Wigs.com & Breastcancer.org Team Up to Discuss Managing Hair Loss and Wearing a Wig With Confidence

August 10th, 2023

"Wigs.com was thrilled to be a part of Breastcancer.org's latest webinar on Managing Hair Loss and Wearing a Wig With Confidence. It was an incredible honor being asked to be one of their panelists! The questions they asked were fantastic, and since we had limited time to discuss each point in greater detail, we thought it would be valuable to expand on each topic here so that everyone who wears wigs may benefit from the information. A huge thank you to Breastcancer.org for including us, but more importantly what you do for women in the breast cancer community and beyond."

-Alicia Giglio, Chief Experience Officer at Beauty & Hair

Indira Washington (Social Media Coordinator) wearing Star by Ellen Wille

Common Wig Beginner Questions

1. When is the best time to get fitted for a wig and what’s the very first step someone needs to take to select a wig that’s right for them?

  • First, decide if you will wear a wig if you lose your hair.

    This is such a personal decision. Oftentimes women will wear hair to avoid being asked why she lost hers. Women play so many roles in their families and communities, and will opt to wear hair to ensure those around her aren't worried or focused on her. 

  • Next, if you decide you will wear a wig, determine your timeline.

    Typically a woman has approximately 2 weeks from her first chemotherapy treatment to when she will lose her hair. The best time is really up to the individual. If she wants to ensure she has a wig before her hair falls out, the sooner the better–but it all depends on how she feels physically, emotionally and the reason for wearing the wig. 

    Depending on their treatment regimen or any other medical procedures they may be having, getting their wig while they feel good enough to do so would be advised. 

  • Last and most importantly, enlist the help of a professional!

    We recommend starting with an alternative hair expert consultation. During this consultation you should discuss your:

    • Desired hair style

    • Color preference 

    • Have your head measured by a professional (or have a professional guide you through measuring)

    • Willingness and ability to style the wig

    • Your lifestyle –meaning how often they plan to wear it and what they will be doing in it.

    • Keep in mind–you will likely not look like the model…we recommend starting with a wig that resembles your biological hairstyle.

    *These last two points will help the consultant determine the fiber recommendations 

2. People in active treatment for breast cancer may prefer shopping from the comfort of their home. How does online wig shopping work without the help of an expert for fitting? And what should people know about typical return or exchange policies for online shopping?

We agree, which is why we have the largest team of consultants in the industry to help our customers on the phones and on 1:1 video calls (aka Virtual Consultations). We started offering complimentary virtual consultations in 2020 and continue to offer them with their popularity continuously rising. We employ licensed cosmetologists and highly trained alternative hair consultants with a passion for helping women with hair loss find the perfect wig without ever having to leave their home! Our website also offers tons of education and information to help all of our customers make informed decisions, we are constantly working on it and updating it. Some of our most recent additions to our online education are: Your Alternative Hair Guide, Wigs.com Live Shopping, and now you can sort through our blog based on what type of content you are looking for including this new Education & Learning Section– just to name a few!

One of the other benefits from shopping online vs in a salon, besides the fact that you can do so in your pajamas if you want to, is the inventory offering. Shopping online means you can shop the inventory available by the manufacturer vs the limited offering in a wig shop or salon. 

Wigs.com also has a really great return policy, 30 days, no restocking fees..all we ask is that you return the wig in the same condition you received it in, this is compared to shopping in a salon that typically will not accept returns. You are definitely encouraged and allowed to try on your wig, but we do ask that you thoughtfully repackage it and return it to us if it doesn't work out. We do recommend that if you don't get it right the first time, please reach out to our team–we are more than happy to help guide you to the option that will be best for you!

3. Can you break down the differences between wigs that are synthetic fiber, human hair,or a combination of both? Is there a difference in comfort, cost, or maintenance?

There has been so much innovation in the alternative hair industry, especially in the last 10 years. Manufacturers have worked tirelessly to design wigs that look super natural regardless of the fiber.

Synthetic fiber wigs are made from man-made materials such as acrylic, polyester, or kanekalon. They are pre-styled and come in a wide array of colors and styles. Synthetic wigs are generally lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear, especially in warmer climates. However, some wearers may find them less breathable compared to human hair wigs.

The key benefits to wearing synthetic wigs are:

  • They retain their style, so they require less effort in styling and upkeep. However, they are more sensitive to heat, meaning you cannot use hot styling tools on them. 

  • More budget-friendly than human hair wigs, making them an excellent option for those on a tighter budget. Price range is just under $100 to $657. 

  • The color does not fade.

