Dealing with the negative side effects of cancer treatments (like hair loss) can be difficult enough, but having to choose the right wig for your lifestyle can seem even harder. Although many cancer fighters go for hats or scarves instead, wigs have helped a wide variety of patients feel attractive and confident while undergoing cancer treatments. It’s important to research all of your options before deciding if a wig is right for you.
The first step to choosing the perfect wig for your personality is deciding between synthetic or human hair. Synthetic is generally lower in upkeep and easy to maintain, while human hair can be great for a realistic feel, texture, and the ability to style on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not every woman can afford a wig of human hair (which typically costs over $1,000), and must choose a more affordable synthetic brand instead (usually $45–$100). Custom-made wigs are wonderful, personalized luxuries for those who can afford them (or tolerate the longer wait time for arrival), but many prefer a “ready-made” wig that can be purchased immediately and shaped by a stylist later. (For more information, see “Hair Care Advice for Cancer Patients.”) A cancer fighter at Cancer Chat forums adds, “I recommend monofilaments wigs [wigs where hair is weaved individually into a gauze-like fabric, instead of cloth]. The wig caps are thin, ventilated, and transparent. They’re very comfortable to wear and not itchy like other wigs.”
The Breast Cancer website suggests taking your time when choosing the right wig, and beginning the process before starting treatment (because you’ll have more energy). Try checking for available wigs at your hospital’s cancer center, a local beauty salon, or even online. If you simply cannot afford a wig, try taking the advice of “Day To Day Matters: Wigs,” and “…ask for a prescription for an ‘extra-cranial prosthesis’ [a wig] to submit to your insurer. Not every company reimburses, but you should try.” When trying on wigs, remember they should never be placed over the ears or pulled down too far over the forehead, because they’ll give an unnatural appearance.
If you prefer to maintain your previous hairstyle, The Cancer Blog suggests saving a swatch of your old hair (or taking photos in natural sunlight) before undergoing treatment. This can make the process of matching your previous hair color much easier, especially when using human-hair wigs (which can be dyed by a stylist to match). If you prefer to branch away from your old style, try something new by changing the color or cut subtlety, although wig expert Carliz Sotelo Teague warns, “Go with what you know. You want to feel comfortable first…then you can go with something a little more daring.” When in doubt, always remember to bring plenty of understanding friends and family along for support, and try to make the experience as fun and uplifting as possible.
Are you still confused about what to do with your wig after you’ve brought it home? Click here to read our post on How to Care for Your Wig and here to find a Wig Salon near you in the Cinco Vidas Wig Directory.
* We want to hear from you: How did you choose your wig? Did you prefer to change your look or keep your style the same? What is your favorite type of wig?
Photo courtesy of Snap Village.