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Amber's Journey with Wigs

Advice From Community Expert Amber Perkins

Wig Care Tips | Wig Types | Wig Worries & What-ifs | General Wig Advice & Opinions | About Amber Perkins

Wig Care Tips

Do you wear more than one wig in a week? 

Yes, I switch it up. Sometimes I wear a hair piece, or a topper, other times it's a human hair wig, and the next day it could be a synthetic. And oftentimes if I'm cleaning house I'll just plop on a ball cap and go faux-hair-free. I love changing it up. I think wigs are the most fashionable convenient option though. 

What type of wig head do you have?

I have a few plastic collapsible wig stands for drying, and a few take residence there, but for the most part, when not in use, my alternative hair is placed in the box it came in. I also have a Canvas block head for styling with a counter block head clamp.

Do you wear a wig cap?

I didn't at first. When I first started wearing wigs, my aim was to be very discreet, and I could not afford realistic mono tops and lace fronts. I would wear my wigs much like you do a topper. My bio hair was always very similar to the wig color, and I would let my bio hair hang under the wig. I would create style adding twists, braids, and accessories to integrate my natural thin hair along with the wig, and allowing my actual hair line and perimeter of my hair to work around the wig allowed me to achieve a realistic look with a low budget. Now I like to explore wigs that do not match my bio hair at all. I love using a simple mesh wig liner.

Do you glue your wigs down?

Sometimes. If I am wearing a delicate full lace wig without the pre cut lace that you get from a lot from your big brands, I feel like using adhesive creates a more secure and realistic look, otherwise the lace almost has a ruffled floppy appearance. Sometimes with a pre cut lace front, I'll use a little walker lace or poly tape for extra security if I'm worried about it shifting, especially if I am going to be doing an activity that could potentially cause the wig to shift or move!

How do you make your wigs look more natural?

I feel like integrating a little bio hair helps. Even if the wig isn't a perfect color match, I'll use some root touch up powder to blend and make my bio hair color appear closer in color to the wig choice for that day. Pulling out a little hair by the ear tabs will make pulled back styling much easier and more real looking. If you don't' have bio hair to work with, cutting some baby hairs around the front perimeter of your wig can help create a more realistic appearance. 

How often do you clean your wigs? 

I switch up the style often but I figure most wigs need to be washed every 6-8 wears.

Do you take your wigs to a professional stylist?   

No, styling and playing with alternative hair is a joy for me. I love making a wig my own...no matter the brand and features. That's part of why I share, because everyone can enjoy alternative hair with any budget. I want to share how you can make it just right for you. There is no wrong or right, just keep trying, playing, and exploring what works best for you and your needs. 

What is your favorite way of making a wig more secure?

I like the walker tape, either red or blue depending on if I am wearing a lace front or not. But I have tried the Got 2 Be Glued Gel on a full lace wig, and OH BOY that stuff is like concrete! I have wanted to explore the "super tape" and "it stays" but have yet to do so.

How long do your wigs last?

A long time. I alternate them so much, and when I'm not out and about I go wig-free and often wear a hat. Even before I had more wigs to choose from, my 2 budget wigs lasted a lot longer than what they say a synthetic wig would last.

How do you store your wigs?

For travel, I like a gallon zip lock bag. I turn the wig inside out, and make sure not to crease where the lace front is, so it doesn't lay weird when it's time to pull out at my destination. At home, my wigs are stored in the box they came in.

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What Type of Wig Should I Buy?

How do you determine what style to pick out?

For those first staring out, many want to keep things on the down low, therefore they are searching for something similar to how they usually style their bio hair, or what their hair used to look like before they had a need for alternative hair. Searching for colors and styles similar to what you've worn takes time, and looking at wig reviews, photos, etc can be very helpful. Also, determining what type of style is best for your face shape may be helpful. There is a lot of information out there concerning what color and styles work best for shape of face and skin tone.

There are so many choices, where do you start?

I think you need to decide your budget. There are sooo many options, it can feel like a jungle out there. There are a few things I tell people to figure out first. How much do you want/can you spend. Then you need to decide what you're trying to achieve. Are you looking for full coverage from a wig, or something to wear with your existing hair like a hair piece or hair topper? Lastly, are you wanting human hair or synthetic? Figuring out these things can narrow down the options just a little. Then you'll go from there. 

How do you decide between human hair and synthetic fiber?

A huge thing is budget. What can you afford? A human hair wig is going to be a bit more money, but at the same time, it'll be much more long lasting, and need less replacing, especially if cared for properly. Are you looking for something convenient, shake and go? Or do you have time to wash, blowdry and style alternative hair like you would your own bio hair? Synthetic Hair can be very convenient, which is very nice for those on the go. However, many people want the most realistic looking thing available, which would be human hair. Although, synthetic has come a long way! This is a hard question, because I don't really love one more than the other, and I see the value in both. 

