and uplifting for customers. “Feeling good about yourself while going through treatment assists in healing,” she adds.

Bring family and friends with you, but make sure they know the final decision is yours. Choose what you feel comfortable in, not what others think you should wear. Take your time. You don’t have to buy something on the first trip.

Paying for It

Most people can find a wig in a reasonable price range. The Flourish Boutique has many beautiful styles in the $150 to $300 price range. For women who can’t afford a wig, the boutique has Ramona’s Room. Previous patients can donate gently used wigs, where the items will be cleaned up and offered for free. Most private insurance providers will cover all or part of the cost of a wig. Medicare and Medicaid won’t.

“Be open to options when shopping, and know that this isn’t forever,” she says. “A bad wig is just as bad as not having your hair, so make sure you choose something you love.” It will not only improve your self-confidence, but you may discover a new personal style in the process.

The Flourish Boutique has knowledgeable staff like LaTisha who can help you find a wig that suits you. Our professionals make the experience fun.

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Patricia Chaney
Patricia Chaney