Synthetic wigs have a shorter lifespan compared to human hair wigs and may need to be replaced more frequently. With proper care and maintenance, synthetic wigs typically last 3 or more months. 

A heat friendly fiber or heat resistant fiber is a fiber that can be altered using regulated heat. The most important thing for anyone wearing this fiber is: Heat Friendly wigs REQUIRE heat. If you do not use heat on the fiber, it will frizz and wear down faster. The minute you start to see the frizzing (especially towards the ends), flat iron or curl it to smooth it out. The ultra fine heat friendly fibers look and feel like human hair. We recommend styling Heat Friendly fiber with a heat tool set between 275° F-300° F for best results.

The key benefits to wearing heat friendly synthetic wigs are: 

  • The fibers look similar to human hair making your wig look super natural.

  • They retain their style–even when they get wet.

  • If you want to change the curl pattern or smooth it out, you can use heat tools to do so.

  • More budget-friendly than human hair wigs, making them an excellent option for those on a tighter budget. Price range is just under $100 to $663.

  • The color does not fade.

Heat Friendly Synthetic wigs have a shorter lifespan compared to human hair wigs and may need to be replaced more frequently. With proper care and maintenance, synthetic wigs typically last 3 or more months. 

Human hair wigs are crafted using real human hair, offering the most natural look and feel.

Here are the key characteristics of human hair wigs:

  • Comfort: Human hair wigs provide excellent comfort as they are made from natural hair, offering a more breathable and realistic feel on the scalp.

  • Maintenance: Human hair wigs require more maintenance and styling, just like natural hair. They can be styled with hot tools and can withstand heat better than synthetic wigs. Additionally, they have a longer lifespan and can last approximately 9 months to several years with proper care and maintenance.

  • Cost: Human hair wigs are generally more expensive than synthetic wigs due to the higher cost of sourcing and processing real hair. Human hair wigs typically cost between $600 to $4500. 

Human Hair/Synthetic Blend wigs,combine both synthetic fiber and human hair elements. 

This beautiful blend embodies the texture and appearance of human hair, with the style benefits of heat friendly synthetic hair that helps maintain the style memory (even in inclement weather conditions) and keep the color looking vibrant! Human Hair/Synthetic blended wigs provide a balance of comfort between synthetic and human hair wigs, offering good breathability and a natural feel. The cost of blended wigs falls between synthetic and human hair wigs, making them a more affordable option for those seeking a natural look without the higher price tag of full human hair wigs ranging from $300 to $2400. Blended wigs require some styling but may not demand as much effort as full human hair wigs. The maintenance level can vary based on the blend of synthetic and human hair used.

The choice between synthetic fiber, heat friendly synthetic fiber, human hair, or human hair/synthetic blended wigs comes down to individual preferences, budget, and desired level of maintenance. Synthetic wigs are cost-effective and low-maintenance but have a shorter lifespan. Human hair wigs offer the most natural look and durability but can be more expensive. Blended wigs strike a balance between comfort, cost, and maintenance. By understanding the differences between these types of wigs, you can confidently choose the one that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

4. People may come across the terms “lace front” or “monofilament” for the first time, what do those terms mean? And, is there a difference between them in terms of comfort and cost for a person in active treatment for cancer?

This is where working with a professional will really help you pick the right cap features to help you achieve your goals! The vernacular that is specific to the wig world can be difficult for new wig wearers to learn and navigate. 

Here are 3 key components of a wig cap and why each element may or not be important to you:

  • Lace front (why this may or may not be a good option for you)

  • Monofilament (or mono top, mono part, double mono)

  • 100% Hand Tied vs Partially Hand Tied vs Basic Cap 

These 3 components the wig cap construction will influence the: 

  • Style

  • How natural a style looks

  • Comfort 

  • Cost

5. We hear from some members of our community that wigs can be unpleasantly hot to wear, cause headaches, itchiness or rashes, and can limit your activity. Are there negative effects of a wig, especially in the heat of the summer and how can we overcome these?

Everyone’s sensory threshold is different, especially when going through treatment. How one person responds or feels when wearing a wig is different from person to person. Typically women know if they run warmer than others or experience sensitivity when wearing hats–this will likely be true when wearing a wig. Some things to keep in mind:

Staying cool:

If you live in a warmer climate or tend to have a warmer body temperature, we recommend wearing shorter styles or choosing a wig that you can put in a ponytail or bun. Keeping your hair off your neck will help keep you cooler. You may also want to consider lighter colors as the darker colors will naturally attract more heat. What’s under your wig can help! A bamboo wig liner or a no sweat liner will wick away moisture and keep your head cooler longer. If you are really overheating, go to the ladies room or somewhere private and take your wig off for a minute to cool down or run cold water over your wrists.  