Do you always buy lace fronts?

No, but I do love a good lace front. Even if I have a lace front, I wont wear it off the face unless the knots are almost invisible and the hairline looks extremely realistic. Otherwise, a side swept bang is my go-to. To each their own! I love the convenience and ease of a good lace front, but I am a huge fan of bangs/fringe, so a mono-filament wig with a blunt front such as the Camilla from Jon Renau is definitely a favorite. You know what they say... bangs or botox! Fringe/Bangs are very youthful looking, and you don't need a lace front when wearing a style with a cute bang! 

What do you avoid when buying wigs?

I'm not a fan of a lot of shedding. If I hear a wig sheds profusely, it's not really my cup of tea. I deal with enough shedding from my own bio hair! Also, if the company and retailers are upstanding, helpful, kind, and really show that they care for their clients, I'm super loyal. That has nothing to do with the wig itself, but where I purchase from for sure.  

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Wig Worries and What-ifs

Do other people notice you’re wearing a wig?

People who know my story know. I'm pretty open. Those who don't know act shocked when/if they find out. So from what I've experienced, they don't know, even when I feel like it's obvious. Like for example, 18" hair one week, and a bob the next. Blonde highlights one week, and red the next. And people still don't figure it out! It's crazy! 

Has your wig ever fallen off in public? How did you respond?

No! Heaven forbid! I always worry about my baby tugging it off, but I'm very cautious of this! 

Is hair loss normal for women?

Yes. 1 in 3 women will deal with some type of hair loss. It seems to be more common than ever. I have a private facebook group, "female thin hair and hair loss solutions", and the daily number of people searching for support groups and advice  is almost mind blowing. You're not alone. And there are so many options! 

Will the wind blow my wig off of my head?

If you have figured out what size wig you need, most of the time it should feel pretty secure, even without adhesives. But, if you are nervous, then there are many brands of wig tapes, adhesives, roll on products, etc. that help keep your wig right where you want it. 

Do you know people who wear wigs for other reasons other than hair loss or fashion?

I know that people wear them for acting rolls, but those who I associate with do it for fashion, hair loss, and convenience. 

How do you respond to compliments about your hair?  

Often times I just say thank you! Other times, if the opportunity arises, I may let them know that I didn't' grow it, and they can have one too! 

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General Wig Advice & Opinions

What are 3 pieces of advice would you would give to a first-time wig wearer?

It takes time. Give yourself a break. It's all a learning experience finding what works best for you. You might hit the jackpot and find that perfect topper/wig the first time, OR it may take a few tries/purchases before you feel more confident and comfortable with wearing hair. Also, you may think people KNOW you're wearing hair, but generally, most people don't observe that much, and are just seeing that you look great! 

What do you wish you knew back on day one, that you now know about wearing wigs?

I just wish I would have tried it out sooner. It has been life changing for me in so many aspects. Confidence, ease, and it helped me discover something that I loved and had a passion for. Also, it's so fun, stylish, fashionable, and convenient!! My life is so busy as a mom of 5 kiddos. The convenience alone is a huge game changer. 

Should I buy my first wig that is a close match to my own previous style or go for something completely different?

It's all just personal preference. It's personality, and how you are feeling about hair wearing in the first place. Some people rock it, embrace it, and want to try something different and new, even at the beginning of their journey. Others are still trying to learn and accept their hair loss and the situation they may be in. The nervous people will know, OR they really prefer a certain style and look, which is what they were wearing prior to needing hair. I can't say someone should do one thing or another, because it's very personal, and you have to do what makes you happy. I have evolved from wanting to stay more discreet to wanting to explore my options. I feel that if I need to wear hair, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it and play, enjoy, explore and wear the hair I never thought I'd have.

How do you refer to your wigs? My Piece? Sandra? Her? My Darlings?

Sometimes SHE and HER. "She's a beauty," or, "give HER a good washing." 

Do you wear wigs at the gym or when exercising?

I know many people do, but for the most part, I like to simply wear a ball cap. I have however worn a homemade "pony tail hair piece" and/or a pony wig. These are great because the hair can be pulled up into a messy bun and/or pony tail and be off the neck! There was a time when I would try wearing hair to the gym under a hat, talk about hot. Nope, not anymore. 

Do you prefer ashy or more golden blondes?

I love both. I feel like a chameleon. 

Do you like red-toned or blue-toned brunettes? 

Probably red, but honestly, I'll try anything, and I love it. I've been told my skin tone can get away with many colors. This makes me happy, because I just can't decide what is my favorite. I love them all.

