Cathe's Journey with Wigs
Advice From Community Expert Cathe Lartigue
Wig Care Tips
Do you wear more than one wig in a week?
Oh—absolutely! Variety is the spice of life!! I’m very fortunate to have coworkers who appreciate my love for wigs because they love when I wear different styles. In fact, when I wore Jamison in the Rooted Chrome shade I had coworkers stopping by my cubicle to see my wig! Hair loss, no matter what the reason, is devastating and we all go through periods of depression and sadness because of it. But, once we come to terms with our hair loss, it’s time to embrace the fun of wigs and pull out all the stops!
What type of wig head do you have?
I’m so bad—I keep meaning to get a canvas wig head but it slips my mind. I have a couple of foam heads and one plastic one. I use the plastic one to dry my washed wigs.
Do you wear a wig cap?
I do wear a wig cap. What’s left of my bio hair is very thick and wiry so I pull my hair back in a low pony, divide it in two sections, pin the sections up and pull a wig cap on over my hair.
Do you glue your wigs down?
Not Really. With budget wigs, I’ll dab a bit of edge wax and concealer to hide the line of demarcation, but with my good wigs, I don’t have to.
How do you make your wigs look more natural?
From time to time I’ll tweeze the parting space on a wig if the space isn’t wide enough.I also shake every wig that I have before each wearing. It helps to release the fibers and just give it a more natural look. I also finger style my wigs. I don’t put any spray or styling gel in my wigs either. I think that adds to a more natural look.
How often do you clean your wigs?
Oh..you’re going to find out my dirty secret! My bio hair, as thick as it was was dry as all get out and you could never tell it was dirty—so I washed my bio hair once a week. My wigs—I don’t wash them frequently. As soon as I arrive home from work, I take the wig off, run a wide-toothed comb through them, turn them inside out, cover with a net and place them in the box they came in. I just this weekend washed one of my Finn wigs that I got in the late summer—it was the first time I washed her and she washed beautifully. Then again, I have a good number of wigs that I rotate.
Do you take your wigs to a professional stylist?
No. I do have a wig that I just received for review and am thinking of taking her to a professional stylist to trim the bangs but other than that, nope!
What is your favorite way of making a wig more secure?
I’ve really never had to worry about making a wig secure. I have a pretty thick skull so the wigs stay secured!
How long do your wigs last?
My wigs last over a year. It’s all in the maintenance and care and style. I don’t wear longer wigs when I’m wearing textured fabrics like a heavy wool sweater or scarf. The friction from the fabric can cause dryness and frizz. I’ll wear longer wigs with cotton or silk. The key to a lasting wig is knowing which fabrics to wear with certain wigs, making sure to not overwork a wig, and not washing them too often!
How do you store your wigs when traveling?
I don’t trust the airlines so when I’m traveling with my wigs, they go in my carry-on. I place the wigs in those ziplock bags and suck the air out of the bag, this way the wig lays nice and flat. And I place the wigs in the top of my carryon. I would rather have the airlines lose my clothing than my wigs!
What Type of Wig Should I Buy?
How do you determine what style to pick out?
Don’t stray too far from your comfort zone. Introducing wigs into your life can be a challenge. And when they are a new part of you, it’s best to stay within your comfort zone. If you normally wear a bob style, then check out bobs. If your hair is naturally wavy, check out wavy styles. It takes time to go outside of your normal when you are wearing wigs so as a newbie, it’s best to stay close to what you are used to. Know your face. And by this I mean, know your bone structure. If you have a square face, you might want a wig that has layering around the face to soften the angles. If your face is on the smallish side, you want a wig that won’t overwhelm your delicate frame. Know what looks good on you and go with that. Don’t ask family members or friends what they think looks good. Go with your gut! You are the one wearing the hair!
There are so many choices, where do you start?
Start by looking at wigs online or go into a local wig or beauty supply shop that sells wigs. Take a good look at what is being offered. If you go to a wig shop or beauty shop, take your phone with you and take photos of the wigs you like. When you’re home, go online and look through the various online wig shops like Wigs.com. Make a list of the wigs you like and then make note of your bio hair. How do they compare? Do you have coarse hair that has a natural wave or curl? Starting out as a newcomer to wigs, you might want to stick to a wig that resembles your bio hair. But—make sure you are looking at reputable sites. There are a lot of scam wig companies that take advantage of women in this vulnerable state so be cautious.
