Amber's Journey with Wigs
Advice From Community Expert 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.
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.
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!
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.