Fit matters:

If your wig is too small, it will likely give you a headache. Please measure and choose a properly fitting wig. 

Scalp Sensitivity: 

Whether you are more sensitive to seams, lace or other materials that may cause you to be aware of them OR your treatment causes a heightened scalp sensitivity, we recommend you get a wig with the softest cap construction. 100% hand tied wigs are typically the softest. If you wear a bang/fringe, you don't need a lace front, which will make the wig cap even softer. Wearing a bamboo wig liner will also provide a soft barrier between your skin and the wig. 

You should not get a rash from wearing a wig, if you do–we recommend checking with your doctor to see if medication is making your skin more sensitive or if you have an allergy to specific materials. The BeautiMark care products we recommend are FREE from toxic glycols, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, DEAs, and artificial dyes,and will help extend the life & beauty of your synthetic hair. If a rash is developing because of friction, we recommend a bamboo or cotton wig liner.

Wearing wigs should not limit your activity. We have customers who wear their wigs to the gym, to work out in, riding on roller coasters, on their boats, and everything in between. There are so many strategies to ensure your wig does not limit your activities. Some women will have work out wigs or beach wigs–these are either older wigs or less expensive wigs that can be worn tied back or in a hat. There are even hat wigs, these are partial hair systems that are made to be worn with a hat. Adhesives are also a really great solution for keeping your wigs in place and feeling more secure. 

6. What are the most essential things to know about styling, caring for, and storing a wig for someone who is in treatment and may not have their full energy?

Everyone’s alternative hair journey is different, but we have learned a lot over the last 20 years.  

Many of our customers who are going through chemotherapy treatment find synthetic wigs are great fiber to start with. For many of these women, it is their first time wearing wigs and they typically do not have the same energy levels during treatment. The ease and convenience of wearing synthetic wigs with style memory and low maintenance is very appealing! 


How to Wash and Care for Synthetic Hair


How to Wash and Care for Curly Synthetic Wigs

7. For treatment-related hair loss, some patients get patches of hair or only lose the hair on the tops of their heads. What do you recommend, are there hair pieces or extensions that could work? What about as your hair is growing back?

We have several customers that will transition to Hair Toppers once their hair starts to grow back and they have enough regrowth to clip the hair topper to. This is a great option for women who want a partial hair system to help them through the phase when their hair isn’t quite long enough to style or to their preference, but they feel ready to transition out of a wig. This is a great time to book a virtual consultation with one of our experts who can assist with color matching and ensuring you get the correct base size and style to achieve your goals. We also have several customers that love the convenience of wearing wigs! The good news is that the choice is yours!

8. Cost can be a barrier when it comes to the best quality wigs - especially for someone dealing with medical bills. Many health insurance companies cover part or all of the cost with a prescription, and American Cancer Society and other organizations offer free or reduced cost wigs. But for people buying wigs out of pocket, do you have any tips for getting the best quality on a budget? 

The best advice I can give any woman trying to budget for their hair is to start by determining your goals of wearing alternative hair and what it will mean to you if you have the wig or hair topper that makes you feel most like yourself. Most of us are on a budget these days and have to allocate funds towards necessities. There are so many ways to raise funds to purchase your perfect wig and other ways to work up to getting the perfect wig. Considering how much you used to spend on getting your hair done before going through treatment (if this applies to you), are you comfortable allocating those funds towards your wig budget? Knowing that wigs don’t last forever, start with a wig that will help you get through your first phase of treatment, and budget for the one you really want if it’s a bit out of range. Working with one of our Wig Experts is also a really smart decision as they can guide you to similar styles that will be within your budget. Last, definitely check with your insurance to find out how much it may cover for a “cranial prosthesis.” If you buy your wig online, also confirm that you can submit the receipt to be reimbursed. 

9. Wearing a wig can be intimidating or challenging, especially for someone who is grieving the loss of their hair. Do you have any other advice for wearing a wig with confidence? 

This is such a great question, and one we get often! The good news is that you are more focused on it than anyone else, especially in the beginning of your wig wearing journey. When you look at your reflection, it may take some time to get used to your “new look.” It’s so common to feel this way! Most people aren’t thinking about your wig, they are happy to see YOU and don’t notice your wig at all. People will likely compliment your hair because oftentimes a great wig looks like you just stepped out of the salon, so be ready with your response. A simple “thank you” is perfect! You certainly don't have to announce you are wearing a wig.  

Whatever your reason for wearing a wig, we support it and want to help you find the hair that makes you feel like the best version of yourself.