When starting out with wigs, I would say the decision would be wiser to go with synthetic fiber. The reason being that human hair wigs are higher maintenance. They need extra care because they are...human hair! Think about how long it takes/took you to wash, blow dry and style your bio hair. Styling a wig can be more difficult than styling your own hair! Synthetic wigs are so well-made these days that it can be difficult to tell if it isn’t human hair. Many wig brands have wigs with synthetic fibers that mimic natural hair. Synthetic wigs are also very low maintenance. Shake them out, finger style them, and you are good to go! I think the price point of synthetic wigs is much more budget friendly as well. And as you get used to wearing wigs then you may decide to go with human hair—but for those new to wigs, I really think synthetic is the way to go!
Do you always buy lace fronts?
I love a lace front wig because of the natural hairline and parting space. I have a few that aren’t lace fronts and I never wear them. I reserve them for when I’m down the shore. There’s just something about a lace front. Estetica Designs, Gabor Wigs, and Raquel Welch wigs have some of the greatest lace fronts ever! It’s nearly impossible to tell you are wearing a wig!
What do you avoid when buying wigs?
Shiny wigs. Not for me. They can look like doll hair and my bio hair lacks shine. I also avoid very thin wigs with low density. I prefer a wig with higher density because I know that the wefts won’t show through! I also avoid ANY wig site that uses celebrities when advertising wigs. This is a red flag. In addition, I avoid any site that claims to sell brand name wigs for $35 and less—they are scammers and thieves!
Wig Worries and What-ifs
Do other people notice you’re wearing a wig?
Well….those who know me definitely notice I’m wearing a wig because I change wigs almost every day! Although, we were in Paris a few months ago visiting my husband’s family and his brother thought I colored my hair—I was wearing a lighter shade wig! And the last time someone asked if I was wearing a wig—I was wearing my bio hair!!! It was that thick!
Has your wig ever fallen off in public? How did you respond?
Kind of. This happened over Christmas when the kids were home. My sons and I went into Philly for cheesesteaks before dropping one of my sons off at the airport (he had to return back to L.A.). So we got the cheesesteaks and went to the car because time was of the essence, we ate on the run. Anyway, I had a hat on and took it off because the heat in the car was making my head hot. My wig came off with the hat—and my sons thought that was the funniest thing. I thought it was pretty funny too but I’m glad I didn’t decide to take my hat off at the Cheesesteak place! We had a good laugh about it!
Is hair loss normal for women?
I don’t know if hair loss is normal, but it’s more common than uncommon. The great thing is that women are now addressing it because hair loss used to be a topic nobody wanted to talk about. I’m glad that we’re talking about it!
Will the wind blow my wig off of my head?
No!! The wind will not blow your wig off. Wig caps are made to hug the skull and they are a lot stronger than you would ever think. There are products, though, for securing your wig such as Got 2B Glued, Gorilla Snot, and you can always purchase combs to sew into your wigs.
Do you know people who wear wigs for other reasons other than hair loss or fashion?
I would have to say no to that! The only other reason I would imagine someone would wear a wig is to disguise themselves because they are a spy or a criminal. Oh wait, one of my sons works for SNL and the cast goes through a ton of wigs!
How do you respond to compliments about your hair?
I tell the truth, I proudly announce my hair is a wig and you would be surprised at the great reactions I get. It’s always fun and a wonderful conversation starter—especially when women tell me their hair is thinning and their hair isn’t what it used to be. My mission is to normalize wigs and I can’t normalize wigs if I don’t let others know that I’m wearing them!
General Wig Advice & Opinions
What are 3 pieces of advice would you would give to a first-time wig wearer?
For the first-time wig wearer, three important pieces of advice are:
Research. Head to the internet and peruse various websites for styles of wigs you might like. Then, head to YouTube and watch every possible review you can. Take a good look at how the wigs look on different women.
Be selfish. This is about YOU and nobody else. Do NOT listen to naysayers who may try to talk you out of wearing a wig. Don’t listen to those who try to discourage you. This is YOUR time and it is about nobody else.
Go into this journey with gusto! Don’t feel sorry because you feel you have to wear a wig and don’t allow yourself to feel like a victim. Look on the bright side—you are never going to have a bad hair day. Moving forward, the humidity isn’t going to give you a halo of frizz. You won’t spend hours on your bio hair. Wearing wigs is going to make you look and feel beautiful and it’s time to embrace that!
What do you wish you knew back on day one, that you now know about wearing wigs?
I wish I didn’t care what others thought. My first wig sat in a box over a year because I was petrified to venture outside with it on. It wasn’t until my hair loss became so bad and I started to look like Friar Tucks’ twin sister that I realized I had to put my feelings aside and just wear the wig! I’ve never looked back!