What are your top 5 favorite wigs/recommendations from our site?

This is so hard. I may need to come back to this one.

How has the wig industry changed since you first started wearing wigs?

A lot. At least as a sharer and "influencer." When I created "Fabricating Fringe" on instagram, I followed every single wig store, brand, and wearer I could find. There weren't a lot. Now they are popping up left and right. I love how much it's grown and how so many people are coming out of the woodwork sharing their stories while encouraging and giving support to one another. It's huge and will continue to grow...cause alternative hair is the bomb.com.

How do you think social media has changed how people view wigs?

It's been a tremendous thing for the growth and acceptance of alternative hair wearing. People want advice, support, and common ground. They want ideas, and encouragement. This is such a great way to connect and reach people who are seeking these things. It has definitely helped remove stigma, promote how fashionable and fun changing out your look can be, and creating a more acceptable view of what hair wearing is. I LOVE IT. 

How has joining a community of others who wear wigs been beneficial to you?

I have made connections with some of the most amazing individuals from all walks of life, from all over the world. I have learned so much, and I have been able to teach and help others. It has been such an enriching, and uplifting experience. It might sound odd hearing that putting on a wig could change someones life, but honestly, it really does give you choices, convenience, and comfort. These communities give you common ground with those who are going through, and feel the way you do. People didn't want to discuss hair loss, or wig wearing before, but now it's becoming an open conversation. These communities are helping people feel empowered, normal, and excited about what they can do and what they can wear to feel better about themselves and love they way they look.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own wig-related social media channels?

Be yourself. Remember why you've decided to share. Don't lose sight of your why. Congratulate and uplift. Be happy for other's successes. Support and help others. Encourage those starting something new. Remember you are worthy, you have value, and your story needs to be told. You never really realize who might be listening and needs to hear exactly what you have to say. Do the best you can. Be you, be real, be authentic and genuine, and it'll all fall into place. 