Should I buy my first wig that is a close match to my own previous style or go for something completely different?
Being pragmatic, I would say a first wig that’s close to what you are used to is a better choice. As you become more comfortable and used to wigs, then you can expand on the styles and just have fun!
How do you refer to your wigs? My Piece? Sandra? Her? My Darlings?
Always in the feminine. 'She' or 'her.'
Do you wear wigs at the gym or when exercising?
Excuse me? I am the laziest woman on earth. I do not go to the gym and exercise for me is walking around the mall in which I always have a wig on!
Do you prefer ashy or more golden blondes?
Since my coloring is more on the cool side, I prefer an ashy blonde.
Do you like red-toned or blue-toned brunettes?
What are your top 5 favorite wigs/recommendations from our site?
- Jamison by Estetica Designs (my favorite wig of all time)
- Finn by Estetica Designs.
- Chloe by Envy \
- Big Time by Raquel Welch
- And...coming in at number five is a wig that I’ve been eyeing for over a year but never purchased. I think that Brave The Wave by Raquel Welch is one of the most beautiful wigs I’ve ever seen. Some day she will be mine. Oh yes. She will be mine!
How has the wig industry changed since you first started wearing wigs?
Oh! This is good and I think the wig industry needs to heed my advice, haha! I don’t like the fact that the wig industry is all of a sudden seemingly going after the younger demographic. Wig sites now have younger women as though they are the only ones wearing the wigs and they aren’t! It’s the more mature demographic that suffers the loss of hair between menopause, certain medical conditions and hormonal changes. I think the wig industry needs to look at who their target audience is.
Also, there’s one area where they haven’t changed and need to. Those granny wigs. Lets face it, the older woman of today don’t always want the short, tight curls of the Mrs. Claus wigs. Mature women are more into makeup and fashion and hair–whether real hair or fake hair, bio hair or a wig. And the thing that cracks me up is that those wigs are photographed on women in their twenties! It’s so silly! But on the great side, wigs have become more natural looking and the styles are better than ever!
How do you think social media has changed how people view wigs?
I think social media has changed how people view everything! But, with wigs I do think social media has allowed people to see that wearing wigs is the norm for many women. I love Instagram because it gives you a great look at so many wigs on so many different women and I’ve “met” some really great wig women through Instagram. Facebook—I don’t really go on it that much anymore except to keep in touch with childhood friends, it has gotten too political for my taste.
How has joining a community of others who wear wigs been beneficial to you?
It’s made me feel that I’m not alone and there’s a whole lot of women who have lost their hair. The various wig groups are very supportive and educational.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own wig-related social media channels?
First of all, I would say, knock it off with the filters. People need to see “real” even with fake hair! I’ve seen some wig videos that were so over-filtered I couldn’t even make out the shape of the wig! And I’ve seen women of the mature demographic who try to make themselves look twenty. You need to be yourself first and foremost.
Then again, you have to think why you are doing the channel. Do you want to make money or are you doing this because you genuinely want to do it and have a good time?
I can only speak for me on this one because I don’t have a fancy studio or fancy camera. My camera is from my laptop and it’s not the greatest. But, I’m having a great time. I just want to show other women how a 63 (soon to be 54) year old woman with no fillers or Botox looks in various wigs. It’s important. I’m the average woman and the average woman makes up a very large percentage of those purchasing wigs. People like honesty. And you have to be honest and upfront.
So my advice would be just to be yourself. Talk about what you like. Talk about what you don’t like. You don’t need to be fancy and for crying out loud, do not fall into the trap of buying followers or subscribers. It’s not a good practice and it’s just not honest.
About Cathe Lartigue
My hair loss started in earnest when I was in my forties. The way I dealt with stress and anxiety was to pull my hair out and pick at my scalp. There’s a word for this condition, “Trichotillomania”. What I never realized was that I permanently damaged my scalp and I can now pass as Friar Tuck’s twin sister! Yeah, my crown is bald!
At first It was devastating but when I came to terms with my hair loss, I turned it into a positive thing and I decided to embrace and have fun with wigs. There is never a bad hair day with a wig, every day starts off beautifully and remains that way!
My mission is to normalize wigs. No woman should feel ashamed because of hair loss, it happens! No woman shouldn’t feel that she isn’t beautiful. Others need to stop perpetuating any stigma that comes along with wigs. By showcasing wigs on Instagram, and by blogging and reviewing wigs on my YouTube channel, I do what I can to make my voice heard. By being an advocate and an ambassador for Wigs.com, it makes the job easier and more enjoyable!