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About Amber Perkins

My name is Amber, and I started an Instagram and YouTube channel called Fabricating Fringe 3 years ago. I talk about my hair loss/hair wearing journey, share, inspire, educate, encourage, have personal growing experiences, and find like-minded people dealing with similar things.
I have a combination of genetically thin/fine hair, androgenic alopecia, and telogen effluvium.
I have always had very fine thin hair from the time I was a baby. I was a "bald" little baby, with feather light blonde hair, and it took quite a long time to grow in. Looking back at photos, I didn't have much hair growth until my elementary days. As a toddler, I had a short pixie cut, not because my Mom took me in for that hairstyle, but because it took that long for my hair to come in! As a child, I didn't pay much attention to how thin my hair was, but as I got older, and wanted certain styles, I soon discovered they were very hard to achieve, and that my hair never got very long.
Every time I explored highlights, hair color, etc, my hair would become very brittle, then break off. I always had frontal breakage. My bio hair can not take a lot of chemicals, heat, or even styling, as it is so fragile, and always has been.
When I was 16 years old, I got a receptionist job at a salon, Fantastic Sam's. It was so fun! I had always loved playing and styling hair, so being in that environment just furthered my love for hair.
At that point I found out about weaved in hair extensions. It was common for women of color, but I didn't know of many places who offered these services to those seeking thicker longer hair. A very talented gal from Africa worked as a stylist at Fantastic Sam's, and she put in my first set of extensions. I remember those corn rows being so tight, I had a headache for a week! Having long hair was a dream come true, because it was never something I EVER had on my own. I was addicted from the start.
I decided to go to Cosmetology School during high school, so during my junior and senior year, I finished High School along with college credits, and obtained all my hours in beauty school. I loved it, and enjoyed learning and playing with hair. It was unfortunate though, because I personally did not have a lot of hair on my own head! I learned ways of "faking" a thicker head of hair with products, back combing, styling, and achieving styles which created a thicker fuller appearance.
Wigs never crossed my mind.
We did take a "field trip" during beauty school to a local wig shop, and the realistic looking scalps, lace fronts, and beautiful hair really intrigued me. Extensions were still my go-to for thicker longer hair and bulk, so I learned how to install wefts myself, and offered this service to people I knew. I loved adding faux hair, and seeing the transformations it could make! I always had to manipulate my own bio hair and do a lot of styling to hide the tracks, but it was worth it in my opinion.
Oftentimes, I was desperate for different styles, so I created curly styles glued to a clip for school dances, and tried spiky wrap around scrunchie hair, and even those claw clip pony tails. Anything that could give me more hair!
Through the years, I tried various types of hair extensions: wefts, glue, beads, clips, tape—then I found the halo. I loved this concept because it was much easier on the hair.
Once I started having children, and going through different hormones, life changes, stress, weight loss, weight gain, aging, etc...I started seeing bouts of shedding, and noticeable hair loss. I never had a lot of hair to start out with, so postpartum hair loss, or moments of telogen effluvium showed drastically. It was very difficult to hide those areas of loss in my crown, front hair line, and loss of density all throughout. I often resorted to wearing hats. I started collecting every hat under the sun, and hat wearing became as imperative in my wardrobe as socks on my feet. I loved expressing my style with hats, and still love them to this day...but I'm not as desperate for a hat all the time, because I found wigs and toppers.
After my third child, the hair loss was excessive enough that I was at my limit and didn't know what else to do. I had been using thickening shampoos, conditioners, products, pouring loads of hair fibers and fillers into my sparse thin areas where you could see scalp, and the process it took to TRY to create a decent hair style was exhausting. I never was happy and satisfied with the end results after all the time it would take for me to try to make my hair look presentable. Hats were easy, and I'd often add extensions underneath for added length and bulk, and it took away the stress of what the top of my head looked like. I refused to remove my hat at functions, or during times when taking your hat off was considered good etiquette.
I drove myself to a local wig shop down the road and purchased my first two bargain synthetic wigs. I knew they weren't as high quality as others out there, but at that time, I couldn't understand the value behind a lace front, fully hand tied, monofilament, and/or human hair unit. Despite the fact that I bought two cheaper full cap synthetic wigs, I was excited to finally have front fringe, bulk, and no need to add pounds of product, or styling for hours only to be disappointed. I created ways of making these wigs look the most realistic, using accessories, headbands, and integrating the perimeter of my bio hair around the wig for up-styles, and pulled back looks. Seeing my hair line created the illusion it was all coming out of my head. I wore these wigs for a few years, and no one knew. I still felt a little awkward and taboo about the whole wig wearing thing, so I chose colors that no one would question.
I was thrilled about the changes wigs had made, and the ease and convenience it gave me although I still was very discreet and didn't tell a soul. I felt the need to say something to someone. It was an urge and desire to just let the cat out of the bag. I wanted to fully accept it myself, and embrace it. By telling those around me, I felt it would let me get past the awkward feeling, and just own it. It was a mix of feelings, wanting to express that alternative hair was enjoyable, and also, that YES, I do have very thin hair, and YES, it has been a struggle of mine. It was something I never talked about, and any comments would really hurt.
I told my Mom one day after a function. "Mom, I'm wearing a wig", I said abruptly. She did a double take "Say whaaaa?' My own Mom who knew my hair was not the thickest in all the land, never realized I was wearing a wig. That's when I finally figured out that most people do not observe THAT closely, and no one had ever thought a thing, despite what I felt. I started looking into hair toppers online, and soon ordered a Noriko Milan over 3 years ago. The hair topper and multi-directional parting ability was a total game changer. My love for styling was even more obtainable with a cap construction like this! It brought so much excitement and joy, and I wanted to share my ways of creative styling this hair piece with those possibly going through hair loss themselves. That's when I started Fabricating Fringe on a whim late one evening.
Alternative Hair has been a blessing in my life. It has changed my whole perspective on a lot of things. Self acceptance, realizing I'm not alone in these struggles, and that my experience and journey may help inspire someone else needing guidance, or looking for ways to overcome how they feel about their own hair loss. I also have grown to love faux hair because it's such a great way to express your personality, and style. The convenience is priceless, too. I can spend so much less time messing with my hair, and walk out the door looking like it took all day to get ready. Nope! Shake n' go, baby!
Being part of these amazing hair-wearing and hair loss communities has helped me grow and evolve, and has really been and enlightening wonderful process. 5 years ago if you'd ask me about my hair situation, I would have shrugged my shoulders and felt sheepish about it. It was a hard subject, because I was very self conscious, and I thought I could never achieve the looks I wanted. I envied those who I thought "naturally" had the hair I'd never get. Hair loss gave me anxiety and made me feel bad about myself. Now I realize I CAN have any style I want, but I also have come to terms with this area of struggle in my life, and I'd take androgenic alopecia (female pattern hair loss) any day of the week. I would be okay with being completely bald, because I have realized hair is not everything, and it doesn't define my worth and value. Do I love it? Yes. Do I want it? Yes. Am I still me and worthy with out it? YES. You are too.
I'm grateful for the people and connections I've made through this hair sharing journey. It's something that I would definitely do again, and I have found a passion that I didn't know was there. It has made me stronger, and more compassionate and understanding of others. I never would have thought a wig or topper would be such a positive impact on a life, but it has been for me, and I know it has been and will be for many many others.

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